Paul Stagg Coakley

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His Excellency, The Most Reverend
Paul Stagg Coakley
Archbishop of Oklahoma City
Paul Stagg Coakley.jpg
Paul Stagg Coakley
Archdiocese Oklahoma City
Appointed December 16, 2010
Installed February 11, 2011
Predecessor Eusebius J. Beltran
Ordination May 21, 1983
by Eugene John Gerber
Consecration December 28, 2004
by James Patrick Keleher, George Kinzie Fitzsimons, and Eugene John Gerber
Personal details
Born (1955-06-03) June 3, 1955 (age 63)
Norfolk, Virginia
Previous post Bishop of Salina, Kansas (2004-2010)
(Put Out Into The Deep)
Styles of
Paul Stagg Coakley
Coat of arms of Paul Stagg Coakley.svg
Reference style
Spoken style Your Excellency
Religious style Archbishop

Paul Stagg Coakley (born June 3, 1955) is an American prelate of the Roman Catholic Church. He is the archbishop of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.

Early life and education[edit]

Paul Stagg Coakley was born in Norfolk, Virginia, to John and Mary Coakley.[1] His mother was of French descent and his father of Irish descent.[2] The second of three children, he has an older brother, John, and a younger sister, Mary Christina. At age 2, he and his family moved to Metairie, Louisiana, where Coakley attended St. Mary Magdalen School from 1960-65.[1]

The family then moved to Overland Park, Kansas in 1965, and Coakley there attended Cherokee Elementary School for two years. He attended Broadmoor Junior High School (1967–1970) and Shawnee Mission West High School (1970–1973) before studying at the University of Kansas, from where Coakley obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and Classical Antiquities 1977.[1] During this period, he was also a student in KU's Integrated Humanities Program. After graduating from KU, Coakley traveled in Europe and briefly considered a monastic vocation at the Abbey of Notre Dame de Fontgombault in France before returning to the United States, where he entered St. Pius X Seminary in Erlanger, Kentucky in 1978.[1]

On April 8, 1982, he was ordained a deacon by Bishop David M. Maloney.[3] He also studied at Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland, earning a Master's in Divinity in 1983.[1]


Coakley was ordained a priest by Bishop Eugene J. Gerber on May 21, 1983.[3] He then served as chaplain at St. Francis Regional Medical Center in Wichita from June to August 1983, and as associate pastor at St. Mary's Church in Derby from 1983-85. He then furthered his studies in Rome at the Pontifical Gregorian University, where he received a Licentiate of Sacred Theology in 1987.[1]

Upon his return to the Diocese of Wichita, Coakley served as chaplain at Kansas Newman College from 1987-89.[1] He also was director of the Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministries (1987–91), and pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church (1989–90). From 1990 to 1995, he served as associate director of the Spiritual Life Center and associate pastor of St. Thomas Aquinas Church. He served as pastor of the Church of the Resurrection from 1995-98 before returning to Mount St. Mary's Seminary in Maryland, where he was Director of Spiritual Formation from 1998 to 2002.[1]

Coakley served as director of the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita from 2002 to January 2004, when he became Vice-Chancellor of the Diocese of Wichita. In addition to his role as Vice-Chancellor, he served as administrator of the Church of the Magdalen from July to December 2004.[1]

Bishop of Salina, Kansas[edit]

On October 21, 2004, Coakley was appointed the ninth Bishop of Salina by Pope John Paul II.[3] He was consecrated on December 28 by Archbishop James P. Keleher, with Bishops George K. Fitzsimons and Eugene J. Gerber serving as co-consecrators.[3] He selected as his episcopal motto: Duc In Altum, meaning, "Put Out Into The Deep" (Luke 5:4)[which?].[2]

During the 2008 presidential election, Coakley declared, "To vote for a candidate who supports an intrinsic evil, such as abortion or genocide, would require a proportionately grave moral reason for ignoring such a flaw."[4]

He later stated that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senator Joe Biden "misrepresented Catholic teaching on abortion" in their respective interviews on Meet the Press.[5] He said pro-choice Catholic politicians are "a scandal to others" and "contribute to the perpetuation of a grave evil,"[5] and that denying them Communion "in many cases becomes the right decision and the only choice."[6] Later calling the victory of Democratic candidate Barack Obama an "undeniable irony," he said that the election of the first African-American president "signals that our nation has crossed a threshold in the struggle for civil rights" but also noted Obama's "denial of civil rights and legal protection to a whole class of persons as well, unborn human beings."[7]

In March 2009, Coakley described President Obama's reversal of the Mexico City Policy and nomination of Governor Kathleen Sebelius as Secretary of Health and Human Services as "serious assaults against the rights of conscience and our efforts to protect innocent human life."[8] In the following April, he expressed his "deep disappointment" at the University of Notre Dame's decision to have Obama deliver its commencement speech and receive an honorary degree, saying, "The University's invitation undermines the Catholic identity and mission of the institution."[9]

