Categotry Archives: Religious Leaders

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Cardinal Franz Köenig

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Categories: Education, Religious Leaders, Writers/Editors

fkoenig.jpgCardinal Franz Köenig, the longtime Roman Catholic archbishop of Vienna, died on March 13. Cause of death was not released. He was 98.
Köenig attended the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and studied old Persian languages and religion at its Bible Institute. He earned doctorate degrees in philosophy and theology, and was ordained as a priest in 1933. During World War II, Köenig worked as a chaplain and teacher.
The author of the three-volume collection, “Christ and the Earth’s Religions,” Köenig spent the 1950s becoming an influential player in the Catholic Church. He served as Vienna’s archbishop for two years before Pope John XXIII elevated him to cardinal in 1958.
Köenig then became a respected church diplomat in countries behind the former Iron Curtain. From 1966 to 1981, he was the president of the papal Secretariat for Non-Believers, and played a key role in the preparations for the Second Vatican Council. Although he was twice considered a candidate for pope, Köenig instead facilitated the 1978 papal nomination of Cardinal Karol Wojtyla. Now known as Pope John Paul II, Wojtyla was the first non-Italian pope in more than four centuries.
Köenig served as archbishop of Vienna until his retirement in 1985. He was replaced by Hans Hermann Groer, who later resigned in disgrace amid allegations he molested boys in the 1970s. Groer died last year.

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Boris Trajkovski

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Categories: Law, Politicians, Religious Leaders

btrajkovski.jpgBoris Trajkovski, the president of Macedonia, died on Feb. 26 in a plane crash. He was 47.
An ordained Methodist minister, Trajkovski studied theology in the United States and gave up Communism. He earned a law degree from St. Cyril and Methodius University then specialized in commercial and employment law. He spent 17 years as the head of the legal department of construction company Sloboda before he dedicated his life to public service.
Trajkovski worked as chief-of-office in the Skopje government administration for two years until he was appointed deputy foreign minister of Macedonia. Elected president in 1999, Trajkovski was credited with uniting his ethnically divided country. He pledged to lead Macedonia towards membership in the European Union and NATO, and was only days away from signing the formal EU application.
Trajkovski was en route to an international investment conference when his plane crashed 50 miles south of Sarajevo. Six other officials and two pilots also died. The Parliament speaker, Ljubco Jordanovski, will serve as acting president until the next election.

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Brother Boniface Schnitzbauer

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Categories: Religious Leaders

Brother Boniface Schnitzbauer, a Trappist monk who published a cookbook of his favorite recipes, died on Jan. 7. Cause of death was not released. He was 96.
Born William Schnitzbauer, he emigrated from Germany to America in 1929 and worked as a barber in Manhattan. During World War II, he served as a medic, then returned to New York to open a confectionary shop with his brother-in-law.
In 1952, something called Schnitzbauer to the Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner, S.C. Although he had no baking experience when he arrived, he apprenticed with an older monk and became a master baker. His vegetarian dishes fed the Trappist Cistercian monks for more than 40 years. But his true passion was baking breads, cakes and pastries — activities he treated as if they were sacraments.
“It was an art for him and a very sacred duty,” Abbot Francis Kline said.
Schnitzbauer published the cookbook, “Baking With Brother Boniface,” in 1997. It is the most popular text sold at the abbey gift shop.
Schnitzbauer’s Favorite Recipe: Pistachio Cake

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Dorotha Randall Howe

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Categories: Business, Medicine, Religious Leaders

When Coloradoans voted to deny Medicaid funding for abortions in 1984, Dorotha Randall Howe founded the Freedom Fund, a local program that helps poor women pay for the medical procedure. The fund, which is maintained by the First Universalist Church of Denver, aids more than 100 women a year.
As the owner of Abortion Information and Referral, Howe also spent a decade counseling thousands of women on their family planning options. For her many years of service to the community, she received the Faith and Freedom Award from the Colorado chapter of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice in 1988, and the Clara Barton Award in 1997 from the Unitarian-Universalist Women’s Federation.
“She did abortion counseling before abortion was legal. She wasn’t a flag-waver, but she always was a feminist and was very interested in women’s issues,” said her daughter, Judith Howe Klopfer.
Howe died on Jan. 1. Cause of death was not released. She was 86.

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Robert DeWitt

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Categories: Religious Leaders

Rev. Robert L. DeWitt, the former bishop of the Diocese of Pennsylvania who was censured for ordaining women into the priesthood two years before the Episcopal Church authorized it, died on Nov. 21 of congestive heart failure. He was 87.
DeWitt graduated from Amherst College in 1937, attended the Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, and was ordained in 1940. He spent four years as the suffragan bishop in Michigan before being elected bishop coadjutor of the Pennsylvania diocese in 1964. Two weeks into the job, his predecessor died, making DeWitt the youngest person to be elected bishop in that diocese.
For the next decade, DeWitt was a tireless advocate of civil rights. He demonstrated for racial equality and protested against the Vietnam War. Then in 1974, he and two other bishops ordained 11 women into the priesthood at the Church of the Advocate in Philadelphia. Done without official authorization, the Episcopal Church of the United States censured DeWitt and his colleagues, Bishop Edward Welles of Missouri and Bishop Daniel Corrigan of California. Church leaders also threatened to excommunicate the women. After two years of fierce debate, however, the ordinations of the “Philadelphia 11” were declared valid in 1976.
DeWitt retired from the church, and spent several years working as the editor of The Witness, and as president of the Episcopal Church Publishing Company. In 2001, he published “Ebb Tide,” a book describing his wife’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

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