William Henry Keeler
William Henry Keeler
|Cardinal, Archbishop Emeritus of Baltimore|
|Installed||May 23, 1989|
|Term ended||July 12, 2007|
|Predecessor||William Donald Borders|
|Other posts||Bishop of Harrisburg (1984-89)|
|Ordination||July 17, 1955|
|Consecration||September 21, 1979|
|Created Cardinal||November 26, 1994|
March 4, 1931 |
San Antonio, Texas
|Coat of arms|
William Henry Keeler
|Reference style||His Eminence|
|Spoken style||Your Eminence|
Early life and education
Cardinal Keeler was born in San Antonio, Texas, to Thomas and Margaret (née Conway) Keeler. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Lebanon, Pennsylvania where Keeler attended St. Mary School and Lebanon Catholic High School. He was a member of the Boy Scouts of America and achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. Keeler received a BA from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, in 1952.
Ordination, education and ministry
He received both a Licentiate of Sacred Theology (1956) and Doctorate of Canon Law (1961) from the Gregorian, and after doing pastoral and curial work in the Diocese of Harrisburg, he served as a peritus, or expert, and secretary to Bishop George Leech at the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965).
Bishop of Harrisburg
On July 24, 1979, Keeler was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Harrisburg and Titular Bishop of Ulcinium. He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 21 from Bishop Joseph Daley, with Bishops Francis Gossman and Martin Lohmuller serving as co-consecrators. Keeler took as his episcopal motto: Opus Fac Evangeliste ("Do the Work of an Evangelist"). He was named the seventh Bishop of Harrisburg on November 10, 1983.
Archbishop of Baltimore
He was elected President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in November 1992. He had been elected as the organization's Vice President in November 1989, when hosting Baltimore's bicentennial celebration of the founding of the diocese. He also served as Chairman of the Maryland Catholic Conference, Chair of the Board and Chancellor of St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, as well as of Mount Saint Mary's University.
Keeler developed a reputation for effectively building interfaith bonds, particularly for furthering Catholic-Jewish dialogue and served as moderator of Catholic-Jewish Relations for the USCCB. As Chair of the U.S. Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs from 1984 to 1987, he helped arrange the Pope's meetings with Jewish leaders in Miami and with Protestant leaders in Columbia, South Carolina.
Keeler was created Cardinal-Priest of Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of November 26, 1994. He was appointed to the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity in the summer of 1994 and to the Congregation for the Oriental Churches in November 1994. From 1998 to 2001 and again since November 2003, he has served as Chair for the Committee on Pro-Life Activities. Keeler was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave. Cardinal Keeler reached age 80 on March 4, 2011, and lost the eligibility to participate in any future papal conclaves.
One of Keeler's priorities was the strengthening of the Catholic school system. In 1992, he initiated the Lenten Appeal, a giving campaign that has raised over $44 million in support of Baltimore's Catholic schools, the needs of the less fortunate, and a variety of spiritual development efforts and the Cardinal's Partners in Excellence scholarship program has raised $16 million in tuition assistance for at-risk children.
The Cardinal was also responsible for the effort to restore Baltimore's Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, America's first cathedral, the cost of which was financed entirely through private donations.
Keeler is the President of the American Division Catholic Near East Welfare Association and Chair of the Black and Native American Missions Board. He is Chairman of the Board of Catholic Charities, the largest non-governmental agency providing assistance to the needy of Maryland. He is president of the Cathedral Foundation and publisher of The Catholic Review.
Honors and awards
Embryonic stem cell research
As chairman of the U.S. Bishops' Committee for Pro-life Activities, he criticized Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's announcement that he will support federally funded stem cell research that requires destroying human embryos.
- "Keeler legacy will continue". Baltimore Sun. July 13, 2007.
- "Official biography". Archdiocese of Baltimore. Retrieved July 16, 2007.[dead link]
- "Vatican II at 35: An Interview with Cardinal William Keeler". St. Anthony Messenger. Retrieved May 24, 2006.
- Criticizes Senate Majority Leader Frist's Statement on Embryonic Stem-Cell Research
- Cardinal Keeler assures NCC General Assembly of Pope Benedict's commitment to ecumenism
- Cardinal Keeler Mourns Tragic Death of Terri Schiavo
- Archdiocese of Baltimore
- Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
- Cathedral of Mary Our Queen
- The Coat of Arms of Cardinal William H. Keeler
|Consecrated by:||Joseph Thomas Daley|
|Bishop||Date of consecration|
|Gordon Dunlap Bennett||March 3, 1998|
|William Francis Malooly||March 1, 2001|
|Mitchell Thomas Rozanski||August 21, 2004|
|Michael Joseph Bransfield||February 22, 2005|
|Denis James Madden||August 24, 2005|
|Catholic Church titles|
|Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus of Baltimore
William Donald Borders
|Archbishop of Baltimore
Edwin Frederick O'Brien
Joseph Thomas Daley
|Bishop of Harrisburg
Nicholas C. Dattilo
|Auxiliary Bishop of Harrisburg