Archbishop John Myers, retired Newark archbishop, dead at 79

CNA Staff, Sep 24, 2020 / 11:08 am (CNA).- Archbishop John J Myers, emeritus archbishop of Newark, has died at 79.

Myers was from 2001 until 2016 the Archbishop of Newark, New Jersey. He was before that Bishop of Peoria, the diocese for which he was ordained a priest in 1966.

The archbishop, the oldest of seven children, was the son of an Illinois farmer. He discerned a vocation to the priesthood while in college, and was sent as a seminarian to the Pontifical North American College in Rome. He earned in Rome a licentiate in sacred theology and a doctorate in canon law.

He became coadjutor bishop of Peoria in 1987 and became Peoria’s bishop in 1990. Throughout the 1990s, Myers was known for fostering numerous priestly vocations in the Peoria diocese, and for his theological orthodoxy.

Myers surprised many Church-watchers when in 2001 he succeeded Theodore McCarrick as Archbishop of Newark.

The archbishop faced criticism for his handling of several high-profile clerical abuse cases while he was Archbishop of Newark, including allowing priests to remain in parish ministry when they had either confessed to or been credibly accused of abuse.

He was, however, recognized by some Newark priests for his support of campus ministry and vocational discernment initiatives in the archdiocese, and for his theological orthodoxy and acumen.

The archbishop also faced a 2014 outcry against the archdiocesan purchase of an expansion of a large home in rural New Jersey in which he planned to retire. The archbishop said the home had been paid for by the sale of other archdiocesan real estate and would be used for archdiocesan purposes, including fundraising.

Myers retired in 2016, and was succeeded by Cardinal Joseph Tobin, who said Thursday that “on behalf of my brother Bishops and the entire family of God here in our local Church of Newark, I extend my heartfelt prayers and condolences to his family. Let us thank God for Archbishop Myers’ service and his love of our Church. I entrust him to the loving arms of our Blessed Mother Mary, and I pray that Our Lord grant him peace.”

Since 2018, widespread concern and speculation regarding what Myers might have known about the abuse sexual proclivities of his predecessor, McCarrick, has continued, especially because Myers led the Newark archdiocese when it reached legal settlements with men alleging sexual misconduct on the part of McCarrick. The Archdiocese of Newark has not released the findings of its own investigation into McCarrick’s activities, citing a state attorney general’s investigation into the matter.

In January, the archbishop moved to Illinois to be near his family, as his “physical and mental health” was said to in serious decline.

The archbishop was the coathor of “Space Vulture” a 2008 science fiction novel.

Funeral services for the archbishop, expected to be held in Peoria, have not yet been announced.


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  1. Among his more pertinent writings, Archbishop Myers, while he was Bishop of Peoria authored the following. These should be mentioned:
    June, 1990 — The Obligations of Catholics and the Rights of Unborn Children
    December, 1990 — The Eucharist: Sacrifice of Love
    January, 1993 — “To Reach Full Knowledge Of The Truth”
    December, 1993 — Make Yours a Holy Family
    January 9, 1995 — “A Fresh, Spiritual Way of Thinking”
    November 5, 1995 — Bishop Urges Evangelization in Cyberspace
    March, 1997 — “Fathers Make Known To Children Your Faithfulness…”
    Excerpts from the six major teaching documents issued by Bishop Myers from 1990-2000
    these followed by :
    June 27, 2016 – To Whom Shall We Go: A Pastoral Letter on the Spiritual Nature of the Human Person
    June 27, 2016 – To Whom Shall We Go: A Pastoral Letter on the Spiritual Nature of the Human Person – Executive Summary
    August 14, 2014 — Archbishop Myers calls for prayer and solidarity with Christians and Religious Minorities in Middle East
    September 25, 2012 — An Executive Summary of When Two Become One: A Pastoral Teaching on the Definition, Purpose and Sanctity of Marriage
    September 25, 2012 — When Two Become One: A Pastoral Teaching on the Definition, Purpose and Sanctity of Marriage
    March 24th, 2010 — The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark, on the Importance of Census 2010 to the People of New Jersey
    September 8th, 2005 — “Whether in Life or in Death, We are the Lord’s”
    March 10, 2005 — “The Way, The Truth, and The Life” — Evangelization
    May 5, 2004 — “A Time for Honesty” — A Pastoral Statement by The Most Reverend John J. Myers, Archbishop of Newark
    August 13, 2003 — A Meditation on Pope Paul VI’s Humanae vitae
    December 8, 2002 — “And the Word became Flesh (Jn 1:14)”: A PASTORAL LETTER — A Theological Reflection on the Human Body
    December 17 , 2001 — “A Reason for the Hope that Lies Within Us”
    October 11, 2001 — “If God is For Us, Who Can Be Against Us?” Reflections on Faith and Terrorism
    I found him to be a kind, loving pastor of souls and I pray that he is in heaven with Our Lord.

  2. Respectful farewell to Archbishop John Myers. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let your perpetual light shine upon the departed soul.

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