Albert Lewis Fletcher

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Albert Lewis Fletcher
Fourth Bishop of Little Rock
ChurchRoman Catholic Church
DioceseRoman Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
Installed1920 (1920)
Term ended1972 (1972)
PredecessorJohn Baptist Morris
SuccessorAndrew Joseph McDonald
OrdinationJune 4, 1920 (1920-06-04)
by John Baptist Morris
ConsecrationApril 25, 1940 (1940-04-25)
by Amleto Giovanni Cicognani
Personal details
Born(1896-10-28)October 28, 1896
Little Rock, Arkansas
DiedDecember 6, 1979(1979-12-06) (aged 83)
Little Rock, Arkansas
BuriedSaint Andrew's Catholic Cathedral
ParentsThomas Fletcher
Helen (née Wehr)
OccupationBishop Emeritus of Little Rock
EducationLittle Rock College
Alma materSt. John Home Missions Seminary
Motto"God is With Us"
Styles of
Albert Fletcher
Mitre plain 2.png
Reference styleThe Most Reverend
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleMonsignor
Posthumous stylenone

Albert Lewis Fletcher (October 28, 1896 – December 6, 1979) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Little Rock from 1946 to 1972.


Albert Fletcher was born in Little Rock, Arkansas, to Thomas and Helen (née Wehr) Fletcher. His parents were both converts to Catholicism; his father was originally an Episcopalian and his mother a Lutheran. He and his family moved to Paris, Logan County a few months after his birth, and later to Tontitown and then Mena. In 1912 he entered Little Rock College, from where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry in 1916. After completing his theological studies at St. John Home Missions Seminary, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop John Baptist Morris on June 4, 1920. He then served as an assistant professor of chemistry and biology at Little Rock College, where he became president in 1923. In 1922 he earned a Master of Science degree from the University of Chicago. He was professor of dogmatic theology and canon law at St. John Seminary (1925–1929), and chancellor (1926–1933) and vicar general (1933–1946) of the Diocese of Little Rock. He was named a Papal Chamberlain in 1929 and a Domestic Prelate in 1934.[1]

On December 11, 1939, Fletcher was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Little Rock and Titular Bishop of Samos by Pope Pius XII. He received his episcopal consecration on April 25, 1940, from Archbishop Amleto Cicognani, with Bishops Jules Jeanmard and William O'Brien serving as co-consecrators. He was the first native Arkansan to become a Catholic bishop, and his was the first consecration to be held in that state.

Fletcher was later named Bishop of Little Rock on December 7, 1946. He was a staunch advocate of desegregation, supporting the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, and reprimanding Governor Orval Faubus for attempting to prevent desegregation at Little Rock Central High School in 1957. In a 1960 publication entitled "An Elementary Catholic Catechism on the Morality of Segregation and Racial Discrimination," he described segregation as "immoral...unjust and uncharitable," and stated that it could even constitute mortal sin "when the act of racial prejudice committed is a serious infraction of the law of justice or charity".[2][3]

From 1962 to 1965, Fletcher attended the Second Vatican Council in Rome. Although he inaugurated the liturgical use of the vernacular in his diocese as early as 1964, he did not follow the Council’s advice on creating permanent deacons, and closed St. John Seminary after some of its faculty publicly questioned the Church’s stance on birth control and papal infallibility. The anti-Communist Fletcher was also opposed to calling for an end to the Vietnam War and to giving amnesty for those who resisted the war and avoided the draft. After twenty-five years of service, he retired as Little Rock’s ordinary on July 4, 1972.

Bishop Fletcher died in Little Rock, at the age of 83. He is buried in the crypt of St. Andrew's Cathedral.


  1. ^ Abbott, Shirley (2000). Williams, Nancy A.; Whayne, Jeannie M. (eds.). Arkansas biography : a collection of notable lives. Fayetteville: University of Arkansas Press. pp. 104–105. ISBN 9781557285881. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
  2. ^ TIME Magazine. "Segregation Is Immoral" April 25, 1960
  3. ^ Roman Catholic Diocese of Little Rock Fighting Segregation With Cathechism [1] The Tuscaloosa News - Aug 4, 1960

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
John Baptist Morris
Bishop of Little Rock
Succeeded by
Andrew Joseph McDonald
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Little Rock
Succeeded by