May 7, 2005


Vatican Is Said to Force Jesuit Off Magazine (LAURIE GOODSTEIN, 5/07/05, NY Times)

An American Jesuit who is a frequent television commentator on Roman Catholic issues resigned yesterday under orders from the Vatican as editor of the Catholic magazine America because he had published articles critical of church positions, several Catholic officials in the United States said.

The order to dismiss the editor, the Rev. Thomas J. Reese, was issued by the Vatican's office of doctrinal enforcement - the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith - in mid-March when that office was still headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak on the matter, said. Soon after, Pope John Paul II died and Cardinal Ratzinger was elected pope, taking the name Benedict XVI.

America magazine, a weekly based in New York City, is a moderate-to-liberal journal published by the Jesuits, a religious order known for producing the scholars who run many of the church's universities and schools. The Jesuits prize their independence, but like everyone in the church, even their top official, the Jesuit superior general in Rome, ultimately answers to the pope.

It's long past time someone brought the Jesuits to heel.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 7, 2005 12:00 AM

The reputation of the Jesuits is quite incomprehensible to me. Catholics over a certain age seem to view them as a bunch of arch-conservatives, not quite as scary as Opus Dei, but pretty hardcore. Yet I don't think I've ever read or seen anything from a Jesuit that wasn't on the liberal side of things, not just from a Church perspective but a modern political one. Often I hear people say "So-and-so didn't like the Passion, and he's a Jesuit, so it must be really offensive!" or "So-and-so supports female priests, and he's a Jesuit, so the Pope is obviously an extra-super-duper conservative". Anyone know what's the deal with this? My guess is that a generation ago many more Catholics went to religious schools, and had a fair share of Jesuit instruction, and people usually view their teachers as being very harsh, so that's where the impression comes from, but I don't really know...

Posted by: b at May 7, 2005 4:34 PM

I went to a Jesuit high school and the political views expressed by the faculty and priests were uniformly liberal. Amnesty Int'l was a campus presence with much talk of immigrant rights and so forth, but none of abortion. Many of the priests were also quite obviously gay, but that's a whole 'nother ball o wax. I'd be surprised to hear any conservative views expressed by a Jesuit truthfully.

Posted by: at May 7, 2005 6:20 PM

The US Church's main task now is rooting out homosexuals in positions of authority in the nation's seminaries.

The media and other leftists will scream bloody murder about persecution and discrimination. The choice of this particular pope indicates that Rome understands that the damage done to the US Church has been self-inflicted.

Posted by: John J. Coupal at May 7, 2005 11:56 PM

The Jesuits were created to defend the Church, not the Faith. Thus, they are willing to kill the latter to save the former.

Posted by: Timothy at May 8, 2005 1:10 AM

There are some conservative Jesuits, several of them at Fordham in fact, including Cardinal Dulles and Joe Koterski, but they're among a tiny handful worldwide.

Posted by: Jim in Chicago at May 8, 2005 2:21 AM