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Gerald Shaughnessy

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Title: Gerald Shaughnessy  
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Subject: Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Seattle
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Gerald Shaughnessy

The Most Reverend

Gerald Shaughnessy
Bishop of Seattle
Province Portland in Oregon
See Seattle
Predecessor Edward John O'Dea
Successor Thomas Arthur Connolly
Ordination June 20, 1920
Consecration September 19, 1933
Personal details
Born May 19, 1887
Everett, Massachusetts
Died May 18, 1950(1950-05-18) (aged 62)
Buried Holyrood Catholic Cemetery, Shoreline, Washington
Styles of
Gerald Shaughnessy
Reference style The Most Reverend
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Monsignor

Gerald Shaughnessy, S.M. (May 19, 1887 – May 18, 1950) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Bishop of Seattle from 1933 until his death in 1950.


Gerald Shaughnessy was born in Everett, Massachusetts, to Joseph and Margarett (née Colwell) Shaughnessy.[1] In 1909 he graduated from Boston College, where he had won the Cronin scholarship.[1] He then taught at private and public schools in Maryland, Montana and Utah until 1916, when he entered the Society of Mary (more commonly known as the Marists).[1] He studied theology at the Marist College and the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., earning a Bachelor of Sacred Theology in 1920.[1] He was ordained to the priesthood on June 20, 1920.[2] He became an official of the Apostolic Delegation in 1919.[3] Returning to the Marist College, he there served as professor of moral theology from 1920 to 1933.[1] During this period, he was also a professor at Notre Dame Seminary (1923–1924) and at Rome and Lyons (1930–1931).[1] He became novice master at the Marist College in 1932.[3]

On July 1, 1933, Shaughnessy was appointed the fourth Bishop of Seattle, Washington, by Pope Pius XI.[2] He received his episcopal consecration on the following September 19 from Archbishop Amleto Giovanni Cicognani, with Bishops Michael Joseph Keyes, S.M., and Charles Daniel White serving as co-consecrators.[2] His talent for administration and attention for detail kept the diocese financially stable during the Great Depression.[4] He encouraged the formation of Serra International, and served as its first chaplain.[5] He also supported the St. Vincent de Paul Society and Catholic Charities.[4] During World War II, he condemned discrimination against Japanese Americans and opposed American participation in warfare abroad.[4][6] In a 1941 Easter sermon, Shaughnessy criticized Republican presidential candidate Wendell Willkie for making promises he later dismissed as "campaign oratory."[7] After Willkie demanded an apology, he declared that Willkie was not "the man he used to be, and in fact he never was...And speaking of 'apology,' Mr. Willkie, I believe that you owe one to your party, to those who voted for you and to the whole nation."[7]

In November 1945, Shaughnessy suffered a cerebral hemorrhage while returning from the annual meeting of the American bishops in Washington, D.C.[4] He never fully recovered from this incident, and in 1948 the Vatican appointed Thomas Arthur Connolly as coadjutor bishop with immediate right of succession. After several years of forced inactivity, Shaughnessy died in 1951, a day short of his sixty-third birthday.[4]


Preceded by
Edward John O'Dea
Bishop of Seattle
Succeeded by
Thomas Arthur Connolly
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