Former New Orleans Archbishop Dies At 98
MELISSA BLOCK, Host:
Peter Finney, welcome to the program.
PETER FINNEY: Thank you so much, Melissa.
BLOCK: I was looking at an image of Archbishop Hannan from WWII. He was with soldiers along the frontlines and you see him there in his white cassock and a helmet. What did he tell you about how his experience during the war shaped him, then as a priest, and later as an archbishop?
FINNEY: She asked him to bless her rosary and he said, well, ma'am, no, I think the good Lord has blessed you for all you have been through. He has blessed that rosary already. And she said, no. You're a priest, I want you to bless my rosary. And that's exactly what he did. So, he had a love for human beings, human dignity. And that never left him and that really - it shaped his entire priesthood and his entire life.
BLOCK: What were some of the social welfare programs that Archbishop Hannan brought to New Orleans?
FINNEY: So the Archbishop said, okay, well, I'll take care of that. We're going to open up the Notre Dame Seminary swimming pool so that these black students can swim with the white kids and they had no problems. He got a few phone calls from white parents who said, we don't agree, but he said he didn't give it any mind.
BLOCK: There was a point when Archbishop Hannan caused quite a bit of controversy when he told people that voting for Mary Landrieu or Bill Clinton would be a sin because of their positions on abortion.
FINNEY: So, he was retired at the time when he made those comments. It caused a lot of flack, but he believed them.
BLOCK: I gather that Archbishop Hannan had a real passion for the New Orleans Saints. He was there for their Super Bowl victory in Miami.
FINNEY: And, of course, you know, through the years, the Saints proved - they fell on their swords many times and they were terrible, but no one got more enjoyment out of the Saints' Super Bowl than Archbishop Hannan.
BLOCK: Well, Peter Finney, thank you very much for talking with us today.
FINNEY: Thank you so much, Melissa.
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BLOCK: Peter Finney is executive editor of the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of New Orleans, the Clarion Herald. We were talking about former Archbishop of New Orleans, Philip Hannan, who died this morning at the age of 98.
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