John Cardinal Carberry was one of the men who had the unique experience of attending two Papal Conclaves within little more than a month of each other in 1978. He was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1904, the youngest of ten children. He enrolled at Cathedral College in 1915, where he displayed a love for the priesthood, playing the violin and baseball. Like many men who become Cardinals in the Church in America, he studied at the North American Pontifical College and was ordained in 1929.
He served as a curate at Saint Peter’s in Glen Cove, New York. Obtaining a doctorate of canon law from Catholic University of America in 1934. From 1935-1940 he served as secretary to the Bishop and Assistant Chancellor of the diocese of Trenton, New Jersey. (One of the hallmarks of Carberry’s career was a broad range of experience around the country rather than remaining in one diocese his entire life.)
From 1941-1945 he served as professor of canon law at Immaculate Conception Seminary in Huntington, New York. From 1945-1956 he was Chief Judge of the diocese of Brooklyn. In 1956 he was appointed Coadjutor Bishop of Lafayette, Indiana. He succeeded as second Bishop of Lafayette in 1957.
He attended all the sessions of Vatican II and was an active participant. In 1965 he was named seventh Bishop of Columbus, Ohio. At Columbus he gave active support both to the civil rights movement and ecumenicalism.
In 1968 he was appointed the fifth Archbishop of Saint Louis. By this time the chaos within the Church that followed in the aftermath of Vatican II was well underway and Carberry did his best to oppose it. He celebrated Humanae Vitae and established the Archdiocesan Pro-Life Commission, giving an early impetus to the pro-life movement in Saint Louis. He opposed Communion in the hand until 1977, fearing that it was irreverent and would lead to hosts being stolen for use in Black Masses. He spoke out loudly against the sitcom Maude, one of Norman Lear’s television vehicles to preach liberalism to what he perceived as the great unwashed, which celebrated contraception and abortion. He was one of the American prelates in the vanguard against the activities of the liberal Archbishop Jean Jadot, Apostolic Delegate to the United States from 1974-1980, whose influence on the Church in America was almost entirely pernicious.
Reaching the mandatory retirement age of 75, he retired in 1979 and passed away in 1998. (more…)