John J. Myers

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John Joseph Myers
Archbishop Emeritus of Newark
Ecclesiastical Superior Emeritus of Turks and Caicos
Abp John Myers.jpg
AppointedJuly 24, 2001
InstalledOctober 9, 2001
Term endedNovember 7, 2016
PredecessorTheodore Edgar McCarrick
SuccessorJoseph William Tobin
Other postsEcclesiastical Superior Emeritus of Turks and Caicos
OrdinationDecember 17, 1966
by Francis Frederick Reh
ConsecrationSeptember 3, 1987
by Edward W. O'Rourke, Thomas C. Kelly, and Donald Wuerl
Personal details
Born (1941-07-26) July 26, 1941 (age 78)
Earlville, Illinois
Previous post
Alma materPontifical Gregorian University
North American College
Styles of
John Joseph Myers
Coat of arms of John Joseph Myers.svg
Reference style
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleArchbishop
Ordination history of
John J. Myers
Episcopal consecration
Consecrated byEdward William O'Rourke
DateSeptember 3, 1987
Episcopal succession
Bishops consecrated by John J. Myers as principal consecrator
Edgar Moreira da CunhaJune 27, 2003
Gaetano Aldo DonatoMay 21, 2004
John Walter FleseyMay 21, 2004
Manuel Aurelio CruzJune 9, 2008

John Joseph Myers (born July 26, 1941) is an American prelate of the Catholic Church. He is Archbishop emeritus of Newark (New Jersey, U.S.). His resignation was accepted by Pope Francis on November 7, 2016.

Early years[edit]

The eldest of seven children, Myers has an ancestry that traces its roots to England, Ireland and France. Ancestors settled in northern Illinois in the late 19th century. The Myers family farmed land near Earlville, Illinois. Myers was childhood friends with author Gary K. Wolf; they collaborated on a science-fiction novel, SpaceVulture, released in 2008.[1] Prayer was an important part of their family routine and John Myers became an altar server in his parish, St. Theresa, from an early age. He attended the Earlville schools and graduated from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa in 1963. While he was a student at Loras, Bishop John Baptist Franz offered him the opportunity to prepare for the priesthood in Rome.[2]


He was ordained to the priesthood (by Bishop Francis Reh at St. Peter's Basilica in Rome) for the Diocese of Peoria (Illinois) on December 17, 1966. His education for the priesthood and as a priest included study in theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University while attending seminary at the North American College, where he received the S.T.L., or licentiate (post-master's certification) in sacred theology, and a doctorate in church law, the J.C.D.[2]


John Myers, at 46, was consecrated coadjutor Bishop of Peoria in 1987, with Peoria's Bishop Edward William O'Rourke as the principal consecrator, and Louisville's archbishop, Thomas Cajetan Kelly, O.P.; and the Bishop of Pittsburgh, Donald William Wuerl, serving as the co-consecrators. He served as coadjutor Bishop of Peoria, and became Bishop of Peoria upon O'Rourke's resignation and retirement in 1990.

On July 24, 2001, he was appointed the fifth Archbishop of Newark and third superior of the Mission Sui Iuris of Turks and Caicos. He was installed October 9, 2001, and the pallium was conferred on June 29, 2002.[2] Though the customary form of spoken address for an archbishop is "Your Excellency", he prefers to be addressed as "Your Grace".[3][4][5]

In 2013, Archbishop Myers was given a coadjutor archbishop: Bernard Hebda, until then the bishop of Gaylord, Michigan. However, in 2016, Hebda was named Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis instead. He had been administering that archdiocese as apostolic administrator for nine months from Newark.

Pope Francis accepted Myers' resignation on November 7, 2016.[6]


Myers is active in the Canon Law Society of America, having worked with committees dealing with the revised Code of Canon Law, diocesan fiscal officers, lay ministry, and diocesan governance, and served as a member of the CLSA Board of Governors. He helped present workshops on the revised Code of Canon Law for members of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.[2]

Archbishop Myers also served as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legal Texts at the Holy See. He is also a member of the Board of Trustees at The Catholic University of America; and serves on the board of the North American College and Mount Saint Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland.[2]

His hobby is writing and is the co-author with Gary K. Wolf (creator of Roger Rabbit) of Space Vulture, a 1950s pulp sci-fi pastiche novel published by Tor Books in 2008.[7]


Myers has been both praised and criticized because of his strong conservative views and management style. Many praise his leadership and say he champions authentic Catholic doctrine at a time when many feel Catholics are drifting from strict observance. But his critics describe a domineering bishop who places undue emphasis on the letter of the law at the expense of compassion. Myers defended his actions stating: "We live our faith in communion with the church in Rome...It's sometimes difficult for us as Catholics to follow a way that appears to be different from what others in our society practice or believe. This can, understandably, cause confusion or frustration in some people."[8] While Bishop of Peoria, Myers:

