James Peter Davis

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James Peter Davis (June 9, 1904 – March 4, 1988) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of San Juan (1943-64) and Archbishop of Santa Fe (1964-74).


James Davis was born in Houghton, Michigan, the only child of John Frank and Elizabeth R. (née Didier) Davis.[1] He and his family moved to Topeka, Kansas, and afterwards to Flagstaff, Arizona. He studied at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, California, and was ordained to the priesthood on May 19, 1929.[2] He served as chancellor of the Diocese of Tucson from 1930 to 1932.[1]

On July 3, 1943, Davis was appointed Bishop of San Juan in Puerto Rico by Pope Pius XII.[2] He received his episcopal consecration on the following October 6 from Bishop Daniel James Gercke, with Bishops Thomas Arthur Connolly and Joseph Thomas McGucken serving as co-consecrators.[2] In 1958, he estimated that 90 percent of Puerto Ricans were nominally Catholics, while only 30 percent practiced their faith.[3] A strong opponent of Luis Muñoz Marín, Davis once declared he "will never climb the steps of the Fortaleza as long as Luis Muñoz Marín is Governor of Puerto Rico."[4] In 1960, he and two other bishops issued a pastoral letter that prohibited Catholics from voting for Muñoz Marín's Popular Democratic Party.[5] However, he later said there would be no punishment for Catholics who violated this order.[6]

He was promoted to the first Archbishop of San Juan, Puerto Rico April 30, 1960. In 1963, Davis' predecessor in the archbishopric of San Juan, Edwin Byrne died while serving as Archbishop of Santa Fe. In 1964, Pope Paul VI, transferred Davis into Byrne's former position, again, when he was appointed to be the ninth Archbishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Five year before reaching the mandatory age of retirement for a bishop according to canon law, he retired as Archbishop of Santa Fe in 1974. He died in Phoenix, Arizona, in 1988.


  1. ^ a b Curtis, Georgina Pell (1961). The American Catholic Who's Who. XIV. Grosse Pointe, Michigan: Walter Romig. 
  2. ^ a b c "Archbishop James Peter Davis". Catholic-Hierarchy.org. 
  3. ^ "WAGNER ATTENDS RITES IN SAN JUAN; Catholic Social Action Unit Dedicated—Island Work for Migrants Cited". The New York Times. 1958-01-23. 
  4. ^ "SAN JUAN PEACE SOUGHT; Bishop Asks for Reconciliation With Governor Munoz Marin". The New York Times. 1953-03-16. 
  5. ^ "VATICAN WILL GET PROTEST BY MUNOZ; Puerto Rico Governor Will Appeal Letter of Bishops After Election Day". The New York Times. 1960-10-23. 
  6. ^ "ARCHBISHOP ENDS SAN JUAN DISPUTE; Reaffirms Prohibition of Vote Penalty—Popular Party Makes Peace Move". The New York Times. 1960-11-25. 

External links and additional sources[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Edwin Byrne
Archbishop of San Juan
Succeeded by
Luis Aponte Martínez
Preceded by
Edwin Byrne
Archbishop of Santa Fe
Succeeded by
Robert Sanchez