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Cardinal Law with BishopsWhat is a Cardinal?

The word cardinal means hinge, from the Latin word cardo. A hinge is a device that is attached to something else, and it pivots or swings to allow for greater flexibility and usage. This definition helps explain the church rank of Cardinal. For Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church are clerics who are taken from one place and "attached to another, "in order that their service might be of use to the Pope, to provide the Holy Father "greater flexibility" as he administers the world church.

Cardinal Bernard Law and the bishops of New England
at Santa Susanna

In ancient times priests and bishops were ordained to a specific post, and this was a lifetime assignment. One was called a titular priest or bishop because this was the cleric's title. For example, a priest ordained for the church of Santa Susanna, was to be the parish's priest for life. However, in time the needs of the larger church led to some clergy moving from one place to another. So if this priest of the title, Santa Susanna, was moved, he was no longer titular clergy but cardinal clergy. Today the church term incardination, where a priest moves from one diocese to another is based on this understanding. By the year 590 AD during the reign of Pope Gregory the Great, there were now two kinds of clergy: titular bishops, priests and deacons, who were ordained for their titles, and cardinal bishops, priests and deacons who had been moved to their present assignment from somewhere else.

By the sixth and seventh century, the government of the universal church in the West was quite small. The pope lived in a residence next door to his cathedral, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, and he increasingly relied on the local pastors of Rome to assist in the administration of the church. A talented or successful priest, who was brought to the attention of the pope, might be transferred and made a cardinal priest of one the 28 ancient churches of Rome. The cardinal priest of Santa Susanna would celebrate prayer at the shrine of the martyr Susanna, but also come to the Lateran to assist the pope in his duties. At the same time the bishops of the local towns and cities around Rome also became involved. As they now traveled to the Lateran to assist the pope, they became cardinal bishops.

By the 11th century, any senior Roman priests or bishops, despite their title, if they served as counselors and assistants to the pope were called cardinals. A Sacred College of Cardinals was created in Rome at the Lateran Palace, and both non-Romans and non-Italians began to come to Rome to serve as cardinals. From the reign of Leo IX (1048-1054), cardinals were the principal counselors of the pope, and by naming reformed minded clerics to this position, popes began to transform the pastoral life of the church in Rome. During the pontificate of Nicholas II (1059-1061) the election of the pope was restricted to the College of Cardinals. Finally, popes began in the 11th century, to name bishops of other dioceses in the West as cardinal. They became honorary advisors from afar, and while they were expected to remain in their own dioceses, they did become electors of the pope.

A third rank was added to the College after the 11th century, the rank of cardinal deacon. These were clerics who coordinated the pope's social centers throughout the city, to care for the poor. These deacons were based at the Lateran Palace, also served as advisors to the pope, and became cardinals. There were 8 such cardinal deacons during the reign of Urban II (1088-1099) and 18 by the reign of Paschal II (1099-1118). The Sacred College of Cardinals was composed of cardinal bishops, cardinal priests and cardinal deacons, as it is today. By the high Middle Ages the Sacred College had become a court surrounding the pope. Just as secular kings had princes in their own courts, so now the pope had "princes of the church," an honor that became associated with the title cardinal.

Pope Sixtus V in 1586, and Innocent XII in 1692 attempted to reform the College of Cardinals. Sixtus set the total number of cardinals at 70, but this number was rarely achieved. The six senior cardinals would be cardinal bishops, with titles from the surrounding dioceses outside of Rome. There would be 50 cardinal priests, absentee pastors of the 50 most ancient churches and shrines in Rome, as many of these cardinal priests would be bishops from dioceses throughout the world. Finally there would be 14 cardinal deacons, and these were clerics who headed various departments of the Curia, the administrative arm of the papacy. Pope John XXIII abrogated this rule and named as many as 80 cardinals. Today there are 151 cardinals: 6 cardinal bishops, 128 cardinal priests and 17 cardinal deacons.

Cardinals are created under a title at a Consistory. His Eminence, Bernard Cardinal Law, Archbishop of Boston was created cardinal under the title Santa Susanna. In 1968, Pope Paul VI changed some of the rights and privileges of cardinals. Cardinals who are over the age of eighty years lose their right to vote for the next pope. Cardinals may now assist the pastors of Roman churches where they have title, but they no longer have governance over these churches. Cardinals are created in consistories, and the present pope has created 121 members of the College of Cardinals in six consistories over the last 18 years. The last Consistory of Pope John Paul II was held on the 26 November 1994.

