Cardinal John J. Wright (1909-1979)

Cardinal John J. Wright (1909-1979) August 10, 2009

Born in Dorchester, Massachusetts, John Joseph Wright graduated from Boston College before studying for the priesthood. Ordained in 1935, he earned a doctorate in theology and was assigned to teach the Archdiocese of Boston’s seminary. In 1943 he was named secrteary to the Archbishop of Boston, William H. O’Connell. Wright continued in this position under O’Connell’s successor, Richard Cushing, and was named a Monsignor in 1944. Three years later he was named Auxiliary Bishop of Boston. In 1950 he was named the first Bishop of Worcester. In 1959, Wright became the eighth Bishop of Pittsburgh. He attended the Second Vatican Council. Following the Council’s advancements in ecumenism, he believed that an “immediate unity in good works and charity” would arise between Catholics and Protestants. In 1969, Pope Paul VI appointed Wright as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, making him the highest-ranking American in the Roman Curia. He was named a Cardinal soon thereafter.Wright did not participate in the August 1978 conclave because he was recovering from surgery, but he was one of the cardinal electors in the conclave of the following October, which selected Pope John Paul II. The Cardinal’s legacy remains somewhat controversial. He was an intellectual who was liberal on social issues, but conservative in theology. He espoused civil rights and condemned the Vietnam War, but opposed Ordination of women and Birth control. Wright died from polymyositis in Cambridge, Massachusetts, at age 70. He is buried in Holyhood Cemetery in Brookline, Massachusetts. (Adapted From Wikipedia)

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