Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Alabama: Methodist bishop seeks forgiveness for priest’s 1921 murder

Catholic World News - May 23, 2012

In 1921, the rector of the cathedral in Birmingham, Alabama, was murdered by a Methodist minister who was outraged by the marriage of his daughter to a Puerto Rican. The minister, Edwin Stephenson, was defended by future Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black and acquitted.

Nearly a century later, Methodist Bishop William Willimon has sought forgiveness for the slaying of Father James Coyle.

“It was a sad day in our history--our judicial history and interreligious history,” he said. “I became not only disturbed by the event and the trial, which was a national scandal, but by the Methodist church's response, or lack of it.”

“I've been haunted by this story," he added. "We should repent because we can. We're not bound by the past.”

Father Alex Steinmiller, president of a Catholic school in Birmingham, offered forgiveness at a Methodist service. “There is no statute of limitations on forgiveness,” he said.

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our August expenses ($15,000 to go):
$35,000.00 $19,999.98
43% 57%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: AgnesDay - May. 23, 2012 5:03 PM ET USA

    I think it is no coincidence that the greatest modern evangelism apostolate operates out of the Diocese of Birmingham. I had no idea that this great work was seeded by the blood of a martyr, but I guess I should have known.

  • Posted by: williiam ronner - May. 23, 2012 12:26 PM ET USA

    A side note is that Hugo Black was an ardent anti-Catholic bigot.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The Blessed Book of Beasts 2 hours ago
Weekend reading 11 hours ago
Frustrating the Moral Law 11 hours ago
Weep for slaughtered Christians, not for dialogue with Islam 16 hours ago
An Appointment that Francis Should Withdraw August 28

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
‘A real via crucis’: Pope Francis, patriarch plead on behalf of Iraq’s Christians CWN - August 8
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians in flight as Islamic State advances CWN - August 8