Logue, Michael (1840–1924), catholic archbishop of Armagh and cardinal, was born 1 October 1840 at Carrigart, Co. Donegal, the second in a family of six children of Michael Logue, an innkeeper, and Catherine Logue (née Durnan). Educated initially by a hedge-master in Carrigart, Logue was then tutored at Kilmacrenan by a former TCD scholar, Mr Craig, who taught him Latin. From 1854 to 1857 he attended a private school at Buncrana, Co. Donegal, after which he enrolled at St Patrick's College, Maynooth; he was ordained deacon in 1864. He was nominated to the Dunboyne Establishment for Advanced Studies at Maynooth in 1865, but before completing the course was appointed professor of dogmatic theology at the Irish college in Paris in 1866. He was ordained in December of that year in Paris.
Having failed to secure the chair of theology at Maynooth College, in 1874 he returned to Co. Donegal, as a curate to James MacDevitt, bishop of Raphoe (1871–9), in the parish of Glenswilly. There he was struck by the impact of emigration, which was to become a continuing theme of his public utterances: during the Boer war and the first world war he criticised the British government for seeking recruits in a country which, he alleged, they had denuded of men through their economic policies. He also became interested in afforestation, and organised the planting of 25,000 trees in the district of Glenswilly. In 1876 he was appointed dean of Maynooth, where at first he taught Irish but, in 1878, was appointed to one of the vacant chairs of theology.
After MacDevitt's death in 1879 Logue was appointed bishop of Raphoe. Immediately – as president of the Donegal Central Relief Committee – he was active in raising nearly £30,000 in America to relieve the famine distress of 1880. He was also energetic in campaigns to promote temperance and stamp out drunkenness, and in particular the scourge of poteen making. Politically active, but by no means a republican, he had a tendency to dictate to the Irish Parliamentary Party, and in Rome in 1881 and 1885 he made his influence felt at the conferences of Irish bishops. In the summer of 1887 Archbishop Ignazio Persico arrived in Ireland as Pope Leo XIII's papal legate, to investigate the state of the church in Ireland and its role in the land war. Logue was cautious and not an enthusiast for the Plan of Campaign: although sympathetic to the tenants’ plight and critical of government policy, he was inclined to look to parliament as the forum in which to ventilate grievances. Persico's report of 1888 noted of Logue that ‘this holy prelate professes to be a nationalist but he is moderate ... he is a man of scrupulous conscience, a lover of ecclesiastical discipline, humble and unaffected by human respect’ (Canning, 39).
In April 1887 Logue was appointed co-adjutor archbishop of Armagh, and in December of that year was promoted to be archbishop of Armagh and primate of all Ireland (undoubtedly in part because of Persico's glowing report). His archdiocese entailed responsibility for 55 parishes and 179 priests, and a further 138 priests from his jurisdiction who were serving abroad on missions. As archbishop he insisted that his role was to care not only for the spiritual welfare of his flock, but also for their temporal well-being. Although dexterous and shrewd, Logue was by no means the most intelligent or administratively competent of bishops. As well as being at times slow and indecisive, he had a tendency to state the obvious. In a letter to Charles Stewart Parnell (qv) on behalf of the bishops he made a protest against Parnell's irresponsible behaviour in becoming involved in the O'Shea divorce case; in private his views were expressed even more forthrightly when he suggested that Parnell had bartered his people's destiny for the comfort of an old woman. As well as denouncing Parnell and the priests who continued to support him, he remained suspicious of the Irish Parliamentary Party's alliance with the liberals; politically he was close to the anti-Parnellite nationalist T. M. Healy (qv).
In 1893 Logue was appointed a cardinal, the first archbishop of Armagh to attain this rank; he was chosen over the most obvious candidate for the honour, William Walsh (qv), archbishop of Dublin, apparently because Walsh's more ardent nationalism was disapproved of at Westminster and government pressure was exerted on the Vatican to ensure that the position went to Logue. A native Irish speaker who supported the Gaelic League, Logue was a regular attender at the Maynooth Union. As well as being involved in supporting the Catholic Truth Society, he paid several visits to Scotland to promote the welfare of Ulster emigrants. Well travelled, he visited the United States in 1908 and attended eucharistic congresses in London (1908), Montreal (1910), Vienna (1912), and Lourdes (1914). One of the most important projects of his tenure as cardinal was the completion of Armagh cathedral in 1904, for which he raised in the region of £50,000.
