Retired Prelate’s Condition Worsens
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) _ Retired Bishop Carroll T. Dozier was in extremely critical condition Friday after suffering a stroke, and Roman Ctholic Church officials said his chances of recovery were not good.
″I have been in contact with Dr. Gary Kellett, a neurosurgeon at St. Francis Hospital,″ said Bishop J. Francis Stafford, who succeeded Dozier in 1983. ″Dr. Kellett informs me that Bishop Dozier’s condition is worsening and that the outlook for his recovery is poor.″
Dozier, 74, became ill Thursday at his apartment and was taken to St. Francis where physicians said he had suffered a stroke at the base of his brain.
Kellett told Stafford that the stroke affected the retired bishop’s respiratory system.
″I ask that the people of the diocese keep him uppermost in their prayers,″ Stafford said.
Dozier was the first bishop of the Memphis Diocese when it was created out of the 21 counties in West Tennessee in 1971.
His years as spiritual leader of the diocese’s 64,000 Catholics were marked by frequent controversy.
Dozier was an early opponent of the Vietnam War, and he offered support and guidance to draft resisters. He called for busing in public schools to achieve racial balance, and he was an early supporter of women’s rights.
He was also a strong advocate of ecumenical relationships with other faiths.
Dozier, who had been plagued by arthritis for several years, retired as bishop in 1983, but he continued to speak and to appear in behalf of some of his causes, including racial justice.
A native of Norfolk, Va., Dozier was ordained in Rome in 1937 and served parishes in Virginia until coming to Memphis in 1971.