ARCHBISHOP JOSEPH RUMMEL 2018-07-11T10:54:39-05:00

Project Description

THE ICON: Archbishop Joseph Rummel

THE LEGACY: In 1935, Joseph Rummel arrived in New Orleans as the city’s ninth archbishop. His charge: To lead the city’s Catholics. All of them. It was a task the dignified and determined prelate took seriously. He accomplished much over his 29-year tenure — the longest of any New Orleans archbishop — but his defining legacy would involve his step-by-step integration of the local Church. In 1953, he ordered all of the city’s Catholic churches be desegregated. In a 1956 pastoral letter read at all Masses in the city, he declared racial segregation “morally wrong and sinful,” leading to his 1962 order of the integration of the city’s Catholic schools. He meant it, too, going so far as to excommunicate three people for their opposition to his order. “Such indignities (as segregation),” Rummel wrote, “are grievous violations of Christian justice and charity, which cannot be justified in this modern age of enlightenment.”

THE ARTIST: Michael McManus

THE INSPIRATION: “He will go down in history as one who fought for the rights and dignity of all people. Opposed and even reviled for upholding the standard of Christ and his church, he continued on, serene in the strength of heavenly right.” — Archbishop John P. Cody, in 1964 of New Orleans Archbishop Joseph Rummel