Anthony Kohlmann

Educator and missionary, born Kaiserberg, Alsace, 1771; died Rome, Italy, 1836. He was ordained priest after completing his theological studies at Fribourg, and joined the Congregation of the Fathers of the Sacred Heart, 1796. After two years as a military chaplain he became the director of a seminary and a college. In 1803 he joined the Society of Jesus, in Russia, and was sent to the United States, where he became assistant to the master of novices at Georgetown, Maryland, 1804. He was selected by Bishop John Carroll, 1808, to accomplish necessary educational reform in New York City. He founded the New York Literary Institution and a school for girls. He became involved in a lawsuit in New York after he had been instrumental in restoring stolen goods, which he had received under the seal of the confessional, to a man who demanded to know the thief. Naturally Father Kohlmann refused to betray the guilty man. The decision rendered in Father Kohlmann's favor, justifying the seal of Confession, was embodied in the state law, 1828. He was administrator of the diocese of New York until the arrival of the first bishop; returned to Georgetown as master of novices, 1815, and became superior, 1817. He was then called to Rome where he taught theology at the Gregorian University for five years. His essay on Unitarianism is classic. Kohlmann Hall, New York, is named for him.

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