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Cardinal Meunch

“The various assignments that the Holy Father has given me in the past, I have always accepted in the spirit of humble obedience and with trust in the goodness of divine providence. In this same spirit I accept the office of cardinal which His Holiness has chosen to give me. I shall beg Almighty God to give me the strength I shall need to serve His Church and the Vicar of Christ on earth in accordance with His Holy Will.” – Archbishop Muench after learning that he would be elevated to the College of Cardinals; from his residence in the Apostolic Nunciature, Bad Godesberg, Germany, November 16, 1959.

Aloisius Joseph Cardinal Muench

50th Anniversary

On December 14, 1959, Archbishop Muench was elevated to the College of Cardinals. To mark the 50th anniversay of this historic event, writings from and about Cardinal Muench are being made available. They provide a glimpse into his life and accomplishments.

The article “The 50th Anniversary of Fargo’s Cardinal,” a summary of Cardinal Muench’s life, was published in the December 2009 issue of New Earth. The St. Walburga’s Abbey Memorial Book was written soon after his elevation to the College of Cardinals and contains more details about his life.

Published Works

The list of the known published works of Cardinal Muench includes his Pastoral Letters, books, pamphlets and articles. He was involved in the publicartion of 3 books. The most well-known is Manifesto on Rural Life (an electronic version is available from ewtn.com), which was published in 1939 and had 3 printings; the last printing was in 1950.

Pastoral Letters

From the beginning his episcopacy as the third bishop of the Diocese of Fargo in 1935, Bishop Muench, in imitation of the practice of some European bishops, published an annual pastoral letter. He was installed as bishop in November of 1935, the first Pastoral is dated Lent 1936. Even while serving in Europe Bishop Muench continued the practice of writing a Lenten Pastoral Letter for the faithful of the Diocese of Fargo, and this practice continued until his elevation to the College of Cardinals in 1959. Beginning in 1949, his pastoral letters included discussion questions at the end of the document.

His Lenten Pastoral Letter of 1946, “One World in Charity” was translated into German and read througout Germany. In it he argued that German citizens should not be considered collectively guilty of the crimes of the Nazis, and contrary to the position of some in the United States government, pleads that they be treated humanely. Later that same year he was appointed Apostolic Visitator to post-war Germany.

The Bishop Writes

From 1938 through 1959 Bishop Muench wrote a monthly column for Catholic Action News (the newspaper for the Diocese of Fargo which he started), entitled “The Bishop Writes.” In 1946 when he was assigned to Germany, the title of the column was changed to “The Bishop Writes from Europe.” His columns gave the people of the Diocese of Fargo a ‘front row seat’ to the events unfolding in post-war Europe. As a sample of his columns are two articles on Pope Saint Pius X; the first, a biography of the saintly pope, written on the occasion of his beatification in 1951, the second is a descrption of his canonization in 1954.

In the 256th consecutive monthly installment in December of 1959, he wrote on the history of ecumenical councils in the Church, giving the background to the new ecumenical council Pope John XXIII convoked. Once he became a cardinal, he was no longer the bishop of the Diocese of Fargo and no longer wrote a monthly column; this article was his final installment. Little did he know that he, as a cardinal of the Roman Curia, would spend the last days of his life preparing for the council he wrote about, known in history as the Second Vatican Council.

Cardinal Muench’s Papers

In 1972 the Diocese of Fargo donated the files of Cardinal Muench’s papers to “The American Catholic History Research Center” of the Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. A detailed catalog of the contents of the 62 boxes in this collection is available online.

Works about Cardinal Muench

In All Things Christ

Cardinal Muench’s episcopal motto was “In Omnibus Christus” (“In All Things Christ”). Cardinal Meyer, archbishop of Chicago, reflected on these words in a sermon for the Silver Jubilee of Cardinal Muench’s episcopal ordination in 1960.

St. Walburga’s Abbey Memorial Book

This brief biography was made by the Benedictine Nuns of St. Walburga’s Abbey, Eichstätt, Germany on the occasion of Cardinal Muench being named a cardinal. Is was hand-lettered and illustrated, and presented to the cardinal in 1960.

Biography: American Nuncio

When Cardinal Muench was still alive, Fr. Colman Barry started research on a book about him. In 1969 Saint John's University Press (Collegeville, MN) published Barry’s 379 page American Nuncio: Cardinal Aloisius Muench, a comprehensive biography of Cardinal Muench. It is available in many Catholic university libraries.

50th Anniversary of Fargo’s Cardinal

To mark the 50th anniversary of Cardinal Muench’s elevation to the College of Cardinals, this article, a summary of the his life, was published in the December 2009 issue of New Earth .