by John Gavin Nolan
To a wholly Catholic audience of bishops, priests and laity, however, his approach was much less liberal; Monsignor Barry-Doyle told them that the Orthodox were ready to return to Rome.
According to the newspapers of the lecture-tour period, Monsignor Barry-Doyle was the second Britisher ever to be elected to the Sacred Constantinian Order of St. George, the oldest military order in Christendom, which at that time boasted fewer than 200 members, including 4 kings, 11 princes, and 9 cardinals. The King of the Belgians distinguished him with the coveted Medal of Albert, the Russian government made him a knight commander of the Order of St. George, the Greek government conferred on him the Order of the Redeemer and the British government promoted him to the rank of colonel.74
It would be unfair to leave this complex, admirable, theatrical, devout and sometimes pitiable character without some attempt at an assessment of his real worth. In the absence of any biography or any critical study, and in the presence of a number of self-generated biographical details that do not stand too much scrutiny, such an assessment is difficult, but it will be attempted here.
The monsignors father, Richard Doyle, who died at about 95, had one brother, John Doyle, an eminent caricaturist and political cartoonist. John had three sons, one of whom became the father of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, whose creation of Sherlock Holmes assured him of literary immortality. Another son became the keeper of the National Gallery of Ireland from 1869 until his death in 1892. The third, who, like the monsignor, was named Richard, became a celebrated illustrator for the widely-read humor magazine Punch, and who, although classified in artistic circles as only a skillful amateur, illustrated some of the works of Dickens and Thackeray.
By contrast to the career records set by John and by his three sons, the monsignors father, Richard, despite his long life, unfortunately does not seem to have made much of a mark in the world, whereas his brothers children did.
It would not be at all strange if this Richard Doyles only son, Richard, did not feel both defensive about his fathers lack of success and aggressive about his own intention to make a mark in the world. These two drives might explain youthful feelings discernible in his decision to add Barry to his surname; at one stroke of the hyphen he secured an illustrious American naval hero as an ancestor and removed what must have been an irritant: being regularly confused with Punchs Richard Doyle, creator of Pips Diary.
Also, it is here boldly postulated that the monsignors choice of a priestly vocation reflected not only real spirituality and devotion but also the realization that the Church in the Ireland of his day was a prime vehicle for a bright, ambitious young man to get ahead. It is further postulated that this second impetus, in combination with a natural predilection for a grander style of living than would be the lot of an Irish curate, motivated the monsignor to leave Ireland for England.