December 23, 1966
CARDINAL SPELLMAN SAYS VIETNAM WAR IS "A WAR FOR CIVILIZATION"
Saigon, South Vietnam (JFK+50) The Catholic Archbishop of New York, Francis Cardinal Spellman*, while visiting American military personnel in South Vietnam today said that the war in Vietnam is "a war for civilization (although)...it is not a war of our seeking."
Cardinal Spellman, speaking at a mass given here in Saigon, continued...
"It is a war thrust upon us--we cannot yield to tyranny."
Francis Cardinal Spellman
Harris & Ewing Photo
*Francis Joseph Spellman (1889-1967) was born in Whitman, Massachusetts to parents who immigrated from Ireland. He graduated from Fordham University in 1911 & earned his doctorate at the Pontifical North American College in Rome.
Ordained in 1916, he became Archbishop of New York in 1939.
In 1945, Cardinal Spellman started the annual Alfred Smith Memorial Dinner as a fundraiser for Catholic charities & featuring notable politicians & presidential nominees.
Although Spellman presided over the weddings of Bob & Ted Kennedy, he supported Nixon in 1960.
JFK took this in stride, however, when he spoke at the dinner with Cardinal Spellman, & Republicans Richard Nixon & Nelson Rockefeller in attendance.
"Cardinal Spellman is the only man so widely respected in American politics that he could bring together, amicably, at the same banquet table, for the first time in this campaign; two political leaders who are increasingly apprehensive about the November election, who have long eyed each other suspiciously & who have disagreed so strongly....Vice-President Nixon and Governor Rockefeller."
JFK, Cardinal Spellman, RMN
Alfred Smith Memorial Dinner
New York City
October 19, 1960