Presenter Information

Richard J. Kehoe C.M.


Members of the Congregation are not to seek the Church’s honors. For this reason, the nineteenth general assembly (1843) declared that Vincentians who assumed episcopal positions without the superior general’s consent would be deprived of suffrages for the dead. Vincentian John Joseph Lynch was the third bishop and first archbishop of Toronto. Although he wrote to Superior General Jean-Baptiste Etienne about his appointment to the bishopric, he did not receive a reply. His well-known dedication to the community, an assurance from his predecessor that Etienne had consented to his elevation, and the fact that he wrote to Etienne had led Lynch to believe he would receive permission. He waited for it but was under considerable pressure to assume office. He fell under the nineteenth general assembly’s sanction and was also cut off from Congregation. Lynch took his case to Rome, which called for the sanction to be rescinded. Etienne never officially notified the affected Vincentians of their reinstatement. His view of his role in episcopal appointments and his reasons for denying suffrages to American prelates are described at length.