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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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BINZ, Leo (Most Reverend). (Stockton, IL, Oct. 31, 1900--North Oaks, IL, Oct. 9, 1979). Binz served as the sixth Archbishop of Dubuque from 1954 to 1962. A LORAS COLLEGE graduate in 1916, Binz attended St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore and the North American College in Rome where he was ordained in 1924. He taught at the North American College for two years and then returned to the United States as the assistant pastor in Sterling, Illinois. In 1927 he was the secretary to the Bishop of Rockford, Illinois. Binz was the chancellor of the Rockford diocese from 1928 to 1932. He served in pastoral work the following four years before being assigned as secretary to the Apostolic Delegation in Washington, D.C. It was from this office that he was sent to investigate the financial problems of Archbishop Francis J.L. BECKMAN. In 1942 he was consecrated the Bishop of Winona, Minnesota.

On October 15, 1949, Binz was appointed Titular Archbishop and Coadjutor Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Dubuque. Upon the resignation of Archbishop Henry P. ROHLMAN, Binz succeeded him as the sixth Archbishop of Dubuque on December 2, 1954. (1)

During his seven years as archbishop, Binz distinguished himself particularly in his commitment to Catholic education. He helped develop Catholic high schools in the archdiocese, served as president of the National Catholic Educational Association from 1954 to 1955, and headed the youth department of the National Catholic Welfare Council. (2) He also established the North American Martyrs Retreat House in Cedar Falls and expanded Catholic Charities in the archdiocese. During the years Binz was archbishop, the enrollment of the archdiocese elementary through high schools increased from 23,000 to 40,000. Parishes spent over $25 million in renovations to their educational facilities. After the necessary requirements had been fulfilled, the Sisters of the Visitation of Dubuque were established as a congregation by the Most Reverend Leo Binz, Archbishop of Dubuque, on June 8, 1952. (3)

Binz has been credited with encouraging the development of eleven Catholic high schools in the ARCHDIOCESE OF DUBUQUE including WAHLERT CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL and the consolidation of smaller high schools. He was also instrumental in directing the expansion of Catholic Charities' services. To aid small parishes in the archdiocese, Binz founded the Rural Life Committee.

During the Vatican Council (1962-1965), Binz worked on committees considering changes in the teachings of the Catholic Church concerning birth control. Said to be the first priest of the Rockford diocese to become a bishop, Binz left Dubuque in 1962 to head the archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis. He was succeeded in Dubuque by the Most Reverend James J. BYRNE.



1. "Leo Binz," digplanet. Online: http://www.digplanet.com/wiki/Leo_Binz

2. Gallagher, Mary Kevin B.V.M. Seed/Harvest: A History of the Archdiocese of Dubuque. Dubuque, Iowa: Archdiocese of Dubuque Press, 1987

3. "Sisters of the Visitation-Dubuque, Iowa. Online: http://www.sistersofthevisitationdbq.org/History/History.html