Mgr. C. J. Cronin
OUTSTANDING FIGURE IN BIRMINGHAM DIOCESE The Right Rev. Mgr. Charles John Canon Cronin, Vicar-General of the Archdiocese of Birmingham, died in the Convent of the Sisters of Charity of St. Paul, Selly Park, last Friday. He was one month short of his seventy-first birthday, Mgr. Cronin spent a conspicuous life in the service of the Church as parish priest, teacher, administrator, and as mentor to prospective priests. He spent many years at the English College in Rome and then at Oscott College.
Mgr. Cronin was a conspicuous theologian, perhaps more effective in the lectureroom than in the pulpit and more facile with pen than in speech. To the outer world his appearance of austerity masked a kindly personality.
Ordained in 1894, Mgr. Cronin's early years in the parish were spent in the heart of Birmingham life, followed by a period at Leamington, and in 1898 he was called to the English College at Rome as Vice-Rector. There followed a fruitful span of sixteen years, in which many young men, later to give high service, came under his tutelage. Of this work there was Papal recognition, For in 1907 Mgr. Cronin was made a Private Chamberlain to Pope Pius X. He remained in Rome until the outbreak of the last war, when, after serving for a time as Pro-Rector, he was asked to continue his academic work at Oscott College.
As a further recognition of his service he was made a Domestic Prelate. He spent the greater period of the last war at Oscott, and in 1917 resumed acquaintance with the parishes by serving first at Solihull and then at Ilandsworth. These seven years prepared him for work in another sphere and in 1924 he was appointed Vicar-General and returned to Oscott as Rector, He was succeeded as Rector in 1929 by Bishop Dey.
The work of Vicar-General was then resumed at Hunter's Road, Handswolth, though not before the Vatican had again shown its appreciation by according him in .1927 the honour of Protonary Apostolic. Latterly, Mgr. Cronin's health had been so poor that the main duties were taken over by Bishop Griffin. In 1938, Mgr. Cronin was made Provost and was regularly present at Chapter meetings.
Members of the Chapter were present for a Dirge in the Basilica of St. Chad last Monday. There was a Requiem Mass, sung on Tuesday by Bishop Griffin in the presence of the Archbishop, and the internment followed at Oscott College.
The Archbishop paid tribute to the memory of the late Monsignor before the Absolutions. " When," said His Grace, " he went to Cotton in 1887 as a small boy of 10 years of age, Mgr. Cronin was then at the top of the school, a boy of about 17, brilliant at studies, conscientious in performing all the duties assigned to him, but without that sort of popularity which often comes from success at games or fondness for sport."
The Archbishop said he had followed the paths of Mgr. Cronin's later life, adding that he was a shy man and, like shy men, very sensitive. He was full of kindliness and thoughtfulness, particularly for anyone in any sort of trouble.