William E. Lori

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His Excellency, The Most Reverend
William E. Lori
Archbishop of Baltimore
Archbishop William Edward Lori.jpg
Lori as Archbishop of Baltimore in 2014
Archdiocese Baltimore
Appointed March 20, 2012
Installed May 16, 2012
Predecessor Edwin Frederick O'Brien
Ordination May 14, 1977
by William Wakefield Baum
Consecration April 20, 1995
by James Aloysius Hickey
Personal details
Born (1951-05-06) 6 May 1951 (age 66)
Louisville, Kentucky
Nationality American
Denomination Catholic
Previous post
(Latin: Charity in truth)
Styles of
William Edward Lori
Coat of arms of William Edward Lori.svg
Reference style
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Archbishop

William Edward Lori (born May 6, 1951) is an American prelate of the Catholic Church who has served as the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Maryland, since 2012.[1]

Archbishop Lori had previously served as the fourth Bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut from 2001 until 2012.[2] Prior to taking that post he served as an auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington from 1995 until 2001.[3] Lori is known for his opposition to government actions requiring religious groups to provide coverage for abortion and contraceptives.

Early life and education[edit]

William Edward Lori was born in Louisville, Kentucky, on May 6, 1951. He attended the Seminary of Saint Pius X in Erlanger, Kentucky where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1973.[4] He holds an M.A. from Mount Saint Mary's Seminary and a S.T.D. from The Catholic University of America. He serves as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut and is the Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus.[5][6]

Ordination and ministry[edit]

Lori was ordained to the priesthood for the Archdiocese of Washington by Cardinal William Baum on May 14, 1977. His first assignment was as associate pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Landover, MD. Lori then held a number of positions in the archdiocese's chancery including vicar general, moderator of the Curia, and secretary to Cardinal James Aloysius Hickey, the Archbishop of Washington who succeeded Baum.[2]

Episcopal career[edit]

Auxiliary Bishop of Washington[edit]

Lori was consecrated as a bishop on April 20, 1995 by James Aloysius Hickey. He was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Washington. While serving in this capacity, Lori led an investigation at the behest of Hickey into the activities of a heterodox parish in Georgetown. Investigators questioned priests, staff and volunteers in the parish, taping their interviews and asking them to pledge their honesty. The investigation revealed that two Protestant ministers had been allowed to deliver and receive communion. Two of the parish priests apologized publicly for violations of canon law.[7]

Lori is member of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities and the Committee on Doctrine of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.[8] In 2001 he invited Sister Nirmala Joshi, superior general of the Missionaries of Charity, to Bridgeport for the opening of the sisters' first convent in Connecticut.

Bishop of Bridgeport, Connecticut[edit]

In March 2001, Lori was appointed Bishop of the Diocese of Bridgeport, succeeding Edward Egan, who had been appointed Archbishop of New York. As Bishop of Bridgeport, Lori launched new initiatives in support of Catholic Education, Vocations, Catholic Charities, Pastoral Services, and other ministries, while improving financial stewardship. He also worked collaboratively with the laity to increase participation and foster lay leadership throughout the Diocese of Bridgeport.

In 2002, in recognition of his role as an emerging leader on the Church's response to the sexual misconduct crisis, Lori was appointed to the USCCB Ad Hoc Committee on Sexual Abuse. He was instrumental in drafting the landmark Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. As one of four U.S. bishops on a special mixed commission, he journeyed to Vatican City to seek approval for the "Essential Norms" of the charter, which is now particular law for the Catholic Church in the United States.[9]

In 2005, he was elected Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus, where he has the responsibility of overseeing the spiritual welfare of the order's 1.8 million members and their families. In his extensive writing and speaking on behalf of the Knights, Lori has focused on the spiritual vision of the Venerable Father Michael J. McGivney, the founder of the Knights of Columbus. Lori is also writing a series of monthly articles in Columbia magazine on the compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Additionally, he has helped guide many spiritual initiatives of the order, most notably the order's third Eucharistic Congress held in Chicago in 2005, and the International Marian Congress and Guadalupe Festival held in Phoenix in 2009. He has also worked closely with the Supreme Knight in highlighting the role of Knights of Columbus chaplains at every level of the Order. As a result, Lori was honored at the April 10, 2010, at the Supreme Board of Directors, meeting in Philadelphia in a resolution that expressing gratitude for his contributions to the order and the Catholic Church.[9]

