Daniel Mannix

Daniel Mannix (1864-1963) was the Roman Catholic archbishop of Melbourne for nearly half a century and an active force in Australian politics, especially in Victoria.

Daniel Mannix was born at Charleville in County Cork, Ireland, on March 4, 1864. He was ordained in 1890 at Maynooth, where he became successively junior professor of philosophy and professor of theology. The Irish bishops selected him as president in 1903, and it was during his tenure of this office that Maynooth acquired the status of a university college.

In 1912 Mannix was appointed titular archbishop of Pharsalus and coadjutor of Melbourne, and in 1917 he succeeded to the see. He quickly became the main spokesman in Australia for the Irish nationalist movement Sinn Fein. During World War I he campaigned openly alongside the Labour party against conscription for the armed forces, and by the end of the war he and the Catholics who looked to him for leadership had become a powerful influence on the Labour party in Australia. In 1920 he visited Rome by way of the United States, where large and vocal audiences marked his tour at every stop, but he was forbidden to land in Ireland. He was a strong opponent of the Irish Free State and of the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1922.

Australian Catholic Action originated in Mannix's Melbourne diocese in 1937 and developed into one of the most efficient and highly organized systems of Catholic Action in the world. In World War II Mannix was more prepared to accept the justice of the Allied cause than he had been in World War I, and he supported the "Food for Britain" campaign that was organized in Australia.

Mannix was a firm believer in the idea that communism was now the principal enemy and partly for this reason was a close supporter of Bartholomew Santamaria and what was termed "The Movement" in Victoria, but in his advancing years he tended to lose touch with the work of Catholic Action in the trade unions and the Labour party. Nevertheless, after the split in the Australian Labour party in 1955, Mannix supported the dissident Democratic Labour party and in the federal elections of 1958 issued a statement warning Catholics against voting for the Australian Labour party, led by Herbert Vere Evatt, on the grounds that "every Communist and Communist sympathizer in Australia wants a victory for the Evatt party."

Mannix was a man of strong enthusiasms and spent his energies in many causes. It was largely owing to him, for instance, that funds were collected for the opening of Newman College, a constituent college of the University of Melbourne. More than anything else, however, he was a political prelate, and for most of his remarkable career in Victoria there was a close link between the Catholic hierarchy and the Labour party. He died on Nov. 6, 1963.

Further Reading on Daniel Mannix

A biography of Mannix is Niall Brennan, Dr. Mannix (1964). Mannix is discussed in James G. Murtagh, Australia: The Catholic Chapter (1946; rev. ed. 1959) and Catholics and the Commonwealth (1950), and Tom Truman, Catholic Action and Politics (1959; rev. ed. 1960). The various writings of Bartholomew Santamaria should also be consulted.

Additional Biography Sources

Ebsworth, Walter A., Archbishop Mannix, Armadale, Vic.: H. H.Stephenson, 1977.

Gilchrist, Michael, Daniel Mannix, priest & patriot, Blackburn, Vic., Australia: Dove Communications, 1982.

Kiernan, Colm, Daniel Mannix and Ireland, Morwell, Vic., Australia: Alella Books; Dublin: Gill and Macmillan, 1984.

Santamaria, Bartholomew Augustine, Archbishop Mannix: his contribution to the art of public leadership in Australia, Carlton South, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 1978.

Santamaria, Bartholomew Augustine, Daniel Mannix, the quality of leadership, Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press; Beaverton, Or.: International Scholarly Book Services, 1984.