In a first for Brooklyn, a ‘canonical inquiry’ - the first step in Canon Law towards making someone a saint - has been opened into the case of priest, Msgr. Bernard J. Quinn.
The priest, who died in 1940 at age 52, advocated for blacks at a time when discrimination against them was rampant both within society and the Church itself.
The son of Irish parents, Quinn made the service of the African-American community his life’s mission, despite the tide of opposition he faced from elements within the Church.
He was unwavering in his criticism of those opposed to blacks’ inclusion within the Church and adamant in his opposition to the many who believed that they had no place in public wordship. “It seems to me that no church can exclude anyone and still keep its Christian ideals,” he said.
The inquiry into Quinn’s sainthood is the first such one to take place in Brooklyn, although the archdiocese has laid claim to a few saints of its own.
The purpose of the inquiry is to scour the record of the candidate’s priesthood to determine whether he was morally fit for sainthood and whether his ministry attracted many new people to the church.
It seems likely that the criteria will be fulfilled by the dynamic and charismatic deceased Church leader. The tireless and courageous proponent for the equality of all people, as he was often described, is believed to have attracted thousands of black worshippers to attend Church services.
A miracle directly attributable to the life and times of the priest will also have to be uncovered if his application is to be successful, though Church sources say they are quietly confident that this also can be fulfilled.