Robert Joseph Dwyer

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Most Reverend

Robert Joseph Dwyer
Archbishop of Portland
InstalledFebruary 6, 1967
Term endedJanuary 22, 1974
PredecessorEdward Howard
SuccessorCornelius Michael Power
Other postsBishop of Reno (1952–66)
OrdinationJune 11, 1932
ConsecrationAugust 5, 1952
Personal details
Born(1908-08-01)August 1, 1908
Salt Lake City, Utah
DiedMarch 24, 1976(1976-03-24) (aged 67)
Piedmont, California
DenominationRoman Catholic Church

Robert Joseph Dwyer (August 1, 1908 – March 24, 1976) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He was the fifth Archbishop of Portland from 1966 to 1974, having previously served as the second Bishop of Reno (1952–66).

Early life and education[edit]

Dwyer was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, the only child of John Charles and Mabel (née Maynard) Dwyer.[1] His father was of Irish descent, and his mother of French Canadian.[2] He attended Wasatch Public School and Judge Memorial High School.[2] In 1925, he enrolled at the Marist Seminary in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.[1] Shortly afterwards, he transferred to St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, California.[1]


On June 11, 1932, Dwyer was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Edward Kelly.[3] He was the first native Utahn to be ordained a priest for the Diocese of Salt Lake City.[4] His first assignment was as a curate at the Cathedral of the Madeleine, where he remained for two years.[1] From 1934 to 1938, he served as chaplain at the College of Saint Mary-of-the-Wasatch and editor of The Intermountain Catholic.[1][2] He was then sent to continue his studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1941 with a thesis entitled: "The Gentile Comes to Utah: A Study in Religious and Social Conflict 1862-1890".[4]

Following his return to Utah, Dwyer served as diocesan superintendent of Catholic schools (1941–52) and resumed his position as editor of the diocesan newspaper.[1] He became diocesan director of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith in 1942.[2] He was named rector of the Cathedral of the Madeleine in 1948, and raised to the rank of Monsignor in 1950.[4]


He was appointed the second Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Reno in Reno, Nevada on May 19, 1952 by Pope Pius XII, and was consecrated August 5, 1952. Pope Paul VI appointed him the fifth Archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland, in Portland, Oregon, on December 9, 1966. Retiring on January 22, 1974 due to ill health, he died in Piedmont, California on March 24, 1976.[5][6]

As a historian[edit]

Dwyer began his work as a historian of the American west at the Catholic University of America, in Washington, D.C. in 1938, receiving his Ph.D. in history in 1941. His dissertation was published as The Gentile Comes to Utah: A Study in Religious and Social Conflict (1862-1890) and is considered an accomplished and objective work on the religious history of early Utah. Dwyer described Mormonism as an attempt to resurrect the idea of creating an ideal human order on earth. Sections of this work addressed the conflicts between the religious stance of Brigham Young, President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the antipolygamy crusade launched by the federal government (The Gentile Comes to Utah, p. 97, Topping, p. 40).

Although his work as a historian was secondary to his religious calling, he served as a member of the governing and editorial boards of the Utah State Historical Society from 1943 to 1952. Dwyer periodically acted as editor to the Utah Historical Quarterly, and produced two noted volumes. In 1943, he edited work on the diary of Albert Tracy, a soldier in Albert Sidney Johnston's troops during the Utah War and in 1946 he edited a volume on Mormon pioneer Lorenzo Dow Young which contained a biography of Young by James Amasa Little, an edited diary of Lorenzo Dow Young and additional information on the pioneer's extensive family.

After he became Archbishop, Dwyer became a member of the board of advisors of the Western History Center at the University of Utah.


  • The Gentile Comes to Utah: A Study in Religious and Social Conflict (1862-1890). Washington D.C., Catholic University of America Press, 1941, republished in 1971.


  1. ^ a b c d e f Curtis, Georgina Pell (1961). The American Catholic Who's Who. XIV. Grosse Pointe, Michigan: Walter Romig.
  2. ^ a b c d "Archbishop Robert Joseph Dwyer". Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Portland. Archived from the original on 2010-07-14.
  3. ^ "Archbishop Robert Joseph Dwyer".[self-published source]
  4. ^ a b c "ROBERT J. DWYER". Utah History Encyclopedia.
  5. ^ [self-published source]
  6. ^
  • Topping, Gary. Utah Historians and the Reconstruction of Western History. 2003, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma. ISBN 0-8061-3561-1

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Edward Howard
Archbishop of Portland in Oregon
Succeeded by
Cornelius Michael Power
Preceded by
Thomas Kiely Gorman
Bishop of Reno
Succeeded by
Michael Joseph Green