Michael Browne (cardinal)

Not to be confused with Michael Browne (Bishop of Galway).
For other people named Michael Browne, see Michael Browne (disambiguation).
Styles of
Michael Browne
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Idebessus (titular)

Michael Browne, OP (born David Browne,[1] 6 May 1887 – 31 March 1971) was an Irish priest of the Dominican Order and a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Master General of the Dominicans from 1955 to 1962, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1962.

Early Biography

Michael Browne was born in Grangemockler, County Tipperary.


Browne joined the Order of Friars Preachers, commonly known as the Dominicans, in 1903. After studying at Rockwell College, the Dominican convent at the Basilica of San Clemente in Rome, and the University of Fribourg, he was ordained to the priesthood on 21 May 1910.


Browne taught at the Dominican convent in Tallaght, where he was Master of Novices until 1919 when he was appointed professor at the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas, Angelicum in Rome.

Browne served as Prior of the convent of St. Clemente from 1925 to 1930.

He was the Angelicum's rector magnificus from 1932 to 1941

Browne was appointed Master of the Sacred Palace from 1951 to 1955.

He became Master General of the Dominicans on 11 April 1955, remaining in that position until his resignation in 1962. Before becoming a bishop, he was created Cardinal-Deacon of S. Paolo alla Regola by Pope John XXIII in the consistory of 19 March 1962. Cardinal Browne was later appointed Titular Archbishop of Idebessus on 5 April 1962. He received his episcopal consecration on the following 19 April from John XXIII, with Cardinals Giuseppe Pizzardo and Benedetto Aloisi Masella serving as co-consecrators, in the Lateran Basilica.

Browne attended the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1965. A stern conservative, he was opposed to the reforms of the Council (including religious liberty[2]) and was a friend of Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.[3] He was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 1963 papal conclave that selected Pope Paul VI. From 20 January 1971 until his death, Browne served as Cardinal Protodeacon.

He died in Rome, at age 83, and was buried in the priory cemetery in Tallaght, County Dublin, Ireland.


His brother Pádraig de Brún was a notable priest, poet and scholar, and he was an uncle of Máire Mhac an tSaoi, scholar, poet, wife of Irish diplomat, writer and politician Conor Cruise O'Brien, and daughter of his sister, Margaret Browne and her husband, the Irish revolutionary and statesman Seán MacEntee.

The Big Sycamore

The Big Sycamore (1958)[4] is a fictionalised account of the early life of the future Cardinal Browne and his family, fictionalised as 'the Fitzgeralds'[4] (his mother's maiden name was Kate Fitzgerald).[5] It was written (under the pen-name Joseph Brady) by another of his brothers, Monsignor Maurice Browne (1892-1979), parish priest of Ballymore Eustace, County Kildare, and Hollywood, County Wicklow, and the author of plays such as Prelude to Victory (1950),[6] and novels such as In Monavalla (1963)[7] and From a Presbytery Window (1971),[8] as well as the afore-mentioned The Big Sycamore.[5]


  1. O'Brien, Máire (2004). The Same Age as the State. The University of Wisconsin Press. ISBN 0299210308.
  2. Lefebvre, Marcel. "Religious Liberty Questioned". Kansas City: Angelus Press, 2002.
  3. SSPX, District of Asia. The New Theology 1998
  4. 1 2 Joseph Brady (aka Maurice Browne) (1958). The Big Sycamore. M.H. Gill, Dublin. ASIN B000RHST5Y. OCLC 1999792. Retrieved 3 Sep 2014. Autobiographical and fictionalized account of an Irish family, the Fitzgeralds.
  5. 1 2 Matt Purcell (1997). "Monsignor Maurice Browne". Retrieved 2014-09-03.
  6. Joseph Brady (Playwright.) (aka Maurice Browne) (1950). Prelude to Victory. A Play in Three Acts. Duffy, Dublin. ASIN B0000CHZRL. OCLC 13803772. Retrieved 3 Sep 2014.
  7. Joseph Brady (Playwright.) (aka Maurice Browne) (1963). In Monavalla [A Novel.]. Gill & Son, Dublin. ASIN B001FT4WXG. OCLC 13441411. Retrieved 3 Sep 2014. 1st alternative OCLC: 862280; 2nd alternative OCLC: 771290564
  8. Joseph Brady (aka Maurice Browne) (1971). From a presbytery window. Talbot Press, Dublin. ISBN 978-0854520152. OCLC 725049. Retrieved 3 Sep 2014.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Mariano Felice Cordovani
Master of the Sacred Palace
Succeeded by
Mario Luigi Ciappi
Preceded by
Manuel Suárez
Master General of the Dominican Order
Succeeded by
Aniceto Fernández Alonso
Preceded by
Antonio Bacci
Cardinal Protodeacon
Succeeded by
Federico Callori di Vignale
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