William Edward Cousins

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William Edward Cousins
Archbishop of Milwaukee
Installed December 18, 1958
Term ended September 17, 1977
Predecessor Albert Gregory Meyer
Successor Rembert George Weakland
Ordination April 13, 1927
Consecration March 7, 1949
Personal details
Birth name William Edward Cousins
Born (1902-08-20)August 20, 1902
Chicago, Illinois
Died September 14, 1988(1988-09-14) (aged 86)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Previous post Diocese of Chicago (1948–1952)
Bishop of Peoria (1952–1958)
Alma mater Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary
St. Mary of the Lake Seminary

William Edward Cousins (August 20, 1902 – September 14, 1988) was an American prelate of the Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Peoria (1952-1958) and later Archbishop of Milwaukee (1958-1977).

Early life and ministry[edit]

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Cousins studied at Archbishop Quigley Preparatory Seminary and was a member of the first graduating class of St. Mary of the Lake Seminary.[1] He was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal George Mundelein on April 23, 1927.[2][better source needed]

Following his ordination, Cousins served as an assistant pastor at St. Bernard Church for five years and then at Holy Name Cathedral for a year.[1] In 1933, he was appointed director of the Archdiocesan Mission Band, a group of priests who conducted missions throughout Chicago. He became pastor of St. Columbanus Church in 1946.

Episcopal career[edit]

On December 17, 1948, Cousins was appointed auxiliary bishop of Chicago and titular bishop of Forma by Pope Pius XII.[2] He received his episcopal consecration on March 7, 1949 from Cardinal Samuel Stritch, with Bishops John Boylan and Albert Zuroweste serving as co-consecrators. Three years later, Cousins was appointed the fourth Bishop of Peoria on May 21, 1952.[2] He was installed at St. Mary's Cathedral on the following July 2.[3] During his tenure, he established five new parishes and six new grade schools.[3]

Archbishop of Milwaukee[edit]

Cousins was appointed the eighth Archbishop of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, by Pope John XXIII on December 18, 1958.[2] From 1962 to 1965, he attended the Second Vatican Council, during which he sat on the Commission on Communications Media and on the Lay Apostolate.[4]

During the civil rights movement, Cousins was pressured to respond to the activities of his priests, particularly Fr. James Groppi, who led many civil rights marches and protests. In 1967, in response to many Milwaukee Catholics' dissatisfaction with Groppi, the Archbishop stated his support for open housing and Groppi's other objectives, but rejected the priest's tactics.[5]

Archbishop Cousins retired on September 17, 1977, after nineteen years of service. He died in Milwaukee at age 86.

In recent years, allegations have surfaced that Cousins was involved in the cover-up of child sexual abuse cases in the Milwaukee diocese.[6][7]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Kenan Heise (September 15, 1988). "Milwaukee Archbishop William E. Cousins, 86". Chicago Tribune. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Archbishop William Edward Cousins". Catholic Hierarchy. 
  3. ^ a b "Previous Bishops". Catholic Diocese of Peoria. 
  4. ^ "Archbishop William E. Cousins". Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee. 
  5. ^ "Support for Ajax". TIME Magazine. September 22, 1967. Retrieved November 30, 2008. 
  6. ^ FOX 6 Exclusive: What's in a Name?
  7. ^ I believe you’ve killed the church, Holy Father

External links[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Albert Gregory Meyer
Archbishop of Milwaukee
Succeeded by
Rembert George Weakland
Preceded by
Joseph Henry Leo Schlarman
Bishop of Peoria
Succeeded by
John Baptist Franz
Preceded by
Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago
Succeeded by