Within the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Coakley currently sits on the Subcommittee on Home Missions; Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations; and Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis. He is also a Fourth Degree Knight of Columbus, and a member of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.[1]

Archbishop of Oklahoma City[edit]

On December 16, 2010, he was announced as the Archbishop-designate for the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, and was installed on February 11, 2011, replacing retiring Eusebius J. Beltran.[10] At the announcement of his appointment at the pastoral Center in Oklahoma City, Coakley remarked: "This new pastoral responsibility is an opportunity and a challenge that I certainly had not sought, but one which I will eagerly embrace with all my heart."[11]

In August 2014, Coakley criticized the Oklahoma City municipal government for allowing a Satanist gathering at the Civic Center Music Hall, saying, "If someone had come to them to rent the Civic Center to stage a burning of the Koran or to hold an event that was blatantly and clearly anti-Semitic, I think they might find a way to prevent it ... Not all speech is protected if there is hate speech and it is intended to ridicule another religion ... I don’t believe it is a free speech matter."[12]

Catholic Relief Services[edit]

On November 18, 2013, at the General Assembly of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Archbishop Coakley was announced as the new chair of the board of Catholic Relief Services (CRS),[13] succeeding Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson. The international relief and humanitarian agency of the US Catholic Church, CRS operates in about 91 companies, and the board stewards a budget of over $700 million.[14] Coakley had been on the board since 2012, and at the time of his appointment, the agency was in the midst of responding to the impact of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. Coakley described himself as "humbled" and "honored" to chair the 70-year-old organization.[15]

In his first months as chair, Archbishop Coakley undertook visits to the Holy Land[16] and the Philippines[17] to observe the agency's programs and meet with local staff and beneficiaries.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Biography/Curriculum Vitae". Roman Catholic Diocese of Salina. Archived from the original on 2009-06-23. 
  2. ^ a b "Personal Coat of Arms - Bishop Paul S. Coakley". Roman Catholic Diocese of Salina. Retrieved April 18, 2018. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Archbishop Paul Stagg Coakley". David M. Cheney. Retrieved January 21, 2015. [self-published source]
  4. ^ Coakley, Paul S. (2008-08-22). "The Duties of Faithful Citizenship (Conclusion)". Roman Catholic Diocese of Salina. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. 
  5. ^ a b Coakley, Paul S. (2008-09-12). "Setting The Record Straight: Pelosi, Biden and Abortion". Roman Catholic Diocese of Salina. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. 
  6. ^ Jalsevac, Steve (2007-01-31). "Bishop: Denying Communion to Obstinate Pro-Abortion Catholic Politicians "in many cases becomes the right decision and the only choice"". 
  7. ^ Coakley, Paul S. (2008-11-21). "One Step Closer To Civil Rights For All". Roman Catholic Diocese of Salina. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. 
  8. ^ Coakley, Paul S. (2009-03-20). "Troubling Signals in Already Troubling Times". Roman Catholic Diocese of Salina. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27. 
  9. ^ Gilbert, Kathleen (2009-04-20). ""Fr. Jenkins Will Probably Lose His Job": Nine More Bishops Make 42 against ND Scandal". 
  10. ^ Hinton, Carla (December 16, 2010). "Vatican appoints new Oklahoma archbishop". The Oklahoman. Retrieved December 16, 2010. 
  11. ^ Hinton, Carla (December 16, 2010). "Newly-named Oklahoma archbishop said he will 'eagerly embrace' his appointment". The Oklahoman. Retrieved December 16, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Satanists' plan to stage 'black mass' in Oklahoma City sparks outrage". Fox News Channel. August 8, 2014. Retrieved 11 August 2014. 
  13. ^
  14. ^ Catholic Relief Services (2013). "Catholic Relief Services 2012 Annual Report". Catholic Relief services website. Archived from the original on August 5, 2013. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  15. ^ Bunderson, Carl (November 20, 2013). "Archbishop Coakley humbled, surprised to be CRS chairman". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  16. ^ Coakley, Paul. "Six Days in the Holy Land with CRS". Archdiocese of Oklahoma City Website. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 
  17. ^ Stipe, Jim (February 5, 2014). "Daily Summary of U.S. Delegation in the Philippines". Catholic Relief Services Website. Archived from the original on February 9, 2014. Retrieved February 20, 2014. 

External links[edit]

Episcopal succession[edit]

Catholic Church titles
Preceded by
Eusebius J. Beltran
Archbishop of Oklahoma City
Succeeded by
Preceded by
George Kinzie Fitzsimons
Bishop of Salina
Succeeded by
Edward Weisenburger