|President Emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State|
|Appointed||October 15, 1997|
|Term ended||September 15, 2006|
|Predecessor||Rosalio José Castillo Lara|
|Other posts||Cardinal Priest of Ss. Andrea e Gregorio al Monte Celio|
June 5, 1954|
by Thomas Lawrence Noa
July 20, 1971|
by John Francis Dearden
June 28, 1988|
by John Paul II
September 14, 1927|
Grand Rapids, Michigan, U.S.A
August 20, 2014 (aged 86)|
Novi, Michigan, U.S.A
President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See (1990–1997)|
Archbishop of Detroit (1981–1990)
Bishop of Gaylord (1971–1981)
|Motto||To Live in Faith|
|Coat of arms|
|Reference style||His Eminence|
|Spoken style||Your Eminence|
Edmund Casimir Szoka (September 14, 1927 – August 20, 2014) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He was President Emeritus of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State and President Emeritus of the Governatorate of Vatican City State, having previously served as Bishop of Gaylord from 1971 to 1981 and Archbishop of Detroit from 1981 to 1990. Szoka was elevated to the cardinalate in 1988.
Edmund Casimir Szoka was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to Casimir and Mary (née Wolgat) Szoka, Polish immigrants. He has an older sister, Irene, and moved with his family in the early 1930s to Muskegon, where he did his primary studies at St. Michael School. Attracted to life as a priest at an early age, Szoka attended St. Joseph's Seminary in Grand Rapids, Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit for his junior and senior years, and then St. John's Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, Michigan to study theology.
On June 5, 1954, he was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Thomas Noa in St. Peter's Cathedral in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. He did pastoral work in Manistique but soon thereafter became secretary to Bishop Noa of Marquette, whom he accompanied to the first session of the Second Vatican Council in 1962. During this period he also served as chaplain at St. Mary’s Hospital and K. I. Sawyer Air Force Base. From 1957 to 1959, he studied canon law at the Pontifical Urbaniana University or the Pontifical Lateran University in Rome. Upon returning to the United States, Szoka did pastoral and curial work, including serving as an official of the matrimonial tribunal, in Marquette until 1971. He was raised to the rank of Honorary Prelate of His Holiness on November 14, 1963, by Pope Paul VI.
Szoka was appointed the first Bishop of Gaylord on June 11, 1971. He received his episcopal consecration on the following July 20 from Cardinal John Francis Dearden, with Bishops Charles Salatka and Joseph McKinney serving as co-consecrators. A year later, the Bishops of the 4th pastoral region of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) elected him president for the period of 1972-77. At the same time, he was treasurer and secretary of the Episcopal Conference of Michigan. As Bishop of Gaylord, Szoka improved the annulment consideration process, drawing from his experience in the matrimonial tribunal in Marquette.
On March 21, 1981, he was promoted to the third Metropolitan Archbishop of Detroit (eighth bishop) by Pope John Paul II. Since 1981, he also served as president of the Administration Council of the provincial seminary of St. John in Plymouth, Michigan and SS. Cyril and Methodius Seminary near Orchard Lake Village, Michigan. He was also a president of the board of directors of the Episcopal Conference of Michigan, member of the executive committee of The Catholic University of America, president of the Committee for University Relations, Administrator of the National Sanctuary of the Immaculate Conception, treasurer of the NCCB, and served on committees within the Conference for: human values, bishops, dioceses and provinces, and economic affairs. He faced challenges of finance and enforcing Church discipline, and welcomed John Paul II to Detroit in 1987 during his tenure as Archbishop.
In 1983, he dealt with the case of Agnes Mary Mansour, a nun and the director of the Michigan Department of Community Health who worked to continue abortion services in Michigan. Szoka had given his permission for Mansour to serve the state but said she must oppose publicly funded abortion. Mansour believed abortion was tragic but should be legal, and she continued disbursing Medicaid abortion funds. Szoka appealed to Mansour's superiors in the Sisters of Mercy but the order supported her stance. Szoka referred the case to the Vatican, and Bishop Anthony Bevilacqua resolved it by ordering Mansour to resign either her government post or her orders. Mansour left the sisterhood.
