1828 - 1865

The conflict within (part 2)

Dissensions within the clergy

While the priest was obviously very popular with his parishioners, Father O'Sullivan did not enjoy the same degree of support from his curates. When Father Abbott first arrived to assist at SS Peter & Paul's in the mid 1840s, O'Sullivan greeted him with the comment, "Mr Abbott, you are not the man for this place". [Letter from Rev Abbott to Bishop Wiseman 26th Jan 1846] Father Abbott was so incensed by his treatment at the hands of the Irish priest that he wrote to Bishop Wiseman in January 1846, asking for a transfer to another mission . [ibid]. 

One of Abbott's successors at the North Street chapel, Father P O Davies, also felt the need to communicate with his Bishop regarding the problems he was having with Rev O'Sullivan. In listing the various expenses involved in the running of SS Peter & Paul's, Father Davies complained that not only did O'Sullivan refuse to pay anything towards these costs, but, at the same time, he demanded that Davies gave him part of his salary. [Letter from Rev P.Davies to Bishop Ullathorne [3rd Nov 1851] It is possible that Patrick O'Sullivan's Irish origins might sometimes have put a barrier between him and English members of the Catholic clergy. Professor Gwynn explains that while Irish Clerics in England often made excellent parish priests and zealous missioners, "they were not trained to be diplomats or administrators". [D.Gwynn op cit p. 290].