Tuesday, May 3, 2011

11 years ago the world lost Archbishop John O'Connor

John O'Connor:you are also inspirtual individual especially for the Catholic Church. I admire your work and I was privelege to recieve holy communion and a prayer over me at one of your masses. I was also honored to attend your awake in 2000. I miss you, you should be a saint. You were truly a courageous and brave man who shares the same birthday as Rev. Martin Luther King Junior, may you rest in peace on this day after 11 years!

John Joseph O'Connor, (January 15, 1920 – May 3, 2000) was the eleventh bishop (eighth archbishop) of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York, serving from 1984 until his death in 2000. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 1985.

Consecration as BishopO'Connor was made a Honorary Prelate of His Holiness and given the title of Monsignor on October 27, 1966. On April 24, 1979, Pope John Paul II designated him auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services and titular bishop of Cursola. O'Connor was consecrated to the episcopate on May 27, 1979 at St. Peter's Basilica, Rome by John Paul II with Duraisamy Simon Lourdusamy and Eduardo Martínez Somalo as co-consecrators.

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

Archbishop of New York
Styles of John O'Connor

Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See New York

On January 26, 1984, after the death of Terence Cooke three months earlier, O'Connor was appointed Archbishop of New York, 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 titulus of the Archbishop of New York.

As Archbishop of New York, 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."

Illness and death:

When O'Connor reached the retirement age for bishops of 75 in January 1995, he submitted his resignation to Pope John Paul II as required, but the Pope did not accept it. In 1999, O'Connor was diagnosed as having a brain tumor, to which he eventually succumbed. He continued to serve as Archbishop of New York until his death. He died in the Archbishop's residence on May 3, 2000 and was interred in the crypt beneath the altar of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton, Vice President Al Gore, Former President George H.W. Bush, Texas Governor George W. Bush, New York Governor George Pataki and New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani were among the dignitaries who attended his funeral in St. Patrick's Cathedral, which was presided over by Cardinal Secretary of State Angelo Sodano. The eulogy was delivered by Cardinal William W. Baum. Edward Egan was appointed to succeed Cardinal O'Connor as Archbishop of New York.


Cardinal O'Connor was posthumously awarded the Jackie Robinson Empire State Medal of Freedom by New York Governor George Pataki on December 21, 2000. 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.

O'Connor was an object of scorn and ridicule in ACT UP's demonstrations, the most prominent of which was a protest that disrupted Mass at St. Patrick's Cathedral on December 10, 1989. Michael Petrelis, a founding member of ACT UP, was arrested along with 110 others, including 43 inside the church, some of whom had chained themselves to pews, shouted or lay in aisles.

Later, he indicated that the group "came to St. Patrick's in 1989 to repel the church's destructive intrusion into public policies concerning AIDS, gay civil rights and women's reproductive rights." O'Connor responded during the benediction at the interrupted Mass, "I must preach what the church preaches, teach what the church teaches."

The strong feelings that Cardinal O'Connor's campaigning against gay civil rights inspired were evoked at his passing, when Time Out New York, a weekly city entertainment guide, expressed relief at his death, calling it one of the best things to happen to the gay community in 2000, saying "The press eulogized him as a saint, when in fact, the pious creep was a stuck-in-the-1950s anti-gay menace. Good riddance!". The resulting cries of outrage forced the magazine to apologize for the insensitive tone of the statement, but Time Out New York stood by its view that the Cardinal was an "impediment to gay and lesbian progress.

Carmen Vázquez, a spokeswoman for the Lesbian and Gay Community Services Center, opined that Cardinal O’Connor had "made the lives of gays and lesbians miserable with his public comments and opposition to their way of life."

Jeff Stone, a spokesman for DignityUSA, recalled the group's twice-annual meetings with O'Connor: "We acknowledged that we had theological disagreements, so we tried to talk about areas where we thought we had some common ground--such as violence against gay people," and added, "We are saddened by his death."

To honor his distinguished service as a US Navy chaplain, the Catholic Center at the Naval Post-Graduate School, Monterey, CA, is named the O'Connor Center. The largest student run pro-life conference in the U.S. is named in his honor. It is held every year at Georgetown University the day before the annual March for Life.

Episcopal succession

Episcopal lineage
Consecrated by: Pope John Paul II
Date of consecration: May 27, 1979
Consecrator of
Bishop Date of consecration
Alfred James Jolson February 6, 1988
Patrick Joseph Sheridan December 12, 1990
James Michael Moynihan May 29, 1995
Edwin Frederick O'Brien March 25, 1996
Robert Anthony Brucato August 25, 1997
James Francis McCarthy June 29, 1999

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