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The American Cardinals in Rome

The first American Cardinal was John Cardinal McCloskey of New York who was created Cardinal Priest of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva by Pope Pius IX in 1875. From 1875 until the present, several Roman churches have been associated with American Cardinals. John Cardinal Farley of New York (1911-1918) also received the title, Cardinal Priest of Santa Maria Sopra Minerva. The Archbishops of Chicago, Albert Cardinal Meyer (1959-1965) and John Cardinal Cody (1967-1982) were both Cardinal Priests of Santa Cecilia in Trastevere. William Cardinal O'Connell of Boston (1911-1944), John Cardinal Glennon of St. Louis (1946- ), and Lawrence Cardinal Shehan of Baltimore (1965-1984) were created Cardinal Priests of San Clemente on the Celian Hill. Joseph Cardinal Ritter of St. Louis (1961-1967) and Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua of Philadelphia (1991- ) were both made Cardinal Priests of San Alfonso e S.S. Redentore on the Murelana.

There are however, only two Roman churches which have been continuously the titular church of an American Cardinal and his successors. In 1946, the Church of Santi Giovanni e Paolo, which had been the titular church of Eugenio Cardinal Pacelli, now Pope Pius XII, was given by the Pope to Francis Cardinal Spellman of New York (1946-1967). He was succeeded as Cardinal Priest by his successors in the See of New York, Terrance Cardinal Cooke (1969-1983) and John Cardinal O'Connor (1985-). That same year, in 1946, the Church of Santa Susanna, the American church in Rome was given to Edward Cardinal Mooney of Detroit (1946-1958). In 1958, Richard Cardinal Cushing of Boston (1958-1970) was created Cardinal Priest of Santa Susanna. He was succeeded as Cardinal Priest by his successors in the See of Boston, Humberto Cardinal Medeiros (1973-1983) and Bernard Cardinal Law (1985-).

In most cases the association between Roman churches and the specific Dioceses of newly created Cardinals is not certain. Any newly created Cardinal has the right to request a specific church that is open at the time that he is named. One exception to the rule is the association of regional or national churches in Rome. For example, Santi Ambrogio e Carlo is traditionally given to a Cardinal from Lombardy, Santa Maria Ogiditria al Tritone is traditionally given to a Sicilian Cardinal and Santi Giovanni Evangelista e Petronio di Bolognesi to a Cardinal from Bologna. In the same way San Luigi dei Francesi has been the titular church of the Archbishops of Paris, San Silvestro the titular church of the Archbishops of Westminister in Great Britain, and Santa Maria in Monserrato, the Archbishops of Madrid. Following is a current list of American Dioceses and associated Roman churches. We hope that our American church, Santa Susanna will always continue with an American Cardinal.



Titular Church

New York:

Edward Cardinal Egan 2000 -

Ss . Giovanni e Paolo


William Cardinal Keeler 1994-

S. Maria degli Angeli


Sean Cardinal O'Malley 2006-

S. Maria della Vittoria


Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua 1991-

S. Alfonso e Ss. Redentore


Francis Cardinal George 1998-

S. Bartolomeo all'Isola Tiburtina


Adam Cardinal Maida 1994-

Ss. Andrea e Gregorio al Monte Celio

Los Angeles:

Roger Cardinal Mahoney 1991-

Ss. Quattro Coronati


Theodore Cardinal McCarrick 2000-

Ss. Nereus e Archilles

Washington: Donald William Cardinal Wuerl, 2010 - S. Pietro in Vincoli
Galveston-Houston: Daniel Nicholas Cardinal DiNardo 2007- S. Eusebio
Rome: Bernard Cardinal Law, 1985- S. Susanna

Edmund Cardinal Szoka 1988-

Ss. Andrea e Gregorio al Monte Celio

Rome: James Cardinal Stafford 1998- S. Pietro in Montorio

William Joseph Cardinal Levada 2006-

S. Maria in Domnica

Rome: William Cardinal Baum 1976 - S. Croce in Via Flaminia
Rome: John Patrick Cardinal Foley 2007 - S. Sebastiano al Palatino
Rome: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke 2010 - S. Agata dei Goti

