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Priest Suspended over Communion -- [Forbidden Concelebration in Phoenix Diocese]
East Valley Tribune [AZ] ^ | April 30, 2004 | Lawn Griffiths

Posted on 04/30/2004 3:17:52 PM PDT by Phx_RC

A Gilbert Catholic priest, the Rev. John "Jack" Cunningham, founding pastor of two East Valley parishes, was suspended Wednesday afternoon pending further investigation for allegedly concelebrating a Eucharistic Mass with a non-Catholic clergyman.

Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix ordered Cunningham removed from duties at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church parish in Gilbert, which the priest founded in July 2002. He previously spent 17 years at St. Bridget Catholic Parish in Mesa, which he organized in June 1985.

"In the language of the church, Father Cunningham allegedly engaged in the forbidden concelebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice with a non-Catholic minister," said a statement released by the diocese Wednesday night. It was termed "celebrating the Mass in a manner that is inconsistent with Catholic teaching."

The alleged incident is believed to have occurred during a recent wedding at St. Anne's Catholic Parish in Gilbert in which Cunningham allowed a minister to join him in serving Holy Communion, or Eucharist, to Catholics on hand, said the Rev. Tim Davern, judicial vicar of the diocese.

Davern will lead the investigation with the Rev. Michael Diskin, assistant chancellor. Their report will be turned over to Olmsted for review and recommendations and then forwarded to the Vatican for final action.

Davern said witnesses at the wedding made diocesan officials aware of the incident.

Some 772 families are registered at St. Mary Magdalene, which meets temporarily at Williams Community School gym at the Arizona State University East campus in Mesa, pending completion of its planned campus at Williams Field Road and Parkcrest Street in south Gilbert.

Cunningham is one of nine Catholic priests ordered recently by Olmsted to remove their names from the "Phoenix Declaration," penned by No Longer Silent / Clergy for Justice, calling for full inclusion of gays and lesbian in religious and community life.

Cunningham has contributed to the weekly "Clergy Column" in the Tribune for many years. He could not be reached for comment late Thursday.

Contact Lawn Griffiths by email, or phone (480) 898-6522


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Current Events; Ecumenism; History; Ministry/Outreach; Other Christian; Religion & Culture; Religion & Politics; Theology; Worship
KEYWORDS: catholiclist; concelebration; cunningham; olmsted; phoenix


Check the developing No Longer Silent thread
for the related names and details.



Note: Bolds, underlines, and broom added for emphasis.



1 posted on 04/30/2004 3:17:54 PM PDT by Phx_RC
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To: Phx_RC
Good work for Bishop Olmsted! Here is a man who won't allow heretics to run free in the diocese.
2 posted on 04/30/2004 3:24:13 PM PDT by gbcdoj (Et ecce ego vobiscum sum omnibus diebus usque ad consummationem saeculi)
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To: Phx_RC; american colleen; sinkspur; Lady In Blue; Salvation; Polycarp IV; narses; SMEDLEYBUTLER; ...
The news out of Phoenix just gets better and better!

Kudos! to Bishop Olmstead for his steadfast adherence to Catholic doctrine.

3 posted on 04/30/2004 3:29:12 PM PDT by NYer (O Promise of God from age to age. O Flower of the Gospel!)
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To: Phx_RC
This guy means business. A true counterreformation bishop.
4 posted on 04/30/2004 3:54:38 PM PDT by RobbyS (JMJ)
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To: RobbyS
How long before half his congregation stands up and says what a wonderful Priest he is, and that the Church is making a terrible mistake?
5 posted on 04/30/2004 4:07:39 PM PDT by Arguss
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To: Phx_RC
Congratulations!
6 posted on 04/30/2004 4:11:03 PM PDT by Canticle_of_Deborah (The day the Church abandons her universal tongue is the day before she returns to the catacombs-PXII)
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To: Arguss
The bishop can tell them that the Episcopal Church is accepting members!
7 posted on 04/30/2004 4:12:49 PM PDT by RobbyS (JMJ)
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To: Phx_RC; GatorGirl; maryz; *Catholic_list; afraidfortherepublic; Antoninus; Aquinasfan; Askel5; ...
A real backbone ping!
8 posted on 04/30/2004 4:39:04 PM PDT by narses (If you want ON or OFF my Catholic Ping List email me. +)
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To: Phx_RC
Christos Voskrese!

Christ has risen indeed!

Do you think that there is more than a few (grey haired) Priests in Phoenix realizing that their heterodox games are over?

Bishop Olmstead is quickly sending the message!

9 posted on 04/30/2004 4:48:01 PM PDT by TotusTuus (Voistinu Voskrese!)
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To: Phx_RC
Bravo.

