Topic: Rev. Dr. James Joseph Kelly

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 Re. Dr. James Kelly

The entry for James Kelly in the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography leads with the statement that Kelly, "regarded himself first as an Irishman, then a Catholic, then a Christian".

The controversial clergyman was born on 11 November 1887 in New Ross, County Wexford, Ireland.He was sent to Rome for seminary training where he excelled, staying to complete a doctorate in philosophy.

Kelly moved to New Zealand in 1913 and among his first appointments was a stint as parish priest at Opunake.

In February 1917 he was appointed editor of the weekly Catholic newspaper, the New Zealand Tablet. This gave the outspoken and passionate Irish nationalist the oppourtunity to promote his views. His strong anti-British opinions were notably controversial in early 20th century New Zealand - he famously described Queen Victoria as a 'certain fat old German woman'.

He resigned from the Tablet in 1931 and returned to Taranaki. He spent the final years of his life as the parish priest at Pungarehu; he died on 1 February 1939 in Hawera Hospital. His funeral service was held at St Martin de Tours in Pungarehu and he was buried at Okato Cemetery.

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Rev. Dr. James Joseph Kelly

Last Name:Kelly
Place of Birth:County Wexford, Ireland