Resigning as Archbishop of Detroit on April 28, 1990, Szoka had been named President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See on January 22, 1990, and served as such to October 14, 1997. In this position, he helped manage the Vatican's financial affairs
On October 14, 1997, Cardinal Szoka was named President of the Governorate of Vatican City State, and on February 22, 2001, President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State. Within the Roman Curia his membership includes: Secretariat of State (second section), and Causes of Saints, Bishops, Evangelization of Peoples (Congregatio de Propaganda Fide), Clergy, Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (congregations). He submitted his resignation to John Paul II in 2002, at the Church's mandatory retirement age of 75, but was requested to continue working. During his rare spare time, Szoka enjoyed walking through the Vatican Gardens.
Szoka was one of the cardinal electors who participated in the 2005 papal conclave that selected Pope Benedict XVI. As Governor of the Vatican, it fell to Szoka, along with Secretary of State Angelo Sodano and Camerlengo Eduardo Martínez Somalo, to prepare for the cardinal electors' housing at the Domus Sanctae Marthae.
It was announced on June 22, 2006, that his resignation had been accepted by Pope Benedict and that he would officially step down on September 15, 2006; he maintained all curial memberships until age 80. On what he would do after retirement, Szoka said he was interested in travel, writing, studying the Church Fathers, and continuing to provide priestly assistance to Detroit. Cardinal Szoka has fond memories of Pope John Paul II, especially in regard to his travels to Poland and to the United States: Cardinal Szoka lived in Northville, Michigan.
Szoka died on August 20, 2014, of natural causes, at Providence Park Hospital in Novi, Michigan. Pope Francis sent the incumbent Archbishop of Detroit, Allen Henry Vigneron, a papal telegram of condolence, in which he expressed his appreciation for the Cardinal's "tireless episcopal ministry in Gaylord and Detroit, and his years of service to the Apostolic See and the Vatican City State". Archbishop Vigneron, in his own statement, stated,: "We mourn the loss of a dedicated shepherd. For sixty years, Cardinal Szoka gave himself totally to his priestly service of Christ and his Church. He has gone home to the Heavenly Father with our prayers. May the Lord give him the reward of his labors." Cardinal Szoka's funeral Mass was celebrated on Tuesday, August 26, 2014, at Detroit's Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament. He was buried at the Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield, Michigan.
- "Home > Our Archdiocese > Meet Our Bishops > Retired Bishops > Cardinal Edmund Szoka". Archdiocese of Detroit. Archdiocese of Detroit. Archived from the original on 2014-09-10. Retrieved 2014-08-25.
- "The Nun vs. the Archbishop", Time, March 21, 1983.
- "Obey or Leave". TIME Magazine. 1983-05-23.
- The Michigan Catholic. "After 14 years away, Cd. Szoka still misses home" June 4, 2004
- Delaney, Robert (June 30, 2006). "Cd. Szoka looks to help local priests". The Michigan Catholic. Retrieved 2010-12-07.
Cardinal Szoka said he would like to spend half of each year back in Detroit, where he was archbishop from 1981 to 1990, and half of it at the new apartment he will have within the 109-acre city state.
- Montemurri, Patricia (21 August 2014). "Detroit Catholic Cardinal Edmund Szoka dies at age 86". The Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 21 August 2014.
- Vatican Radio. "Church mourns death of Cardinal Edmund Szoka". Official Vatican Network.
- http://www.catholicnews.com/data/briefs/cns/20140822.htm#head10[permanent dead link]
- The Michigan Catholic: "A life of faith: Cardinal Edmund C. Szoka, former Detroit archbishop, dies at 86" Archived 2014-08-27 at the Wayback Machine. August 21, 2014
|Catholic Church titles|
New Position Created
| President of the Governorate of Vatican City State
Title last held byRosalio José Castillo Lara
| President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State|
| President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See
John Francis Dearden
| Archbishop of Detroit
| Bishop of Gaylord
Robert John Rose