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Current Society News: Obituaries

Msgr. Ellsworth Kneal

Thursday, January 28, 2010  
Posted by: Katie Richards
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Monsignor Ellsworth Kneal, 92, a nationally known and respected expert in Roman Catholic Church law, Canon law judge, professor and pastor for 43 years passed away on January 28, 2010. He had retired from active ministry in 1978 and more recently, was a resident of Colonial Acres Health Care Center in Golden Valley.

A native of St. Louis, Missouri, he was ordained a priest in 1944 following studies at St. Louis University and the Saint Paul Seminary. He also did post graduate study at Catholic University of America in Washington DC. From 1944 through 1958, Monsignor Kneal served as associate pastor at parishes in White Bear Lake and south Minneapolis, but it was as a canon lawyer and canon law judge that he earned his national reputation. A former member of the St. Paul Seminary faculty, he was also an official with Archdiocese’s Metropolitan Tribunal which resolves disputes within the Church and focuses primarily on marriage dissolutions. He was directing judge of the tribunal for ten years and also taught at the Catholic University of America from 1982 to 1986.

In 2001, Monsignor Kneal received the Canon Law Society of America’s highest honor when he was given their Role of Law award.

"Monsignor Kneal was one of the finest gentlemen I’ve encountered as a bishop and as a priest,” said the Most Reverend Harry J. Flynn, Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese. "He was thoughtful, learned and a skilled canonist with a pastoral heart.”

A former student of the monsignor’s who went on to replace him at the tribunal, Father Ron Bowers , said Kneal was loved and respected by seminary students. "We worked together for many years,” Bowers said. "He was an excellent teacher, both from the point of view of ministry and of canon law.”

Mass of Christian Burial, 10:30 a.m, Monday, February 1 at The Saint Paul Seminary, 2115 Summit Avenue in St. Paul. Viewing one and one half hour prior to Mass. Committal/interment to follow immediately at Resurrection Cemetery. Please remember Msgr. Kneal in your prayers and masses.

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