Elden Francis Curtiss

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
His Excellency, The Most Reverend
Elden Francis Curtiss
Archbishop Emeritus of Omaha
Curtiss, Elden at St. Leonard 2013-12-01b.JPG
Curtiss in 2013
Archdiocese Omaha
Appointed May 4, 1993
Installed June 25, 1993
Term ended June 3, 2009
Predecessor Daniel E. Sheehan
Successor George Lucas
Ordination May 24, 1958
Consecration April 28, 1976
by Cornelius Michael Power, Thomas Joseph Connolly, and Francis Peter Leipzig
Personal details
Born (1932-06-16) June 16, 1932 (age 86)
Baker City, Oregon
Nationality American
Denomination Roman Catholic
Previous post Bishop of Helena
Motto That We May All Be One
Styles of
Elden Francis Curtiss
Coat of arms of Elden Francis Curtiss.svg
Reference style
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Archbishop

Elden Francis Curtiss (born June 16, 1932) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Helena from 1976 to 1993, and Archbishop of Omaha from 1993 to 2009.


Early life and career[edit]

Elden Curtiss was born in Baker City, Oregon, the eldest of four sons of Elden and Mary (née Neiger) Curtiss. He studied at St. Edward Seminary in Kenmore, Washington, and was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Francis P. Leipzig on May 24, 1958. He was assigned to parishes in Lakeview, La Grande, and Jordan Valley, Oregon, and served as a hospital chaplain.[1]

Curtiss furthered his studies at Fordham University, at the University of Portland, and at the University of Notre Dame, acquiring a master of divinity degree and a master of arts degree in education administration. He served as director of information and as superintendent of schools in the Diocese of Baker. In 1970, he joined the faculty of Mount Angel Seminary; in 1972, he was appointed president-rector of the seminary.[1][2]

Bishop of Helena[edit]

On March 4, 1976, Curtiss was appointed the seventh Bishop of Helena, Montana, by Pope Paul VI.[3][4] He was ordained as a bishop on April 28, 1976, by Archbishop Cornelius Power of Portland, Oregon.[5] He selected as his episcopal motto: "That We May All Be One" (John 17:21).

Archbishop of Omaha[edit]

Curtiss was later named the fourth Archbishop of Omaha, Nebraska, by Pope John Paul II on May 4, 1993. Succeeding the retiring Daniel Sheehan, he was formally installed on June 25 of that year.

Upon reaching his 75th birthday in 2007, Curtiss submitted his resignation, as required by church law.[6] In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI accepted his resignation and named George J. Lucas as his successor.[1]

Response to sexual abuse claims[edit]

During his tenure as the Bishop of Helena, Curtiss chose to reassign a priest who had been accused of pedophilia in 1959, later admitting that he had not properly examined the church's personnel file on the individual concerned. Curtis faced similar criticism in 2001 in regard to a priest accused of accessing child pornography. Curtis, it was alleged, had failed to bring the case to the attention of the authorities, and had chosen to send the priest for counseling and to reassign the priest, removing him from his high-school teaching position but reassigning him to a middle-school.[7]

In 2009, Curtiss stated that the bishops had "learned the hard way", but that the church was better now that it had gone through the process of responding to the sexual abuse issues.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "Most Reverend Elden F. Curtiss". Archdiocese of Omaha. Retrieved 2015-01-04. Archived 2014-07-11 at Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Bunting, Robert. "Elden Francis Curtiss (1932–)". The Oregon Encyclopedia. Retrieved 2015-01-04.
  3. ^ "1976-1993 Bishop Curtiss". Roman Catholic Diocese of Helena. Retrieved 2015-01-04.
  4. ^ Susan Szalewski. "Archbishop Emeritus Curtiss plans trip to Pope Paul VI's beatification". Catholic Voice. 2014-10-03. Retrieved 2015-01-04.
  5. ^ "Archbishop Elden Curtiss notes anniversary". Archived April 2, 2015, at the Wayback Machine. Catholic Sentinel. 2006-05-12. Retrieved 2015-01-04. Archived 2015-04-02 at Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ "At age 75, Archbishop Curtiss submits resignation". Catholic Voice. 2007-06-21. Retrieved 2015-01-04.
  7. ^ Egerton, Brooks; Dunklin, Reese (June 12, 2002). "Bishops' record in cases of accused priests". Dallas Morning News.
  8. ^ Burbach, Christopher. "Archbishop talks frankly about pain and joy of his 16-year tenure". Omaha World-Herald.

External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Daniel Eugene Sheehan
Archbishop of Omaha
1993 –2009
Succeeded by
George Joseph Lucas
Preceded by
Raymond Gerhardt Hunthausen
Bishop of Helena
1976 – 1993
Succeeded by
Alexander Joseph Brunett