GERMAN CATHOLICS OF WILLIAMS, IA., SUE ARCHBISHOP KEANE 1901
KEANE, HENNESSEY, KNIGHT
Posted By: Cheryl Locher Moonen (email)
Date: 1/12/2017 at 13:09:42
Dubuque Daily Herald, September 8, 1901
CHURCH CASE TO
GERMAN CATHOLICS OF
WILLIAMS, IA., SUE
SUBSCRIBED FOR CHURCH BUILDING
They Alleged They Were
Promised a German
Speaking Priest and
Didnít Get One.
The case of the German Catholics of Williams, Iowa, against Archbishop Keane of Dubuque, will come up for trial this week at the district court in Webster City, Iowa. Attorney W. J. Knight, of this city, will represent the interests of the Archbishop.
The case grows out of a misunderstanding that arose between the German Catholics of Williams and the late Archbishop Hennessey. It seems that the town of Williams is composed of a fair number of so-called German Catholics and that they subscribed a large amount of money on the building of a new Catholic church on condition that Archbishop Hennessey would give them a priest that could both speak English and the German language. Accordingly, on these representations, the church was built, but for some reason or other the condual language speaking priest was never sent. A vigorous protest was made to Archbishop Hennessey, in which he was reminded of his alleged promise. Nothing came of the protest, however, and before the matter was settled amicably Archbishop Hennessey died. The duty of straightening out the difficulty then devolved on Archbishop Keane, and he immediately laid the matter upon his council. Here every detail of the misunderstanding was considered and it was finally determined that inasmuch as the majority of Catholics of Williams could speak the English language, no German speaking priest would be sent there. Before rendering this decision, however, the archbishop and his council, it is said, considered the claim regarding Archbishop Hennessey promise. This, it seems, was mere assertion on the part of the German Catholics; at least it was not substantial positively.
When the decision of the archbishop reached the German Catholics of Williams they were naturally chagrined. They immediately took steps to have the case tried in the civil courts, hoping to get the amount they subscribed for the building of the church returned. They claim they can produce letters from Archbishop Hennessey in which he promises a dual language speaking priest on the conditions outlined above.
The case is very interesting as the questions involved are similar to those that frequently arise in many parishes.
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