Bishop William Coppinger (1753-1830) was an Irish Catholic priest, who served as Bishop of Cloyne and Ross, from 1791 until his death.
William Coppinger was born on 20 May 1753 in County Cork, the son of Stephen and Joanna Coppinger. Prohibited by the Penal Laws from obtaining a liberal education at home, he studied successfully on the continent. He considered a military career and applied for a commission in the French army, but dissuaded by some friends, decided instead to train for the priesthood at the Irish College, Paris. He was ordained in 1780.
Coppinger returned to Ireland becoming a curate at his home parish, and then parish priest first at Carrigaline, and then at Passage in County Cork. In 1786 Bishop Francis Moylan of Cork named Coppinger vicar-general of the diocese, and shortly thereafter arranged for Coppinger to be appointed coadjutor to Bishop Matthew McKenna of Cloyne. McKenna was not pleased that he had not been consulted. Coppinger was consecrated a bishop in 1788, and succeeded to the See in 1791.
As Bishop of Cloyne and Ross, Dr. Coppinger, served as a trustee of Maynooth College upon its establishment in 1795. He was a strong opponent of the Veto giving the crown a say in episcopal appointments. He opposed the Irish Rebellion of 1798, partly due to the anti-religion ethos of the French Revolution which inspired it, and partly because he believed that the government was attempting to provoke the people. With the failure of the French Expédition d'Irlande, Coppinger issued a pastoral letter in 1797 urging his clergy to offset "the suggestion of designing men" and "confound the malice of agitators".
He stood up for the rights of Catholics, in opposing the 1800 Act of Union, and tithes tenant farmers were forced to pay. Bishop Coppinger supported Daniel O'Connell's, Catholic Association, whose methods he approved of.
In September 1820, he attended the episcopal consecration of John England, first bishop of the Diocese of Charleston, South Carolina, in St. Finbar's church in Cork. Bishop Coppinger died on 9 August 1831 and was buried in Cobh cathedral, Co. Cork. He was succeeded as bishop of Cloyne and Ross by his coadjutor, Michael Collins.
Dr. Coppinger was a noted author and translator and a publisher of papers and pamphlets.
- Imitation of Christ, translated William Coppinger, (1795)
- Life of Nano Nagle, by William Coppinger, (1794)
- Monita pastoralia, by William Coppinger, (1821)
| Bishop of Cloyne & Ross
1791 - 1830
- Diocese of Cloyne www.gcatholic.org
- "Most Rev. William Coppinger", Diocese of Cork and Ross
- William Coppinger Cambridge, Dictionary of Irish Biography.
- O'Riordan, John. "Diocese of Cloyne." The Catholic Encyclopedia Vol. 4. New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1908. 17 March 2020 This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
- The Oxford History of the Irish Book, Vol. III, (Raymond Gillespie, Andrew Hadfield, eds.), OUP Oxford, 2006, p. 192ISBN 9780191514333
- "Attestation to the Consecration Of The Most Reverend Doctor John, First Bishop of Charleston", Roman Catholic Diocese of Charleston