The American Catholic Historical Association confers its Lifetime Distinguished Scholarship Award to Professor Frank J. Coppa of St. John’s University in New York. Dr. Coppa, recently retired, has emerged as a highly respected historian of the modern papacy. His biographies of Blessed Pius IX and Cardinal Giacomo Antonelli were the first to take advantage of the then recently opened papers of Pio Nono’s long pontificate. He has also written extensively on some of the more controversial aspects of the modern papacy, including The Papacy, The Jews and The Holocaust. He is at work on a history of the diplomacy of Pope Pius XII which will be a major contribution to a very lively public debate over the Pacelli years in Rome.
Dr. Coppa, in the words of one of his colleagues, has had a career of “extraordinary productivity of the first order and has significantly expanded our understand of Catholic history.” He is a role model for historians of the Catholic church and a faithful and active member of the ACHA. We are proud to confer this first Lifetime Scholarship award on him at our annual banquet held this year in Boston on January 8, 2011.