William E. Lori

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The Most Reverend
William Edward Lori
Archbishop of Baltimore
See Baltimore
Appointed March 20, 2012
Installed May 16, 2012
Predecessor Edwin Frederick O'Brien
Ordination 14 May 1977
by William Wakefield Baum
Consecration 20 April 1995
by James Aloysius Hickey
Personal details
Born (1951-05-06) 6 May 1951 (age 63)
Louisville, Kentucky, USA
Nationality American
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}
Styles of
William E. Lori
Coat of arms of William Edward Lori.svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency[1]
Religious style Archbishop
Posthumous style n/a

William Edward Lori (born May 6, 1951) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church who is serving as the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Maryland since 2012.[2]

Archbishop Lori had previously served as the fourth Bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut.[3] Before succeeding Edward Egan in 2001 he was an Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington.[4]



He attended the Seminary of Saint Pius X in Erlanger, Kentucky where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1973.[5] He holds a M.A. from Mount Saint Mary's Seminary and a S.T.D. from The Catholic University of America, where he is now chairman of the Board of Trustees.[5] He serves as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, CT and is the Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus.[6][7]

Ordination and ministry[edit]

Lori was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Washington by Cardinal William Baum on May 14, 1977. His first assignment was as associate pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Landover, MD. Lori then held a number of positions in the archdiocese's chancery including vicar general, moderator of the Curia, and secretary to Cardinal James Hickey.[3]

Lori is member of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities and the Committee on Doctrine of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.[8] In 2001 he invited Sister Mary Nirmala Joshi, M.C., superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, to Bridgeport for the opening of the Sisters' first convent in Connecticut.

Bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut[edit]

Archbishop of Baltimore, Maryland[edit]

On March 20, 2012 Lori was appointed Archbishop of Baltimore by Pope Benedict XVI and he assumed that role upon installation May 16, 2012.[2]


  • Lori is seen as an orthodox cleric who has enforced church mandates in controversial ways. While an auxiliary bishop in Washington D.C., he led an investigation at the behest of Cardinal James Aloysius Hickey into the activities of a heterodox parish in Georgetown. Investigators questioned priests, staff and volunteers in the parish, taping their interviews and asking them to pledge their honesty. The investigation revealed that two Protestant ministers had been allowed to deliver and receive communion. Two of the parish priests apologized publicly for violations of canon law.[9]
  • Lori has been credited with establishing a new attitude and local policy toward sex abuse after being appointed Bishop of Bridgeport. The Diocese of Bridgeport had been trying to cope with the sudden onslaught of abuse cases that had occurred under the tenure of Bishop Edward Egan.[10] In 2002, Lori was one of seven members of the ad hoc, bishops' committee tasked with writing a new policy (known as the Dallas Policy) on how to deal with abusive priests.[11] Once approved by the USCCB, Lori was one of four bishops picked to travel to the Vatican and work out compromises that would make the proposed Dallas Policy (now known as the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People), which established a "zero tolerance" policy for sexual abuse, more palatable to the Pope. Lori emerged as the de facto spokesman. The group also included Bishop Thomas Doran of Rockford, Ill., Cardinal Francis George of Chicago and Archbishop William Levada of San Francisco. Lori also enacted many of the provisions in the charter before all the bishops accepted them as a whole. He was one of the first bishops to establish a local review board and acted swiftly against priests who have been accused of abuse under his watch.[9][12] One of the priests, the Rev. Alfred J. Bietighofer, committed suicide soon after he was suspended.[13]
  • In 2004 Lori blessed and dedicated "Villa Maria Guadalupe" on the grounds of the former Villa Maria Retreat Center in Stamford, CT.[14] The property was purchased by the Knights of Columbus, who invited the Sisters of Life, a religious community dedicated to protecting and advancing a sense of the sacredness of all human life, to offer retreats for families and married couples, for women facing problem pregnancies, for pro-life leaders, and for knights and their families.
  • In 2007, he announced a doctrinal investigation of American theologian Peter C. Phan, who has written about an Asian perspectives on interreligious dialogue. Nothing has since come of this investigation.[15]
  • Lori has opposed legislation in Connecticut proposed by State Rep. Michael P. Lawlor and Sen. Andrew McDonald that would remove control of the diocese from the bishop and place it in the control of the laity. The legislation had been written with help from such Catholics as Connecticut attorney Thomas Gallagher, a contributor to the group Voice of the Faithful.[16]

Lori, appointed in late September to chair the USCCB's Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty, testified before a House subcommittee on Oct. 26, 2011. He asked for Congressional action in response to regulations issued by the Department of Health and Human Services in August requiring coverage of contraception and sterilization in most private health insurance plans; rules that would deny government funding to the bishops' Migration and Refugee Services if it does not provide the "full range" of reproductive services, including abortion and contraception, to human trafficking victims and unaccompanied refugee minors; the U.S. Agency for International Development's requirement that Catholic Relief Services and other contractors include condom distribution in their HIV prevention activities and provide contraception in a range of international relief and development programs; the Department of Justice's refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act; the Justice Department's efforts to modify the "ministerial exception" that exempts religious institutions from some civil laws with respect to employment; certain state actions of a similar nature.[17]

While serving as head of the USCCB ad hoc committee on religious liberty, he led the bishops campaign for religious liberty known as the Fortnight for Freedom.[18]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Federico Bonifacio Madersbacher Gasteiger OFM
Titular Bishop of Bulla
28 February 1995–23 January 2001
Succeeded by
Percival Joseph Fernandez
Preceded by
Edward Egan
Bishop of Bridgeport
23 January 2001–20 March 2012
Succeeded by
Frank Joseph Caggiano
Preceded by
Thomas Vose Daily
Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus
Preceded by
Edwin Frederick O'Brien
Archbishop of Baltimore
20 March 2012–present