Statement of Cardinal Donald Wuerl on the Death of Cardinal William Wakefield Baum, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington

(November 21, 1926 ~ July 23, 2015)

Friday, July 24, 2015

WASHINGTON – It is with sorrow that I announce the death of Cardinal William Wakefield Baum, the third Archbishop of Washington. As we grieve our loss we also thank God for his ministry, particularly as our archbishop from 1973 to 1980. He will be remembered for his kindness and dedication to the ministry to which God called him.

Cardinal Baum was a joy-filled priest with a firm personal commitment to serve the Lord, which he did faithfully for 64 years of ordained life. He was the longest serving cardinal in American history.

While Cardinal Baum will be remembered for his long and distinguished service in Rome as Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education and later as the head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Vatican office for matters of conscience, his memory will always be dear to this Church of Washington which, for him, was home.

With his death I have lost a longtime friend with whom I had the privilege of working in a variety of capacities going back to the late seventies. It was a privilege to have assisted under his direction with the first apostolic visitation of the seminaries in the United States at the request of Pope John Paul II from 1981 to 1986.

As I offer my prayers for him and my sympathy to his family and friends, I also thank God for the generosity with which Cardinal Baum responded with a quiet but firm and enduring yes to God’s call that enabled him to touch, by his ministry, so many people over so many years.

May God now grant him a place in the house of Our Father.


Cardinal Wuerl’s blog on Cardinal Baum

Cardinal Baum’s biography

Read Catholic Standard story on the celebration of Cardinal Baum’s 60th anniversary as a priest



The Archdiocese of Washington is home to over 620,000 Catholics, 139 parishes and 95 Catholic schools, located in Washington, D.C., and five Maryland counties: Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s.

Chieko Noguchi
[email protected]