William Henry Keeler

William Henry Keeler

infobox cardinalbiog
name = William Henry Cardinal Keeler

| See = Baltimore
Title = Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus of Baltimore
Period = April 11, 1989–October 1, 2007
cardinal = November 26, 1994
Predecessor = William Donald Borders
Successor = Edwin Frederick O'Brien
post = Bishop of Harrisburg | date of birth = Birth date and age|1931|3|4|mf=y
place of birth = San Antonio, Texas|

William Henry Cardinal Keeler (born March 4, 1931) is a American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Baltimore from 1989 to 2007 and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1994.

Pope Benedict XVI accepted Cardinal Keeler's resignation on July 12, 2007 when it was announced that Edwin O'Brien had been appointed to succeed Keeler as Archbishop of Baltimore. [cite news | title= Keeler legacy will continue
date=July 13, 2007 | publisher= Baltimore "Sun"|url= http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/local/bal-te.md.archbishop13jul13,0,4396906.story?coll=bal-pe-asection

Early life and ministry

Cardinal Keeler was born in San Antonio, Texas, to Thomas and Margaret (née Conway) Keeler. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Lebanon, Pennsylvania where Keeler attended St. Mary School and Lebanon Catholic High School. [cite web | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | date =|year = | url = http://www.archbalt.org/our-history/ordinaries-detail.cfm?customel_datapageid_999=2236 | title = Official biography | format = | work = Archdiocese of Baltimore| publisher = | accessmonthday =July 16 | accessyear =2007]

Keeler received a BA from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, in 1952. While studying at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, he was ordained to the priesthood on July 17, 1955 by Archbishop Luigi Traglia.

He received both a Licentiate of Sacred Theology (1956) and Doctorate of Canon Law (1961) from the Gregorian, and after doing pastoral and curial work in the Diocese of Harrisburg, he served as a peritus, or expert, and secretary to Bishop George Leech at the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965).

Keeler was raised to the rank of Chaplain of His Holiness on November 9, 1965, and later Honorary Prelate of His Holiness on May 8, 1970.


On July 24, 1979, Keeler was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Harrisburg and Titular Bishop of "Ulcinium". He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 21 from Bishop Joseph Daley, with Bishops Francis Gossman and Martin Lohmuller serving as co-consecrators. Keeler took as his episcopal motto: "Opus Fac Evangeliste" ("Do the Work of an Evangelist"). He was named the seventh Bishop of Harrisburg on November 10, 1983, and then the fourteenth Metropolitan Archbishop of Baltimore on April 11, 1989. As Archbishop of Baltimore, Keeler was head of America's oldest see and de facto Primate.

He was elected President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in November 1992. He had been elected as the organization's Vice President in November 1989, when hosting Baltimore's bicentennial celebration of the founding of the diocese. He also serves as Chairman of the Maryland Catholic Conference, Chair of the Board and Chancellor of St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, as well as of Mount Saint Mary's University.

While president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Archbishop Keeler chaired the 1993 World Youth Day held in Denver, Colorado.

Keeler developed a reputation for effectively building interfaith bonds, particularly for furthering Catholic-Jewish dialogue and serves as moderator of Catholic-Jewish Relations for the USCCB. As Chair of the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs from 1984 to 1987, he helped arrange the Pope's meetings with Jewish leaders in Miami and with Protestant leaders in Columbia, South Carolina.


Keeler was created Cardinal-Priest of "Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri" by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of November 26, 1994. He was appointed to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in the summer of 1994 and to the Congregation for the Oriental Churches in November 1994. From 1998 to 2001 and again since November 2003, he has served as Chair for the Committee on Pro-Life Activities. Keeler was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave. Cardinal Keeler remains eligible to participate in any future papal conclaves that begin before his 80th birthday on March 4, 2011.infobox cardinalstyles
cardinal name= William Henry Keeler
dipstyle=His Eminence
offstyle=Your Eminence
See=Baltimore (emeritus)|
One of Keeler's priorities was the strengthening of the Catholic school system. In 1992, he initiated the Lenten Appeal, a giving campaign that has raised over $44 million in support of Baltimore's Catholic schools, the needs of the less fortunate, and a variety of spiritual development efforts and the Cardinal's Partners in Excellence scholarship program has raised $16 million in tuition assistance for at-risk children.

The Cardinal was also responsible for the effort to restore Baltimore's Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, America's first cathedral, the cost of which was financed entirely through private donations.

Keeler is the President of the American Division Catholic Near East Welfare Association and Chair of the Black and Native American Missions Board. He is Chairman of the Board of Catholic Charities, the largest non-governmental agency providing assistance to the needy of Maryland. He is president of the Cathedral Foundation and publisher of "The Catholic Review".

Honors and Awards

An Eagle Scout, Keeler is a recipient of the Silver Beaver, Silver Antelope, and Distinguished Eagle Scout Award of the Boy Scouts of America. [cite web | last = | first = | authorlink = | coauthors = | date =|year = | url = http://www.americancatholic.org/Messenger/Dec2000/Feature2.asp | title = Vatican II at 35: An Interview with Cardinal William Keeler | format = | work = St. Anthony Messenger| publisher = | accessmonthday =May 24 | accessyear =2006]

He holds honorary degrees from Lebanon Valley College, Gettysburg College, Susquehanna University, and Gannon University.

Episcopal Succession

date of consecration=September 21 1979
consecrated by=Joseph Thomas Daley
bishopconsecrated1 = bishopconsecrated1
bishop 1=Gordon Dunlap Bennett
consecration date 1=March 3 1998
bishopconsecrated2 = bishopconsecrated2
bishop 2=William Francis Malooly
consecration date 2=March 1 2001
bishopconsecrated3 = bishopconsecrated3
bishop 3=Mitchell Thomas Rozanski
consecration date 3=August 21 2004
bishopconsecrated4 = bishopconsecrated4
bishop 4=Michael Joseph Bransfield
consecration date 4=February 22 2005
bishopconsecrated5 = bishopconsecrated5
bishop 5=Denis James Madden
consecration date 5=August 24 2005
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External links

* [http://www.archbalt.org/cardinal-archbishop/index.cfm Archdiocese of Baltimore]
* [http://www.baltimorebasilica.org Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary]
* [http://cathedralofmary.org/ Cathedral of Mary Our Queen]
* [http://cathedralofmary.org/history/KeelerCrest.htm The Coat of Arms of Cardinal William H. Keeler]


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