Cardinal William Keeler dies at 86; led oldest diocese in US

by Abel Hampton March 31, 2017, 0:55
Cardinal William Keeler dies at 86; led oldest diocese in US

Cardinal Keeler was raised in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, where he attended St. Mary School and Lebanon Catholic High School.

"As the shepherd of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Cardinal Keeler spread a message of faith, light, and hope to those he served".

Funeral arrangements and public viewings have been scheduled for Cardinal William H. Keeler, 86, who died Thursday.

"It's something special when you're Archbishop the one who ordains you passes, so but I know god will give him eternal rest for his good work", said Poston who serves as the pastor of Saint Anthony Shrine Roman Catholic Church in Emmitsburg and Our lady of Mt Carmel in Thurmont.

He went on to refer to the following Easter Sunday - when Cardinal Keeler, then archbishop emeritus of Baltimore, was well enough to preside at Mass at the newly "re-renovated" basilica and receive a "thunderous ovation" - as "one of the happy moments in my time here". He received a degree in sacred theology from Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1956 and a doctorate in canon law in 1961.

"For Cardinal Keeler, Jewish-Catholic dialogue was not just another task on his long list of responsibilities, Sandmel said".

Keeler retired in 2007 as the head of the archdiocese of Baltimore. In 1994, Keeler was elevated to cardinal.

"He was the first bishop to release the names of every priest who had been credibly accused", Caine said.

As Archbishop of Baltimore, Keeler is credited for the $32 million restoration of the city's historic Basilica and restoring its Catholic school system.

During the Second Vatican Council, Father Keeler served as secretary to Bishop George Leech of Harrisburg.

"He was probably best known for his work in interfaith and ecumenical relations, which probably drew him close to Pope St. John Paul II, and that relationship bore particular fruit for the Archdiocese of Baltimore". He was appointed moderator of Catholic-Jewish Relations for the USCCB. Glemp had delivered a sermon two years before that many Jews viewed as containing anti-Semitic references. "Cardinal Keeler is a church leader with the stature of a Cardinal Gibbons, or a Carroll". As a priest and bishop, Cardinal Keeler "worked fruitfully to advance increased cooperation and warmer relationships between different Christian communities, both locally and nationally". More than 240 bishops from across the nation were there for the celebration, marking the first time all the country's bishops gathered in the basilica since 1989 when the archdiocese marked its bicentennial.

Pistone said as more Hispanics moved into this area, Keeler saw the need for an all-Spanish Catholic Church.

Archbishop Lori remarked on "the respect and esteem" in which the late prelate was held by his brother bishops, and praised his leadership in Jewish-Catholic relations and in Orthodox-Catholic relations.

"He's as beloved by those of the Jewish faith as he is by those of the Catholic faith", Caine said.

"There I saw how well and wisely he dealt with the public realm", the archbishop recalled, musing that the cardinal was, without being aware of it, "kind of giving me an apprenticeship for this job". The cardinal suffered a broken ankle.

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