May 30, 2000

In This Issue

Jesuit Center in Novosibirsk Searched by Police

Officials of the Russian tax police searched the Jesuit Catholic Center of Novosibirsk, in Siberia in late May. All the religious and lay workers were held for four hours.

Policemen searched every room, and seized documents, videocassettes, a personal computer, and a video recorder, which have not been given back yet.

A lawyer for the Center pointed out that the search was illegal, due to the fact that the police had no right to enter the premises belonging to a religious organization.

The apostolic administrator of Western Siberia, bishop Joseph Werth, a Jesuit, sent a letter asking for clarifications on the event. The director of the center, Fr Jozef Macha, submitted a protest to the public attorney's office. [Source: Vidimus Dominum]

German Jesuit Criticizes Academic Interference by Vatican

A German Jesuit, Wolfgang Seibel, has criticized the way the Vatican appoints professors of theology in German universities. Seibel, former editor-in-chief of the Jesuit magazine Stimmen der Zeit, said that after episcopal evaluation the Vatican's approval should be a mere formality. He described the Vatican's evaluation of candidates as "a huge mistrust of the abilities of a local bishop." The procedures applied by the Vatican lacked all fairness and justice in so far as the Vatican never justified its decisions nor gave candidates an opportunity to defend themselves, he said. [Source: The Tablet]

Catholic Women Theologians Issue Manifesto for Next Millennium

A manifesto issued by 16 US female Catholic thinkers have urged Catholic women to "re-imagine what it means to be the whole body of Christ." They added, "The way things are now is not the design of God. Carry forward the cause of Gospel feminism."

Titled "The Madeleva Manifesto: A Message of Hope and Courage," the statement was composed during a retreat at St Mary's College in Notre Dame by 15 women who, over the past 16 years, have been part of the Madeleva Lecture series at St Mary's. The only former lecturer not present also signed the statement.

The statement called especially on young women in the Church to "join us in a commitment to far-reaching transformation of Church and society in nonviolent ways."

Those who signed it from Jesuit colleges and universities were: Lisa Sowle Cahill, a theology professor at Boston College; Denise L Carmody, a theology professor at Santa Clara University; Elizabeth A Dreyer, a professor of religious studies at Fairfield University; Diana L Hayes, a professor of theology at Georgetown University; St Joseph Sister Elizabeth Johnson, a theology professor at Fordham University; and Jeanette Rodriguez, chairwoman of the theology and religious studies department at Seattle University. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

Boston College Names New Director of Campus Ministry

Fr James D Erps SJ, director of campus ministry at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles has been named the new campus minister at Boston College. He begins August 1, succeeding Fr Richard Cleary SJ, who is retiring after 11 years as University Chaplain. [Source: Boston College]

Jesuit Suggests There is a 'Campaign' to Discredit Pius XII

Catholics must react with clear and well-documented facts to "the campaign to denigrate" Pope Pius XII, said Fr Peter Gumpel SJ, who is promoting his beatification. "The Holy See, and specifically the supreme pontiff Pius XII, made every possible effort to stop the crimes of the Nazis and to help those whom the Nazis were persecuting," said Fr Gumpel.

The priest, the relator of Pope Pius's beatification cause, said Communists, Masons, and "some Jewish circles" had mounted a campaign against the pope, who reigned during World War II.

"In some cases the campaign is the fruit of a crass and culpable ignorance, while in others it is the result of a systematically organized and orchestrated campaign with the sole intent of discrediting the Catholic Church," Fr Gumpel said.

The fact that the Nazis persecuted the Catholic Church and individual Catholics, that Catholic parishes, publications, and schools were closed and that hundreds of Catholic priests were sent to Nazi concentration camps often is ignored today, Fr Gumpel continued.

For the sake of historical accuracy, the full story about the church and the pope during the war must be known, he said.

Although some Jewish leaders have asked Pope John Paul II to condemn Pope Pius's alleged silence regarding the Holocaust and the persecution of the Jews, "this pope has categorically and resolutely refused," the priest said.

"I cannot say when he will be beatified -- there is still much to study -- but I am certain that sooner or later the beatification will take place," he said. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

John Paul II Symposium Sponsors Conference

The John Paul II Symposium is sponsoring its sixth biennial conference devoted to the thought of Pope John Paul II. This conference will be held on August 4-6, 2000, on the campus of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. The theme of this year's conference is "Pope John Paul II on Faith, Culture, and the New Evangelization."

Major papers will study the pope's theory of the relationship between religion and the various facets of human culture. Discussion groups will focus on recent papal documents dealing with families, vowed religious, the elderly, and ecumenism. A special roundtable will debate the recent encyclical Fides et Ratio. Major speakers include Revs. Avery Dulles (Fordham), Joseph Bracken (Xavier), Arthur Madigan (Boston College), and John Conley (Fordham).

