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John O'Connor
Cardinal, Archbishop of New York
SeeNew York
AppointedJanuary 26, 1984
InstalledMarch 19, 1984
Term endedMay 3, 2000
PredecessorTerence Cooke
SuccessorEdward Egan
Other postsCardinal-Priest of Ss. Giovanni e Paolo
OrdinationDecember 15, 1945
by Hugh L. Lamb
ConsecrationMay 27, 1979
by John Paul II
Created cardinalMay 25, 1985
by John Paul II
RankCardinal Priest
Personal details
BornJanuary 15, 1920
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
DiedMay 3, 2000 (aged 80)
New York City, New York, United States
BuriedSt. Patrick's Cathedral, New York, New York, United States
DenominationRoman Catholicism
ParentsThomas J. O'Connor & Dorothy Magdalene Gomple
Previous post
  • Bishop of Scranton (1983–1984)
    Military Vicariate of the United States (now the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services) (1979–1983)
Alma mater
MottoThere Can Be No Love Without Justice
Military career
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Navy
Years of service1952–1979
Commands heldChief of Chaplains of the Navy
Battles/warsKorean War
Priestly ordination
PlaceCathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
Consecrated byPope John Paul II
DateMay 27, 1979
PlaceSt. Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by John O'Connor as principal consecrator
Alfred JolsonFebruary 6, 1988
Patrick SheridanDecember 12, 1990
James Michael MoynihanMay 29, 1995
Edwin Frederick O'BrienMarch 25, 1996
Robert Anthony BrucatoAugust 25, 1997
James Francis McCarthyJune 29, 1999

John Joseph O'Connor (January 15, 1920 – May 3, 2000) was an Americanprelate of the Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of New York from 1984 until his death in 2000, and was created a cardinal in 1985. He previously served as auxiliary bishop of the Military Vicariate of the United States (1979–1983) and Bishop of Scranton (1983–1984).

  • 3Archbishop of New York
  • 6References

Early life, education, and military career[edit]

O'Connor was born in Philadelphia, the fourth of five children of Thomas J., an Irishman, and Dorothy Magdalene (née Gomple) O'Connor (1886–1971), daughter of Gustave Gumpel, a kosher butcher and Jewishrabbi.[1][2][3] In 2014, his sister Mary O'Connor Ward discovered through genealogical research that their mother was born Jewish and was baptized as a Roman Catholic at age 19. John's parents were wed the following year.[4]

O'Connor attended public schools until his junior year of high school, when he enrolled in West Philadelphia Catholic High School for Boys.[3]

O'Connor then enrolled at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, and after graduating from there he was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia on December 15, 1945,[5] by Hugh L. Lamb, then an auxiliary bishop of the archdiocese. He initially taught at St. James High School in Chester, Pennsylvania.[6]

O'Connor during his naval career

O'Connor joined the United States Navy Chaplain Corps in 1952 during the Korean War,[7] often entering combat zones in order to say Mass and to administer last rites to soldiers.[citation needed] He rose through the ranks to become a rear admiral and Chief of Chaplains of the Navy.[8] He served as Chief of Chaplains from 1975, for a period of four years, retiring in 1979.[8] He obtained approval for the establishment of the RP [Religious Program Specialist] Enlisting Rating, and oversaw the process of standing up this rating, initially accepting transfers from other enlisted rates. The RP rating provided chaplains with a dedicated enlisted community, instead of yeomen transferred to assist a chaplain for a period before returning to their nominal yeoman rate. During this period, he was made an Honorary Prelate of His Holiness,[citation needed] with the title of Right ReverendMonsignor,[9] on October 27, 1966.

O'Connor obtained a master's degree in advanced ethics from Villanova University and a doctorate in political science from Georgetown University, where he studied under the United States' future Ambassador to the United NationsJeane Kirkpatrick.[5][10]


On April 24, 1979, Pope John Paul II appointed O'Connor as auxiliary bishop of the Military Vicariate for the United States,[5] subsequently reorganized as the Archdiocese for the Military Services in 1985,[11] and titular bishop of Cursola. He was consecrated to the episcopate on May 27, 1979 at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome by John Paul himself, with Cardinals Duraisamy Simon Lourdusamy and Eduardo Martínez Somalo as co-consecrators.

On May 6, 1983, John Paul II named O'Connor Bishop of Scranton,[5] and he was installed in that position on the following June 29.[12]

Archbishop of New York[edit]

Styles of
John O'Connor
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
SeeNew York

On January 26, 1984, after the death of Cardinal Terence Cooke three months earlier, O'Connor was appointed Archbishop of New York[5] and administrator of the Military Vicariate of the United States, and installed on March 19. He was elevated to cardinal in the consistory of May 25, 1985, with the titular church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo in Rome, the traditional one for the Archbishop of New York from 1946 to 2009.