Encore.
10 posted on 04/30/2004 4:51:36 PM PDT by m4629
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To: Arguss
How do you know that Fr. Cunningham is a "wonderful" priest?

Please share with us why you feel that way about him.
11 posted on 04/30/2004 7:18:26 PM PDT by Phx_RC (God bless the good bishops, may God have mercy on the bad bishops.)
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To: Phx_RC
I remember an article a few years back in the Catholic Sun, the official dioceses newspaper, in which Fr. Cunningham argued for Communion with non-Catholics. I was so incensed I wrote a letter to the editor, which they published (after editing out the insulting parts!)

My two married daughters live within his parish boundaries, but drive over to St. Mary's to attend Mass, for obvious reasons.
12 posted on 04/30/2004 7:51:44 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Why the long face, John?)
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13 posted on 04/30/2004 7:54:13 PM PDT by Phx_RC (God bless the good bishops, may God have mercy on the bad bishops.)
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To: Phx_RC; Jeff Chandler; saradippity
Did you see this?
14 posted on 04/30/2004 8:01:59 PM PDT by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
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To: Salvation
See #12.
15 posted on 04/30/2004 8:06:54 PM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Why the long face, John?)
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To: Phx_RC
Concelebration is when two or more ordained priests alternately recite parts of the Canon of the Mass. That is a different matter from helping to distribute Communion. If this article reports the offense correctly, then the headline appears to be misleading.

I'm not saying that the bishop didn't do the right thing. I don't believe it would be proper for a non-Catholic to act as an extraordinary minister of the Sacrament either. Or perhaps there was also concelebration, which I should think would be a worse offense.
16 posted on 04/30/2004 8:26:42 PM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: barbcsr
Hi mom-ping!
17 posted on 04/30/2004 10:03:14 PM PDT by kstewskis ("Political correctness is intellectual terrorism..." M.G.)
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To: Northern Yankee; Phx_RC
Hey Jay!

See what's been happening in our diocese! Our bishop is an angel!


18 posted on 04/30/2004 10:17:15 PM PDT by kstewskis ("Political correctness is intellectual terrorism..." M.G.)
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To: Phx_RC
"How do you know that Fr. Cunningham is a "wonderful" priest? Please share with us why you feel that way about him."

The comment was a tongue in cheek reference to what parishioners are doing all across the country when their pastors are exposed for what they are. They rush to his defense.

Sadly what it really shows is how entrenched liberalism is in the Church, not only in it's leaders, but in the pews also.

19 posted on 05/01/2004 6:47:44 AM PDT by Arguss
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To: Arguss
If Cunningham's congregation wants to support him, the diocese should get photos of the support group for future excommunications. They will not be missed.
20 posted on 05/01/2004 11:31:24 AM PDT by BlackElk (Dean of Discipline of the Tomas de Torquemada Gentlemen's Club)
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To: Arguss

I tried to be careful to cover all the possibilities.
Welcome!

21 posted on 05/01/2004 12:04:03 PM PDT by Phx_RC (God bless the good bishops, may God have mercy on the bad bishops.)
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To: Phx_RC; Jeff Chandler; kstewskis; Maeve; Canticle_of_Deborah; RobbyS; Pyro7480; sockmonkey
Oh PRAISED BE JESUS CHRIST! Now a Cardinal's Red Hat for the holy bishop of Phoenix!.....Who ever would believe that I would be typing the phrase "The holy bishop of Phoenix" -- but Gloria in excelsis Deo that I am able to type such and have the joy to know that there is a real bishop in the USA taking action.
22 posted on 05/01/2004 4:53:05 PM PDT by Siobhan (+Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet+)
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To: Siobhan; Jeff Chandler; kstewskis; Maeve; Canticle_of_Deborah; RobbyS; Pyro7480; sockmonkey; ...
Link to the next thread, the first shot across "our" bow: New bishop shows his view of gays
23 posted on 05/01/2004 6:53:39 PM PDT by Phx_RC (The good bishops deserve and need our fervent and continuing support.)
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To: Cicero; All
I agree with you.

However, this is not the first time that Fr. Cunningham has been involved in a situation like this.
An event far worse happened while he was pastor of St. Bridget Parish in Mesa. Whatever methods were used to bail Cunningham out of that very serious mess are far less likely to be effective on a second go-round in Rome even if the offense seems to be less serious.

24 posted on 05/01/2004 10:28:05 PM PDT by Phx_RC (The good bishops deserve and need our fervent and continuing support.)
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To: All
Here from the Tucson Citizen via The Associated Press -- April 30, 2004
http://www.tucsoncitizen.com/breaking/043004priest.html

Priest suspended for allegedly concelebrating Mass with a non-Catholic clergyman

GILBERT - A Gilbert priest has been suspended pending further investigation for allegedly concelebrating a Eucharistic Mass with a non-Catholic clergyman.

Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix ordered the Rev. John "Jack" Cunningham removed from duties at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church parish in Gilbert, which the priest founded in July 2002.

Cunningham previously spent 17 years at St. Bridget Catholic Parish in Mesa, which he organized in June 1985.

"In the language of the church, Father Cunningham allegedly engaged in the forbidden concelebration of the Eucharistic Sacrifice with a non-Catholic minister," said a statement released by the diocese Wednesday night. It was termed "celebrating the Mass in a manner that is inconsistent with Catholic teaching."

The alleged incident is believed to have occurred during a recent wedding at St. Anne's Catholic Parish in Gilbert in which Cunningham allowed a minister to join him in serving Holy Communion, or Eucharist, to Catholics on hand, said the Rev. Tim Davern, judicial vicar of the diocese.

Davern will lead the investigation with the Rev. Michael Diskin, assistant chancellor. Their report will be turned over to Olmsted for review and recommendations and then forwarded to the Vatican for final action.


AP seems to have picked up the Tribune story.

25 posted on 05/01/2004 11:46:02 PM PDT by Phx_RC (The good bishops deserve and need our fervent and continuing support.)
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To: NYer
Thanks for the good news!
26 posted on 05/03/2004 4:30:48 AM PDT by Aquinasfan (Isaiah 22:22, Rev 3:7, Mat 16:19)
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To: Arguss; Cicero
Welcome to Free Republic!

*Sadly what it really shows is how entrenched liberalism is in the Church, not only in it's leaders, but in the pews also.*

An astute observation! Not long ago, in deciding how best to address liturgical abuses in my parish, I tested the waters by citing a few to the 'sheeples' that populate the pews. The groundswell of support I had hoped for, turned on me. In essence, they found nothing wrong with any of these abuses; moreover, the sentiment swerved totally in the pastor's direction with the comment: "Aren't we so blessed to have this priest as our pastor".

I walked 3 months later.

27 posted on 05/03/2004 6:20:21 AM PDT by NYer (O Promise of God from age to age. O Flower of the Gospel!)
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To: Phx_RC; sinkspur; All
Rev. Tim Davern, judicial vicar of the diocese.

A bell just rang. Fr. Davern was the priest who annointed my daughter right before surgery. While she was being wheeled to surgery, Deacon Hinze blessed her with a relic, and Fr. Clements was the first non-medical person to see her after her surgery. Talk about blessed!

28 posted on 05/04/2004 1:23:05 AM PDT by Jeff Chandler (Why the long face, John?)
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To: Jeff Chandler
A bell just rang . . at 1:23 AM . . . God loves nite owls too ;^)

When more Catholics surround themselves with/in the protection of their Faith, as your family has, then they will become blessed also.

FReepers are uplifted when we read about Catholic family life lived in the fullness of the Faith.

Thank you for your posts to this and the related threads.
The good Bishop Olmsted needs our assistance to clean up the mess.
He needs both, your information, and your prayers.

The Bishop's homily for Confirmation at St Teresa's on Sunday at 6PM was so great and inspiring. A request has been made to Mary Jo's office to make video tapes of his homilies available. It is hard to overstate how good it was.
He spoke with such serenity about fear that those present seemed to hear the meaning of his brave and holy words as if for the very first time. Truly memorable, given the spiritual battles that occupy so much of his daily life.

29 posted on 05/04/2004 4:49:36 AM PDT by Phx_RC (Support stronger families - encourage Catholic families to surround themselves in the Faith.)
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To: Jeff Chandler; saradippity; kstewskis; TotusTuus
Bishop Olmsted can be expected to present more Confirmation homilies during this month of May 2004 according to the Diocesan Confirmation Schedule.

Be sure to attend one of his Confirmations!

Post #29 clarification: The Bishop needs info and prayers from all of us.

30 posted on 05/05/2004 1:36:05 PM PDT by Phx_RC (God bless the good bishops, may God have mercy on the bad bishops.)
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To: Phx_RC

You are correct. As I sent you the full-blown explanation of my story, I will post the "Readers Digest" version. I witnessed Father Cunningham concelebrate with a female Episcopal Minister from Safford back in January, 1997. She even recited the Eucharistic Prayer - including the Consecration of the Blood.

When I reported it to O'Brien in an official letter, Father John got a censure, and I got ridden out of the parish on a rail. In the parish's eyes, Judas Iscariot was a saint next the level of betrayal I had committed, yet he got off with a slap on the wrist.

I still have contact with some of my past parishoners, but I am still given the silent treatment by many even after Father John had left to go to St Mary Magdelene.


31 posted on 06/02/2004 4:58:51 PM PDT by kgcyclist
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