  • Prevented Bishop Thomas Gumbleton (now-retired auxiliary of Detroit) from meeting with a progressive group in a church in the Peoria diocese.
  • Admonished priests who give Holy Communion to pro-choice parishioners and divorced Catholics who remarry without getting an annulment.
  • Refused to let diocesan teachers attend a national meeting for Catholic educators because one of the speakers was known to favor ordination of women and fired a parochial school teacher for permitting a debate on ordination of women.
  • Supported the Cardinal Newman Society. Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb. (since retired), one of its stalwarts, has threatened to excommunicate Catholics who belong to liberal church organizations such as Call to Action.[9]

On April 30, 2010, the Archbishop expressed concern about a planned offering of a course on same-sex marriage by his diocese's Catholic university, Seton Hall University, saying it "troubles me greatly".[10][11]

Church sex scandal[edit]

In 2002, Archbishop Myers was among the two-thirds of sitting bishops and acting diocese administrators that the Dallas Morning News found had allowed priests accused of sexual abuse to continue working.[12]

In 2005 and 2007, the Diocese of Metuchen and the Archdiocese of Newark paid financial settlements to two priests who had accused Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of abuse.[13] According to Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington, nobody from the Archdiocese of Newark informed him of these settlements, even though after the retired McCarrick began living on the grounds of a seminary in the Archdiocese of Washington.[13]

In 2009 the Newark archdiocese installed the Rev. Michael Fugee as chaplain at Saint Michael’s Medical Center in Newark. Fugee had signed a confession admitting to fondling a teenage boy[14] and a jury convicted him in 2003 of criminal sexual contact, but that conviction was eventually overturned by an Appellate Court in 2006, for reasons unrelated to his admission.[15]

In order to avoid a retrial Fugee then signed an agreement with the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office in 2007 agreeing to a lifetime ban prohibiting him from work that would put him in contact with children. The Archdiocese co-signed the agreement stating they would supervise Fugee and keep the agreement in force. However, by 2013 Fugee was again working with children, this time with the youth ministry at St. Mary’s Parish in Colts Neck, a parish outside of the archdiocese. The archdiocese has stated that it was unaware of the activities and that it would not have permitted Fugee to engage in them. The Bergen County prosecutor is investigating possible criminal charges.[16] There were calls for Archbishop Myers to resign, including from members of the New Jersey legislature, because of his handling of Rev. Fugee.[17]


On December 10, 2010 Myers received the honour Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus by Prince Victor Emmanuel in recognition of the Archbishop’s exemplary leadership as head of his large Catholic archdiocesan flock and as an important church and religious leader in America.[18]

Retirement home controversy[edit]

In February 2014, the New York Times reported Archbishop Myers planned to retire to a "palace" being expanded to 7,500 square feet (700 m2) at his direction in Pittstown, New Jersey.[19][20] Without the new wing, Myers' home is currently assessed at $776,700.[21] The retirement home improvements will cost at least $500,000 with architects' fees. Furnishing promises to add to the existing $500,000 bill.[21]

Archdiocese spokesman Jim Goodness defended the installation of a 14 by 7 feet (4.3 m × 2.1 m) pool by saying "The press says it's a hot tub; it's a whirlpool..."[22][23] The proceeds from the sale of other properties owned by the archdiocese will pay for the expansion.[23][23]

An elementary school giving opportunities for immigrant children to study was closed when the church said it could not afford to continue running it. Dorothy Gawronski, a local said, "It was a loved place, that school, but the church, I don't think it’s rich anymore." Renovations to the archbishop's retirement home contrast with this.[24][25]

The Franklin Township residence where Myers plans to live in retirement has been called "lavish." This contrasts with the lifestyle of Pope Francis who is said to live frugally, has urged bishops to avoid living "like princes" and has advocated a "poor church for the poor."[26][27] Charles Zech, faculty director of the Center for Church Management and Business Ethics at Villanova University business school said that Myers was not paying attention to Pope Francis and was taking money out of the pockets of parishioners.[28]