In April, 2011, Lori was the keynote speaker at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast in Washington, D.C., where he paid tribute to Pope John Paul II and urged Catholics to defend his legacy of religious liberty and human dignity. In a speech widely reported across the U.S., Lori told the gathering that religious freedom is not "a carve-out" granted by the state, but an inalienable right. He also called for the protection of "conscience rights" for health care providers.[9]

On September 29, 2011, the Archbishop of New York, Timothy M. Dolan, President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) appointed Lori the chair of a newly formed Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty to address growing concerns over the erosion of freedom of religion in America. On October 26, 2011, serving as new head of the Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Lori called on Congress to defend the American legacy of religious liberty during a hearing before the Subcommittee on the Constitution of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee. He noted several recent actions by government entities that mark the erosion of the freedom of religion, often called the nation's "First Freedom". These actions include a health coverage mandate that would coerce employers to pay for services for which they have moral objections, such as abortion, sterilization and contraceptives, and government contracting decisions that exclude agencies unless they provide such services.[9]

In November 2011, Lori addressed the assembled United States bishops at their annual fall meeting in Baltimore. "There is no religious liberty if we are not free to express our faith in the public square and if we are not free to act on that faith through works of education, health care and charity", he said in his address to the bishops. In a speech widely reported across the nation, Lori warned of the dangers of treating religion "merely as a private matter between an individual and his or her God." Citing an "aggressive secularism" as a competing system of belief, he said that recent court decisions and proposed regulations treat religion "as a divisive and disruptive force better kept out of public life", which the government continues to encroach on individual lives. He called for interfaith collaboration to defend religious liberty and conscience rights in our culture.[9]

In March 2012, Lori's committee issued a comprehensive statement of the U.S. bishops on religious liberty. It includes examples of the current attacks on religious liberty in the United States, articulates church teaching and issues a call to action to American Catholics. The statement opens with the following passage: "We are Catholics. We are Americans. We are proud to be both, grateful for the gift of faith which is ours as Christian disciples, and grateful for the gift of liberty which is ours as American citizens. To be Catholic and American should mean not having to choose one over the other." He continued, saying: "In insisting that our liberties as Americans be respected, we know as bishops that what our Holy Father said is true. This work belongs to 'an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture.'"[9]

Archbishop of Baltimore, Maryland[edit]

On March 20, 2012, Lori was appointed Archbishop of Baltimore by Pope Benedict XVI. He assumed that role upon his installation on May 16, 2012.[1]

In September 2017, Lori joined many other Catholic bishops in "denouncing" Donald Trump's decision to phase out the policy of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA). "The young people served by DACA arrived here in the United States as minors and many consider this country their home. Ending this program is a cause for unnecessary fear for these brave young people who now face deportation," he said.[10]


Lori has been credited with establishing a new attitude and local policy toward sex abuse after being appointed Bishop of Bridgeport. The Diocese of Bridgeport had been trying to cope with the sudden onslaught of abuse cases that had occurred under the tenure of Bishop Edward Egan.[11] In 2002, Lori was one of seven members of the ad hoc, bishops' committee tasked with writing a new policy (known as the Dallas Policy) on how to deal with abusive priests.[12] Once approved by the USCCB, Lori was one of four bishops selected to travel to the Vatican and work out compromises that would make the proposed Dallas Policy (now known as the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People), which established a "zero tolerance" policy for sexual abuse, more palatable to the Pope. Lori emerged as the de facto spokesman. The group also included Bishop Thomas Doran of Rockford, Ill., Cardinal Francis George of Chicago and Archbishop William Levada of San Francisco. Lori also enacted many of the provisions in the charter before all the bishops accepted them as a whole. He was one of the first bishops to establish a local review board and acted swiftly against priests who have been accused of abuse under his watch.[7][13] One of the priests, the Rev. Alfred J. Bietighofer, committed suicide that year soon after he was suspended.[14]

In 2004 Lori blessed and dedicated "Villa Maria Guadalupe" on the grounds of the former Villa Maria Retreat Center in Stamford, CT.[15] The property was purchased by the Knights of Columbus, who invited the Sisters of Life, a religious community dedicated to protecting and advancing a sense of the sacredness of all human life, to offer retreats for families and married couples, for women facing problem pregnancies, for pro-life leaders, and for knights and their families.