All Jesuits are cordially invited to attend the conference. For further information, contact Rev Matthew Gamber SJ: [email protected]

Flooding Sweeps Through Camps in Timor

Flooding in Timor's southern Belu region in May claimed the lives of at least 53 people. The flooding--a combination of unseasonal heavy rain and high tides--occurred particularly in the Suai (East Timor) and Betun (West Timor) areas. Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) East Timor workers, Vanessa Van Schoor and Bryan Pipins SJ write:

"Until the water has fully receded, the extent of loss of life will be unknown. One priest told us that up to 100 people may have been killed . . . In the Betun area there were many refugees from East Timor living in low-lying areas with poor drainage. These refugees are once again homeless. UN High Commissioner for Refugees in conjunction with the International Organization for Migration and NGOs are evacuating most of the refugees to safer areas.

In the new camps, shelter is severely limited, and there appears to be overcrowding. Of greatest fear at the moment is the health of these people. There is no clean water for the people in Betun and in the temporary camps there is no water source available."

After visiting the Betun area in West Timor, Vanessa Van Schoor and Bryan Pipins SJ report: "Two JRS workers with one vehicle have made a major difference. They have been visiting the camps and the families of refugees. Through this personal contact they have been able to direct aid and assets to the most needy. The presence they are offering to the refugees from East Timor and the displaced people of Betun is being well received. Religious have come from throughout West Timor to lend support and contact family members." [Source: JRS Dispatches]

Congress Closes US Army School of the Americas, Gives Okay to Open New School

By a 214 to 204 margin, the US House of Representatives voted on May 18 to close the Army School of the Americas (SOA) at Ft Benning, Ga. But in the same vote Congress approved the Pentagon proposal to open a new school at Ft Benning called the Defense Institute for Hemispheric Security Cooperation, which will be a combat training school for Latin American soldiers.

Rep Joseph Moakley (D-MA) tried to defeat the Pentagon proposal, along with Joseph Scarborough (R-FL), Tom Campbell (R-CA), and James McGovern (D-MA), as co-sponsors of a measure that would have closed the SOA and halted opening the proposed institute until a congressional task force reported it recommendations. The House rejected the bipartisan amendment.

Critics call the Pentagon plan cosmetic -� a name change with no attempt to address the growing public outcry over the SOA's link to human rights abuses in Latin America.

The bipartisan task force called for in the Moakley amendment would have evaluated the effect of US military training on the human rights performance of Latin American soldiers. Commando and combat courses have been core curricula at the SOA, and critics believe that the training contributes to human rights abuses. Salvadoran soldiers, cited by a United Nations Truth Commission for the commando-style massacre of six Jesuit priests and their two women co-workers, had completed the SOA commando course.

"Congress may have been fooled, but the people are not. The SOA has a new name, but the same shame. We will be at Ft Benning by the thousands again this November, and we will be in the halls of the new Congress in January," said Fr Roy Bourgeois and Carol Richardson, who head up the ten year effort to close the SOA. [Source:]

Jesuit says Poverty and not the Population is the Problem in India

"It is wrong to consider overpopulation as if it were a problem," said Fr Ambrose Pinto SJ, director of the Indian Social Institute in New Delhi.

Fr Pinto explained his point of view on May 11, when the country's population reached the one billion mark.

According to the Fr Pinto, the true problem is poverty and lack of jobs, which is quite often associated with overpopulation. Consequently the government should establish effective social policies and not interfere with the free choice of the number of children families have, he says. [Source: Vidimus Dominum]

Remembrance of Things Past


Useful Info from the Editor

JesuitUSA News is a service of Company Magazine. All correspondence concerning this mailing list should be sent to the editor at <[email protected]>. The newsletter is available to all Jesuits, to those who work with them, or to those who are simply interested in what they are doing. Tell your friends; the price is right! If you are requesting addition to the list, please include your real name as well as your email address. If you are changing your address, please include YOUR NAME as well as both the NEW and the OLD email addresses.

The editor of this Newsletter is Richard VandeVelde SJ who is ably assisted by Ms Rebecca Troha, Assistant Editor. They would both like to remind you of the following useful WWW links for items of Jesuit interest. Many of these links will lead you to others.

JesuitUSA Newsletter: [email protected]
Company Magazine:
America Magazine:
The Conference of US Jesuits:
Jesuit Resources on the Web:
National Jesuit News:
Jesuit Refugee Service:


This page prepared by Richard VandeVelde, SJ, [email protected] Copyright(c) 1999, 2000 Company Magazine. Created: 5/22/2000 Updated: 8/13/00