A petition requesting that Myers sell the property garnered 17,000 signatures.[29]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Gary K. Wolf: Roger Rabbit Creator and Archbishop of Newark Team up to Write Science Fiction Novel". Science Fiction Writers of America. March 13, 2007. Archived from the original on July 1, 2007. Retrieved January 22, 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d e "The Most Reverend John J. Myers – Biographical Information". Archdiocese of Newark. Archived from the original on April 8, 2009. Retrieved April 12, 2010.
  3. ^ Powell, Michael (February 19, 2014). "A Church So Poor It Has to Close Schools, Yet So Rich It Can Build a Palace". New York Times. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  4. ^ "Archbishop's million-dollar retreat angers New Jersey faithful". FOX News. March 2, 2014. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  5. ^ For the use of "His Grace" as his reference style see: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Archived July 8, 2011, at the Wayback Machine, 6, 7 Archived March 3, 2016, at the Wayback Machine, 8 Archived November 30, 2014, at 9 Archived March 4, 2016, at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Pope Francis names new cardinal Joseph Tobin to Newark". CRUX. November 7, 2016. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  7. ^ Kahn, Joseph P. (February 28, 2007). "'Roger Rabbit' creator Gary K. Wolf and Archbishop John J. Myers travel back in time and conquer the universe". The Boston Globe. Retrieved March 27, 2014.
  8. ^ McClory, Robert (August 24, 2001). "Peoria's John Myers takes conservative message to Newark". National Catholic Reporter. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  9. ^ Austin, Charles (September 6, 2001). "Newark bishop's legacy is mixed". Bergen Record. Retrieved January 7, 2017.
  10. ^ New "Newark archbishop questions plan for Seton Hall University gay marriage class" May 1, 2010
  11. ^ Cardinal Newman Society: "Archbishop of Newark Criticizes Same-Sex ‘Marriage’ Course at Seton Hall" Archived September 28, 2011, at the Wayback Machine April 30, 2010
  12. ^ Egerton, Brooke; Reese Dunklin. "Special Reports: Catholic Bishops and Sex Abuse". Dallas Morning News. Archived from the original on February 18, 2004. Retrieved November 26, 2008.
  13. ^ a b Flynn, JD (July 31, 2018). "What might happen for McCarrick, and for the Church in the US". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved July 31, 2018.
  14. ^ "Fugee Police Statement". Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  15. ^ M. Kathleen Kelly/For The Star-Ledger (October 16, 2009). "Archdiocese removes priest from hospital in Newark after learning of molestation history". Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  16. ^ "Rev. Michael Fugee Scandal: 3 More Resign In Controversy Around Accused Priest". May 6, 2013. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  17. ^ Mueller, Mark (May 1, 2013). "Newark archbishop, Monmouth County pastor face new calls for resignation in priest scandal".
  18. ^ HRH Prince Victor Emmanuel of Savoy Honors Archbishop John L. Myers of the Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey – Press Release Distribution
  19. ^ A Church So Poor It Has to Close Schools, Yet So Rich It Can Build a Palace, by Michael Powell, February 19, 2014, New York Times
  20. ^ Mueller, Mark. "Newark archbishop's future retirement home undergoing a $500K addition". The Star Ledger. Retrieved February 20, 2014.
  21. ^ a b "Newark archbishop turning luxury home into a mansion for $500G: report". New York: NY Daily News. February 22, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  22. ^ "Newark archbishop turning luxury home into a mansion for $500G: report". New York: NY Daily News. February 22, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  23. ^ a b c Powell, Michael (February 19, 2014). "A Church So Poor It Has to Close Schools, Yet So Rich It Can Build a Palace". The New York Times.
  24. ^ Powell, Michael (February 19, 2014). "A Church So Poor It Has to Close Schools, Yet So Rich It Can Build a Palace" – via
  25. ^ "Newark archibishop's retirement home expansion builds up frustration: Letters". February 20, 2014. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  26. ^ "Newark archbishop's future retirement home undergoing a $500K addition". February 17, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  27. ^ "Newark Archbishop's pricey retirement home spurs backlash as parishioners withhold donations". March 2, 2014. Retrieved April 6, 2014.
  28. ^ Blair, Leonardo (February 18, 2014). "Newark's Archbishop Under Fire for Making Lavish $500K Addition to $800K Retirement Home Despite Pope Wanting 'Poor Church'". Christian Post. Retrieved January 8, 2017.
  29. ^ Mueller, Mark (April 12, 2014). "Angry about archbishop's pricey retirement home, parishioners to deliver 17,000 signatures Sunday". Retrieved November 7, 2016.

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Theodore Edgar McCarrick
Archbishop of Newark
July 24, 2001 – November 7, 2016
Succeeded by
Joseph W. Tobin
Ecclesiastical Superior of Turks and Caicos
October 9, 2001 – November 7, 2016
Preceded by
Edward William O'Rourke
Bishop of Peoria
January 23, 1990 – July 24, 2001
Succeeded by
Daniel Robert Jenky, C.S.C.