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John Krol

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His Eminence 
John Joseph Krol
Cardinal Archbishop Emeritus of Philadelphia
See Philadelphia (emeritus)
Enthroned March 22, 1961
Reign ended February 11, 1988
Predecessor John Francis O'Hara
Successor Anthony Bevilacqua
Ordination February 20, 1937
Consecration July 11, 1953
Created Cardinal June 26, 1967
Other Auxiliary Bishop of Cleveland (1953-61)
Personal details
Born October 26, 1910(1910-10-26)
Cleveland, Ohio
Died March 3, 1996 (aged 85)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Denomination Roman Catholic Church
Styles of
John Krol
CardinalCoA PioM
Reference style His Eminence
Spoken style Your Eminence
Informal style Cardinal
See Philadelphia (Emeritus)

John Joseph Krol (October 26, 1910—March 3, 1996) was a Polish-American Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He was the Archbishop of Philadelphia from 1961 to 1988, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1967.

Early life and ministry

The fourth of eight children, John Krol was born in Cleveland, Ohio, to John and Anna (née Pietruzka) Krol, who were Polish immigrants. The family briefly returned to Poland when Krol was two-years-old, but later returned to the United States. Originally worked as manager of the meat department at a Kroger grocery store, he focused on a life in religion after being questioned by a Lutheran co-worker. After studying at St. Mary's College in Michigan and St. Mary's Seminary in Cleveland, he was ordained a priest by Bishop Joseph Schrembs of Cleveland on February 20, 1937. Krol, following a year's pastoral work, attended the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, where in 1940 he received a license in canon law. He earned his doctorate in canon law in 1942 from The Catholic University of America, and served as Canon Law professor at Cleveland's St. Mary's Seminary until December 1943.

He quickly rose through the ranks—Vice-Chancellor (1943-1951) and Chancellor (1951-1954) of Cleveland, and Monsignor (July 19, 1945).


He was appointed auxiliary bishop of Cleveland and Titular Bishop of Cardi by Pope Pius XII on July 11, 1953. Krol received his episcopal consecration on the following September 2 from Archbishop Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, with Bishops Edward Hoban and Floyd Lawrence Begin serving as co-consecrators. He served as a bishop in Cleveland for eight years before being named the Archbishop of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania, where the cleric became a beloved figure, on February 11, 1961.

Krol attended the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), and like the future Pope Benedict XVI,[1] he later differentiated the true meaning of the Council and its interpretation.[2] Like Pope Paul VI, he was more liberal in areas of social principles but sternly conservative in those of doctrine and Church government. He condemned arms races and abortion, but supported clerical celibacy and disarmament.[3][4]

He was created Cardinal Priest of S. Maria della Mercede e Sant'Adriano a Villa Albani by Paul VI on June 26, 1967, during the same consistory which elevated Archbishop Karol Wojtyła of Kraków, Poland. Both were cardinal electors in the conclaves of August and October 1978. Wojtyła became Pope John Paul II in the latter conclave, and Krol served as one of his closest advisors.

During the 1960s and 1970s, Krol governed the Archdiocese of Philadelphia through an era where the population shifted to the suburbs. Krol also campaigned for the canonization of Katharine Drexel, and was present at the canonization of his Bavarian-born predecessor in Philadelphia, Bishop John Neumann. He made a celebrated pilgrimage to Poland in 1972,[5] and served as President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 1971 to 1974.

Later life and legacy

Krol was hospitalized in 1987 for treatment of diverticulosis.[6] Due to his ill health, he resigned as Archbishop of Philadelphia on February 11, 1988, exactly 27 years after he was appointed to the post. He was the longest serving ordinary in the history of the archdiocese, and was succeeded by Anthony Bevilacqua.

Krol died in Philadelphia at age 85, and is buried in the crypt beneath the Cathedral-Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul.

Bishop Krol was mentioned for his role in the sexual abuse scandal in Philadelphia archdiocese some 10 years after his death.

E. Michael Jones published a biography of Krol in 1995 titled John Cardinal Krol and the Cultural Revolution. The book covers Krol's early life and his time as President of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops during the turbulent times of the 1970s. In order to give Jones sources for the book, Krol allowed Jones access to the Archdiocese of Philadelphia archives.[7]



In 1973, he called the Supreme Court's decisions overturning state laws banning abortion "an unspeakable tragedy for this nation" that "sets in motion developments which are terrifying to contemplate."


He opposed looser regulations governing marriages between Catholics and non-Catholics, the reception of Communion in the hand and attending Mass on Saturday evening instead of Sunday.


He referred to the Church's condemnation of contraception, reaffirmed by Pope Paul VI in 1968, as "divine law."

Nuclear disarmament

In 1979, his Congressional testimony backing talks on limiting strategic arms foreshadowed an appeal in a pastoral letter by American bishops for nuclear disarmament in 1983. At the high tide of the nuclear freeze movement in 1982, Cardinal Krol told 15,000 demonstrators at a Philadelphia rally that it was time for governments "to dismantle existing nuclear weapons." He later acknowledged that his belief in gradual and reciprocal disarmament, with strong safeguards against cheating, was probably not shared by all the demonstrators.

Tax credits for Catholic schools

In 1984, Cardinal Krol appeared with President Ronald Reagan at a campaign rally at a Catholic shrine in Pennsylvania, praising Mr. Reagan for trying to win tax credits for parents of children in religious schools. In the same year, the Cardinal delivered an invocation at the Republican National Convention in Dallas.

Personal life

  • He could speak eleven languages.[2]

Episcopal Succession

Template:Infobox Episcopal Succession/bishopconsecrated11Template:Infobox Episcopal Succession/bishopconsecrated12
Episcopal Lineage
Consecrated by: Amleto Giovanni Cicognani
Date of consecration: September 2, 1953
Consecrator of
Bishop Date of consecration
Joseph Thomas Daley January 7, 1964
John Joseph Graham January 7, 1964
Alfred Michael Watson June 29, 1965
Giovanni Enrico Boccella April 17, 1968
Martin Nicholas Lohmuller April 2, 1970
Thomas Jerome Welsh April 2, 1970
James Steven Rausch April 26, 1973
Michael Bosco Duraisamy June 10, 1974
Edward Thomas Hughes July 21, 1976
Louis Anthony DeSimone August 12, 1981


  1. The Holy See. Address of His Holiness Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia, Offering Them His Greetings December 22, 2005
  2. 2.0 2.1 Time Magazine. The Krol Era November 29, 1971
  3. Ibid.
  4. Time Magazine. Bishops and the Bomb November 29, 1982
  5. Time Magazine. Pilgrim in Poland October 30, 1972
  6. Time Magazine. Milestones May 25, 1987
  7. Culture Wars Magazine Reprints,

External links

Preceded by
John Francis O'Hara, C.S.C.
Archbishop of Philadelphia
Succeeded by
Anthony Bevilacqua
Preceded by
John Dearden
President of the United States Catholic Conference and National Conference of Catholic Bishops
Succeeded by
Joseph Bernardin
no:John Joseph Krol

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