Anthony Bevilacqua: Wikis


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His Eminence 
Anthony Joseph Bevilacqua
Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia
See Philadelphia (emeritus)
Enthroned February 11, 1988
Reign ended July 15, 2003
Predecessor John Krol
Successor Justin Francis Rigali
Ordination June 11, 1949
Consecration November 24, 1980
Created Cardinal June 28, 1991
Other Bishop of Pittsburgh (1983-88)
Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn (1980-83)
Personal details
Born June 17, 1923 (1923-06-17) (age 86)
Brooklyn, New York
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Styles of
Anthony Bevilacqua
CardinalCoA PioM.svg
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Philadelphia (emeritus)

Anthony Joseph Bevilacqua (born June 17, 1923) is an American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Philadelphia from 1988 to 2003, having previously served as Bishop of Pittsburgh. He was elevated to the cardinalate in 1991.


Early life

Anthony Bevilacqua was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Luigi (1884-1961) and Maria (née Codella, 1893-1968) Bevilacqua, who were Italian immigrants.[1] One of eleven children, he has four brothers, Michael, Angelo, Rocco, and Frank; and six sisters, Josephine (died of meningitis at age 2), Isabella, Virginia, Mary Jo, Gloria, and Madeline.[2] Bevilacqua's father was born in Spinazzola and worked as a bricklayer, and his mother was born in Calitri.[2] Luigi immigrated to the United States in 1910, and was soon followed by his wife and oldest son, Michael. The family lived in New Rochelle; Hartford, Connecticut; and Brooklyn before settling in Woodhaven, Queens, where Luigi operated a hair dying shop and shoe shine shop.[2]

Bevilacqua attended Public School No. 60, St. Thomas the Apostle School[3], and Richmond Hill High School. He then studied at Cathedral College, where he won prizes in mathematics and science and earned a trip to Washington, D.C. for an essay on the Immaculate Conception.[2] He graduated from Cathedral College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1943, and then entered from the Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington.[4]


Bevilacqua was ordained to the priesthood on June 11, 1949, at St. James Cathedral. He then served as an associate pastor at the Sacred Heart Church, St. Stephen Church (Brooklyn), and St. Mary Church (Long Island) until 1950.[2] He taught at his alma mater of Cathedral College from 1950 to 1954, and then furthered his studies in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University, from where he obtained a doctorate in canon law summa cum laude in 1956.[4]

Upon his return to the United States, Bevilacqua served as an official in the diocesan tribunal and as a chaplain to the Sisters of St. Joseph in Brentwood.[2] He earned a Master's degree in political science from Columbia University in 1962, and was named vice-chancellor for the Diocese of Brooklyn in 1965.[4] From 1968 to 1980, Bevilacqua was a visiting professor of canon law at Immaculate Conception Seminary.[4] During this time, he also founded the Diocesan Office for Migration and Refugees in 1971, and received a doctorate in civil law from St. John's University in 1975.[4] He is entitled to practice law in the courts of New York and Pennsylvania.[4]

Bevilacqua was raised to the rank of Honorary Prelate of His Holiness on January 23, 1976; he became chancellor of the Diocese that year as well.[1] From 1977 to 1980, he taught immigration law as an adjunct professor at St. John's University School of Law.[4]

Episcopal career


Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn

On October 7, 1980, Bevilacqua was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Brooklyn, and Titular Bishop of Aquae Albae in Byzacena by Pope John Paul II. He received his episcopal consecration on the following November 24 from Bishop Francis Mugavero, with Bishops John J. Snyder and Charles Richard Mulrooney serving as co-consecrators, at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help. He selected as his episcopal motto: Ecclesia Mater Nostra, meaning, "The Church, our Mother."[5]

As an auxiliary to Bishop Mugavero, Bevilacqua continued to serve as diocesan chancellor and director of the Office for Migrants and Refugees. In 1983, when Michigan nun Agnes Mary Mansour refused to publicly oppose abortion and resign her position as the state's Director of Social Services,[6] Bevilacqua was appointed by the Vatican to demand that Mansour either resign her office or leave her religious order.[7] She decided to leave her order, later becoming President of University of Detroit Mercy and a member of the Michigan Women's Hall of Fame.

Bishop of Pittsburgh

Bevilacqua was later named the tenth Bishop of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on October 7, 1983. He succeeded Vincent Leonard, and was installed as Bishop on December 12 of that year.

Archbishop of Philadelphia

John Paul II appointed Bevilacqua Archbishop of Philadelphia on December 8, 1987. He succeeded Cardinal John Krol, and was installed on February 11, 1988. John Paul II created him Cardinal Priest of Ss. Redentore e S. Alfonso in Via Merluana in the consistory of June 28, 1991.

During a fifteen year stewardship of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Bevilacqua is remembered for his frequent visits to churches in the diocese, his knowledge of fiscal matters, his conservatism, and his closing of schools (such as Saint James in Chester). Organizationally he divided the Archdiocese into six vicariates, each with a general vicariate, and subdivided the central administration into six secretariats. From 1995 to 2000, he hosted a live weekly radio call-in program, Live with Cardinal Bevilacqua, which aired on WZZD-AM in Philadelphia. In 2002, he was named to the PoliticsPA "Power 50" list of politically influential personalities.[8]

Within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bevilacqua served as chairman of the Committee on Migration from 1983 to 1984, during which time he visited the refugee camps of Southeast Asia and Africa. He was also chaired the Committee for Canonical Affairs (1981-1984) and of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities.


Upon reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75 in June 1998, Bevilacqua submitted his letter of resignation to John Paul II, who allowed the Cardinal to continue in his post. He lost the right to participate in a papal conclave when he reached the age of 80 in June 2003. His resignation was later accepted by the Pope on July 15 of that year, and he served as Apostolic Administrator of Philadelphia until the installation of his successor, Justin Francis Rigali, on October 7, 2003.

His reputation has been tarnished by a grand jury investigation (see external links and Sexual abuse scandal in Philadelphia archdiocese) that implicated him in a cover-up of multiple incidents of sexual abuse by priests in the Philadelphia area. He is opposed to admitting homosexuals to the priesthood, once saying, "[A] person who is homosexually oriented is not a suitable candidate for the priesthood, even if he has never committed any homosexual act."[9]

In retirement, Cardinal Bevilacqua has lived at his home on the grounds of St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook.



He spoke at a Vigil Mass before the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in January 2002:

My sisters and brothers, I am asking you to cry out. I am asking you to take up the pro-life banner by living pro-life lives every day and doing everything in your power to promote a pro-life lifestyle. Do not be afraid to speak up for life. Do not be afraid to speak up against whatever threatens life. If the weak and marginalized continue to be exploited, by our silence we betray not only our Christianity, but our humanity[1].
Episcopal Lineage
Consecrated by: Francis John Mugavero
Date of consecration: November 24, 1980
Consecrator of
Bishop Date of consecration
Nicholas Carmen Dattilo January 26, 1990
Edward Peter Cullen April 14, 1994
Robert Patrick Maginnis March 11, 1996
Joseph Francis Martino March 11, 1996
Michael Francis Burbidge September 5, 2002

External links


  • Glenn, Francis A. (1993). Shepherds of the Faith 1843-1993: A Brief History of the Bishops of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh: Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh. ISBN none. 
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Vincent Martin Leonard
Bishop of Pittsburgh
Succeeded by
Donald Wuerl
Preceded by
John Krol
Archbishop of Philadelphia
Succeeded by
Justin Rigali


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