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When was the last Catholic priest installed as Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin?
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When was the last Catholic priest installed as Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin? Print
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Ireland - Ireland FAQs and Trivia
Written by Hugh McManus   

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Wednesday, 02 December 2009 20:33

Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin is the older of the two medieval cathedrals in the city, Christ Church datrd back to 1038.  It is claimed as the seat of both the Anglican (Church of Ireland) and Roman Catholic Archbishops of Dublin.  The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, however, uses St. Mary's pro-cathedral; it is viewed as a temporary accommodation.  The term pro-cathedral is used as the Holy See recognizes Christ Church Cathedral as the seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop; however, there have been protestants in the church since the reformation!  Which brings us back to the question: when was the last Roman Catholic priest installed as Dean of the Cathedral?

And the answer is probably 1539, though you could argue May 30, 2008.  The question is a little mean for a number of reasons.  First of all, there were no deans prior to the reformation.  The first dean of the cathedral was Robert Paynswick (also spelled Painswick) in 1539, who had been an Augustinian prior.  The current dean of the cathedral is the former Archdeacon of Ferns, Dermot Dunne.  The Venerable Dermot Dunne was previously ordained a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Cork and Ross in 1984.  He resigned as a priest in 1995 returning to lay life.  He later applied for entry into Anglican ministry and was licensed as a Church of Ireland priest in 1998.  It's a mean question because theologically, ordination infers an indelible character on the person who was ordained.  So, even if a person is laicized, he's still a priest, though not considered a cleric–sneaky!  However, you could also argue that the Archdeacon of Ferns was appointed dean, not a Catholic priest.