Former Dean of St Fin Barre's


The Very Rev Maurice Carey, who died on April 20th aged 74, was Dean of St Fin Barre's Cathedral, Cork, for 23 years and was one of the senior churchmen in the Church of Ireland.

James Maurice George Carey was born in Dublin on November 22nd, 1926, the son of James, a banker, and Muriel Mabel Carey (nee Firth). He was educated at The High School, Dublin, and Trinity College, where he gained a first in classics and graduated with a BA in 1949.

He received his MA and BD in 1952 and was ordained deacon that year and priest in 1953 for the Diocese of Connor. He became curate of Larne and Inver, Co Antrim, in 1952 and remained there until 1955.

An ecumenical fellowship in 1955 enabled him to spend a year studying at the Union Theological Seminary in New York.

He returned to Ireland in 1956, travelling back through Japan and India, to become curate of the Dublin city-centre parish of St Ann's, Dawson Street, and an honorary clerical vicar of Christ Church Cathedral.

In 1958, he was appointed the Church of Ireland Dean of Residence at Queen's University Belfast.

In 1964, Maurice Carey became vicar of St Bartholomew's in Ballsbridge, Dublin. There he cherished and developed the great liturgical and musical traditions of "Bart's".

St Bartholomew's was long-regarded as a stepping-stone to a more senior appointment in the church, and when he left the Balls bridge parish in 1971 it was to become Dean of St Fin Barre's Cathedral, Cork. His predecessors at the cathedral included George Simms, later Archbishop of Armagh, and Henry McAdoo, later Archbishop of Dublin.

As dean from 1971 to 1993, he presided over a period of great change at St Fin Barre's and was instrumental in setting up the St Fin Barre's Study Centre.

He oversaw the restoration of the cathedral building in 1979, a major exhibition on the cathedral's architect, William Burgess, in 1981, and four years later helped organise "Song of a City", a celebratory pageant of the city's history.

He believed the cathedral belonged to the city, and transferred its library to University College Cork. He was driven by his innate ecumenism to share the cathedral and to invite prominent guest preachers, including Archbishop Michael Ramsey of Canterbury and the theologian Prof Hans Kung.

Dean Carey also achieved much in the musical and liturgical tradition of the cathedral, where the young choristers included the future Bishop of Cork, Paul Colton.

In 1993, Maurice Carey retired as Dean of Cork, and returned to his native Dublin. But he continued in active ministry as priest-in-charge of St John's, Sandymount, where the liturgical and musical tradition is close to that of neighbouring St Bartholomew's, and where he spearheaded the restoration appeal.

Maurice Carey was a long-serving member of the Church of Ireland Liturgical Advisory Committee, the Library and Records Committee, and the Broadcasting Committee. In recent years he succeeded Prof Andrew Mayes in chairing the committee that publishes the Church of Ireland journal, Search. Under his chairmanship the committee was planning to increase the publication of Search from two to three times a year, and he was actively planning a conference on the 39 Articles.

In retirement, his interests included his garden, his library, hill-walking, art and music.

Maurice Carey is survived by his wife, the art critic Hilary Pyle, their twin daughters, Sorcha and Duinseach, and their two sons, Colm and and Manus.

The Very Rev James Maurice George Carey: born 1926; died, April 2001