American Cardinals Now Assigned to the Vatican:

William Wakefield Cardinal Baum, S. Croce in Via Flaminia

  • 1980-1990 President, Pontifical Council for Education
  • 1990- 2003 President, Major Apostolic Penitentiary
  • 2003- President Emeritus, Major Apostolic Penitentiary

Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, S. Agata dei Goti

  • 2008 - Prefect, Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

John Patrick Cardinal Foley, S. Sebastiano al Palatino

  • 2007 - Grand Master of the Order of the Knights of the Holy Sepluchre of Jerusalem

William Joseph Cardinal Levada, S. Maria in Domnica

  • 2005 - Prefect, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

Edmund Casimir Cardinal Szoka, Ss. Andrea e Gregorio al Monte Celio

  • 1990-1997 President, Office of Economic Affairs of Holy See
  • 1997- 2006 President of the Government of the Vatican City State
  • 2006 - President Emeritus of the Pontifical Commision for the Vatican City State
  • 2006 - President Emeritus of the Government of the Vatican City State

James Francis Cardinal Stafford, S. Pietro in Montorio

  • 1996- 2003 President, Pontifical Council for the Laity
  • 2003-2009 President, Major Apostolic Penitentiary
  • 2009- President Emeritus, Major Apostolic Penitentiary

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Cardinal Titulars of Santa Susanna

The following is the most complete list of Cardinal Priests of Santa Susanna that exists.  Significant gaps in the chronology are noted (*).  Short gaps may be do to the span of time between the death of a Cardinal and the next Consistory which created his successor.  The first English speaking Cardinal to take possession of the Church was Cardinal Moran of Sidney (1885-1911).  Since the Second World War, all Cardinal titulars have been American, and since 1958, all Cardinal titulars have been the Archbishop of Boston.

The Constantinian Church (330 - 791)

Cardinal Priest of San Caio:

494- *Assello

Cardinal Priests of Santa Susanna:

685-686   CononPope Conon,  686-687
(An elderly man when elected as a compromise candidate in 686, he was considered a sickly and ineffective Pope.)

686-687* SergiusPope St. Sergius 687-701
(A strong Pope who asserted the authority of the Bishop of Rome over against that of the Emperor in Constantinople.  An accomplished singer, he introduced the Agnus Dei or Lamb of God, to the liturgy, and reburied Pope St. Leo the Great inside St. Peter's Basilica.)


The Carolingian Church (791 - 1585):

791-795*  LeoPope St. Leo III  795-816
(Pope St. Leo III was elected 796 and crowned the Emperor Charlemagne in St. Peters.  An efficient administrator, he restored many churches in Rome, including his own, and rebuilt Santa Susanna along Carolingian lines, adding the apse.)

1099-1106Pietro Gheradesca di Donoratico
1145-1173Giordano Orsini
(The Orsini are one of the four oldest noble families of Rome.  The family was to produce 2 medieval popes and 17 saints.  Little is known of this particular Orsini cardinal priest.)

1173-1177Pietro Caetani
(The Caetani are an old aristocratic Roman family.  They would come into wealth and prominence when  the reknown canon lawyer Benedetto Cardinal Caetani (1235-1303), who was elected Pope Boniface VIII in 1295 and became one of the three most important popes of the Middle Ages.  This was an earlier relative.)

1177-1180Lesbio Grassi
1180-1188Alessio (Egidio) degli Arcipreti
1189-1201Giovanni Felice
1219-1221*Aldobrandino Caetani
(Another Caetani, an earlier relative before Boniface VIII.)

1281-1287*Gaufride de Bar
(Bar is the capital of Anjou.  The House of Bar was established by Reynald de Bar in the 11th century.  Located between France and Germany, the Counts of Bar were the most powerful vassals of the Dukes of Lorraine)

1316-1328*Pierre d'Arreblaye
1342-1343Andrea Gini Malpighi
1344-1361*Pierre Bertrand de Colombier
1378-1384Fillipo Rufini
1384-1392Francesco Carbone Tomacelli
1385-1410Pedro de Tureyo
1411-1431Antonio Pancerini
1431-1446Hugo d'Estaing
1446-1447   Tommaso Parentucelli di Sanzana    Pope Nicholas V 1447-1455
(The first of the Renaissance Popes, he was papal legate to Germany when elected in 1447.  He rid the Papal States of mercenary troops and proclaimed the Holy Year of 1450.  A morally upright man in an age of great corruption, his life was quite saintly.)

