Former New York Cardinal's blood distributed as 'relic'
A medical practitioner in the US has been accused of distributing samples of the late Cardinal Terence Cook as 'relics' of a possible saint.
The allegations, made by a disgruntled former employee, are part of a lawsuit filed by a former employee of Dr. Thomas Fahey, now a vice president at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Cooke was treated at Sloan-Kettering before he died of leukemia in 1983 at age 62.
Holly McCunn accused Fahey of directing her to give certain patients a slide that he said contained a sample of the cardinal's blood so that they could use it to pray.
McCunn provided a 1994 letter to the Daily News from a person who thanked Fahey for loaning the "relic" for the family to use to pray for a niece.
Christine Hickey, spokeswoman for Sloan-Kettering, told the newspaper the hospital was unaware of Fahey's alleged practice but pointed out that he had a close personal relationship with Cooke.
New York Archdiocese spokesman Joseph Zwilling said it would be inappropriate to call the blood a relic because Cooke has not been designated a saint.
Notre Dame theologian Lawrence Cunningham dismissed the issue as inconsequential: "Given all the bad things that are going on in the world, that would be pretty far down on the moral inventory."