Francis Brennan

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Francis Brennan
Prefect of the Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments
Ordination April 3, 1920
by Cardinal Basilio Pompilj
Consecration June 25, 1968
by Cardinal Eugène-Gabriel-Gervais-Laurent Tisserant
Created Cardinal June 26, 1967
by Paul VI
Personal details
Born (1894-05-07)May 7, 1894
Shenandoah, Pennsylvania
Died July 2, 1968(1968-07-02) (aged 74)
Buried Crypt of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral-Basilica
Nationality American
Denomination Roman Catholic
Parents James and Margaret (née Connors) Brennan
Education St. Charles Borromeo Seminary
Alma mater Pontifical Roman Athenaeum S. Apollinare
Coat of arms

Francis John Joseph Brennan (May 7, 1894 – July 2, 1968) was an American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Dean of the Roman Rota from 1959 to 1968, and then as Prefect of the Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments from 1968 until his death. Brennan was elevated to the cardinalate in 1967.


An American of Irish extraction,[1] Francis Brennan was born in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, to James and Margaret (née Connors) Brennan. He studied at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Overbrook before furthering his studies in Rome, where he attended the Pontifical Roman Athenaeum S. Apollinare and the Pontifical Roman Seminary. He was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Basilio Pompilj on April 3, 1920.

Upon his return to the United States, Brennan did pastoral work in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia from 1924 to 1928, when he became a member of the faculty at his alma mater of St. Charles Seminary. He was also an official of the archdiocesan curia of Philadelphia from 1937 to 1940. Described as a "brilliant canon lawyer,"[1] he was named an Auditor of the Roman Rota on August 1, 1940, rising to become its Dean on December 14, 1959.

On June 10, 1967, Brennan was appointed Titular Archbishop of Tubunae in Mauretania by Pope Paul VI. He received his episcopal consecration on the following June 25 from Cardinal Eugène-Gabriel-Gervais-Laurent Tisserant, with Bishops Joseph Carroll McCormick and Luigi Faveri serving as co-consecrators, at the church of Sant'Anselmo all'Aventino.

Paul VI created him Cardinal-Deacon of S. Eustachio in the consistory the next day, on June 26, 1967. Brennan was later named Prefect of the Congregation for the Discipline of the Sacraments on January 15, 1968.

The Cardinal died from a heart attack in Philadelphia, aged 74.[1] At the time of his death, he had risen to the highest post within the Holy See ever held by an American.[2] Brennan is buried in the crypt of SS. Peter and Paul Cathedral-Basilica.


  1. ^ a b c "Milestones". TIME Magazine. 1968-07-12. 
  2. ^ Staff report (July 3, 1968). Francis Cardinal Brennan Dies; Led Congregation of Sacraments; Prelate Rose Higher in Curia Than Any Other American -- Chief Judge of Rota. New York Times
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Titular Bishop of Tubunae in Mauretania
1967 - 1968
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Cardinal-Deacon of S. Eustachio
1967 - 1968
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Francesco Carpino
Prefect of the Congregation for the
Discipline of the Sacraments

1968 - 1968
Succeeded by
Antonio Samoré