As archbishop, O'Connor skillfully brought to bear the power and prestige of his office to bear witness to traditional Catholic doctrine. Upon his death, The New York Times called O'Connor 'a familiar and towering presence, a leader whose views and personality were forcefully injected into the great civic debates of his time, a man who considered himself a conciliator, but who never hesitated to be a combatant', and one of the Catholic Church's 'most powerful symbols on moral and political issues.'[5]

Pro-life advocacy[edit]

O'Connor believed in protecting all human life and was a forceful opponent of abortion, human cloning, capital punishment, human trafficking, and unjust war.[13][14] Horrified by a visit to Dachau concentration camp, O'Connor was inspired to found a Roman Catholicreligious institute dedicated to the sanctity of all human life to serve pregnant women and the dying.[15] In 1991 his dream was realized in the Sisters of Life. He assailed what he called the 'horror of euthanasia', asking rhetorically, 'What makes us think that permitted lawful suicide will not become obligated suicide?'[16]


In 2000, O'Connor called for a 'major overhaul' of the punitive Rockefeller drug laws, which he believed produced 'grave injustices'.[17]

Critiques of US military actions[edit]

Despite his years spent as a naval chaplain, O'Connor offered severe critiques of some United States military policies. In the 1980s, he condemned US support for counterrevolutionary guerrilla forces in Central America, opposed the US's mining of the waters off Nicaragua, questioned spending on new weapons systems, and preached caution in regard to American military actions abroad.[5][18]

In 1998, O'Connor questioned whether the United States' cruise missile strikes on Afghanistan and Sudan were morally justifiable.[19] In 1999, during the Kosovo War, he used his weekly column in the archdiocesan newspaper, Catholic New York, to challenge repeatedly the morality of NATO's bombing campaign of Yugoslavia,[20] suggesting that it did not meet the Catholic Church's criteria for a just War,[14] and going so far as to ask, 'Does the relentless bombing of Yugoslavia prove the power of the Western world or its weakness?'[21] Three years before the 9/11 attacks on New York City, O'Connor insisted that the traditional just War principles must be applied to evaluate the morality of military responses to unconventional warfare and terrorism.[19]

Relations with organized labor[edit]

O'Connor's father had been a lifelong union member,[22] and O'Connor was also a passionate defender of organized labor and an advocate for the poor and the homeless.[5]

Early in his tenure, O'Connor set a pro-labor direction for the archdiocese. During a strike in 1984 by the 1199, the largest health care workers union in New York, O'Connor strongly criticized the League of Voluntary Hospitals, of which the archdiocese was a member, for threatening to fire striking union members who refused to return to work, calling it 'strikebreaking' and vowing that no Catholic hospital would do so.[23] The following year, when a contract with 1199 still had not been reached, he threatened to break with the league and settle with the union unilaterally to reach an agreement 'that gives justice to the workers'.[23]

In his homily during a Labor Day Mass at St. Patrick's in 1986, O'Connor expressed his strong commitment to organized labor:

[S]o many of our freedoms in this country, so much of the building up of society, is precisely attributable to the union movement, a movement that I personally will defend despite the weakness of some of its members, despite the corruption with which we are all familiar that pervades all society, a movement that I personally will defend with my life.[24]

In 1987, when the television broadcast employees' union was on strike against NBC, a non-union crew from NBC appeared at the cardinal's residence to cover one of O'Connor's press conferences. O'Connor declined to admit them, directing his secretary to 'tell them they're not invited.'[25]

Following his death, the Service Employees International Union, Local 1199, published a 12-page tribute to O'Connor, calling him 'the patron saint of working people' and describing his support for low-wage and other workers and his efforts in helping limousine drivers unionize, helping end the strike at The Daily News in 1990, and pushing for fringe benefits for minimum-wage home health care workers.[26]

Relations with the Jewish community[edit]

O'Connor played an active role in Catholic–Jewish relations. He strongly denounced anti-Semitism, declaring that one 'cannot be a faithful Christian and an anti-Semite. They are incompatible, because anti-Semitism is a sin.'[27] He wrote an apology to Jewish leaders in New York City for past harm done to the Jewish community.[28]

O'Connor criticized Swiss banks' failure to compensate victims of the Holocaust, which he called 'a human rights issue, an issue of the human race.'[29] Even when disagreeing with him over political questions, Jewish leaders acknowledged that O'Connor was 'a friend, a powerful voice against anti-Semitism'.[30]

The Jewish Council for Public Affairs called him, 'a true friend and champion of Catholic–Jewish relations [and] a humanitarian who used the power of his pulpit to advocate for disadvantaged people throughout the world and in his own community.'[31]Holocaust survivor and NobellaureateElie Wiesel called O'Connor, 'a good Christian' and a man 'who understands our pain.'[32]

Relations with the gay community[edit]

O'Connor adhered to the Catholic teaching that homosexual acts are contrary to natural law, intrinsically immoral and therefore never permissible, while homosexual desires are intrinsically disordered but not in themselves sinful. Efw2 file format 2011 immigration.

