John Michael Fearns

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John Michael Fearns
Auxiliary Bishop of New York
In office1957-1972
Orders
OrdinationFebruary 19, 1922
ConsecrationDecember 10, 1958
by Cardinal Francis Spellman
Personal details
Born(1897-06-25)June 25, 1897
New York City
DiedJuly 4, 1977(1977-07-04) (aged 80)
St. Vincent's Hospital
NationalityAmerican
DenominationRoman Catholic
EducationCathedral College
Alma materSt. Joseph's Seminary

John Michael Fearns (June 25, 1897 – July 4, 1977) was an American clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New York from 1957 to 1972.

Biography[edit]

John Fearns was born in New York City, and received his early education at Cathedral College in his native city.[1] He attended St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, and continued his studies in Rome at the Pontifical North American College.[1] He earned a Doctor of Sacred Theology degree after completing his studies at the University of the Propaganda and the Pontifical Gregorian University.[2] He was ordained to the priesthood in Rome on February 19, 1922.[3]

After his ordination, Fearns returned to the United States and did worked as a curate in New Rochelle, Rye, and St. Clare's School in Mount Hope.[4] He served as a professor of moral theology and canon law at St. Joseph's Seminary from 1930 to 1940.[1] In 1940, he was named to succeed Msgr. Arthur J. Scanlan as rector of St. Joseph's Seminary.[4] He continued to serve as rector until 1956, when he became pastor of St. Francis de Sales Church.[2]

On November 4, 1957, Fearns was appointed auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of New York and titular bishop of Geras by Pope Pius XII.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on the following December 10 from Cardinal Francis Spellman, with Archbishop Patrick O'Boyle and Bishop Edward Joseph Maginn serving as co-consecrators, at St. Patrick's Cathedral.[3] At his consecration, he wore the same vestments worn by Cardinal Spellman and Pope Pius XII at their own consecrations.[5] In addition to his role at St. Francis, his duties included administrative affairs, presiding at confirmation and ordination ceremonies, and visitation.[1]

Between 1962 and 1965, Fearns attended all four sessions of the Second Vatican Council.[3] He once declared it would be immoral for any country, including the United States, to conduct nuclear tests in the atmosphere merely as a show of force, saying, "The justification of a given test depends on the importance of the new knowledge or practice that the test is expected to supply, balanced against the damage that the test will probably cause."[6] In 1966, he was named to the newly created office of Episcopal Vicar for Orange and Rockland Counties.[2] In an administrative innovation that resulted from the Second Vatican Council, he was one of six bishops appointed to devote more attention to the needs of local churches throughout the Archdiocese.[2] In a move towards decentralization, the bishops were given authority to rule on issues such as the undertaking of interfaith activities with non-Catholic churches that had before been the prerogative of the Archbishop's office.[2] He later served as pastor of St. Patrick's Church in Newburgh until his retirement on August 12, 1972.[2][3]

Fearns died at St. Vincent's Hospital after a long illness, at age 80.[2]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "MONSIGNOR HERE NAMED A BISHOP; Fearns to Be Tenth Auxiliary in Archdiocese—Dec. 10 Set for Consecration". The New York Times. 1957-11-07.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Bishop John M.A. Fearns, An Aide to Cardinal Cooke and Ex-Rector of Seminary". The New York Times. 1977-07-05.
  3. ^ a b c d e "Bishop John Michael Fearns". Catholic-Hierarchy.org.
  4. ^ a b "DR. FEARNS NAMED HEAD OF SEMINARY; Spellman Reveals Selection to Succeed Scanlan at St. Joseph's in Dunwoodie". The New York Times. 1940-05-04.
  5. ^ "AIDE TO SPELLMAN IS ELEVATED HERE; Fearns, St. Francis de Sales Pastor, Made Cardinal's Eighth Auxiliary". The New York Times. 1957-12-11.
  6. ^ "ATOM TESTING HIT BY BISHOP FEARNS; Prelate at St. Patrick's Calls Show of Force Immoral". The New York Times. 1961-11-06.
Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of New York
1957–1972
Succeeded by