Prince of the Church is the first biography of Cardinal Moran. Moran and his conflict-ridden worlds come alive as Philip Ayres exploits sixty-one years of unpublished diaries. He reveals a man of contradictions: self-contained, private, hard of access, yet forceful and determined in pursuit of his ends; pious and devout, yet proud, ambitious, and ruthless with his enemies. As the first cardinal appointed to Australia, Patrick Francis Moran (1830-1911) gave his Church a strength of leadership and authority not seen again in a Sydney archbishop for a century. Born in Ireland in 1830, Moran was brought up in Rome and witnessed the Roman Revolution of 1848, including the momentous and violent events of the risorgimento, the movement for Italian unity. The sounds of exploding hand-bombs and anti-clerical demonstrations broke the quiet of his archival researches into Irish ecclesiastical history. In 1866 he returned to Ireland and in 1872 was made Bishop of Ossory (at Kilkenny). As the movement for Home Rule and land reform became revolutionary and violent, Moran was pressured into articulating an increasingly radical nationalism.
Appointed Archbishop of Sydney in 1884, he was promoted Cardinal the following year. He was prominent in the movement for Federation, running for election to the 1897-98 Federal Convention, and influenced the policy direction of the Labor Party under John Watson. Moran spoke out forcefully on moral and religious issues, relishing the sectarian print wars he often started. Prince of the Church is a definitive account of Cardinal Moran.
Philip Ayres was head of English at Monash University, professorial fellow and visiting professor at Boston University, and visiting professor at Vassar College. A meticulous researcher and experienced biographer, his previous books have been highly praised, and include Owen Dixon, Mawson: A Life, Malcolm Fraser: A Biography and Classical Culture and the Idea of Rome in Eighteenth-Century England. He is a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (London) and the Australian Academy of the Humanities.