O'Connor actively opposed Executive Order 50, a mayoral order issued in 1980 by Mayor Ed Koch, which required all city contractors, including religious entities, to provide services on a non-discriminatory basis with respect to race, creed, age, sex, handicap, as well as 'sexual orientation or affectational preference'.[33] After the Salvation Army received a warning from the city that its contracts for child care services would be canceled for refusing to comply with the executive order's provisions regarding sexual orientation,[34] the Archdiocese of New York and Agudath Israel, an Orthodox Jewish organization, threatened to cancel their contracts with the city if forced to comply.[34] O'Connor maintained that the executive order would cause the Catholic Church to appear to condone homosexual practices and lifestyle.[35][35] Writing in Catholic New York in January 1985, O'Connor characterized the order as 'an exceedingly dangerous precedent [that would] invite unacceptable governmental intrusion into and excessive entanglement with the Church's conducting of its own internal affairs.' Drawing the traditional Catholic distinction between homosexual 'inclinations' and 'behavior', he stated that 'we do not believe that homosexual behavior .. should be elevated to a protected category.'[36]

We do not believe that religious agencies should be required to employ those engaging in or advocating homosexual behavior. We are willing to consider on a case-by-case basis the employment of individuals who have engaged in or may at some future time engage in homosexual behavior. We approach those who have engaged in or may engage in what the Church considers illicit heterosexual behavior the same way. .. We believe, however, that only a religious agency itself can properly determine the requirements of any particular job within that agency, and whether or not a particular individual meets or is reasonably likely to meet such requirements.[37]

Subsequently, the Salvation Army, the archdiocese, and Agudath Israel, together with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry, brought suit against the City of New York to overturn the executive order on the grounds that the mayor had exceeded his executive authority in issuing it.[35][33] In September 1984, the New York Supreme Court agreed with the religious entities and struck down that part of the executive order that prohibited discrimination based upon 'sexual orientation or affectational preference' on the grounds that the mayor had exceeded his authority.[33] In June 1985, New York's highest court upheld the lower court's decision striking down the executive order.[38]

O'Connor vigorously and actively opposedcity and state legislation guaranteeing the civil rights of homosexual persons, including legislation (supported by then-Mayors Ed Koch, David Dinkins, and Rudy Giuliani) prohibiting discrimination based upon sexual orientation in housing, public accommodations and employment.[39]

O'Connor also supported the decision by the Ancient Order of Hibernians to exclude the Irish Lesbian and Gay Organization from marching as such under its own banner in New York City's St. Patrick's Day parade.[40] The Hibernians argued that their decision as to which organizations may march in the parade, which honors Saint Patrick, a Catholic saint, was protected by the First Amendment and that they could not be compelled to admit a group whose beliefs conflicted with theirs.[41] In 1992, in a decision criticized by the New York Civil Liberties Union, the City of New York ordered the Hibernians to admit the gay organization to march in the parade.[42] The city subsequently denied the Hibernians a permit for the parade until, in 1993, a federal judge in New York held that the city's permit denial was 'patently unconstitutional' because the parade was private, not public, and constituted 'a pristine form of speech' as to which the parade sponsor had a right to control the content and tone.[43]

In 1987, O'Connor had prohibited DignityUSA, an organization of gay Catholics, from holding masses in parishes in the archdiocese.[44][45] After eight years of protests by the group, O'Connor started meeting with the group twice a year.[46]

HIV and contraception controversy[edit]

O'Connor opposed condom distribution as an AIDS-prevention measure, viewing it as being contrary to the Catholic Church's teaching that contraception is immoral and its use a sin. O'Connor rejected the argument that condoms distributed to gay men are not contraceptives. O'Connor's response was that using an 'evil act' was not justified by good intentions, and that the church should not be seen as encouraging sinful acts among others (other fertile heterosexual couples who might wrongly interpret his narrow support as license for their own contraception).[47][48] He also claimed that sexual abstinence is a sure way to prevent infection,[47] claiming condoms were only 50% effective against HIV transmission.[49] HIV activist group ACT UP was appalled by the cardinal's apparent opinion that it was sinful for an HIV positive person to use a condom to prevent transmission of HIV to his HIV negative partner, an opinion they believe would translate directly into more deaths.[50] This caused many of the confrontations between the group and the cardinal.

Early on in the AIDS epidemic, O'Connor approved the opening of a specialized AIDS unit to provide medical care for the sick and dying in the former St. Clare's Hospital in Manhattan, the first of its kind in the state. He often nurtured and ministered to dying AIDS patients, many of whom were homosexual. Even though he condemned homosexual acts—some members of ACT UP had protested in front of St. Patrick's Cathedral in his absence, to protest, holding placards such as 'Cardinal O'Connor Loves Gay People .. If They Are Dying of AIDS'—[51] he would not allow his moral differences to interfere with ministering to them.