In advocating home rule for Ireland, Logue criticised the bureaucrats of Dublin Castle for their failure to be accountable for misgovernment. As cardinal, he was particularly concerned with the issue of clerical control over schools and believed that the 1893 home rule bill did not satisfy catholic interests in its educational provisions. He was in favour of the monarchy and membership of the British empire, gladly receiving Queen Victoria in 1900 and Edward VII at Maynooth in 1903 (though he had criticised anti-catholic elements in the 1902 coronation ceremony). He denounced the 1909 ‘people's budget’ of Lloyd George. As well as criticising the trade union movement and its anti-clerical rhetoric, he was somewhat suspicious of John Redmond (qv), stating in 1911 that the bishops needed to ‘check present tendencies’ in the Irish political scene which advocated ‘a greater independence of the political sphere from the religious’ (Rafferty, 189). A strong supporter of the allied cause during the first world war, he denied that the Irish catholic bishops were pro-German, suggesting that they preferred the tyrants they knew to the tyrants they knew not. He did not encourage recruitment, however, and was opposed to the extension of conscription to Ireland on moral grounds.
Although he described the British reaction to the 1916 rising as ‘foolish and pernicious’ (Miller, 339), Logue resolutely opposed republican violence. The inclusion of partition in Lloyd George's proposals of the summer of 1916 prompted him to state that it would be ‘infinitely better to remain as we are for fifty years to come than to accept these proposals’ (Wiel, 120). He agreed to nominate representatives to the Irish convention and in November 1917 condemned Sinn Féin and republicans as pursuers of ‘a dream, which no man in his sober senses can hope to see realised’ (Morrissey, 305). He used his influence to defeat Sinn Féin candidates in by-elections in South Armagh and East Tyrone in 1918, and during the 1918 general election campaign, while urging priests to stay out of politics, he indicated approval of nationalist (as opposed to Sinn Féin) candidates by agreeing to meet them at his residence. He brokered an agreement, however, between Sinn Féin and nationalists as to which seats they would contest in the north (fearing that otherwise seats would fall to unionists); though his adjudication came too late to affect nominations, it was in time to influence the campaign and voting patterns, achieving the desired result.
While clearly in favour of dominion status as a solution to the Irish problem, during the war of independence Logue criticised both the republicans and the British authorities. In a statement issued on behalf of the bishops in October 1920, while urging Irish self-restraint, he acknowledged that the Irish were living under a harsh, oppressive, and tyrannical regime of militarism and brute force; in spite of this concession, there was still much tension between himself and Archbishop Walsh, whose intellectual subtlety and diplomatic finesse Logue lacked. Ultimately it was events such as Bloody Sunday in 1920 that pushed him into more open hostility against the British government. He was quick to criticise Rome over its ignorance of Irish affairs.
Although disappointed by partition, Logue was firmly in favour of the Anglo–Irish treaty of December 1921. He suggested that the opponents of the treaty did nothing but ‘talk and wrangle for days about their shadowy republic and their obligations to it’ (Murray, 49), while the treaty granted everything that was necessary for the progress and welfare of the country. He wanted his fellow bishops to be more vociferous in their praise of the agreement, and during the civil war he was keen that the Vatican intervene and condemn the state of unrest. In March 1923 a papal envoy, Monsignor Salvatore Luzio (qv), arrived in Ireland despite the fact that the Irish Free State government wanted nothing to do with him: Logue sharply criticised this attitude, feeling it was disrespectful to the pope. Nonetheless he explicitly supported Cumann na nGaedheal during the 1923 general election. He expressed the view that the new constitution of the Free State should be submitted to the bishops and a committee of theologians for approval. He was also preoccupied with the worsening situation in Northern Ireland, particularly internment and violence against catholics: he was himself frequently harassed by the B Specials. In 1923 he and the northern bishops issued a statement condemning the systematic abuse of the catholic community under the laws of the northern parliament. Early in 1924, Logue informed clerical students at Maynooth that they would ‘have to meet a divided people ... who had lost much of their reverence for religion and the church’ (Whyte, 24).
A quiet man with simple tastes, though with a quick temper, Logue enjoyed sailing, hunting, and bird-watching. He died 19 November 1924 of heart failure at his residence in Armagh; he was buried six days later at St Patrick's cemetery, Armagh. A number of portraits exist, including one in oils by John Lavery (qv), in the Ulster Museum, Belfast. Logue's papers are held at the Armagh Archdiocesan Archive.