CNA Staff, Sep 24, 2020 / 10:08 am
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, for his theological orthodoxy, and for his vigorous defense of the unborn.
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 and 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.