Fleming, Michael Anthony
Fleming, Michael Anthony, Roman Catholic bishop of Newfoundland (b at Carrick-on-Suir, Ire 1792?; d at St John's 14 July 1850). A Franciscan priest, Fleming came to St John's in 1823. Initially assistant to Bishop Thomas SCALLAN, Fleming became coadjutor bishop in 1829, and succeeded Scallan in 1830. He completely restructured Newfoundland Catholicism, vastly increasing the number of priests and parishes, introducing sisters for the education of females, and building schools, convents and churches. His advocacy of the rights of Roman Catholics who had no vote until 1832 and no major government office until 1840, his support of "radical" politicians, and his treatment of Catholics who rejected his political views led to accusations of undue clerical influence, especially during the 1830s. Fleming's major achievement was the construction of the Roman Catholic cathedral (Basilica) in St John's. Begun in 1841, it was North America's largest church when completed in 1855.