In 1987, O'Connor was appointed to President Ronald Reagan's President's Commission on the HIV Epidemic, also known as the Watkins Commission, serving alongside 12 other members, few of whom were AIDS experts, including James D. Watkins, Richard DeVos, and Penny Pullen.[52] The commission was initially controversial among HIV researchers and activists as lacking expertise on the disease and as being in disarray.[53][54] The Watkins Commission surprised many of its critics, however, by issuing a final report in 1988 that lent conservative support for antibias laws to protect HIV-positive people, on-demand treatment for drug addicts, and the speeding of AIDS-related research.[55]The New York Times praised the commission's 'remarkable strides' and its proposed $2 billion campaign against AIDS among drug addicts.[56] The Watkins Commission's recommendations were similar to the recommendations subsequently made by a committee of HIV experts appointed by the National Academy of Sciences.[57]

On December 10, 1989, 4,500 members of ACT UP (AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power) and Women's Health Action and Mobilization (WHAM) held a demonstration at St. Patrick's Cathedral to voice their opposition to the cardinal's positions on AIDS education, the distribution of condoms in public schools, and abortion. The protest resulted in 43 arrests on the cathedral grounds. At the time it was the largest demonstration against the Catholic Church in history and remained so until Pope Benedict XVI's visit in 2010 to the United Kingdom spurred protests by approximately 20,000 people.[58]

Clergy sex abuse[edit]

On October 29, 2018 Cardinal Agostino Cacciavillan said that during his time as papal nuncio to the United States in 1994, prior to Pope John Paul II's visit to the United States in 1995, he received a phone call from a woman concerning Archbishop Theodore Edgar McCarrick of Newark. The woman was worried that there would be a 'media scandal if the Pope goes to Newark' because of 'voices (rumors) about McCarrick's behavior with seminarians.' Cacciavillan then told O'Connor about the woman's call. O'Connor supposedly conducted an 'investigation, an inquiry' and eventually told Cacciavillan that 'there was no obstacle to the visit of the Pope to Newark.' Cacciavillan stated that he did not attempt to contact the Vatican.[59] According to Andrea Tornielli's book Il Giorno del Giudizio, O'Connor wrote a letter to Nuncio Gabriel Montalvo and to the Congregation for Bishops in October 1999 arguing against the appointment of McCarrick as Archbishop of Washington with reference to his sexual harassment of seminarians.[60] In 2018, McCarrick was revealed to have sexually abused numerous young boys, seminarians, and priests.

Illness and death[edit]

When O'Connor reached the retirement age for bishops of 75 years in January 1995, he submitted his resignation to Pope John Paul II as required by canon law,[61] but the Pope did not accept it.[62] He was diagnosed in 1999 as having a brain tumor, from which he eventually died. He continued to serve as Archbishop of New York until his death.

O'Connor died in the archbishop's residence on May 3, 2000, and was interred in the crypt beneath the main altar of St. Patrick's Cathedral. Secretary-General of the United NationsKofi Annan, President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former President George H. W. Bush, Texas Governor George W. Bush, New York Governor George Pataki, New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former New York City Mayors Ed Koch and David Dinkins were among the dignitaries who attended his funeral, which was presided over by the Cardinal Secretary of StateAngelo Sodano.[63] The eulogy was delivered by Cardinal William W. Baum.[64]


Congressional Gold Medal awarded to O'Connor

O'Connor was posthumously awarded the Jackie Robinson Empire State Medal of Freedom by New York Governor George Pataki on December 21, 2000.[65] On March 7, 2000, O'Connor was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal by unanimous support in the United States Senate and only one vote against the resolution in the United States House of Representatives.[66]

To honor O'Connor's service as a naval chaplain, the Catholic Center at the Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey, California, is named the O'Connor Center.[citation needed] The largest student-run pro-life conference in the United States is named in his honor.[67] It is held annually at Georgetown University the day before the annual March for Life.[67]



