Thursday, January 06, 2005

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted - Diocese of Phoenix, AZ

GILBERT - The Rev. John Cunningham has been fired as pastor at St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Gilbert, eight months after he was suspended and a month after criminal allegations were made against him.

Cunningham's attorney, his brother James, said Wednesday that the priest received a letter from Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted on Tuesday removing him as pastor. The priest earlier had declined to resign, as requested by the bishop. . . .

Cunningham was suspended last April after Olmsted received a report that Cunningham had allowed an Episcopal priest to take part in a wedding Mass earlier in the month, in violation of church law. The matter was sent to Vatican authorities. The results of that inquiry have not been made public. An audit conducted after his suspension found financial irregularities, apparently involving a Cunningham-owned building used for church offices, that were forwarded to the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office for investigation.

Source: "Gilbert priest is fired from job as pastor", by Michael Clancy The Arizona Republic Jan. 6, 2005