Seal of the Jesuits
Jesuit USA Newsletter

Mar 08, 2002


In This Issue


Three Jesuits Accused of Sexual Abuse

Three Jesuits were accused of having sexually abused students when they taught at Boston College High School in Boston in the 1970s or '80s, according to Catholic News Service and the Boston Globe.

Boston College High School suspended Fr Stephen F Dawber SJ after the Boston Globe reported that former students said he had abused them, according to a statement released by Boston College High. Fr Dawber taught at BC High in the 1970s, was then assigned to other schools, but returned in 1991 as a teacher at the school.

At a press conference March 6, BC High's principal and acting president, William Kemeza, said Fr Dawber was suspended "pending the outcome of the investigation" to assure the safety of the students.

"The well-being of our students is our highest concern," he said.

On March 5 the New England Province removed Fr Francis J McManus SJ, who had taught at BC High in the early 1980s, from his post as hospital chaplain in New Bedford.

Fr James Talbot SJ was a teacher and soccer coach at BC High from 1972 to 1980, when he was transferred to Cheverus High School in Portland, Maine. He was removed from active ministry in 1998 following accusations that he molested a student in Portland.

In a March 7 letter to the members of the BC High community, Kemeza stated, "In our initial examination, we have found no allegation reported to school officials with regard to these teachers during the periods that they served at BC High. We will continue to work with authorities in a forthright manner to ensure that these allegations are pursued."

Kemeza held sessions March 6 to inform the students of the training and workshops all faculty members go through on abuse prevention and reporting, noting that under state law all teachers must report any abuse allegation they hear to civil authorities.

He invited students to visit him or school ministry and counseling offices with any questions or concerns and said he planned to send letters to students' families and alumni. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

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Vatican Sides with USF in St Ignatius Institute Dispute

The Vatican's Congregation for Catholic Education has declared that it supports the University of San Francisco's St Ignatius Institute (SII), and that it places trust in San Francisco Archbishop William Levada and University President Fr Stephen Privett SJ.

After the university named a new director to the institute in 2001, dissenters petitioned the Vatican to force the university to reinstate the previous director. The issue went before the Congregation for Catholic Education, the Vatican's advisory body for educational institutions.

In a letter dated January 25, 2002, the Congregation acknowledges the controversy but voices support for Fr Privett and his leadership. The letter also expresses support for Archbishop Levada's handling of the situation and acknowledges his responsibility for helping to strengthen the university's Catholic identity. "Archbishop Levada is fulfilling this role and we are grateful for your [Fr Privett's] cooperation with him in this delicate task."

Significantly, the Congregation also states that SII is a part of the university, not an autonomous program. It also echoes the university's own position when it expresses its desire that SII retain its Catholic flavor and that the program offer "a solid education which is faithful to the doctrine of the Church."

"It is clear that the Vatican supports the St Ignatius Institute and its new director, Dr Paul Murphy, said Fr Stephen Privett SJ. "We are grateful that we can finally put this behind us and for the role the Congregation has played in helping us to do so. As the Congregation makes clear, the task now is to consign all disagreements to the past and to devote our full energy to developing this program into the premier Catholic Great Books program in the country." [Sources: CNS, University of San Francisco]

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Ignatius Press To Launch New School

Ignatius Press announced that it was forming Campion College, a two-year college "embodying both the spirit and the curriculum of the original St Ignatius Institute," after the Vatican backed the University of San Francisco's restructing of the leadership of the institute.

St Ignatius Institute was founded in 1976 by Fr Joseph Fessio SJ, a theology professor at the University of San Francisco from 1975 to 1992. In 1987 the university removed him as head of the institute and severed its ties with Ignatius Press, which Fr Fessio had founded in 1978.

In 2001 Fr Stephen Privett SJ, president of the university, announced a restructuring of the institute, removing its director and associate director and making an institute professor, Paul Murphy, its new director.

At the end of February Fr Fessio announced the formation of Campion College, with administrative offices at Ignatius Press headquarters, offering a two-year program leading to an associate of humanities degree.

The college will have "an independent program embodying both the spirit and the curriculum of the original St Ignatius Institute, free from the constraints of a larger university that does not share its goals," he said.

Classes are to start this fall; Fr Fessio said the new college should not have trouble obtaining accreditation by June 2004, when the first class would graduate.

He said that to guarantee students their courses would count toward a degree even before accreditation, however, the college has received credit transfer guarantees for all its courses from the Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio; the International Theological Institute in Gaming, Austria; and Ave Maria University, which has campuses in Detroit and Ann Arbor, Mich., and San Marcos, Nicaragua. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

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So, How Many Jesuits Are There?

As of January 1, 2002, the number of Jesuits was 20,741 (14,623 priests, 2,155 brothers, and 3,940 scholastics), a decrease of 320 over the previous year.

The Society has, for administrative purposes, divides its membership into geographical areas under the supervision of assistants to Father General. These regions are traditionally called Assistancies.

The South Asia Assistancy is the most numerous (3,915 Jesuits or 18.9 percent of the total) followed by the United States (3,462 or 16.7 percent). The smallest in number is the Central European Assistancy (991 Jesuits or 4.8 percent). During the past year 469 Jesuits died. [Source: www.jesuits-europe.org]

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Enron Scandal Marks 'Globalization of Fraud,' says Vatican Official

The collapse of Enron marks the "globalization of fraud" and illustrates the need for effective controls on capitalism, said Vatican Radio's director Fr Pasquale Borgomeo SJ.

He called Enron an example of the "unbridled capitalism" that can bring catastrophe to millions of people and to the market system.

"Our society should not give room to or feed this type of monster, this globalization of fraud, with all its cruel and inhuman aspects," he said.