  1. ^Golway 2001, p. 1.
  2. ^Langan, Sheila (June 11, 2014). 'New York Cardinal John O'Connor Was the Grandson of a Jewish Rabbi'. Irish Central. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2014.Cite uses deprecated parameter deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ ab'His Life'. His Eminence John Cardinal O'Connor, D.D., PhD: In Memoriam, 1920–2000. Irondale, Alabama: Eternal Word Television Network. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
  4. ^McDonnell, Claudia (April 30, 2014). 'Cardinal O'Connor's Mother Was Convert from Judaism, Family Research Reveals'. Catholic New York. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  5. ^ abcdefghSteinfels, Peter (May 4, 2000). 'Death of a Cardinal; Cardinal O'Connor, 80, Dies; Forceful Voice for Vatican'. The New York Times. Retrieved December 31, 2008.
  6. ^Golway 2001, p. 13.
  7. ^Keller & Gregory 2012, p. 249; Rudin 2012, p. 116.
  8. ^ abRudin 2012, pp. 116–117.
  9. ^'Instruction on the Dress, Titles and Coat-of-Arms of Cardinals, Bishops and lesser Prelates'. The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. April 13, 1969. Retrieved December 31, 2012.
  10. ^Marlin & Miner 2017, p. 291; Rudin 2012, p. 116.
  11. ^Burch & Stimpson 2017, p. 82.
  12. ^Earley 1994, p. 288.
  13. ^O'Connor 1990.
  14. ^ abO'Connor, John J. (April 29, 1999). 'Conditions for a Just War'. Catholic New York. Archived from the original on September 20, 2010. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  15. ^'History'. Sisters of Life. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  16. ^Bruni, Frank (April 8, 1996). 'Cardinal's Easter Joy Is Tempered by Court Ruling on Aided Suicide'. The New York Times. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  17. ^O'Connor, John J. (February 3, 2000). 'The Rockefeller Drug Laws'. Catholic New York. Archived from the original on October 7, 2008. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  18. ^Hentoff 1988, pp. 85–87.
  19. ^ abO'Connor, John J. (August 27, 1998). 'Were the Attacks Morally Justifiable?'. Catholic New York. Archived from the original on October 9, 2007. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  20. ^O'Connor, John J. (June 3, 1999). 'Many Moral Questions on Kosovo Conflict'. Catholic New York. Archived from the original on October 9, 2007. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  21. ^O'Connor, John J. (May 13, 1999). 'Ten Good Men for a Power-Mad World'. Catholic New York. Archived from the original on October 9, 2007. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  22. ^Golway 2001, pp. 45, 178; Hentoff 1988, p. 29; Rudin 2012, p. 115.
  23. ^ abSullivan, Ronald (September 2, 1985). 'O'Connor Says He May Uphold Hospital Accord'. The New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  24. ^Hentoff 1988, p. 258; Rudin 2012, p. 115.
  25. ^Hentoff 1988, pp. 222–223.
  26. ^Greenhouse, Steven (July 24, 2000). 'Union Celebrates O'Connor's Labor Views'. The New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  27. ^Rudin, A. James (2005). 'A Jewish–Catholic Friendship'. America. Vol. 193 no. 5. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  28. ^Lookstein, Haskel (May 12, 2000). 'The Cardinal's Epistles to the Jews'. The Jewish Week.
  29. ^O'Connor, John J. (August 16, 1998). 'When Will the Holocaust Really End?'. Catholic New York. Archived from the original on September 20, 2010. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  30. ^Goldman, Ari L. (January 12, 1987). 'O'Connor Is Upset by Critics of Trip'. The New York Times. Retrieved January 1, 2009.
  31. ^'JCPA Mourns Death of John Cardinal O'Connor: Jewish Community Loses 'Good Friend'' (Press release). New York: Jewish Council for Public Affairs. May 4, 2000. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  32. ^Goldman, Ari L. (February 15, 1987). 'For Cardinal, Wiesel Visit Proved a Calm in Storm over Trip'. The New York Times. Retrieved October 30, 2017.
  33. ^ abcBarbanel, Josh (November 27, 1984). 'Archdiocese Challenges Koch's Order on Hiring'. The New York Times. Retrieved January 2, 2009.
  34. ^ abGlenn 2002, p. 194.
  35. ^ abc'Obit-O'Connor'. New Zealand Digital Library. June 4, 2000. Retrieved January 1, 2009.
  36. ^Hentoff 1988, pp. 89–90.
  37. ^Hentoff 1988, pp. 90–91.
  38. ^Berger, Joseph (February 7, 1986). 'Brooklyn Diocese Joins Homosexual-Bill Fight'. The New York Times. Retrieved January 1, 2009.
  39. ^Peddicord 1996, pp. 64, 68–69, 83, 92.
  40. ^Pérez-Peña, Richard (January 20, 1993). 'St. Patrick Parade Sponsor May Quit Over Gay Dispute'. The New York Times. Retrieved January 1, 2009.
  41. ^Onishi, Norimitsu (March 16, 1994). 'Irish Parade Becomes a Political Hurdle'. The New York Times. Retrieved January 4, 2009.
  42. ^Hevesi, Dennis (October 29, 1992). 'Gay Irish Win Right to a Parade That Might Die'. The New York Times. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  43. ^'New York City Abandons ILGO in St. Patrick's Day Dispute'. Lesbian/Gay Law Notes. Lesbian & Gay Law Association of Greater New York. March 1994. ISSN8755-9021. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  44. ^Golway 2001, pp. 54ff.
  45. ^'Homosexuals Protest Ending of Their Mass'. The New York Times. March 16, 1987. Retrieved January 1, 2009.
  46. ^'Social Justice'. Dignity New York. Archived from the original on May 9, 2008. Retrieved January 1, 2009.Cite uses deprecated parameter deadurl= (help)
  47. ^ abNavarro, Mireya (January 3, 1993). 'Ethics of Giving AIDS Advice Troubles Catholic Hospitals'. The New York Times. Retrieved January 1, 2009.
  48. ^Goldman, Ari L. (December 30, 1987). 'Catholic Leader Rebuts O'Connor on Condom Issue'. The New York Times. Retrieved January 1, 2009.
  49. ^O'Connor & Koch 1989, p. 239.
  50. ^Purdum, Todd S. (December 12, 1989). 'Cardinal Says He Won't Yield to Protests'. The New York Times. Retrieved January 1, 2009. Jay Blotcher, a spokesman for the Aids Coalition to Unleash Power, or ACT UP, one of the protest's sponsors, said: 'Unfortunately, the dead bodies that the Cardinal is stepping over are the bodies of the people with AIDS who have already died. And what he faces are more bodies of people who could potentially contract the disease because the church refuses to give them access to safe-sex educuation [sic].'
  51. ^Goldman, Ari L. (July 27, 1987). '300 Fault O'Connor Role on AIDS Commission'. The New York Times. Retrieved January 1, 2009.
  52. ^'Reagan's AIDS Panel: Who the Members Are'. The New York Times. July 24, 1987. Retrieved February 13, 2013.
  53. ^'AIDS Panel Head Says Rift Is Over'. The New York Times. The Associated Press. November 11, 1987. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  54. ^Feldman & Wang Miller 1998, p. 172: 'In July 1987 .. Reagan appointed an AIDS Commission that included opponents of AIDS education and was devoid of physicians who had treated AIDS patients or scientists who had engaged in AIDS research. The Commission appointments reflected the influence of conservatives who feared not only AIDS, but homosexuals. In naming this body, Reagan sent an unfortunate message to the public that he did not care enough about the AIDS problem to muster the best scientific information available.'
  55. ^Gilden, Dave (2003). 'Politics before Science?'. HIV Plus. Vol. 6 no. 2. Archived from the original on July 11, 2011. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  56. ^'The Right Fight Against AIDS; As the Admiral Says, Focus on Addicts'. The New York Times. February 28, 1988. Retrieved January 6, 2009.
  57. ^Boffey, Philip M. (June 2, 1988). 'Expert Panel Sees Poor Leadership in U.S. AIDS Battle'. The New York Times. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  58. ^'Papal Visit: Thousands Protest against Pope in London'. BBC News. September 18, 2010. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  59. ^Duncan, Robert (October 29, 2018). 'Former nuncio to US admits hearing rumors of McCarrick misconduct in 1994'. The Catholic Herald. Retrieved October 30, 2018.
  60. ^Tornielli, Andrea (2018). Il Giorno del Giudizio. Milan: Piemme.
  61. ^'Can. 401 §1'. Code of Canon Law. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  62. ^Queen, Prothero & Shattuck 2001, p. 520.
  63. ^'O'Connor Entombed at St. Patrick's Cathedral'. USA Today. May 8, 2000. Retrieved March 13, 2007.[permanent dead link]
  64. ^Caulfield, Brian; McDonnell, Claudia (January 2000). ''He Hasn't Left''. Catholic New York. Archived from the original on September 12, 2007. Retrieved December 31, 2008.
  65. ^Leonard, Bill J.; Crainshaw, Jill Y. (2013). Encyclopedia of Religious Controversies in the United States: A-L. ABC-CLIO. ISBN9781598848670.
  66. ^H.R. 3557
  67. ^ ab'Home'. Cardinal O'Connor Conference on Life. Archived from the original on July 24, 2014. Retrieved November 4, 2017.

