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John Cody

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His Eminence 
John Patrick Cody
Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago
See Chicago
Enthroned August 24, 1965
Reign ended April 25, 1982
Predecessor Albert Meyer
Successor Joseph Bernardin
Ordination December 8, 1931
Consecration July 2, 1947
Created Cardinal June 26, 1967
Other Archbishop of New Orleans (1964-65)
Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph (1956-61)
Personal details
Born December 24, 1907(1907-12-24)
St. Louis, Missouri
Died April 25, 1982 (aged 74)
Chicago, Illinois

John Patrick Cody (December 24, 1907—April 25, 1982) was an American clergyman of the Roman Catholic Church. A native of St. Louis, he served as Bishop of Kansas City-Saint Joseph (1956-61), Archbishop of New Orleans (1964-5), and Archbishop of Chicago (1965-82). He was created a cardinal in 1967.


John Cody was born in St. Louis, Missouri, to Thomas Joseph and Mary (née Begley) Cody.[1] His father was an Irish immigrant who became deputy chief of the St Louis Fire Department. After attending Holy Rosary Parochial School, he entered St. Louis Preparatory Seminary at age 13.[2] He remained at St. Louis until 1926, when he was sent to continue his studies at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.[2] He earned a Doctor of Philosophy degree (1928) and a Doctor of Sacred Theology (1932) from the College of the Propaganda.[2]

Cody was ordained to the priesthood by Cardinal Francesco Marchetti Selvaggiani on December 8, 1931.[3] He remained in Rome for the next six years as a staff member of the North American College and an official of the Vatican Secretariat of State.[1] In 1938, he earned a Doctor of Canon Law from the Pontifical Roman Athenaeum S. Apollinare, and was awarded the Benemerenti medal for his services to the Secretariat of State.[2] Upon his return to the United States, Cody served as private secretary to Archbishop John J. Glennon until 1940, when he became chancellor of the Archdiocese of St. Louis.[1] He was named a Privy Chamberlain in 1939 and a Domestic Prelate in 1946.[2] He accompanied Archbishop Glennon to Rome when the latter was named a cardinal, and was on hand when Glennon died on the return trip.

On May 10, 1947, Cody was appointed Auxiliary Bishop of St. Louis and Titular Bishop of Apollonia by Pope Pius XII.[3] He received his episcopal consecration on the following July 2 from Archbishop Joseph Ritter, with Bishops George Joseph Donnelly and Vincent Stanislaus Waters serving as co-consecrators, at the Cathedral of St. Louis.[3] He was appointed Coadjutor to the Bishop of Saint Joseph, Missouri on January 27, 1954. He was appointed Bishop of Kansas City-Saint Joseph, Missouri on August 29, 1956 and installed October 11, 1956. In 1961, he was transferred to New Orleans, Louisiana, where he was appointed Coadjutor to the Archbishop on August 14, 1961, appointed Apostolic Administrator on June 1, 1962 and acceded to the See of New Orleans on November 8, 1964. He became an object of national attention as archbishop, due to his predecessor's efforts to desegregate the Catholic schools in his jurisdiction.

Cody was appointed Archbishop of Chicago, on June 16, 1965 and installed August 24, 1965. He was elevated to Cardinal on June 26, 1967. Cody's time in Chicago was marked by strife and controversy, including federal investigations of financial improprieties and an ambiguous relationship with Mrs. Helen Dolan Wilson, who was alleged to be his mistress.[4][5] Mrs. Wilson, who "followed (Cody's) every move about the diocese" for a period of some 25 years, was alleged to have received large sums of money diverted by Cardinal Cody, some of which purchased her a "house in Boca Raton...a luxury car, expensive clothes and furs, and holiday cash presents."[6]

Despite the fact that approximately one million dollars of church funds went missing under Cody's tenure,[7] and the National Conference of Catholic Bishops lost more than four million dollars in a single year while Cody was treasurer of that organization, all investigations were suspended upon Cody's death.[8]

Roy Larsen, the Religion Editor of the Chicago Sun-Times wrote:

