James Francis Carney

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the Canadian archbishop. For the American missionary who died in Honduras, see James Carney (American priest).
Most Rev.
James Francis Carney
Archbishop of Vancouver
Province British Columbia
Diocese Archdiocese of Vancouver
Installed 1969
Term ended 1990
Predecessor Martin Michael Johnson
Successor Adam Exner
Ordination 1942 – Priest
Consecration 1966 – Bishop
Personal details
Birth name James Francis Carney
Born (1915-06-28)June 28, 1915
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Died September 16, 1990(1990-09-16) (aged 75)
Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
Nationality Canadian
Denomination Roman Catholic

James Francis Carney (June 28, 1915 – September 16, 1990) was a Canadian archbishop of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as the eighth Archbishop of Vancouver, British Columbia, from 1964 until his death in 1990. He was the first Archbishop of Vancouver born in the city of Vancouver.

Early life[edit]

Carney was born on June 28, 1915, in what was then considered the "southern part" of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.[1] He had two brothers—John and Bernard—and one sister, Josephine,[2] who became a nun and is Carney's last surviving sibling.[3]

Ordination and priestly life[edit]

On March 21, 1942, James Carney was ordained a priest by Archbishop William Mark Duke in Vancouver. He first worked at the Holy Rosary Cathedral as an assistant pastor from 1942 to 1950. In addition to assisting at the cathedral, Carney also served as editor of The B.C. Catholic newspaper and chancellor of the archdiocese.[1]

In 1950, Carney was transferred to St. Patrick's Church, where he worked for four years. Subsequently, he was chosen as assistant pastor to Corpus Christi and shortly afterwards, he became the pastor of the parish. In 1964, Carney was appointed as the Archdiocese's vicar general. As a result, he was allowed to use the title "Monsignor". After two years, he was ordained as auxiliary bishop of Vancouver on February 11, 1966, by Cardinal Sergio Pignedoli, with then-Archbishop of Vancouver Martin Michael Johnson and Michael O’Neill of Regina acting as the co-consecrators.[1]

Archbishop of Vancouver[edit]

After Archbishop Johnson resigned in 1969, Carney was chosen to succeed him and was installed as Archbishop of Vancouver on February 11, 1969. By assuming the position, Carney became the first Archbishop of Vancouver to have been born in Vancouver.[1]

According to The Vancouver Sun, Carney ruled during what was described as "the most tumultuous years"[4] endured by the archdiocese. With the Second Vatican Council having just been completed, many Catholics in Vancouver who saw the council as a call for "revolution"[4] viewed Carney as an ultra-conservative.[4] This is in light of the fact that Carney gave his full support to Pope Paul VI's controversial encyclical Humanae Vitae.[5] Furthermore, he declined to accept money from the United Way of Canada, as they were also funding pro-choice groups. As a result of his socially conservative stances, there were many deep divisions from within the archdiocese throughout Carney's tenure.[4] Though he was known for his tall, imposing and yet shy demeanour, Carney was involved in controversy and labelled "anti-union" when he ordered a Catholic school to close after its teachers had joined a labour union.[4]

Under Carney's episcopacy, several key institutions in the archdiocese were created. In 1980, he asked the Sisters of Charity of the Immaculate Conception to create an archive office for the archdiocese.[6] Six years later, Carney helped organize the Catholic Charities Justice Services in order to help those who are imprisoned.[7] Known for his steadfast support of priestly vocations, Carney was chosen by Pope John Paul II to be a member of the Congregation for the Clergy in 1986.[1]


Carney developed cancer in 1989 and subsequently submitted his resignation in June of the following year in accordance with church policy, having reached the mandatory retirement age of 75.[2] However, it had not been accepted at the time he died. Instead, he was invited to attend the Synod of Bishops,[1] being the only Canadian cleric invited to the meeting held in late September 1990. He turned down the offer because of his frail health.[2] On September 16, 1990, Carney died after suffering from cancer for fourteen months.[2] He is buried inside the Resurrection Mausoleum at the Gardens of Gethsemani cemetery in Surrey, British Columbia.[8]


The Archbishop Carney Regional Secondary School, located in Coquitlam, British Columbia, was built and named in his honour. Carney also mandated that St. Paul's Hospital open its doors without hesitation to people with AIDS, even as other hospitals turned them away.[9]


  1. ^ a b c d e f "Archbishop James Carney". RCAV.org. Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Vancouver. Archived from the original on July 6, 2010. Retrieved October 12, 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Obituary – James Carney, Vancouver Archbishop". The Seattle Times. Associated Press. September 18, 1990. Retrieved October 12, 2012. 
  3. ^ Krump, Elizabeth (September 19, 2012). "Parishioners 'give so much of themselves'". The B.C. Catholic. Retrieved October 12, 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Todd, Douglas (June 2, 2007). "Talk of B.C. cardinal". The Vancouver Sun. Retrieved October 12, 2012. 
  5. ^ Lopez-Galo, Pedro (April 18, 2012). "Pope Paul VI surprised some with Humanae Vitae". The B.C. Catholic. Retrieved October 12, 2012. 
  6. ^ McMahon, Laureen (October 11, 2011). "Sisters say farewell as order returns to N.B.". The B.C. Catholic. Retrieved October 12, 2012. 
  7. ^ McMahon, Laureen (October 5, 2011). "Ministry workshop offers way into prison without conviction". The B.C. Catholic. Retrieved October 12, 2012. 
  8. ^ Mattson, Brent (February 2, 2011). "Archbishop's remains moved from New West". The B.C. Catholic. Retrieved October 12, 2012. 
  9. ^ "A fierce grace: leadership secrets of Adam Exner.". thefreelibrary.com. 

External links[edit]

Religious titles
Preceded by
Martin Michael Johnson
Archbishop of Vancouver
Succeeded by
Adam Joseph Exner