Cited works[edit]

Burch, Brian; Stimpson, Emily (2017). The American Catholic Almanac: A Daily Reader of Patriots, Saints, Rogues, and Ordinary People who Changed the United States. New York: Image. ISBN978-0-553-41874-3.
Earley, James B. (1994). Envisioning Faith: The Pictorial History of the Diocese of Scranton. Devon, Pennsylvania: W.T. Cooke Publishing.
Feldman, Douglas A.; Wang Miller, Julia (1998). The AIDS Crisis: A Documentary History. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN978-0-313-28715-2.
Glenn, Charles L. (2002). The Ambiguous Embrace: Government and Faith-Based Schools and Social Agencies. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. ISBN978-0-691-09280-5.
Golway, Terry (2001). Full of Grace: An Oral Biography of John Cardinal O'Connor. New York: Simon & Schuster. ISBN978-0-7434-4814-7.
Hentoff, Nat (1988). John Cardinal O'Connor: At the Storm Center of a Changing American Catholic Church. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. ISBN978-0-684-18944-4.
Keller, Daniella E.; Gregory, David L. (2012). 'O'Connor, John Cardinal (1920–2009)'. In Coulter, Michael L.; Myers, Richard S.; Varacalli, Joseph A. (eds.). Encyclopedia of Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy. 3. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. pp. 248–251. ISBN978-0-8108-8266-9.
Marlin, George J.; Miner, Brad (2017). Sons of Saint Patrick: A History of the Archbishops of New York, from Dagger John to Timmytown. San Francisco, California: Ignatius Press. ISBN978-1-62164-113-1.
O'Connor, John J. (1990). 'Abortion: Questions and Answers'. The Human Life Review. New York: The Human Life Foundation. 16 (3): 65–96. ISSN0097-9783. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
O'Connor, John; Koch, Edward I. (1989). His Eminence and Hizzoner. New York: William Morrow & Co. ISBN978-0-688-07928-4.
Peddicord, Richard (1996). Gay and Lesbian Rights: A Question: Sexual Ethics or Social Justice?. Kansas City, Missouri: Sheed & Ward. ISBN978-1-55612-759-5.
Queen, Edward L., II; Prothero, Stephen R.; Shattuck, Gardiner H., eds. (2001). Encyclopedia of American Religious History. 2 (2nd ed.). New York: Facts on File. ISBN978-0-8160-4335-4.
Rudin, James (2012). Cushing, Spellman, O'Connor: The Surprising Story of How Three American Cardinals Transformed Catholic–Jewish Relations. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. ISBN978-0-8028-6567-0.

