Francis Spellman

Francis Spellman

infobox cardinalbiog
name = Francis Cardinal Spellman

See = New York
Title = Cardinal Archbishop of New York
Period = April 15, 1939December 2, 1967
cardinal = February 18, 1946
Predecessor = Patrick Cardinal Hayes
Successor =
post =
date of birth = May 4, 1889
date of death = December 2, 1967 (aged 78)
place of birth = Whitman, Massachusetts
place of death = New York City

Francis Joseph Cardinal Spellman (May 4, 1889December 2, 1967) wasthe ninth bishop and sixth archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York. He served as Archbishop of New York from 1939 until his death, and was named a cardinal by Pope Pius XII in 1946.


Francis Joseph Spellman was born in Whitman, Massachusetts to William and Ellen (née Conway) Spellman. His father (d. 1957) was a grocer. Francis also served as an altar boy at the local church [TIME Magazine [,9171,865830,00.html Cardinal's Birthday] May 11, 1959] . He studied at Fordham College in New York, and the North American College in Rome before being ordained to the priesthood by Patriarch Giuseppe Ceppetelli on 14 May, 1916. Spellman then did pastoral work in Boston until 1918, at which time he became assistant Diocesan Chancellor. An attaché of the Secretariat of State in the Roman Curia from 1925 to 1932, Spellman was raised to the rank of Monsignor on October 4, 1926 by Pope Pius XI. From 1924 to 1935 he acted as editor of the "The Boston Pilot".

On July 30, 1932, he was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Boston and Titular Bishop of "Sila". Spellman received his episcopal consecration on the following September 8 from close friend Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, with Archbishops Giuseppe Pizzardo and Francesco Borgongini Duca serving as co-consecrators, in St. Peter's Basilica. His was the first consecration of an American bishop ever to be held in St. Peter's [TIME Magazine. [,9171,744398,00.html Crosier & Mitre] September 19, 1932] .

infobox cardinalstyles
cardinal name=Francis Cardinal Spellman †
dipstyle=His Eminence
offstyle=Your Eminence
See=New York|

ixth archbishop

Spellman was promoted to sixth Archbishop of New York on April 15, 1939, and on December 11 of that same year, named Apostolic Vicar for the US Armed Forces. He was created Cardinal Priest of "Ss. Giovanni e Paolo (Rome)" by Pope Pius XII in the consistory of February 18, 1946; his cardinalitial church was the same one held by Pope Pius before he was elected to the papacy. He was charged with releasing Pius XI's encyclical on Catholic Action to the world [TIME Magazine [,9171,761432,00.html Spellman to St. Patrick's] June 5, 1939] .

During World War II, he visited 16 countries in four months on behalf of the Pope [TIME Magazine [,9171,884953,00.html Odyssey for the Millennium] June 7, 1943] . Spellman acted as a liaison between Pope Pius XII and President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the Pope's attempts to have Rome declared an open city and save it from the relentless bombing other European capitals suffered and risk potentially destroying Rome's historical sites and ruins, including the Vatican. In 1946, he received The Hundred Year Association of New York's Gold Medal Award "in recognition of outstanding contributions to the City of New York."

Towards Vatican II

He led his archdiocese through an extensive period of building the Catholic infrastructure, particularly the parochial schools. He was a staunch opponent of communism, and often criticized films he viewed as "indecent." As archbishop he assigned Ivan Illich as pastor to a Puerto Rican parish in Washington Heights, New York City, in 1951. For his service to soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines, Cardinal Spellman was awarded the prestigious Sylvanus Thayer Award by the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1967. Spellman once engaged in a dispute with Eleanor Roosevelt over federally funded education at parochial schools, even accusing her of anti-Catholicism [TIME Magazine. [,9171,794889-1,00.html My Day in the Lion's Mouth] August 1, 1949] . He was instrumental in getting William Brennan appointed to the Supreme Court in 1956, but would later regret the decision.

He attended the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), and sat on its Board of Presidency. Cooney describes how Spellman was dismissive of Pope John XXIII: "Spellman held his tongue in Rome, where it would be unwise to be indiscreet about the new pope. But when he returned home, the Cardinal announced his disdain. 'He's no Pope,' Spellman scoffed to his aides. 'He should be selling bananas.'" [cite book|first=John|last=Cooney|title=The American Pope: The Life and Times of Francis Cardinal Spellman| publisher=New York Times Books|location=New York|year=1984|pages=p.333|id=ISBN 0-440-10194-8]

Later years

He was a cardinal elector in the 1958 papal conclave, and again voted in the conclave of 1963. In 1966, Spellman offered his resignation to Pope Paul VI, but the latter asked him to remain in his post [TIME Magazine. [,9171,836510-2,00.html] October 21, 1966] . He was also Grand Prior in the USA of the Sovereign Order of Malta and Grand Prior of America of the Military and Hospitaller Order of St. Lazarus.

Spellman's biographer, John Cooney [John Cooney, "The American Pope: The Life and Times of Francis Cardinal Spellman", New York, 1984] , notes that many interviewees 'took his homosexuality for granted' but has not documented his relationships although Spellman defended Senator Joseph McCarthy's 1953 investigations of subversives and homosexuals in the federal government.

The Cardinal died in New York at age 78, and is buried in the crypt under the altar at St. Patrick's Cathedral. To date, Spellman's twenty-eight year tenure as Archbishop is the longest one in the history of the Archdiocese of New York.

See also

*List of notable cardinals
*Cardinal Spellman High School


*Nicholas Von Hoffman, "Citizen Cohn"
* [ Catholic Hierarchy: Francis Joseph Cardinal Spellman]

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  • Spellman — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: A. B. Spellman (* 1935), afroamerikanischer Dichter und Jazzautor Francis Joseph Spellman (1889–1967), US amerikanischer Erzbischof und Kardinal Frank Spellman (* 1922), US amerikanischer Gewichtheber John …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Spellman — biographical name Francis Joseph 1889 1967 American cardinal …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Spellman — /spel meuhn/, n. Francis Joseph, Cardinal, 1889 1967, U.S. Roman Catholic clergyman: archbishop of New York 1939 67. * * * …   Universalium

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