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Friday, March 24, 2017

Condolences to Baltimore

Cardinal William Henry Keeler, who helped ease tensions between Catholics and Jews and headed the oldest Catholic diocese in the U.S. for 18 years, died on Thursday. He was 86 years old. Archbishop William Lori announced in a statement that Keeler died at Saint Martin's Home for the Aged in Catonsville.

Cardinal Keeler retired in 2007 as the head of the Archdiocese of Baltimore. He devoted much of his clerical life to improving ties with other denominations. From 1992 to 1995, he was President of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. He also served as moderator for Catholic/Jewish Relations and was a member of the Committee on Ecumenical and Inter-religious Affairs.

The President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo of Galveston-Houston released a statement remembering Cardinal Keeler as someone who was greatly known for his work as a faith leader in ecumenism and inter-religious affairs.

Statement of Cardinal Daniel DiNardo
Archbishop of Galveston-Houston
President of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops

This morning, the Lord called home His Eminence William Cardinal Keeler, a servant of priestly virtue and gentlemanly manner.  The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops remembers his generosity of spirit in service to his brothers and the people of God, especially the Cardinal's time as president from 1992 to 1995. We offer prayers of gratitude for Cardinal Keeler's return to the Lord he so dearly loved.

As a priest, Bishop of Harrisburg, and Archbishop of Baltimore, the Cardinal worked to bring the hope of Christ to people's lives. He also built bridges of solidarity to people of other faiths as a leader in ecumenism and interreligious affairs. Cardinal Keeler was a dear friend. The most fitting tribute we can offer is to carry forward his episcopal motto in our daily lives: "Do the work of an evangelist.

This morning, the Holy Father, Pope Francis sent a telegram of condolence to the current Archbishop of Baltimore, His Excellency, William Lori.

Telegram of Condolence sent by His Holiness, Pope Francis
to the Archbishop of Baltimore

To the Most Reverend William E. Lori
Archbishop of Baltimore

Deeply saddened to learn of the death of Cardinal William H. Keeler, I offer heartfelt condolences to you and to the clergy, religious and lay faithful of the Archdiocese. With gratitude for Cardinal Keeler’s years of devoted episcopal ministry in the local Churches of Harrisburg and Baltimore, his years of leadership within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, and his long-standing commitment to ecumenical and inter-religious understanding, I join you in commending the soul of this wise and gentle pastor to the merciful love of God our heavenly Father. To all who mourn the late Cardinal in the sure hope of the Resurrection, I cordially impart my Apostolic Blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in the Lord.


On September 4, 2005, Cardinal Keeler visited the studios of Salt+Light Television in Toronto.  The following interview was recorded at that time:

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