The following comes from a July 7 story posted on the National Catholic Reporter website.
“I’ve read your book and am hoping it will be implemented,” Emeritus Archbishop John Quinn of San Francisco said Pope Francis told him just days before his election as pope after the two men ran into each other outside a coffee shop in Rome.
Quinn related the story June 25 to some 225 priests at a gathering of the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests in St. Louis, where the prelate was honored with the group’s Pope John XXIII Award.
Then-Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio was referring to a 1999 Quinn treatise, The Reform of the Papacy: The Costly Call to Christian Unity. That book was Quinn’s response to Pope John Paul II’s 1995 encyclical Ut Unum Sint, a meditation on ecumenism and the role of the office of the pope as sign of church unity.
Quinn said he took up John Paul’s offer, contained in the encyclical, to further discussion. Quinn examined papal structural history and the centralization of the office that has occurred over the centuries. He makes the point in his book that decentralization of Vatican authority is a prerequisite for any serious consideration of union between the Roman Catholic church and other Christian church bodies. The book called for a review of monarchal governing structures and a return to serious collegiality among bishops and local churches, including allowing them to select or elect their own bishops….
The germ of Quinn’s 1999 book was contained in a well-publicized address he gave at Campion Hall at the University of Oxford on June 29, 1996, the Feast of St. Peter. In that address, the soft-spoken Quinn made headlines calling for implementation of long-delayed Vatican II reforms. In an address titled “The Claims of the Primacy and the Costly Call to Unity,” he called for an ecumenical council of bishops to discuss questions left unresolved by the Vatican II.
Speaking again last year on church reform, Quinn told a packed audience at Stanford University in California — just hours before the College of Cardinals locked itself inside the Vatican to choose a new pope — that the church was passing through a historic moment unequaled since the Reformation….
Quinn retired in 1995 as archbishop of San Francisco after 18 years. Ordained a bishop at age 38, he was archbishop of Oklahoma City before moving to San Francisco. He is a former president of the U.S. bishops’ conference, serving from 1977 to 1980.
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