1448-1451Fillipo Calandrini
1460-1463Allessandro Oliva di Sassoferrato
1467-1483Jean BaleuBishop of Angers
(Cardinal Jean Baleu (1421-1483) was a minister of Louis XI and assisted the king in asserting absolute control over the vassals of France.  Baleu helped negotiate a concordat with Pope Sixtus IV in 1472, giving the king the right to name France's bishops.)

1489-1491Lorenzo Chibo
1492-1503Giovanni Borgia
(Cardinal Giovanni Borgia was a nephew of  Rodrigo Borgia (Pope Alexander VI) and cousin to Cesare and Lucrezia Borgia.  His uncle made him bishop of Melfi, governor of Perugia, and archbishop of Capua and Valencia.  He yeilded the archdiocese of Valencia in 1500  to his brother Pere-Luis, who also became a cardinal.)

1503-1508Francesco Soderini
1508-1517Leonardo Grosso della Rovere
(Cardinal Leonardo delle Rovere was a cousin of Pope Julius II, from the Savona branch of the delle Rovere family.  From humble origins the family rose to prominence during the first della Rovere Pope, Sixtus IV.  Leonardo was made a cardinal after the death of his brother Cardinal Clemente Grosso della Rovere in 1505.  Leonardo was legate in Viterbo and in Perugia, served as confessor to Julius II and was one of the executers of his will.)

1517-1522Raffaele Petrucci
1528-1530Antonio Saseverino
1530-1546Juan Garcia de Loyasa
1546-1550Georges d'Amboise,Archbishop of Rouen
(More a humanist prince than a bishop, he was quite tolerant and pluralistic toward the heavy growth of Protestantism in the city during his tenure, and completed the work of his predecessor in constructing a sumptuous bishop's palace.)

1550-1557Jacques d'Anebault
1561-1563Girolamo Seripando
(Cardinal Seripando was an Augustinian theologian and Papal Legate who presided at the Council of Trent.  Born in Naples, October 6, 1492, he died at Trent on March 17, 1563.  Rector of the seminary in Bologna he became Superior General of the Augustinians in 1538 at the request of Pope Paul III.   At the beginning of the Council of Trent he fought to prevent tradition from being put on the same level of Holy Scripture.  A stroke ended his initial appearance at the Council.  In 1554 he was elected Archbishop of Salerno and tried to follow the Tridentine idea of bishop and preacher an pastor.  Pius IV made him a cardinal on Feb 26, 1561.  He was named legate to the Council of Trent for its third session in 1562 and died during the session.)

1564-1565Francesco Pacheco
1565-1570Bernardo Navagero

The Renaissance Church with the Cistercian Convent (1585 - ):

1570-1603  Girolamo Rusticucci Vicar General of Rome
(Cardinal Jerome Rusticucci was Vicar General of Rome under Pope Sixtus V and responsible for the reconstruction and fresco work of the present Church of Santa Susanna.)

1604-1610Anna d'Escarsde de Giury
1612-1616Gaspare Borgia
1616-1626Scipione Corbelluzi
1626-1652Giulio Sacchetti
1654-1659Giovanni Battista Spada
1659-1660Francesco Pallavincio Sforza
(Cardinal Francesco Sforza was descended from the first Sforza Duke of Milan.  The Sforza family had lost its control over Milan after the French occupation in 1535.)

1665-1675Carlo Carafa
(Cardinal Carlo Carafa was a Papal Nuncio and the great grandnephew of Pope Paul IV (a Carafa Pope) and the grandnephew of the first Carlo Cardinal Carafa, an incompetent and criminal adminstrator who was executed for treason at Castel San Angelo on Mar 4, 1561 by Paul IV's successor, Pius IV.  The Carafa family is Neapolitan and produced a large number of cardinals and some saints.  This Carlo Carafa was born in Naples in 1611, was bishop of Aversa and Nuncio to Switzerland, the Republic of Venice, and to Leopold the Holy Roman Emperor.)