Further reading[edit]

Bush, George W. (July 10, 2001). 'Remarks by the President at Congressional Gold Medal Ceremony Honoring John Cardinal O'Connor' (Press release). Washington: White House Office. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
'Cardinal O'Connor's Writings'. Catholic New York. Archived from the original on August 7, 2004. Retrieved November 3, 2017.Cite uses deprecated parameter deadurl= (help)
'His Life'. His Eminence John Cardinal O'Connor, D.D., PhD: In Memoriam, 1920–2000. Irondale, Alabama: Eternal Word Television Network. Retrieved November 3, 2017.
O'Connor, John (June 21, 1994). 'Cardinal O'Connor; Daly; Shearer'. Charlie Rose (Interview). Interviewed by Rose, Charlie. PBS. Retrieved November 3, 2017 – via
——— (1995). A Moment of Grace: John Cardinal O'Connor on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. San Francisco, California: Ignatius Press. ISBN978-0-89870-554-6.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
Quindlen, Anna (February 17, 1993). 'Church and State'. Public & Private. The New York Times. Retrieved November 3, 2017.

External links[edit]

  • Media related to John Joseph O'Connor (cardinal) at Wikimedia Commons
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Thomas Benjamin Fulton
Bishop of Cursola
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Pedro Luís Guido Scarpa
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J. Carroll McCormick
Bishop of Scranton
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Roman Catholic Archbishop of New York
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(Redirected from John Cardinal O'Hara)

John Francis O'Hara

Cardinal, Archbishop of Philadelphia
AppointedNovember 23, 1951
Term endedAugust 28, 1960
PredecessorDennis J. Dougherty
SuccessorJohn Krol
Other postsCardinal-Priest of San Gregorio Magno
OrdinationSeptember 9, 1916
by Joseph Chartrand
ConsecrationJanuary 15, 1940
by Francis Spellman
Created cardinalDecember 15, 1958
by Pope John XXIII
Personal details
BornAugust 1, 1888
Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
DiedAugust 28, 1960 (aged 72)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
BuriedBasilica of the Sacred Heart, Notre Dame, Indiana, United States
DenominationRoman Catholic
ParentsJohn O'Hara & Ella Thornton
Previous post
  • Bishop of Buffalo; (1945-1951)
    Auxiliary Bishop of the United States Military Ordinariate (1939-1945)
    President of the University of Notre Dame (1934-1939)
MottoIpsam sequens non devias
(Following her, you will not go astray)
Coat of arms
Styles of
John O'Hara
Reference styleHis Eminence
Spoken styleYour Eminence
Informal styleCardinal
Priestly ordination
Ordained byJoseph Chartrand
Date9 September 1916
Principal consecratorFrancis Joseph Spellman
Date15 January 1940
Elevated byPope John XXIII
Date15 December 1958
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by John Francis O'Hara as principal consecrator
Lawrence Leo Graner1947
Hubert James Cartwright1956
Francis Joseph McSorley1958


John Francis O'HaraCSC (August 1, 1888 – August 28, 1960) was an American member of the Congregation of Holy Cross and prelate of the Catholic Church. He served as President of the University of Notre Dame (1934–39) and as the Archbishop of Philadelphia from 1951 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1958.

  • 1Biography


Early life and education[edit]

The fourth of ten children, O'Hara was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, to John O'Hara and Ella Thornton. His father was a leader of the Irish American Catholic community, published a small newspaper and was active in Republican circles.[1] He and his family moved to Bunker Hill, Indiana, two months after his birth, and later to Peru, Indiana, in 1889. He was attending Peru High School when, in 1905, his father was named by President Theodore Roosevelt as the United States consul to Uruguay.[2] The family then moved to the South American country, where young John studied at the Catholic University of Uruguay in Montevideo and served as private secretary to Edward C. O'Brien, the United States Ambassador to Uruguay.[3]

In 1906, O'Hara moved to Argentina and spent six months on a cattle ranch[3] Returning to Uruguay, he conducted market surveys for the United States Department of State.[4] He furthered his studies, and then accompanied his father after the latter was transferred to Brazil.

Upon his return to the United States in 1908, O'Hara enrolled at the University of Notre Dame in Notre Dame, Indiana, where he also taught Spanish to defray the costs of tuition and board.[2] In 1910, he became a founding officer of Notre Dame Knights of Columbus Council 1477, the first KofC College Council. After earning a bachelor's degree and graduating in 1911, he entered the Congregation of Holy Cross on August 8, 1912. He then studied theology at Holy Cross College, South American history under Peter Guilday at the Catholic University of America, and at the Wharton School of Finance and Commerce of the University of Pennsylvania[3] He made his profession as a member of the Congregation of Holy Cross on September 14, 1914.

