Mooney, Edward Francis
MOONEY, EDWARD FRANCIS
Cardinal, first archbishop of the Detroit (Mich.) Archdiocese; b. Mount Savage, Md., May 9, 1882; d. Rome, Italy, Oct. 25, 1958. He was the youngest of the seven children of Thomas and Sarah (Heneghan) Mooney, immigrants from Ireland, who moved to Youngstown, Ohio, when Edward was five years old. He attended St. Columba's parish school, St. Charles College, Ellicott City, Md., and St. Mary's Seminary, Baltimore, earning the bachelor's and master's degrees maxima cum laude. On Oct. 22, 1905, Mooney entered the North American College, Rome, where he completed his theological studies, receiving a doctorate in philosophy in 1907 and a doctorate in theology in 1909. On April 10, 1909, he was ordained for the Diocese of Cleveland. He returned to the United States and was appointed to St. Mary's Seminary, Cleveland, to teach dogmatic theology. He established the Cathedral Latin School in Cleveland in 1916 and served as principal for six years. In August of 1922, Bishop Joseph Schrembs appointed Mooney pastor of St. Patrick's parish, Youngstown; a few months later he was selected as spiritual director at the North American College. Pope Pius XI named him a domestic prelate in 1925.
Diplomatic Service. On Jan. 8, 1926, Pope Pius XI chose Mooney as apostolic delegate to India, one of the first Americans to represent the Holy See in a permanent diplomatic post. He was consecrated titular archbishop of Irenopolis by Cardinal William Van Rossum, CSSR, Prefect of the Congregation of the Propagation of the Faith, in the chapel of the North American College on Jan. 31, 1926. In India, Mooney's tact and judgment were tested by a longstanding dissension, the Padroado question. The dispute involved a jurisdiction divided between the Indian bishops of native dioceses and the Portuguese missionaries whose parishes were scattered along the east coast of India. Mooney procured an accord between the Holy See and the Portuguese colonial government that terminated four centuries of Portuguese ecclesiastical control over some of India's faithful.
As apostolic delegate, Mooney received into the Church on Sept. 20, 1930 two Jacobite bishops, Mar Ivanios and his suffragan, Mar Theophilos, who were soon followed by other clergy and religious, and a number of lay people. Mooney supervised the establishment of 11 new mission territories in India and the transfer of three existing dioceses to native Indian bishops. After five years in India, Mooney was named delegate to Japan on Feb. 25, 1931. Here he was faced with the dilemma of Japanese Catholics, who, as subjects of the Mikado, were bound by law to attend the Shinto shrines, yet constrained in conscience from participating in what seemed to be pagan worship. Close scrutiny by the apostolic delegate determined that the Shinto rites were civil, not religious, ceremonies. Thus without doing violence to their religious convictions, Catholics could discharge their civil obligations by attending the ceremonies.
Bishop of Rochester. On Aug. 28, 1933, Pope Pius XI named Mooney bishop of the Rochester (NY) Dio
cese, where he was installed on Oct. 12. Within a year, he was elected to the administrative board of the National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC) and named chairman of the Social Action Department. During the social and economic difficulties of the 1930s, he was articulate about the social teaching of the Church especially as delineated in the encyclicals of Pope Leo XIII and Pope Pius XI. In November of 1935, Mooney was elected chairman of the NCWC administrative board, a post he held for two terms (1935–39, 1941–45). Thus during World War II he was, in effect, spokesman for the Church in the United States. To provide for the spiritual welfare of service personnel he served as first chairman of the Bishops' War Emergency and Relief Committee and as first president of the board of trustees of the National Catholic Community Service, which cared for the religious needs and social welfare of the men and women in the armed services. He was also cochairman of the Clergy Committee of the United Services Organization and was one of the framers of the seven-point Declaration for World Peace, which was signed by 144 leading Catholics, Jews, and Protestants.
Archbishop of Detroit. When detroit was made a metropolitan see on May 22, 1937, Mooney was transferred there and installed by Archbishop (later Cardinal) Amleto G. Cicognani, the apostolic delegate, on Aug. 3,1937. During the early years of his administration, he faced a mixed reaction to the radio addresses and publications of Charles E. Coughlin, pastor of the Shrine of the Little Flower parish, Royal Oak, Michigan. An industrial center, Detroit was caught in the post-Depression turmoil and in the throes of union organizing among the automobile workers. When the archbishop publicly announced that Catholics were not only free to join the new Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO), but had an obligation to join a union, his statement was widely heralded. To help form a Christian conscience on social and economic questions among his people, he established the archdiocesan Labor Institute. Classes in social ethics and the encyclicals were offered to priests and laymen, who in turn carried the message throughout the archdiocese.
During the 1920s the diocese had expanded rapidly, but the Depression years brought on a crisis. When Mooney arrived in 1937, the total debt stood at more than $18 million. He reorganized the financial structure of the parishes and instituted the archdiocesan development fund, an annual collection for specifically archdiocesan needs. As a result of sound financing, Detroit was able to keep pace with the expanding needs of a new wave of population that came with World War II. More than 100 new parish sites were bought; catechetical centers were established for Catholic children attending public schools; social service centers were provided in all eight counties of the archdiocese; Boysville and the Catholic Youth Organization (CYO) Home for boys were erected. St. John's Provincial Seminary, theologate for the entire province, at Plymouth, Michigan, opened in 1949. Two centers for the aging, Carmel Hall in downtown Detroit and the Martin Kundig Center for the Aged, were established during Mooney's episcopate.
Eight years after arriving in Detroit, Mooney was named a cardinal priest by Pope Pius XII. He received the red hat at the consistory on Feb. 21, 1946; his titular church in Rome was St. Susanna's. His world view was reflected in the address he gave in April of 1954 to the Detroit archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women, calling for support of the United Nations as the "best available means" for international accord. His zeal for the unfortunate never flagged. Not long before his death he dedicated Our Lady of Providence School for retarded girls. During the 21 years of his episcopate, the Catholic population had increased from about 550,000 to 1,288,000. Parishes with resident pastors had increased from 201 to almost 300. Death came when he was in Rome participating in the election of a successor to Pope Pius XII. On the morning of Oct. 25, 1958, he attended the Mass in St. Peter's opening the conclave. As he waited at the North American College for the first session that afternoon, he was stricken with a massive cerebral hemorrhage and died. He was buried from the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, Detroit, on Oct. 31, 1958.
Bibliography: Archives, Archdiocese of Detroit, Mich.
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