Chicago priest named to head Secretariat of Doctrine and Canonical Affairs

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Fr. Ronald Kunkel, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, is seen in this undated photo. On June 15, 2021, he was named executive director of the Secretariat of Doctrine and Canonical Affairs at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington. The appointment is effective Aug. 9. (CNS/Courtesy Mundelein Seminary)

Washington — Fr. Ronald Kunkel, a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago, has been named executive director of the Secretariat of Doctrine and Canonical Affairs for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, effective Aug. 9.

Msgr. Jeffrey D. Burrill, general secretary of the bishops' conference, announced the appointment June 15.

"Father Kunkel brings an extensive background of theological instruction to the conference," Burrill said in a statement. "I am confident that his expertise will fruitfully serve both the bishops' Committee on Doctrine, as well as the secretariat with the theological and pastoral consultation that is necessary in carrying out the work of the conference."

He succeeds Fr. Michael J.K. Fuller as executive director of the secretariat. A priest of the Diocese of Rockford, Illinois, Fuller was named last November as associate general secretary for the bishops' conference. He has held the secretariat post since August 2016.

Since 2005, Kunkel has been at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein, Illinois, where he has been an instructor of systematic theology, an assistant professor of dogmatic theology, the director of sacred liturgy and an associate professor of dogmatic theology.

Ordained to the priesthood in 2000, he served as associate pastor of St. Peter Parish in Skokie, Illinois, and as associate pastor and director of liturgy at Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago.

Kunkel has a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor's of sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He earned his licentiate of sacred theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome, and his doctorate of sacred theology from the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein.

He is a member of the Catholic Theological Society of America, the American Academy of Religion, the Society for Catholic Liturgy and the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars. He also is a contributor to the theological journal Chicago Studies.

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