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John R Quinn

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Church  Roman Catholic Church
Nationality  American
Ordination  December 23, 1953
See  San Francisco
Name  John Quinn
Consecration  October 21, 1967
Installed  April 26, 1977
Successor  William Levada
Appointed  February 16, 1977
Term ended  December 27, 1995

John R. Quinn Former San Francisco archbishop calls for papal reforms ahead of

Born  March 28, 1929 (age 86) Riverside, California, United States (1929-03-28)
Previous post  Archbishop of Oklahoma City (1971–1977) Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego (1967–1971)
Books  The Reform of the Papacy

Predecessor  Joseph Thomas McGucken

Funeral for Archbishop John R. Quinn

John Raphael Quinn (March 28, 1929 – June 22, 2017) was an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He was Archbishop San Francisco from 1977 to 1995 and Archbishop of Oklahoma City from 1971 to 1977. He served as the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops from 1977 to 1980.


John R. Quinn 19721975

Early life and ordination

John R. Quinn Archbishop John R Quinn Catholic progressive dies in SF SFGate

Quinn was born in Riverside, California, and ordained to the priesthood for the Diocese of San Diego on July 19, 1953. Pope Paul VI named him auxiliary bishop of San Diego with the titular see of Thisiduo on October 21, 1967. He was consecrated on December 12.

He became a regular contributor to America.

Bishop of Oklahoma City

On November 17, 1971, he was appointed Bishop of Oklahoma City-Tulsa. When the diocese was split to form the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City and the Diocese of Tulsa on December 13, 1972, Quinn became the first Archbishop of Oklahoma City. The website of that Archdiocese reports that "he revealed his priorities by his actions: emphasis on priestly vocations, desire for better pastoral care of Spanish-speaking Catholics, re-establishment of a Catholic newspaper, appointment of a full-time youth director, and a reorganization of Catholic charities."

John R. Quinn John R Quinn Crossroad

Pope Paul VI named Quinn to participate in the 1974 World Synod of Bishops.

Archbishop of San Francisco

Quinn's was a popular appointment by Pope Paul VI in 1977 and for almost his entire episcopate in San Francisco he enjoyed the support of priests and the lay faithful. In the early years of his time as Archbishop he was simultaneously president of the USCC NCCB, which often kept him away from the archdiocese.

Quinn recognized that the Archdiocese was too large for effective pastoral governance and helped devise plans for the creation of the Diocese of San Jose, which was erected by Pope John Paul II on January 27, 1981.

Irenicism and liberalism

Quinn was an irenic and liberal presence in San Francisco who, in the 1970s and 1980s, offering national leadership to Catholics in the United States on issues as diverse as U.S. women religious, the moral permissibility of nuclear weapons, sanctuary for Central American refugees, and working to overturn Roe vs Wade and restore legal protection to unborn children.

Oscar Romero

After the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero in March 1980, Quinn issued a statement lauding the murdered prelate as "a voice for the poor and the oppressed." Quinn later attended Archbishop Romero's funeral in San Salvador.


In 1985, Archbishop Quinn initiated the Catholic Church's first institutional response to the AIDS epidemic. Catholic Charities San Francisco is currently the largest provider of housing to people with AIDS on the West Coast.

Loma Prieta earthquake

In the 1990s, Quinn turned his attention to the needs of the archdiocese after the Loma Prieta earthquake, which damaged many churches. The Archdiocese of San Francisco drew up a plan which would see the closure of a dozen parishes whose churches had been damaged in the earthquake. This plan drew the wrath of many priests, 41 of whom signed a petition to Quinn dissenting from his plan. Quinn sold the former archiepiscopal residence and in the summer of 1992 moved into the Cathedral rectory where he lived with his fellow clergy until his retirement.

The Reform of the Papacy

Throughout his episcopate he maintained strong links with the Catholic Church in England visiting it regularly and maintaining strong personal links with the country. After his retirement from the full-time ministry he spent time at Campion Hall, Oxford where in 1996 he gave a celebrated paper on "the claims of the primacy and the costly call to unity," a paper which was a first draft of his 1999 book The Reform of the Papacy.

This call for the reform of the Roman Curia and a concomitant reduction in the power of that Curia has been interpreted by some conservative voices in the Church as an 'attack' on the papacy. Quinn has repeatedly made it clear that he is not opposing the Vatican and in many ways his writings prefigured the views of Pope Francis.

Published works

  • John R. Quinn, The Reform of the Papacy (New York: Crossroad Publishing, 1999). A response to Pope John Paul II's request for suggestions on how to reform the papacy in his papal letter Ut Unum Sint.
  • References

    John R. Quinn Wikipedia