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Henry J. Althoff

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The Most Reverend

Henry J. Althoff
Bishop of Belleville
SeeDiocese of Belleville
In officeFebruary 24, 1914 -
July 3, 1947
PredecessorJohn Janssen
SuccessorAlbert Rudolph Zuroweste
OrdinationJuly 26, 1902
by Simon Aichner
ConsecrationFebruary 24, 1914
by James Edward Quigley
Personal details
Born(1873-08-28)August 28, 1873
DiedJuly 3, 1947(1947-07-03) (aged 73)
DenominationRoman Catholic
ParentsFrederick and Theresa (née Poelker) Althoff
EducationSt. Joseph College
St. Francis Solanus College
University of Innsbruck

Henry J. Althoff (August 28, 1873 – July 3, 1947) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as bishop of the Diocese of Belleville in Illinois from 1914 until his death in 1947.


Early life[edit]

Henry Althoff was born on August 28, 1873, in Aviston, Illinois, to Frederick and Theresa (née Poelker) Althoff.[1] He completed his classical and philosophy studies at St. Joseph College in Teutopolis, Illinois (A.B., 1898) and at St. Francis Solanus College in Quincy, Illinois (M.A., 1899).[1] He then studied theology at the University of Innsbruck in Innsbruck, Austria,


Althoff was ordained to the priesthood in Austria by then Bishop Simon Aichner on July 26, 1902.[2] After returning to Illinois, Althoffe served as a curate at a parish in Damiansville, Illinois. In 1903, he was transferred to a parish in East St. Louis, Illinois.[1] He served as pastor of parishes in Okawville, Illinois, and Nashville, Illinois, from 1905 to 1914.[1][3]

Bishop of Belleville[edit]

On December 4, 1913, Althoff was appointed as the second bishop of the Diocese of Belleville by Pope Pius X.[2] He received his episcopal consecration on February 24, 1914, from Archbishop James Quigley, with Bishops Peter Muldoon and Paul Rhode serving as co-consecrators.[2]Althoff was noted for his abilities with languages - he was fluent in German, French and Polish, and could maintain a conversation in Croatian, Italian and Lithuanian.[4]

In July 1927, Althoff banned female parishioners from receiving communion if they were wearing makeup, sleeveless tops or low-cut tops.[5] In 1937, Althoff forbade church-sponsored gambling in the diocese, encouraging Catholics to support their parishes by direct contribution rather than parish parties and festivals.[6] Later that year, he banned dancing the night before a holy day. Since New Years Day was a holy day, that meant no parties on New Years Eve.[7] Atholl was named by the Vatican as an assistant at the pontifical throne on April 15, 1939.[1]

Henry Althoff died after a three-month illness in Belleville on July 3, 1947, at age 73.[3] Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville is named in his honor.


  1. ^ a b c d e Curtis, Georgina Pell (1947). The American Catholic Who's Who. Vol. VII. Grosse Pointe, Michigan: Walter Romig.
  2. ^ a b c "Bishop Henry J. Althoff". Catholic-Hierarchy.org.
  3. ^ a b "Most Rev. H. J. Althoff". The New York Times. Retrieved 2022-06-05.
  4. ^ Radzilowski, John; Gunkel, Ann Hetzel (2020-02-28). Poles in Illinois. SIU Press. ISBN 978-0-8093-3724-8.
  5. ^ "Bishop Bans Modern Dress; Illinois Prelate Forbids Communion Rail to Women Wearing Rouge or Low Necks". The New York Times. 1927-07-18. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-06-05.
  6. ^ "Catholics & Chance". Time. 1937-12-27. Archived from the original on January 25, 2012.
  7. ^ "Bans New Year's Eve Parties". The New York Times. 1937-12-18. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2022-06-05.

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by Bishop of Belleville
Succeeded by