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Church historian publishes electronic book on Archbishop Purcell

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January 20, 2012

ARCHDIOCESE — Father M. Edmund Hussey, a church historian and former archivist of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati has electronically published a new book,  Archbishop Purcell of Cincinnati. The book is available via Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Noble’s Nook.

Archbishop John Baptist Purcell served the archdiocese for 50 years, from 1833-53. During those years, explained Father Hussey, he “helped a numerically small diocese develop into a large and distinguished archdiocese.”

 

“He was a skillful and eloquent defender of his faith n debates, speeches, pastoral letters and newspaper articles,” said Father Hussey. “He was an Irish bishop in a largely German city and functioned so capably in that role that the Catholic Church in Cincinnati was virtually free of ethnic tensions.”

 

As the bishop in city on the border between the North and South, “he struggled to move beyond the merely political and economic aspects of slavery and was able to vigorously defend President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation,” Father Hussey noted. “At the First Council of the Vatican, he ably, though unavailingly, argued against the opportuneness of defining papal infallibility. By reason of seniority, he was then the dean of the American hierarchy.”

 

Archbishop Purcell’s story “gives us an interesting picture of an important period of our history and can also have some valuable lessons for us today,” said Father Hussey. In writing the book he built on the studies of the late Father Anthony Deye, a priest of the Diocese of Covington who had done both a master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation on the archbishop’s life.

 

“I enjoyed learning about the new world of electronic publishing,” Father Hussey said of the experience. “But even in this electronic age, I still value medieval illuminated manuscripts inscribed on parchment.”

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