1676-1677Berhard Gustav von Baden-Durlach  Prince Abbot of Fulda
1686-1697Marco Antonio Barbarigo
1700-1704Daniele Marco Delfino
1706-1720 Lorenzo Corsini      Pope Clement XII 1730-1736
(In 1720, Cardinal Lorenzo Corsini changed his titular to the Church of San Pietro in Vincoli, a custom common at the time. He was elected Pope at the age of 78 and was blind and bedridden during most of his reign.  He used his family wealth to beautify Rome building the present facade of St. John Lateran and the Trevi Fountain.  He is buried in the beautiful Corsini Chapel of the Lateran which he built as his tomb.)

1721-1738Giuseppe Pereira de La Cerda
1747-1749Raniero Felice Simonetti
(The Simonetti were a prominent Milanese family, traceable from the 15th century.  They produced a series of cardinals who served in the Curia, beginning with Cardinal Giacomo Simonetti in 1475.)

1756-1757Luca Melchiorre Tempi
1759-1763*Ludovico de'Valenti, Bishop of Rimini
(Cardinal de' Valenti was bishop of Rimini, an Umbrian city on the Adriatic from 1759 to 1763.  He founded the ecclesiastical academy and fostered sacred studies in the city.)

1802-1818*Carlo Crivelli
1835-1841  Giuseppe Della Porta Rodiano Vicar General of Rome
1843-1850Ignazio Giovanni Cardolini
1856-1874  Allessandro BarnaboPrefect, Propagation of the Faith
(Prefect of the Propagation of the Faith, Cardinal Barnabo became friend and protector to Father Isaac Thomas Hecker, the founder of the Paulist Fathers, after Hecker's dismissal from the Redemptorist Order in 1857.  It was Cardinal Barnabo who arranged for Hecker to meet Pius IX and explain his ideas about evangelizing America.  It was this event that led to the creation of the Paulist Fathers in July 1858.)

1876-1884Bartolomeo D'Avanzo
1885-1911Francis Patrick MoranArchbishop of Sidney
(Cardinal Moran was the third Archbishop of Sydney, Australia and the first Australian Cardinal.  He was born Leighlinbridge, Ireland, Sept 16, 1830, and died in Sidney, August 16, 1911.  He studied at the Irish College in Rome, and later became Vice Rector from 1856-1866.  Returning to Ireland, he became secretary to his uncle, Cardinal Paul Cullen.  In 1872 he became bishop of Ossory  (Kilkenny) and in 1884, he was named  Archbishop of Sidney, Australia,  He became cardinal priest of Santa Susanna in 1885.  A powerful prelate, he presided over the building of the church in Australia.  Together with Cardinal Gibbons in the US and Cardinal Manning in England, he was one of the pioneers of Catholic social movements in English-speaking countries.  He worked hard to apply Rerum Novarum to the Labor movement in Australia.)

1911-1914Francois Virgile Dubillard,Archbishop of Chambery
1915-1922Giorgio GusiminiArchbishop of Bologna
(Cardinal Giorgi Gusimini, was the Archbishop of Bologna, and titular of Santa Susanna, when the Kingdom of Italy reverted ownership of the Church from the state (a situation that had existed since 1870 when Papal Rome fell).  The state now gave title to the Cardinal titular.  The Cistercians had hope that Cardinal Gusimini would turn over ownership to them. However he died before he could make any decision about the Church.  Pope Benedict XV also decided to turn over use of the Church to the Paulist Fathers for the pastoral care of the American community.)

The American Church in Rome (1922 - ):

1924-1927  Giovanni Bonzano  Former Apostolic Delegate to US
(Cardinal Bonzano requested Santa Susanna at the 1924 Consistory in order to protect the establishment of the nascent American church.  Bonzano, a theologian and mentor to Cardinal Mundelien of Chicago, had a special concern for Americans.  He had served as Apostolic Delegate to the United States before being created Cardinal at the end of the First World War.  It was Cardinal Bonzano who installed Fr. Thomas Lantry O'Neill as the first American Rector of the Church.)

