The Archdiocese of Chicago today announced that archdiocesan priest Father Ronald Kunkel, S.T.D., was appointed executive director of the Secretariat of Doctrine and Canonical Affairs of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), by the USCCB General Secretary, effective August 9, 2021. In his new role, Kunkel will oversee and manage the work of the Secretariat in its responsibility to support the Bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, and provide theological and pastoral consultation to bishops and USCCB offices and departments.
“We are proud Father Kunkel has been invited to serve our episcopal conference in this important role,” said Cardinal Blase J. Cupich, archbishop of Chicago. “We have every confidence he will distinguish himself as he collaborates with bishops in the United States.”
A native of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, Kunkel, 51, was ordained to the priesthood in 2000. He served as associate pastor of St. Peter Parish, Skokie, and associate pastor and director of liturgy at Holy Name Cathedral. Since 2005, he has served at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Mundelein as an instructor of systematic theology, assistant professor of dogmatic theology, director of sacred liturgy, and associate professor of dogmatic theology.
“Throughout his time at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Father Kunkel has been a highly respected teacher and mentor, preparing both seminarians and laypersons for successful ministry,” said Very Reverend John Kartje, rector/president of USML/Mundelein Seminary. “His exceptional gifts in teaching theology and liturgy will serve the bishops well and be a blessing for the Catholic Church in America.”
He obtained his bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Notre Dame and a bachelor’s degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. He then received his licentiate of sacred theology at the Pontifical Athenaeum of St. Anselm in Rome and his doctorate in sacred theology from USML. Kunkel 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, and he is a contributor to the theological journal Chicago Studies. He is proficient in French and Italian.
Watch this 2019 reflection from Father Ronald Kunkel about the importance of the sacrament of Confession.