RIP Archbishop John R. Quinn (1929-2017)

John R. Quinn, archbishop of San Francisco 1977-1995 and president of the U.S. national bishops’ conference 1977-1980, passed away today.

Quinn was the author of the 1999 book The Reform of the Papacy: The Costly Call to Christian Unity, which was inspired by the encyclical Ut Unum Sint on church unity by Pope John Paul II. Cardinal Bergoglio (later Pope Francis) told Quinn, “I’ve read your book and am hoping it will be implemented.” In May 2013, shortly after the election of Pope Francis, Quinn’s book Ever Ancient, Ever New: Structures of Communion in the Church appeared.

When Archbishop Quinn was in Collegeville two years ago, Pray Tell’s Anthony Ruff, OSB was privileged to interview him.

May he rest in peace.

 

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3 comments

  1. I loved this quote from the interview, concerning reverence in the liturgy:

    “We have not paid sufficient attention to the apostolic mandate to make disciples. We put all our efforts into teaching without making disciples. If we really found a way to make disciples, that element would probably follow in a natural way, then the liturgy would be more reverent.”

    Well done, good and faithful servant. May he rest in peace.

  2. I had just copied, and was about to paste, this quote when I looked at Rita’s comment before mine: “We’ve given so much emphasis in the church to teaching. That’s part of the apostolic mandate. We have not paid sufficient attention to the apostolic mandate to make disciples. We put all our efforts into teaching without making disciples. If we really found a way to make disciples, that element would probably follow in a natural way, then the liturgy would be more reverent.” It seems that two great minds do think alike!

    Archbishop Quinn was the first bishop, of whom I was aware, who had the courage to speak truth to power, albeit after his retirement. There are many similar voices in the Church today, and I pray that their voices achieve some consensus before it’s time for Pope Francis to pass from the scene. The four cardinals, for example, who published their “dubia” will be unable to discern Pope Francis’ intent or meaning because they cannot think in line with his paradigm shift. More bishops have to walk in Jesus’ and Francis’ footsteps (both Francis’s) in order to lead the Church into her future.

    Rest in peace, good shepherd. You have opened the gate to a new pasture. May the Lord shepherd us all through to fresh waters.

  3. On August 23, 1973, I bent my head low beneath the hands of Abp. Quinn and arose a priest forever. While he was only among us five years before his very predictable move to San Francisco, he made a tremendous impact on me and this archdiocese. We were told at the time of his appointment that he was coming to straighten us all out. We had a reputation associated with his predecessor of being too lax in the application of church laws and policies, especially with regard to the liturgy. Well, he did some of that but by the time he left us he acknowledged that he had been changed by the people and the priests whom he had come to know as zealous co-workers in spreading the Good News. A chartered plane full of us accompanied him to San Francisco where he threw a grand reception for us at his new home overlooking the Golden Gate bridge. While he was always known for a certain formality in his interactions I always experienced the warmth of his genuine priestly affection. He was a truly good shepherd whose reputation was besmirched in the late 80’s and early 90’s by those who disagreed with the manner in which he administered the archdiocese. The truth is he never claimed to be a good administrator, but he did aspire to being a good and effective shepherd of his flock. I believe he succeeded in great measure. I had a personal email interchange with him before he was stricken in Rome. I found his solicitude for me very touching. May he rest in peace.

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