1927-1936 Alexis Henri Lepicier Prefect, Congregation for Religious
(Cardinal Lepicier was a Servite theologian and Prefect of the Congregation for Religious. He was born in Vaucoleurs, France Feb. 28, 1863 and died in Rome on May 20, 1936.  Trained by the Sulpicians, he joined the Servite Order and received a doctorate in theology at the Propaganda Fide in 1890.  In 1892 he was appointed to the chair of systematic theology at the Propaganda left vacant by his mentor, Francesco Satolli who became the first Apostolic Delegate to the United States.  In 1913 he was elected Superior General of the Servites.  During his years at the Propaganda, he produced some of the most important writing in Mariology of his time.  He was made titular Archbishop of Tarsus an apostolic visitor to India in 1924, and in 1927 he was created cardinal priest of Santa Susanna by Pius XI and Prefect of the Congregation of Religious.)

1937-1943Arthur Hinsley Archbishop of Westminster
(Cardinal Hinsley was fifth Archbishop of Westminster and leader of the English Catholic community.  He was born in Carlton, Yorkshire England on Aug. 25, 1865.  He studied at the English College in Rome, and served as Rector from 1917-1928.  Pope Piux XI made him an Achbishop in 1929 and  appointed him the first Apostolic Delegate to Africa, where he served  until 1934.  Despite his age, he was made Archbishop of Westminster in 1935 and cardinal priest of S. Susanna in 1937.  Hinsley's achievements in London include the development of a parochial school system in England, and the founding of  "Sword in the Spirit" a  lay movement to restore ethics to public life.  He died near London on Mar. 17, 1943, during the War.)

1946-1958 Edward Francis Mooney Archbishop of Detroit
(Cardinal Mooney, first Archbishop of Detroit, was born in Mt. Savage Maryland on May 4, 1882.  He attended St. Charles Seminary in Baltimore and the North American College in Rome.  Here he received doctorates in philosophy in 1907 and theology in 1909.  He would serve as Spiritual Director at the North American College from 1922 to 1925.  One of the first Americans to serve in the diplomatic corps of the Holy See, Pope Pius XI made him an Archbishop in 1926 and sent him as Apostolic Delegate to India and later Japan.  In 1937 he became the first Archbishop of Detroit where he not only eliminated a large debt, but built over 100 parishes.  Pope Pius XII created him titular of Santa Susanna in 1946, the first American to become Cardinal Priest.  He arrived in Rome in October 1958 to attend the Conclave that would elect Pope John XXIII and died after the opening Mass.)

1958-1970 Richard James Cushing Archbishop of Boston
(Cardinal Cushing, third Archbishop of Boston, was born in Boston on August 24, 1895 and was ordained a priest in May 1926.  Highly effective as Director of the Propagation of the Faith, he was made Auxilary Bishop of Boston in June 1939.  He succeeded Cardinal O'Connell as Archbishop in 1944 and was created Cardinal Priest of Santa Susanna by Pope John XXIII in December 1958.  He built more than 80 new parishes, 6 hospitals, 3 colleges and introduced some 60 religious orders of men and women to the diocese.  In 1958, he established the Missionary Society of St. James for diocesan priests to work in Latin America.  His close friendship with the Kennedy family associated him with President John F. Kennedy and he both prayed at his inauguration in 1961 and presided at his funeral in 1963.  He died in Septmber 1970, one month after the installation of his successor Archbishop Medieros.)

1973-1983 Humberto Sousa Medeiros Archbishop of Boston
(Cardinal Medeiros, fourth Archbishop of Boston, was born in Arrifes, in the Azores on October 6, 1915.  He emigrated with his family to Fall River Massachusetts in 1931.  He studied for the priesthood at the Catholic University of America in Washington where he received an STL and was ordained a priest on June 15, 1946.  He received an STD in theology from Rome in 1951 and  served as Chancellor the Diocese of Fall River.  Pope Paul VI named him Bishop of Brownsville Texas in 1966, and he became Archbishop of Boston in October 1970.  He both tackled an extensive diocesan debt and restructured the diocese into vicariates.  He became Cardinal Priest of Santa Susanna in March 1973.  His style was simple and direct and he was a man of great compassion for the poor and those on the edges of society.  He died unexpectedly after heart surgery on September 17, 1983.)

