Our Boosters are matching gifts up to $45,000. We have $32,417 to go. Your gift today will count twice!
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!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($117,041 to go):
$150,000.00 $32,958.98
78% 22%
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.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Contentious Spirits, Beware! 18 hours ago
And here's another very old story: the secular media don't understand Catholic affairs October 29
How not to be persuasive October 29
Francis the Man, Francis the Pope October 28
Clarifying what it might mean for a pope to wish to change Catholic doctrine October 28

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6