Carroll Thomas Dozier

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Carroll Thomas Dozier
Bishop of Memphis
Appointed November 12, 1970
Installed 1971
Term ended 1982
Ordination March 19, 1937
Consecration January 6, 1971
by Cardinal John Joseph Wright
Personal details
Born (1911-08-18)August 18, 1911
Richmond, Virginia
Died December 7, 1985(1985-12-07) (aged 74)
Parents Curtis Merry and Rosa Ann (née Conaty) Dozier
Education Benedictine High School, Richmond
Alma mater College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts

Carroll Thomas Dozier (August 18, 1911—December 7, 1985) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He was the first Bishop of Memphis (1971-1982).


One of five children, Carroll Dozier was born in Richmond, Virginia, to Curtis Merry and Rosa Ann (née Conaty) Dozier.[1] After graduating from Benedictine High School in Richmond in 1928, he attended the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, from where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1932.[1] He then furthered his studies in Rome at the Pontifical North American College and the Pontifical Gregorian University, there earning a Bachelor of Sacred Theology.[2] He was ordained to the priesthood in Rome on March 19, 1937.[3]

Following his return to Virginia in 1937, Dozier served as a curate at St. Vincent's Church in Newport News until 1941, when he was transferred to St. Joseph's Church in Petersburg.[1] He was diocesan director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith (1945-1954) and afterwards pastor of Christ the King Church in Norfolk (1954-1971).[1] He was named a Papal Chamberlain in 1954 and a Domestic Prelate in 1961.[2]

On November 12, 1970, Dozier was appointed the first Bishop of the newly erected Diocese of Memphis, Tennessee, by Pope Paul VI.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on January 6, 1971 from Cardinal John Joseph Wright, with Archbishops Luigi Raimondi and Thomas Joseph McDonough serving as co-consecrators.[3] During his tenure, Dozier implemented the reforms of the Second Vatican Council, including insisting on liturgical changes and giving more important roles to the laity in diocesan affairs.[2] He also established the Diocesan Housing Corporation, Catholic Charities, Ministry to the Sick, and a weekly newspaper called Common Sense.[2] A self-described "progressive,"[2] Dozier was an early opponent of the Vietnam War and offered support to draft dodgers.[4] He also called for busing to achieve desegregation in public schools, opposed capital punishment, and supported ecumenism and women's rights.[2][4] In 1970 he celebrated two Masses of Reconciliation at Memphis and Jackson for lapsed Catholics; he gave general absolution to those in attendance, to the dismay of Pope Paul VI and Cardinal James Knox.[4]

After eleven years as bishop, Dozier resigned due to poor health on July 27, 1982.[3] He later died after suffering a stroke at age 74.[4]


  1. ^ a b c d Curtis, Georgina Pell (1961). The American Catholic Who's Who. XIV. Grosse Pointe, Michigan: Walter Romig. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f Zurhellen, Joan (2006-01-12). "First bishop of diocese remembered". Roman Catholic Diocese of Memphis. Archived from the original on 2006-05-17. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Bishop Carroll Thomas Dozier". 
  4. ^ a b c d "Bishop Carroll T. Dozier, 74; Ex-Head of Memphis Diocese". The New York Times. 1985-12-08. 
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bishop of Memphis
Succeeded by
James Stafford