Fr Borgomeo added it was clear that the Enron case was "a giant exploit of economic criminality" that has already spurred some legislative measures to prevent similar situations in the future.

"The case demands a response, if not a form of public control then a control that is real and effective where the interests of millions of people are involved," he said. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

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Marquette University and The Lord of the Rings

A glimpse into Middle-earth is available at Marquette University. For both longtime readers of JRR Tolkien and those who became fans by seeing the film "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring," a chance to catch a glimpse of the creativity of Middle-earth's creator is as close as Marquette University.

An extensive collection of the author's words and work--including the original manuscripts for both "The Lord of the Rings" and "The Hobbit"--can be found in the JRR Tolkien Collection in the university's Memorial Library.

The movie has attracted media attention to Marquette, said Matt Blessing, an archivist at the university. Attendance at the library's small display of Tolkien material has risen from about 500 to 1,000 visitors annually, Blessing estimated. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

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Rockhurst Spring Break Service Includes Local and International Projects

Poverty and human need can be as close as two miles from the Rockhurst University campus. That's why, for the first time, Rockhurst students who want to take a service trip for spring break can serve right in their own community.

Students who choose Kansas City will learn firsthand what it's like to live on a limited budget. They will serve senior citizens, single mothers, and at-risk children at a food pantry and will listen to presentations from community members. " We wanted to provide an opportunity for our students to identify more closely with our local community," said Jennifer Rinella, director of Rockhurst Center for Service Learning.

In addition, twenty students will travel to Guatemala to build ecologically sound latrines, provide health screenings for children, and conduct hygiene programs; nine students will build a Habitat for Humanity house in Belize; and six students will perform volunteer work through a mission in Anapra, Mexico. [Source: Rockhurst University]

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Worthwhile Web Sites

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Archives of Nazi Victim back from Moscow

On January 30, forty meters of archives returned from Russia to the Netherlands, where they had been confiscated by the Germans during World War II. The Russian troops had transferred them from Berlin to Moscow in 1945. Among these papers are letters by Berthold Brecht, Joseph Roth, and Max Brod, a friend of Franz Kafka, all original property of the Amsterdam publisher Allert de Lange, and papers of the Dutch General Staff in The Hague.

A special section is formed by the archives of Dutch Jesuit Robert Regout (1896-1942), professor in international law at the Catholic University in Nijmegen. Long before the war started he had made contacts with Germans who were against the Nazi regime. Because of his stand against the occupying forces he was arrested in 1940 and sent to the concentration camp in Dachau, where he died two years later.

There are plans to publish a study on these documents of Fr Regout in the near future. Among the returned papers there are more documents that were taken away from Jesuits in the Netherlands during World War II. [Source: Paul Begheyn SJ, Amsterdam <[email protected]>

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El Dorado: Fact or Fiction?

Sparking new speculation about the fabled golden city of El Dorado, Italian archeologist Mario Polia claimed a centuries-old document in the Jesuits' Rome archives proves that the South American kingdom existed and was even evangelized by Jesuit missionaries. Polia, who teaches at Catholic University in Lima, Peru, wrote in February in the Italian magazine Archeo that the document also indicates that the Jesuits obtained papal permission to evangelize the kingdom and apparently kept its location a secret.

Fr Martin Morales SJ, however, called the archeologist's interpretation flawed. Fr Morales, a specialist on Latin America at the Jesuits' Historical Institute in Rome, said the undated and unsigned document Polia cited demonstrates at most that the "myth" of El Dorado was important for Europeans in the 16th and 17th centuries.

The document relates how a crucifix that reportedly briefly came to life convinced the king and court of Paititi, the Inca name for El Dorado, to travel to Cuzco, Peru, to be baptized by 16th-century Jesuit Fr Andrea Lopez. The text says the king invited the missionary to Paititi, described as 10 days journey away, and promised to erect a gold-brick church. The text never says if Fr Lopez made the trip, but Polia assumes he did and theorizes that the lack of follow-up documentation in the Jesuits' archives demonstrates that the order wanted to keep the kingdom's location secret.

Fr Morales said the document appears to have been written by an Italian Jesuit in Rome around 1650, decades after Fr Lopez' death in 1585, and evidently was aimed at preserving the account of the miracle. The Jesuit scholar said trained historians are especially wary about interpreting unsigned and undated documents and try when possible to link them to other documents of the period. In this case, he said, Polia ignored older Jesuit archival papers that refer to Paititi and the missionary work of Fr Lopez.

Fr Morales said Fr Lopez never mentioned Paititi in his annual reports to Rome, which are included in a collection of Jesuit historical material published in recent decades. He said the first reference to Paititi in the Jesuit archives is found in a December 28, 1585, document written by Fr Lopez's immediate successor, Fr Diego Samaniego, to the head of the Jesuits.

Contrary to the document highlighted by Polia, which places El Dorado somewhere near Peru's border with Brazil, Fr Samaniego's letter describes the kingdom as rumored to be somewhere in the Santa Cruz region of modern-day Bolivia.

Fr Morales said other documents placed Paititi in countries like Colombia and Paraguay. He theorized that Jesuit missionaries and Spanish explorers "needed" the legend of El Dorado to encourage them to keep pushing further into the interior of Latin America, where there was little immediate reward for their efforts.

"The important thing about a mythical place," the priest said, "is that you never discover it." [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]

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Remembrance of Things Past

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From the Editors

JesuitUSA News is a service of Company Magazine. In addition to the print edition, almost all of the items in Company Magazine can be viewed via the World Wide Web at www.companymagazine.org or www.companysj.com. Any 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.


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