October 05, 2016 - 12:02 PM
MONTPELIER, Vt. - Kenneth Angell, a retired Roman Catholic bishop who lost his television-producer brother in the 9-11 attacks, has died. He was 86.
Angell suffered a stroke and died Tuesday at a nursing home in Winooski, the Diocese of Burlington said.
Angell's brother, David, was the Emmy Award-winning producer of the sitcom "Frasier" and was aboard the first plane that struck the World Trade Center. At a Mass, the bishop prayed for the victims and the perpetrators, saying, "I am a Christian. I have to forgive, so I do."
Kenneth Angell was bishop from 1992 to 2005, retiring after a difficult last five years. During that period, he saw Vermont pass its first-in-the-nation civil union law for same-sex couples, which he opposed.
During Vermont's heated civil unions debate in 2000, which came nine years before the Legislature enacted full marriage rights for gays, the bishop testified at the Statehouse and issued a statement saying, "Redefining marriage, expanding it to include other private relationships, will ultimately attack the age-old truth that traditional marriage and stable families constitute the very foundation of our society."
In keeping with the teachings of his church, he was outspoken against the death penalty, abortion and physician-assisted dying.
On the latter two issues, he pushed against the prevailing view in liberal Vermont, where Democrats control the Legislature and have held the governor's office for 17 of the past 25 years. The state passed an aid-in-dying law in 2013.
Angell expressed dismay at revelations of clergy sexual abuse.
"I was so moved by the testimony of those abused. My heart went out to the victims — each of these people whose lives have been so deeply affected by offending clergy," he said.
When faced with a "drought of priestly vocations," Angell met the clergy shortage by calling for parish consolidations and reducing Mass schedules.
Angell also served as auxiliary bishop of Providence, Rhode Island, his native state.
A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated Oct. 11 at St. Joseph Co-Cathedral in Burlington, with Bishop Christopher Coyne as principal celebrant. He will be buried at a later date at St. Anne Cemetery in Cranston, Rhode Island.
This story has been corrected to show the TV show is "Frasier," not "Fraser."
News from © The Associated Press, 2016