Saints of the Day – Blessed Tadhg MacCarthy

Blessed Thaddeus McCarthyArticle

Born 1455; died in Ivrea, Savoy, Italy, 1492; beatified by Pope Leo XIII in 1895.

Tadhg was born into the ancient royal line of Munster; the MacCarthys were the most prominent family in southern Ireland and inevitably were pitted against the Norman Fitzgeralds who seized Irish lands during the reign of Henry II of England. A bitter enmity existed between the two families that lasted for centuries.

When Pope Sixtus IV consecrated Tadhg MacCarthy as bishop of Ross, the Fitzgeralds reacted by contriving to place a rival claimant in the office. When Tadhg returned from his consecration in Rome he found the see occupied. About that same time Sixtus died and Tadhg’s enemies seized the opportunity to vehemently denounce him to the new Pope Innocent VIII. The charges were so outrageous that the holy father immediately excommunicated the lawful bishop. An investigation, however, revealed that Tadhg was innocent of the charges whereupon Innocent issued three bulls that totally exonerated Tadhg and appointed him to the bishopric of Cork and Cloyne.

The Fitzgeralds still opposed him and refused to surrender the property of the see or to allow him to occupy it. Innocent intervened by issuing such a strong decree that the Fitzgeralds finally relented. Tadhg set out from Rome to assume the leadership of his see. He travelled as a humble pilgrim and stayed overnight in the hospice of Ivrea. The next morning he was found dead.

Tradition says that the bishop of Ivrea was unable to sleep that night, disturbed by a vivid dream of a bishop, unknown to him, being taken into heaven. When it was discovered that Tadhg was a bishop, this dream was considered the first of numerous miracles connected with him. Many cures have been reported at his under the high altar of the cathedral of Ivrea, where he continues to be the subject of veneration (Montague).

MLA Citation

  • Katherine I Rabenstein. Saints of the Day, 1998. CatholicSaints.Info. 7 August 2020. Web. 26 November 2020. <>