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NY’s Cardinal John O’Connor was a Jew

Is this really a big deal? Let’s say the cardinal really was Jewish. It runs in the family, because so was his boss.
By:
Cardinal O'Conner

NEW YORK (JTA) — Cardinal John Joseph O’Connor, the late archbishop of New York, was technically Jewish, according to new research.

O’Connor’s sister, Mary O’Connor Ward, recently discovered through genealogical research that her mother, Dorothy Gumple O’Connor, was born Jewish but converted to Catholicism before she met and married the O’Connors’ father.

Ward told the newspaper Catholic New York that she does not know whether or not the late cardinal, who died in 2000 at age 80, knew that his mother had been Jewish. Ward said her mother never spoke about her Jewish roots but that when she was growing up, she “surmised” that her mother was a convert.

According to Halachah, or traditional Jewish law, anyone with a Jewish mother is considered Jewish.

O’Connor had close ties with New York’s Jewish community and co-authored a book with the late New York City mayor, Ed Koch, who was Jewish. O’Connor often described Jews as Catholics’ “elder brothers,” marched in protests to free Soviet Jews, visited the site of the Dachau concentration camp and joined Jews in commemorating the Holocaust.

A native of Philadelphia, O’Connor became an auxiliary bishop in 1979 and bishop of Scranton, Pa., in 1983. In 1984, Pope John Paul II named him archbishop of New York, a position he held until his death, and O’Connor was made a cardinal in 1985.

Ward said her brother likely would have been proud of his Jewish roots. She credited her daughter, Eileen Ward Christian, for pushing her to conduct the research that led to the Jewish discovery.

Catholic New York reported that several months before the cardinal’s death, several Jewish leaders praised O’Connor in interviews with the newspaper.

O’Connor was “God’s gift to New York and a special gift to the Jewish community,” Abraham Foxman, national director of the Anti-Defamation, said. “He has learned to understand our sensitivities and our hopes — he has traveled that road so well — that he could be considered a leader in our community.”

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47 Responses to “NY’s Cardinal John O’Connor was a Jew”

  1. So what….how many Jewish children who got lost in the Holocoust are today practising Catholics.

  2. James Wood says:

    Good question there’s not really that much difference in the actual service

  3. Julie Kasnik says:

    alot of popes were Jews- alot of catholics are Jews.

  4. The best point ever! His boss was a Jew too! Love it!

  5. Have u ever heard of Cardinal Jean Marie Lustigier (Aaron Lustinger ) ?

  6. true so sad. Vatican never returned them, as much as rabbies begged the pope, he refused to give them up.

  7. I agree with you, Jewish Press, his (& also the Pope’s) Boss sure was Jewish!

  8. Jason Madera says:

    Once a Jew always a Jew….u can’t change that. Ur Neshama will bring u back!

  9. A lot of Jews were forced to convert to Catholism to save their lives from death. That was their only choice, want to live? Become a Catholic today. My family was one of those families and hid their identity for 4 generations.

  10. I just know that the people who quit smoking are the most preachy. Maybe that’s what it is.

  11. God has a way of revealing to his people who we are. My identity was lost for 4 generation out of fear of death.

  12. Don’t forget that the Vatican protected many Nazi war criminals.

  13. Seems to me a Jew is what a Jew does. He never thought he was Jewish…so was he?

  14. Gene Strong says:

    So what.?
    He was also a baby..

  15. Does that mean he had a bris?

  16. When you get right down to the nitty-gritty, we are all Jewish, and with a Christian name of ray and a jewish name of yitchik (probably misspelled) I KNOW I’m JEWISH and proud of my heritage!

  17. Israel Duran says:

    Is no reason to be cristian catolic what a waste of time there is no base for what they teach bery estupid the batican an its religion ebery thign is fake fake

  18. You know I love information like this!!

  19. You know I love information like this!!

  20. My father’s family (Spain) was forced to convert to Catholicism or be burned alive.

  21. I am catholic but my ancestors were JrJews

  22. In Portugal all the names with da silva. carvalho. pareira oliveira i would say half of portugal were Jews now catholics

  23. There is a big misconception in the world that Christianity and catharcism are the same. But they are not. The Christians were also forced to either convert to catholic or were given over to the Romans by the Vatican to be killed. But most the world when they say Christian, they think catholic. Jesus never taught three gods. Only one. Here oh Israel, The Lord our God is one Lord

  24. HELLO!! Jesus was a JEW!!!

  25. the neshumah is the neshumah. cardinal lustiger who asked jews to say kaddish for him because he was still a yid. it is what it is.

  26. and how many Jewish children were kidnapped by Catholics in11th, 12th centuries and baptized…

  27. I wonder why so many Christians who find that they are really Jews don’t come back.

  28. Matt Porter says:

    Well the first prayer meeting of the New Testament was held by Jews… upon the Jews was the Holy Ghost poured out first… and the Jews are still the apple of God’s eye. It is foolish and unwise to speak against them, lest you speak against the LORD. Salvation was given first to the Jews, then to the Greeks.

  29. Well, that means that Mary O’Connor Ward was Jewish and so is her daughter, Eileen! So go get ‘em, Chabad, whacha waitin’ for?

  30. …Jesus was Jewish hence Christians are Jewish – or something like that… ;)

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