Ordination and ministry[edit]

O'Hara was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Joseph Chartrand of Indianapolis on September 9, 1916. He then returned to his alma mater of Notre Dame, where he served as prefect of religion and dean of the College of Commerce. O'Hara greatly fostered the practice of daily reception of Communion, then still a newly approved practice by the Catholic Church. He made national headlines when he arranged for two Notre Dame football players, on their way to a game against West Point, to receive Communion in Albany, New York; the team has since had the opportunity to receive Communion on trips away.[2][3]

President of Notre Dame[edit]

O'Hara was appointed the Vice President of the University of Notre Dame in 1933, and its president in 1934. During his tenure at Notre Dame, he brought numerous refugee intellectuals to campus; he selected Frank H. Spearman, Richard Reid, Jeremiah D. M. Ford, Irvin Abell, and Josephine Brownson for the prestigious Laetare Medal. President Franklin D. Roosevelt named him a delegate to the 1938 Pan-American Conference in Lima, and he was later invited by President Eleazar López Contreras to head a social service mission in Venezuela.[1] O'Hara concentrated on expanding the graduate school. During his tenure, he made doctorates available in Philosophy, Physics, Mathematics, and Politics. O'Hara also carried forward the building program and led construction of a new laundry, the post office, and the infirmary. He also built the Rockne Memorial, Cavanaugh, Zahm and Breen-Phillips. O'Hara strongly believed that the Fighting Irish football team could be an effective means to 'acquaint the public with the ideals that dominate' Notre Dame. He wrote, 'Notre Dame football is a spiritual service because it is played for the honor and glory of God and of his Blessed Mother. When St. Paul said: 'Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever else you do, do all for the glory of God,' he included football.'[5]

Apostolic Delegate for the Military Forces[edit]

On December 11, 1939, O'Hara was appointed by Pope Pius XII as an Auxiliary Bishop of the United States Military Ordinariate, which served the spiritual needs of the nation's armed forces, as well as the Titular Bishop of Milasa. He received his consecration as a bishop on January 15, 1940 from Archbishop Francis Spellman, with Bishops John F. Noll and Joseph Ritter serving as co-consecrators, in Sacred Heart Church in Indiana. A devotee of the Blessed Virgin Mary, he selected as his episcopal motto: 'Following her, you will not go astray.'

President Franklin D. Roosevelt later appointed O'Hara to the board of visitors of the Naval Academy in Annapolis, becoming the first Catholic bishop to be so honored.

Bishop of Buffalo[edit]

O'Hara was named the eighth Bishop of Buffalo on March 10, 1945, and was installed on May 8 of that year. Succeeding the late John A. Duffy, O'Hara greatly expanded Catholic education in the diocese, and eliminated racial segregation in schools and churches. In 1946, during the American occupation following World War II, he and Michael J. Ready, the Bishop of Columbus, were sent to Japan to report on the condition of the Catholic Church in that country .[1]

Archbishop of Philadelphia[edit]

O'Hara was promoted to the fifth Archbishop of Philadelphia on November 23, 1951. He received the pallium, a vestment worn by metropolitan bishops, from Cardinal Francis Spellman on May 12, 1953.[1]

Cardinal O Hara Driver S Education

Differing in style from his predecessor, Cardinal Dennis Joseph Dougherty, he often answered his own doorbell, which he explained by saying 'How else can I meet the poor?'[6] During his tenure, O'Hara oversaw the establishment of sixty-one new schools, three women's colleges, and special schools for the mentally challenged, blind, and deaf.[1] Beginning in 1955, he also restored and expanded the Cathedral of Ss. Peter and Paul. He condemned the Supreme Court's ruling against banning the films La Ronde and M.[7] Moreover, not overly favorable of radio and television, he suggested that Catholics sacrifice such entertainment for Lent.[8]

Pope John XXIII created O'Hara a Cardinal in the consistory of December 15, 1958, and appointed him a Cardinal-Priest with his titular church the Basilica of Ss. Andrea e Gregorio al Monte Celio. O'Hara was the first member of the Congregation of Holy Cross to be raised to the College of Cardinals. His health failing in his later years, he underwent several operations and took up to twenty-two different pills.[1] O'Hara died following surgery in Philadelphia, at age 72.[6] He is buried at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Notre Dame, Indiana.


Cardinal O'Hara High School in Springfield, Pennsylvania, and Cardinal O'Hara High School in Tonawanda, New York, in the Diocese of Buffalo were named after the cardinal.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • McAvoy, Thomas T. Father O'Hara of Notre Dame (1967), a scholarly biography


  1. ^ abcdef'John Cardinal O'Hara'. Our American Princes.
  2. ^ abc'John Cardinal O'Hara'. Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture. Archived from the original on 2009-11-11.Cite uses deprecated parameter deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ abcd'The Story of Notre Dame'. University of Notre Dame.
  4. ^Cardinal O'Hara High SchoolArchived 2007-04-30 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^Sperber, Murray. Shake Down the Thunder. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002. p. 400
  6. ^ abTIME Magazine. Milestones September 5, 1960
  7. ^TIME Magazine. The Censors February 1, 1954
  8. ^TIME Magazine. The Busy Air March 8, 1954

External links[edit]

  • Archdiocese for the Military Services, USA, official website
  • Archdiocese for the Military Services of the United States. Retrieved 2010-08-20.
  • Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Philadelphia Official Website
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Dennis Joseph Dougherty
Archbishop of Philadelphia
Succeeded by
John Krol
Preceded by
John A. Duffy
Bishop of Buffalo
Succeeded by
Joseph A. Burke
Retrieved from ''