1985 - Bernard Francis Law Archbishop of Boston
(Cardinal Law, fifth Archbishop of Boston, was born in Torreon, Mexico on November 4, 1931.  His father was an officer in the United States Air Force.  After attending Harvard University, he completed seminary at the Pontifical North American College, the Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson, Missisippi on Mary 21, 1961.  From 1968 to 1971 he served as Director of the Bishop's Committee for Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Affairs and then became Vicar General of the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson.  He succeeded William (now Cardinal) Baum as Bishop of Springfield-Cape Giradeau in 1973.  Following the untimely death of Cardinal Medieros, he was promoted to Archbishop of Boston on January 11, 1984.  Pope John Paul II created him Cardinal Priest of  Santa Susanna on Mary 25, 1985.)

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Bernard Cardinal Law, Cardinal Priest,
Fifth Archbishop of Boston

Cardinal LawBernard Francis Law was born in Torreon Mexico on November 4, 1931. He completed high school in St. Thomas in the Virgin Islands and went to Harvard University. He entered seminary, at the Pontifical College Josephinum, north of Columbus Ohio and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson Mississippi, on 21 May 1961.

Father Law's first assignment was to St. Paul's Church in Vicksburg, Mississippi where he served as Assistant Pastor. Two years later, in 1963 he became editor of the diocesan newspaper, The Mississippi Register. During his five years as editor, Father Law also served as Director of the Diocesan Family Life Bureau, Assistant Director of Vocations, and Moderator of the Councils of Catholic Men and Women. He also served as President of the Diocesan Priest Senate, he was made a Consultor of the Diocese of Natchez-Jackson by Bishop Joseph Brunini. From 1968 to 1971, Father Law served as Executive Director of the Bishop's Committee for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs, and was then appointed Vicar General of the Diocese.

On 22 October 1973 Pope Paul VI appointed him Bishop of Springfield-Cape Giradeau, Missouri, succeeding Bishop (now Cardinal) William Baum who had been promoted to the Archdiocese of Washington. During his eleven years in Mississippi Bishop Law worked closely with arriving Vietnamese refugees and was actively involved with national and international church concerns. He was elected as chair of the Bishop's Commission for Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs and served as a member of the Bishop's Ad Hoc Committee for the Church in Latin America and from 1976 to 1981 as a Consultor Secretariat for Promoting Christian Unity, in Rome.

Following the untimely death of Humberto Cardinal Medieros, Bishop Law was promoted to the Archdiocese of Boston on January 11, 1984. The new Archbishop assumed many tasks, becoming a Trustee of the Catholic University of America (he now serves as chair), and appointments to the Executive Committee, the Welfare Emergency Relief Committee, the Human Values Committee, and also served as chair on the Committee on Pastoral Research and Practices. Named the College of Cardinals on April 25, 1985, he was created Cardinal Priest under the title Santa Susanna by Pope John Paul II on May 25, 1985.

The Titular Cardinals of Santa Susanna

One of the most ancient churches of Rome, The Church of Santa Susanna was among the first 25 churches in Rome to have a cardinal priest. Before Constantine, it had been a house church where a Christian family lived as early as 285 AD. Two houses joined together two parts of the same family, Pope St. Caius, and his brother, the priest, St. Gabinus a widower with his daughter, St. Susanna. Here the Eucharist was celebrated with the local community. After Constantine, the first church, called San Caio, was named for Susanna's uncle, Pope Saint Caius who lived here. However the cult of his niece Susanna soon overtook him in popularity, and in 590 AD Pope St. Gregory the Great renamed the church Santa Susanna.

Santa Susanna has one recorded cardinal priest under the title of San Caio. Five cardinal priests of Santa Susanna have become pope and two are saints. The cardinal titulars of Santa Susanna have included at various times, the great Italian houses of Borgia, Carafa, Sforza, Orsini, and della Rovere, as well as the bishops of Bologna in Italy, Fulda in Germany, Rouen in France. The first known English-speaking cardinal was Patrick Moran, and beginning at the turn of the century, the cardinal priests of Santa Susanna have included the Archbishops of Sidney, Australia, Westminister/London, and both Detroit and Boston in the United States. Since 1946 the titular cardinal has been an American. Since 1946, the following cardinal priests have been given charge of Santa Susanna:

The American Cardinal Titulars of Santa Susanna:

  • Francis Mooney, Archbishop of Detroit 1946-1958
  • Richard James Cushing, Archbishop of Boston 1958-1970
  • Humberto Medeiros, Archbishop of Boston 1973-1983
  • Bernard Francis Law, Archbishop of Boston 1985-

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