In 2007, he announced a doctrinal investigation of American theologian Peter C. Phan, who has written about an Asian perspectives on interreligious dialogue. Nothing has since come of this investigation.[16]

Lori has opposed legislation in Connecticut proposed by State Rep. Michael P. Lawlor and Sen. Andrew McDonald that would remove financial control of the diocese from the bishop and place it in the control of the laity.[17]

Lori testified before a House subcommittee on October 26, 2011. He asked for Congressional action in response to regulations issued by the Department of Health and Human Services in August requiring coverage of contraception and sterilization in most private health insurance plans; rules that would deny government funding to the bishops' Migration and Refugee Services if it does not provide the "full range" of reproductive services, including abortion and contraception, to human trafficking victims and unaccompanied refugee minors; the U.S. Agency for International Development's requirement that Catholic Relief Services and other contractors include condom distribution in their HIV prevention activities and provide contraception in a range of international relief and development programs; the Department of Justice's refusal to defend the Defense of Marriage Act; the Justice Department's efforts to modify the "ministerial exception" that exempts religious institutions from some civil laws with respect to employment; certain state actions of a similar nature.[18]

While serving as head of the USCCB ad hoc committee on religious liberty, he led the bishops campaign for religious liberty known as the Fortnight for Freedom.[19]


In 2015, the International Center for Law and Religion Studies and J. Reuben Clark Law School of Brigham Young University presented Lori the International Religious Liberty Award in recognition of his outstanding contributions to the promotion and preservation of religious freedom.[20]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "NOMINA DELL'ARCIVESCOVO DI BALTIMORE (U.S.A.)" (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 2012-03-20. 
  2. ^ a b Biography of Bishop William E. Lori, S.T.D. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  3. ^ Bishop William Edward Lori Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  4. ^ Bishop William Lori Elected Chairman of Catholic University's Board of Trustees Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  5. ^ Bishop Lori Elected as New Supreme Chaplain Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  6. ^ Q & A/Bishop William E. Lori; 'A Different Mix of Talents, A Different Personality' Retrieved 2010-03-04
  7. ^ a b Hartford Courant: "Bishop 'Law And Order' Lori Takes The Point" November 13, 2002
  8. ^ Pope Names Washington Auxiliary Bishop William Lori as Bishop of Bridgeport, CT Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  9. ^ a b c d e f http://www.archbalt.org/about-us/the-archdiocese/our-history/people/lori.cfm
  10. ^ "Archbishop Lori responds to President Trump’s decision to end DACA". Archdiocese of Baltimore. September 6, 2017. Retrieved September 9, 2017. 
  11. ^ New York Times: "Portrayal of the Church Causes Unease" March 19, 2002
  12. ^ New York Times: "Bridgeport Bishop Joins Group Developing Policy on Abuse" May 4, 2002
  13. ^ American Catholic: "U.S. Bishops Approve Revised Sex-Abuse Policy" 2003
  14. ^ New York Times: "After Accused Priest's Suicide, Shock and Second Thoughts" May 18, 2002
  15. ^ Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Conn. Retrieved 2010-03-04.
  16. ^ Why is Fr. Peter Phan under investigation?
  17. ^ Muth, Chaz (9 March 2009). "Bishops urge rejection of bill giving laity parish fiscal rule". Retrieved 21 October 2015. 
  18. ^ http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1104218.htm
  19. ^ Goodstein, Laurie (13 June 2012). "Bishops Defend Fight Against Obama's Policy on Birth Control Coverage". New York Times. Retrieved July 23, 2012. 
  20. ^ "Archbishop William E. Lori Receives 2015 International Religious Liberty Award". International Center for Law and Religion Studies. Retrieved 2017-08-14. 

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
William G. Curlin and Leonard Olivier
Auxiliary Bishop of Washington
Served alongside: Leonard Olivier
Succeeded by
Kevin Farrell
Preceded by
Federico Bonifacio Madersbacher Gasteiger
Bishop of Bulla
Succeeded by
Percival Joseph Fernandez
Preceded by
Edward Egan
Bishop of Bridgeport
Succeeded by
Frank Joseph Caggiano
Preceded by
Thomas Vose Daily
Supreme Chaplain of the Knights of Columbus
Preceded by
Edwin Frederick O'Brien
Archbishop of Baltimore