HELENA – Raymond “Dutch” Hunthausen, the retired archbishop of Seattle and a Montana native, passed away at the age of 96 this weekend surround by family.
One of America’s more controversial bishops, Hunthausen was beloved by many and rebuked for his progressive stances. He received a lot of attention for public support of nuclear disarmament, gay rights and broadening the roles for women within the church.
Lewis and Clark County commissioner Andy Hunthausen, nephew of the archbishop, said his uncle had a well lived life that was based upon the core beliefs of peace and justice.
“His example of peace and justice and being there for those that have less or are less fortunate,” said Andy Hunthausen,“ He saw every situation through the lenses of Jesus’s teachings.”
To Andy Hunthausen the archbishop will always be his uncle Dutch.
“As an uncle he was just fun, he was great. So I remember my first trip to Yellowstone, my first trip to glacier, teaching us how to fish and going on hikes,” said Andy Hunthausen, “When he was visiting the parishes as Bishop he always had a car full of us nephews and nieces.”
The oldest of seven children, Raymond Hunthausen was born in Anaconda, MT to Anthony and Edna Hunthausen on August 21, 1921. His parents owned and operated a grocery store in town where Hunthausen worked in his youth.
Hunthausen attended Carroll College where he majored in chemistry and graduated cum laude in 1943.
Before attending Carroll, Hunthausen said he really didn’t have any intention of becoming a priest but was convinced by his Carroll spiritual director Father Bernard Topel.
Hunthausen was ordained as a priest in 1946 and returned to Carroll to teach chemistry and coach football and basketball. He later served as president of Carroll College from 1957 to 1962.
Current Carroll president John Cech, Ph. D., told MTN that he had the honor of meeting archbishop Hunthausen and glean some advice from the former president.
“He told me as president of the college don’t forget the students and remember that every decision you make as president must be made for the benefit of the students,” said Cech, “In fact my theme this year at Carroll is the Year of the Student.”
Cech added Carroll College is what it in today in large part to Hunthausen’s vision and the principles of the archbishop will continue live on at Carroll College.
“This is a very humbling day but also a day to celebrate the achievements of an incredibly great man who left such a profound impact on this college,” said Cech.
Hunthausen was appointed the sixth Bishop of the Helena diocese by Pope John XXIII on July 8, 1962.
Within months of his ordination as Bishop he was summoned to Rome for the Second Vatican Council, or Vatican II as it is informally known. The Second Vatican Council addressed relations between the Catholic Church and the modern world.
Hunthausen was the youngest bishop to attend the Second Vatican Council and the last living American bishop that attended.
As bishop of Helena, Hunthausen established a mission in Guatemala, increased lay involvement in church matters, established Legendary Lodge Catholic youth camp, and saw the implementation of the Second Vatican Council.
Msgr. Kevin O’Neill, Administrator of the Diocese of Helena, stated, “Archbishop will be remembered for his love and care of the poor, for his wisdom, his wit and his unwavering care for those he encountered in his life’s journey.”
Hunthausen was appointed as the second Archbishop Emeritus of Seattle on February 25, 1975 by Pope Paul VI.
As archbishop of Seattle, Hunthausen was known for his strong stances on peace and justice.
Archbishop Hunthausen emphasized inclusiveness and multiculturalism in Seattle. He allowed a group of gay Catholics to celebrate mass at Saint James Cathedral in Seattle and allowed divorced or remarried Catholics to receive sacrament.
In the early 1980s Hunthausen led protests near a base for nuclear-armed submarines in Bangor, WA and withheld half of his federal income tax in the early 1980s as protest.
The Vatican investigated the archbishop in 1985 and appointed an auxiliary bishop, but after two years Hunthausen’s authority was largely restored.
According to the Seattle archdiocese Hunthausen’s was responsible for them becoming one of the first dioceses in the nation to implement a policy to address child sexual abuse by priests and church staff.
Hunthausen retired as Archbishop of Seattle on August 21, 1991 and then returned to his native state of Montana.
Hunthausen could often be found in afternoon prayer in the Cathedral of St. Helena or Ss. Cyril and Methodius Parish, where he ministered in his retirement years.
Services for Archbishop Raymond Hunthausen will be held at 12 p.m. on Friday July 27 at the Cathedral of St. Helena.
The Seattle Funeral arrangements for Archbishop Hunthausen are as follows:
Viewing – St. James Cathedral, 804 9th Avenue, in Seattle on Tuesday, July 31, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m.,
Vigil Service – St. James Cathedral, Tuesday, July 31 at 7:30 p.m.
Mass of Christian Burial – Wednesday, August 1, at 11:00 a.m. at St. James Cathedral.
A public reception will follow.
The family is asking in lieu of flowers that people donate to the Hunthausen Fund, that helps homeless families with children transition into permanent housing. https://www.goodsamhelena.org/hunthausen-fund-housing-help.html