Cardinal Connell’s Life and Ministry

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Biographical Details of Emeritus Archbishop, Desmond Cardinal Connell


Archbishop Desmond Connell was born in Phibsboro on the 24th of March 1926.


Educated at St. Peter’s National School, Phibsboro and Belvedere College, he studied for the priesthood at Clonliffe College and was ordained by Archbishop John Charles McQuaid on the 19th of May 1951.


He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from University College Dublin in 1946 and was awarded an M.A. the following year. From 1947 until 1951 he studied theology at Maynooth and was awarded a Bachelor of Divinity degree in 1950.


Archbishop Connell studied at the University of Louvian, Belgium from 1951 to 1953, when he was awarded a doctorate in philosophy.


From 1953 Archbishop Connell worked in the department of Metaphysics in U.C.D. He was appointed Professor of General Metaphysics in1972 and elected Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Sociology in 1983 and re-elected 3 years later.


He has written on philosophical and theological subjects. For his published work he was awarded the degree D. Litt. by the National University of Ireland in 1981.


Dr. Connell was a member of the Irish Hierarchy’s theological commission, and of the Diocesan Committee on Ecumenism. He was made a Prelate of Honour by the Pope with the title of Monsignor in 1984.


He served as chaplain to three communities of contemplative sisters, the Poor Clares, Donnybrook (1953-55), the Carmelites, Drumcondra (1955-1966) and the Carmelites in Blackrock from 1966.


Archbishop Connell’s motto is Secundum Verbum Tuum (“According to thy word”). It is the well known response of Our Lady’s to God’s call at the Annunciation, “be it done unto me according to thy word” (Luke 1:38).


Episcopal Conference:

Vice-President of the Irish Episcopal Conference

Member of the Episcopal Commission for Doctrine and of the Theological Commission

Chairman of the Episcopal Commission for Universities

Member of the Episcopal Commission on Ecumenism

Member of the Committee for European Affairs

Member of the Inter-Church Committee


Roman Congregations and Councils:

Member of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Former Member of the Pontifical Council for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People

Member of the Congregation for Bishops


Creative works/Publications:

The Vision in god: Malebrache’s Scholastic Sources (Louvain 1967)

Essays in Metaphysics (Dublin 1996)

Christ our Life (Dublin, 1995)

Various articles in philosophical and theological reviews.


Curriculum Vitae

His Eminence Desmond Cardinal Connell

29 Iona Road,


Dublin 9

Born: Wed 24 March 1926- 84 years

 Ordained: Sat 19 May 1951- 58 year

Ordaining Bishop: Archbishop John Charles McQuaid

Place of Ordination: Holy Cross College, Clonliffe.



Louvain University; Study                             

Mon 1 October 1951  –  Thu 1 October 1953

University College Dublin: Lecturer             

Fri 2 October 1953  – Sun 30 April 1972

Poor Clare Colettine Monastery: Chaplain 

Fri 2 October 1953 – Sun May 1955

Carmelite Monastery, Hampton: Chaplain 

Mon 2 May 1955   –  Mon 3 October 1966

Carmelite Monastery, Sweetman’s Ave: Chaplain

Tue 4 October 1966 – Wed 20 January 1988

University College Dublin: Professor 

Mon 1 May 1972 – Wed 20 January 1988

Appointment for Overall Diocese: Monsignor

Mon 22 October 1984 – Sun 6 March 1988

Archbishop of Dublin: Archbishop

Sun 6 March 1988 – Mon 26 April 2004

Priests Council President: President

Sun 1 January 1989 – Mon 26 April 2004

Sacred Congregation for the Bishops: Member

Mon 19 October 1998 – Sun 29 April 2001

Sac. Congreg. for Doctrine & Faith: Member

Mon 19 October 1998 – Sun 29 April 2001

Sacred College of Cardinals: Cardinal 

Wed 21 February 2001

St Patricks College, Maynooth; Chancellor

Wed 21 February 2001

Sacred Congregation for the Bishops: Member 

Mon 30 April 2001

Sac. Congreg. for Doctrine & Faith: Member  

Mon 30 April 2001

Pontifical Council for the Laity; Member 

Mon 14 May 2001

Retired: Retired Bishop

Mon 26 April 2004