Charles F. Buddy

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The Most Reverend
Charles F. Buddy
Bishop of San Diego
Bishop Buddy.jpg
Portrait of Bishop Buddy
See San Diego
Installed October 31, 1936
Term ended March 6, 1966
Successor Francis James Furey
Ordination September 19, 1914
Consecration December 21, 1936
by Charles Hubert Le Blond
Personal details
Born (1887-10-04)October 4, 1887
Saint Joseph, Missouri
Died March 6, 1966(1966-03-06) (aged 78)
Banning, California
Buried Holy Cross Cemetery, San Diego
Nationality American
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Styles of
Charles F. Buddy
Mitre (plain).svg
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Monsignor
Posthumous style none

Charles Francis Buddy (October 4, 1887—March 6, 1966) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of San Diego from 1936 until his death in 1966. Buddy came to San Diego in 1937 as the first Bishop of the new Diocese of San Diego. Educated in Rome, he was a hard-working administrator who collaborated easily with every element in the city's leadership. He was a builder, creating 150 new parishes, 30 mission chapels, 75 elementary schools, and a diocesan newspaper for the rapidly expanding Catholic population. Emphasizing the historic Catholic connections of the city – which was named San Diego after St. Diego (Didacus) de Alcalá. He restored Mission San Diego de Alcalá, and invested heavily in Mission Style architecture. He built a higher education complex, now the University of San Diego, that included a college for women, a men’s college, law school, theological seminary, a basilica for the chapel, and offices for the diocese.[1]

Early life and education[edit]

Charles Buddy was born in St. Joseph, Missouri, one of seven children of Charles Allen and Annie (née Farrell) Buddy.[2] His father was a wholesale fruit merchant.[3] He received his early education at the "Little Convent," a parochial school for boys in his native city.[4] At age 10, he enrolled at the Christian Brothers College, also in St. Joseph.[2] He entered St. Benedict's College in Atchison, Kansas, in 1902, and transferred to St. Mary's College two years later.[4]

Following his graduation from St. Mary's in 1909, Buddy began his studies for the priesthood at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.[5] He earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1911 and a licentiate in theology in 1913.[2]


Buddy was ordained a priest at the Basilica of St. John Lateran on September 19, 1914.[6] He returned to Missouri in August 1915, after which he was assigned as a curate at St. Joseph's Cathedral.[2] In 1917, he was named chancellor of the Diocese of St. Joseph and secretary to Bishop Maurice Francis Burke.[5] He resigned from both positions in 1919, when he fell victim to a severe attack of influenza.[4]

After regaining his health, Buddy served as diocesan director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith from 1922 to 1936.[2] He also served as rector of St. Joseph's Cathedral from 1926 to 1936.[7] In 1930, he founded St. Vincent's Cafeteria and Shelter for the destitute, which the government took over in 1934 as a transient relief bureau.[2][3] He also established St. Augustine's Church, the first Catholic parish for African Americans in northern Missouri.[5] He sat on the municipal board of health, assisted in Community Chest campaigns, and founded an Information Forum for people of all religions.[3]


On October 31, 1936, Buddy was appointed the first Bishop of the newly erected Diocese of San Diego in California by Pope Pius XI.[6] He received his episcopal consecration on the following December 21 from Bishop Charles Hubert Le Blond, with Bishops Gerald Thomas Bergan and Francis Joseph Monaghan serving as co-consecrators.[6] His installation took place at St. Joseph's Cathedral in San Diego on February 3, 1937.[8] The new diocese was located in Southern California and included San Bernardino, Riverside, Imperial, and San Diego Counties.[8] Buddy was close friends with Bishop William David O'Brien, director of the Catholic Church Extension Society, which generously donated to the Diocese of San Diego for the construction of churches and the financial support of priests.[8]

In 1939, Buddy declared that "the world is in a stupor from an overdose of materialism."[9] A strong opponent of communism, which he claimed wants to "destroy both church and state," Buddy once said, "These 'isms' have tried the patience of our poor and underprivileged who are being tempted by false prophets and insincere leaders."[9] He co-founded the University of San Diego in 1949, serving as its first president from 1950 to 1966.[10] He attended the first session of the Second Vatican Council in 1962.[6]

Buddy died in Banning, California on a confirmation trip to parishes in the San Gorgonio Pass at age 78.[5]


  1. ^ Kevin Starr, Coast of Dreams: California on the Edge, 1990-2003 (2004) p 62
  2. ^ a b c d e f Curtis, Georgina Pell (1961). The American Catholic Who's Who. XIV. Grosse Pointe, Michigan: Walter Romig. 
  3. ^ a b c "Religion: San Diego's Buddy". TIME Magazine. 1936-11-16. 
  4. ^ a b c Stevens, Walter Barlow (1921). Centennial History of Missouri (The Center State): One Hundred Years in the Union, 1820-1921. III. St. Louis: The S.J. Clarke Publishing Company. 
  5. ^ a b c d Weber, Francis J. (1973). The Pilgrim Church in California. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Bishop Charles Francis Buddy". 
  7. ^ "Our History". Cathedral of Saint Joseph. Archived from the original on 2010-07-25. 
  8. ^ a b c "Nuestra Señora De Guadalupe: The Mexican Catholic Experience in San Diego". The Journal of San Diego History. 
  9. ^ a b "BISHOP WARNS ON 'ISMS'; Buddy, at San Francisco, Says World Is in a 'Stupor'". The New York Times. 1939-07-31. 
  10. ^ "History of USD". University of San Diego. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Burt J. Boudoin. Fortress on the Hill: Founding the University of San Diego and the San Diego College for Women, 1942-1963 (2001)

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Bishop of San Diego
Succeeded by
Francis James Furey