"Legally, the investigations by the paper and the federal prosecutors ended inconclusively. In that sense, the legal tactics followed by Cody and his lawyers—chiefly a strategy of delays and stalling—succeeded in preventing any indictments. Eight months before the first story was published, the U.S. Attorney’s office issued subpoenas to Cody and the archdiocese, but the information that was sought was never turned over to the government. Even after the series was published, the stonewalling continued. A new U.S. Attorney, Dan Webb, had taken over the government’s investigation and issued new subpoenas, but Frank McGarr, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, did nothing to move the case along. Finally, the Cardinal’s health became an issue. On April 25, 1982, he died. In July 1982, Webb terminated the investigation, stating: “Once the cardinal passed on, the investigation as to the allegations against the cardinal became moot.”"[9]

Cody found his traditional view of episcopal authority often in conflict with a number of priests of his diocese. He was opposed to some of the decisions of Apostolic Delegate Jean Jadot and led a protest campaign against what he felt was excessive progressivism and radicalism on the part of the delegate. [10] [11]

The opposition waned as the Cardinal's health declined in the early 1980s, when he was succeeded in the summer of 1982 by Joseph Bernardin at the time of his death. Andrew Greeley's book The Cardinal Sins is based on the affairs.


Cardinal Cody's final resting place


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Miranda. "CODY, John Patrick (1907-1982)". The Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Curtis, Georgina Pell (1961). The American Catholic Who's Who. XIV. Grosse Pointe, Michigan: Walter Romig. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "John Patrick Cardinal Cody". 
  4. Roy Larsen, Nieman Reports, "In the 1980's, a Chicago Newspaper Investigated Cardinal Cody," Spring 2003. Retrieved 06-26-2009.
  5. Linda Witt & John McGuire, People, "A Deepening Scandal Over Church Funds Rocks a Cardinal and His Controversial Cousin," September 28, 1981, Vol. 16, No. 13. Retrieved 06-26-2009.
  6. Piers Compton, The Broken Cross: The Hidden Hand in the Vatican, pp. 73-4.
  7. Alexander L. Taylor III & Madeleine Nash, "God and Mammon in Chicago," Time, September 21, 1981. Retrieved 06-26-2009.
  8. Ocala Star-Banner, "Death of Cardinal Cody Leaves Questions Behind," April 26, 1982, page 5. Retrieved 06-26-2009.
  9. Roy Larsen, Nieman Reports, "In the 1980's, a Chicago Newspaper Investigated Cardinal Cody," Spring 2003. Retrieved 06-26-2009.]
  10. Cleric who shaped US 'pastoral church' dead at 99
  11. A contradictory view is posed by Piers Compton, in The Broken Cross, pg. 74-5, citing "a long report in the Chicago Catholic of September 29th, 1978. An Archdiocesan Liturgical Congress was held in order, as one of the jargon-crazed Modernists said, to keep the Church 'living, moving, changing, growing, becoming new, after some centuries of partial paralysis.' As part of that process, dance groups frolicked under flashing multi-coloured lights, trumpets blared, people reached and scrambled for gas-filled balloons, and donned buttons that bore the message 'Jesus loves us'; while a priest, who was looked upon as an expert in the new liturgy, his faced whitened like a clown's, paraded about in a top hat and with a grossly exaggerated potbelly emerging from the cloak he wore." Compton also continues with a description of a report in The Chicago Tribune in which "what was said to be a 'Gays' altar'...." featured "One hundred and twenty-two priests... present at what passed for Mass, and every one of them was a self-confessed moral pervert....Neither of these profanities called forth a word of protest from John Patrick, Cardinal Cody."
  • Delaney, John J. Dictionary of American Catholic Biography. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Company, 1988.

External links

Preceded by
George Joseph Donnelly
Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Louis
May 10, 1947 – January 27, 1954
Succeeded by
Charles Herman Helmsing
Preceded by
Edwin Vincent O'Hara
Bishop of Kansas City-Saint Joseph
Succeeded by
Charles Herman Helmsing
Preceded by
Joseph Rummel
Archbishop of New Orleans
Succeeded by
Philip Hannan
Preceded by
Albert Gregory Meyer
Archbishop of Chicago
Succeeded by
Joseph Bernardin

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