There was a time when almost all the pastors in our diocese had been born in Ireland. Now, with the last of them retiring, I want to pay tribute to the Irish by recalling America's four great Irish Archbishops in the Nineteen Hundreds. They were John Carrol of Baltimore, John Purcell of Cincinnati, Peter Kendrick of St. Louis, and Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore.
John Carol was a patriot. He accompanied Ben Franklin to Canada when they were seeking Canadian approval of our revolution, and his cousin Charles was the only Catholic signer of the Declaration o Independence.
John Purcell was an active member of Ohio's Teachers Association, and he was criticized for flying the American flag from his Cincinatti cathedral during the Civil War.
Peter Kendrick of St. Louis voted against Papal Infallibility, and he was so persistent in petitioning independence for the Church in America, ,that Rome forced him into retirement, replacing him with a more docile archbishop. But when that man moved on a dozen years later, Peter came out of retirement with both guns firing.
Cardinal James Gibbons was archbishop of Baltimore for forty-four years. President Teddy Rosevelt called him, "The most venerated and useful citizen in America."
H. L. Menken, who made his living by exposing frauds, wrote "Cardinal /gibbons was a man of the highest sagacity."
r Kendrick of St. Louis, and Cardinal James Gibbons of Baltimore.