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Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan

Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters



If every decade has a dominant characteristic, the 1960's are probably best portrayed as the decade of ecumenism. The genial inspiration of Pope John XXIII has not only opened the windows of the Vatican but also has thrown open the shutters of many minds. In the spirit of this ecumenical brotherhood, the University of Detroit today honors three men [Fr. John Courtney Murray, S.J., Bishop Richard S. Emrich, and Rabbi Morris Adler] who have been outstanding exemplars of the religious ideals of John XXIII. The city of Detroit has been blessed in our time with courageous and outspoken religious leaders. Religion, to their minds, is not something to be confined to the sanctuary, something which must stand mute in the face of our besetting social and political questions. They have faced the problems as they arose and they have acted to form the civic conscience instead of waiting while it formed itself. Heedless of superficial popularity, they have championed human rights, open housing and better schools. Most importantly, our religious leaders have coordinated their efforts and so have been able to take a united, ecumenical stance. The Right Reverend Richard S. Emrich, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Michigan since 1948, has been one of those most responsible for this courage inter-faith stand. He has worked energetically on almost every significant civic committee dealing with social and political issues. His latest, and perhaps his most important contribution, is his current chairmanship of the Citizens Committee for Equal Opportunity. For more than two and one half years, this committee has mobilized citizen groups from the most diverse sectors of the community and from all the major denominations. Under Bishop Emrich's leadership, this committee has made its impact felt in many areas and strives to give all an equal chance to share in the advantages of our society. Here and in many other contexts, Bishop Emrich has been the coordinating and guiding force. He has devoted himself to his fellow men and he has worked with the leaders of all faiths for the betterment of our world. He is indeed a religious leader in the spirit of Pope John XXIII, imbued with ardent Christian love, deep compassion and a keen sense of positive, prudent action. Reverend President, it is eminently fitting that the University of Detroit publicly acknowledge the ecumenical leadership of Bishop Richard S. Emrich, and it is, therefore, my distinct privilege to present him for the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters. Commencement, University of Detroit, April 30, 1966.

University of Detroit

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