Edward Aloysius Mooney

His Eminence
Edward Aloysius Mooney
Cardinal, Archbishop of Detroit
See Detroit
Installed May 31, 1937
Term ended October 25, 1958
Predecessor Michael Gallagher
Successor John Dearden
Other posts Cardinal-Priest of Santa Susanna
Ordination April 10, 1909
by Pietro Respighi
Consecration January 31, 1926
by Willem van Rossum
Created Cardinal February 18, 1946
by Pius XII
Personal details
Born (1882-05-09)May 9, 1882
Mount Savage, Maryland
Died October 25, 1958(1958-10-25) (aged 76)
Rome, Italy
Previous post
Coat of arms {{{coat_of_arms_alt}}}
Styles of
Edward Mooney
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Detroit

Edward Aloysius Mooney (May 9, 1882 October 25, 1958) was an American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Detroit from 1937 until his death, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1946.

Early life and ministry

Edward Mooney was born in Mount Savage, Maryland as the seventh child of Thomas and Sarah (née Heneghan) Mooney. At age 5, he moved with his family to Youngstown, Ohio, where his father worked at a tube mill.[1] Following his father's death in the 1890s, his mother opened a small bakery to support the family, with Edward and his siblings delivering the baked goods to her customers.[1] He attended St. Charles College in Ellicott City and St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore before being sent to Rome in 1905 to study at the Pontifical North American College. He was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Pietro Respighi on April 10, 1909.

Upon his return to the United States, Mooney taught dogmatic theology at St. Mary's Seminary in Cleveland until 1916. He was the founding principal of the Cathedral Latin School in Cleveland from 1916 to 1922, and pastor of St. Patrick's Church in Youngstown from 1922 to 1923. Returning to Rome, he then became spiritual director of the North American College in 1923. Albert Meyer, a student at the North American College and future cardinal, once said, "[Mooney] was revered and greatly beloved...he left an indelible mark on all the students, inspiring them with his great learning and his solid spiritual guidance."[1] He was raised to the rank of Domestic Prelate of His Holiness on June 3, 1925.

Episcopal career

Apostolic Delegate

On January 21, 1926, after having made a favorable impression on Cardinal Pietro Gasparri,[2] Mooney was appointed Apostolic Delegate to India and Titular Archbishop of Irenopolis in Isauria by Pope Pius XI. He received his episcopal consecration on the following January 31 from Cardinal Willem van Rossum, CSSR, with Archbishop Francesco Marchetti Selvaggiani and Bishop Giulio Serafini serving as co-consecrators. During his tenure in Bangalore, fifteen missions and three dioceses were created and the Syro-Malankara Church was reconciled with the Holy See.[3]

Mooney was later named Apostolic Delegate to Japan on March 30, 1931. At the time of his arrival, all Japanese were required to visit and pay homage at Shinto shrines, with Catholics objecting to participation in Shinto worship. Mooney led a successful effort for the Japanese government to declare that visits to the shrines were only of a patriotic nature and not a religious one.[1] He later presided over a plenary council of the Korean bishops.[1]

Bishop of Rochester

Being recalled from Tokyo to the United States, he was appointed the fourth Bishop of Rochester, with the personal title of "Archbishop", on August 28, 1933. Mooney was elected chairman of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, the predecessor of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, shortly afterwards in 1935; he maintained that post until 1945. During his tenure in Rochester, he promoted Catholic Action and the Knights of Peter Claver as a means of outreach to the African American community, and took deep interest in Catholic social teaching and labor relations.[4] He would also play golf in high temperatures (once saying, "If your score is over 100, you are neglecting your golfif it falls below 90, you're neglecting your parish")[5] and take a group of altar boys every year to the opening game of the baseball season.[6]

Archbishop of Detroit

Mooney was named the first Archbishop of Detroit, Michigan, on May 31, 1937. Upon arriving in Detroit, he was greeted by Governor Frank Murphy and a representative of Mayor Frank Couzens.[7] An advocate for labor unions, he once proposed establishing parish labor schools in order to help "Christian workers to train themselves in principle and technique to assume the leadership in the unions which their numbers justify".[8]

From the very beginning of his tenure in Detroit, Mooney became engaged in a contentious relationship with Fr. Charles Coughlin, whose controversial radio broadcasts had angered many in the Catholic hierarchy and American public. In October 1937, he rebuked Coughlin for casting aspersions on President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's sanity over his nomination of Hugo Black to the Supreme Court, leading Coughlin to cancel his contract for twenty-six radio broadcasts.[9] After the priest agreed to end his program in 1942, Mooney responded, "My understanding with him is sufficiently broad and firm to exclude effectively the recurrence of any such unpleasant situation."[10]

As the population of Detroit grew into the northern suburbs of Detroit, Mooney added churches in the remote areas of Oakland County. He appointed Father Frederick Delaney to begin opening additional parishes in the rural areas of the county.[11]

During World War II, Mooney was staunchly opposed to Nazi Germany, once stating before a group of North and South American prelates, "A victory in this war for the forces of Nazi-inspired aggression would drive Christians underground for generations in the conquered countries."[12] Pope Pius XII created him Cardinal Priest of Santa Susanna in the consistory of February 18, 1946.

In 1957, Mooney delivered the benediction at the inauguration of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The Cardinal died in Rome, at age 76, after suffering from a heart attack and collapsing less than three hours before the beginning of the 1958 papal conclave. Cardinals Francis Spellman and James McIntyre granted him absolution before departing for the conclave.[5] Mooney was initially buried in the crypt of St. John's Seminary in Detroit, but his remains were later transferred in 1988 to Holy Sepulchre Cemetery in Southfield.


Cardinal Mooney High School in Youngstown, Ohio is named after him. It is not far from where he spent his childhood. A former Cardinal Mooney High School in Greece, New York, a suburb of Rochester, closed in 1989. Other current Cardinal Mooney High Schools exist in Marine City, Michigan and Sarasota, Florida.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Thornton, Francis. "Edward Cardinal Mooney". Our American Princes.
  2. TIME Magazine. 17th Archdiocese 1937-06-14.
  3. The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church
  4. Diocese of Rochester. Diocesan History
  5. 1 2 TIME Magazine. Detroit's Archbishop November 3, 1958
  6. TIME Magazine. 17th Archdiocese June 14, 1937
  7. TIME Magazine. Mooney to Detroit August 16, 1937
  8. TIME Magazine. For Christian Workers January 30, 1939
  9. TIME Magazine. Coughlin Silenced October 18, 1937
  10. TIME Magazine. Coughlin Quits May 18, 1942
  11. http://ollwaterford.org/about-us/history/
  12. TIME Magazine. Catholic Good Neighbors September 7, 1942

External links

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Pietro Pisani
Apostolic Delegate to the East Indies
18 Jan 1926  30 Mar 1931
Succeeded by
Leo Peter Kierkels, CP
Preceded by
John Francis O'Hern
Bishop of Rochester
1933  1937
Succeeded by
James E. Kearney
Preceded by
Michael J. Gallagher
Archbishop of Detroit
1937  1958
Succeeded by
John Francis Dearden
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