Eugene Kennedy, a psychologist, former priest and public intellectual who, inspired by the ideas of Vatican II, emerged in the 1970s as a powerful voice for reform and modernization of the Roman Catholic Church, died on June 3 in St. Joseph, Mich. He was 86.
The cause was heart and kidney failure, his niece Caroline Joseph said.
Mr. Kennedy, who left the priesthood in 1977, was a social scientist who felt a deep love of the church and a profound dissatisfaction with its hierarchical structure, which he believed put the church out of touch with the modern world and the needs of ordinary Catholics.
He was especially troubled by the culture of the priesthood. As early as 1967, he proposed that seminaries be made coeducational, to take prospective priests out of their monastic isolation and put them in contact with the wider world.