Two Sulpician Alumni Created Cardinals
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On 19 and 20 November 2010, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI held a consistory at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome to create a new group of 24 cardinals, among whom were two Americans, Cardinal Donald W. WUERL, Archbishop of Washington, and Cardinal Raymond L. BURKE, Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Signatura. Both cardinals are Sulpician alumni. As young college seminarians, they attended the Sulpician owned and operated Theological College of The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC as Basselin scholars.
Founded in 1914 by a wealthy Catholic layman, Theodore B. Basselin from New York, the Basselin program is a demanding academic regimen to promote the study of oratory and philosophy among seminarians preparing for the priesthood. In the current academic year, there are nine Basselin students at TC from various U.S. Catholic dioceses.
The Basselin program entails an extra year of study beyond the usual four-year college program, and requires the writing of a Master’s-level thesis. The program leads to both a Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree in philosophy. Some Basselin seminarians remain at Theological College to continue their studies for the priesthood, but often, as was the case with both new American cardinals, they are sent to other seminaries to continue their progress toward ordination.
Among TC’s 1500 alumni, 45 have become bishops. In addition, six have been created cardinals. The two new American cardinals join Cardinal Daniel DiNARDO, Archbishop of Houston-Galveston, and the late Cardinals Joseph BERNARDIN, James HICKEY, and Humberto MADEIROS as TC alumni elevated to this esteemed rank.
At the request of the Provincial of the U.S. Province of Sulpicians, Father Thomas R. ULSHAFER, S.S., and the Rector of Theological College, Father Melvin C. BLANCHETTE, S.S., the Superior General of the Sulpicians, Father Ronald D. WITHERUP, p.s.s., flew to Rome from Paris to attend the consistory and to represent the Society and congratulate these distinguished Sulpician alumni.
The Society of the Priests of Saint-Sulpice congratulates Cardinals Burke and Wuerl and wishes them many blessings as “princes” of the Church.