John Milner

Vicar Apostolic, born London, England, 1752; died Wolverhampton, England, 1826. He attended the Sedgley Park School and the English College, Douai, France, was ordained 1777, and sent to Winchester where he remained for 23 years. The times were difficult for the Catholic Church in England. The penal laws were still in force and the agitation for Catholic emancipation had just begun. Milner opposed Pitt's bill for Catholic relief because it contained an oath contrary to Catholic doctrine, and was able to secure the introduction of a new oath in the Bill which was passed, 1792. He was made Vicar Apostolic of the Midland District, 1803 to 1826, joined the Irish bishops in their agitation for Catholic Emancipation, and condemned the right of veto by which the Crown sought the power to veto the appointment to a Catholic bishopric of any candidate whose loyalty was in question. He was censured for his opposition to the proposed Emancipation Bill, 1813, on the grounds that it was schismatic, but was vindicated by Pope Pius VII when the latter was released from his imprisonment by Bonaparte. He is called the English Athanasius and was a prolific and fearless writer. Among his works are: "Divine Rights of Episcopacy" (1791); "History of Winchester" (1798); "Ends of Religious Controversy" (1818).

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