Seal of the Jesuits
Jesuit USA Newsletter

May 4, 2004

New Cristo Rey High School to Open in the Fall

A member of the "Cristo Rey" network of schools, Cristo Rey High School is a new coeducational, independent Catholic high school to open in East Harlem in August of 2004. The school is endorsed by the American Province of the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, the Long Island New England Province of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, and the New York Province of the Society of Jesus. Fr Joseph P Parkes SJ, outgoing president of Fordham Prep, will become the first president of Cristo Rey New York.

For more information visit [Source: New York Province]


Georgetown Research Shows Catholics Split on Presidential Election

In an election year in which it appears the first Catholic candidate since John F Kennedy will win the Democratic Party's nomination for president, 45 percent of likely Catholic voters say they prefer Senator John F Kerry. The research, conducted by the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) at Georgetown University, also showed that 41 percent of Catholics who say they intend to vote in November indicate a preference for President George W Bush, and that 39 percent of US Catholics currently say they think of themselves as Democrats, while 31 percent think of themselves as Republicans.

The results come from the most recent CARA Catholic Poll, an annual national random-sample telephone poll of adults who self-identify as Catholic, and are based on 1,001 interviews conducted between March 15 and March 21, 2004.

The differences between the percentage of likely Catholic voters who support Senator Kerry and those who support President Bush are within the margin of error for likely voters (±3.5 percentage points), indicating a very close split between the two candidates.

The Catholic pre-election support for Senator Kerry is well below the 72 percent of Catholics who said they intended to vote for the last Catholic presidential candidate of a major party, John F Kennedy in 1960, according to data from the American National Election Study (NES) 1960 pre-election survey.

"The religious affiliation of candidates--and specifically those who are Catholic--is not nearly as important as it was when President Kennedy was running for office, or when Al Smith ran for president in 1928," said CARA researcher Dr Mark Gray, who led the study. "The ‘Catholic vote’ in 2004 seems less about religion and more about party identification."

"However, comparing pre-election support for then-Senator Kennedy and Senator Kerry today is complicated because so much has changed in the Catholic electorate, the political parties, and the Catholic Church in the past 44 years," said Dr Gray.

"Kennedy did not have to deal with the issues of abortion, stem cell research, or same-sex marriage that are important in the current campaigns and important issues for the Catholic Church." [Source: Georgetown University]


Center in India Receives Police Protection Following Threats

Police in the western Indian state of Gujarat have given protection to a Catholic center run by Jesuit Fr Cedric Prakash following threats by Hindu activists upset over a Supreme Court ruling.

On April 12 the nation's highest court quashed the acquittal of 21 people accused in a riot case and ordered their retrial in a court outside Gujarat. Soon after media reported the verdict, a group of militants surrounded the Prashant [tranquility] Center run by Fr Prakash.

Fr Prakash was among those who had demanded new trials in cases related to Hindu-Muslim riots in Gujarat in 2002. The riots claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people, mostly Muslims.

Following the Supreme Court verdict, Hindu militants arrived at the center and shouted slogans against Fr Prakash and another human rights activist, Teesta Setalvad, who was inside at the time. The militants were upset because of the help Fr Prakash and Setalvad gave a key witness in the Best Bakery case.

That case involved the killing of 14 Muslims by a Hindu mob, which burned down the bakery in which the victims were taking refuge. Police charged 21 people, but a lower court in Gujarat set them free in June after witnesses retracted their testimony.

Fr Prakash and Setalvad are members of Citizens for Peace and Justice, and with the group's help witness Zahira Shaikh filed a petition in the Supreme Court asking that the case be reopened.

Angry activists shouted slogans demanding that Fr Prakash and Setalvad stop their "anti-Hindu activities" or face "dire consequences." The activists left after about 30 minutes, when the priest called the police.

Fr Prakash said the Supreme Court judgment was "a bright hope for the hopeless riot victims." It shows "there is still hope in the country, and perhaps the victims will see a new tomorrow," he said. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


Jesuit Says to Teach Children about Positive Aspects of Sexuality

Jesuit Fr Gerard McGlone, a clinical psychologist who has set up child sex abuse prevention programs for a network of Jesuit junior high schools, said to first teach children about the positive aspects of sexuality.

"Sometimes people start with the abuse issue. This is a bad place to begin," he said. "If you start with the abnormal, the child thinks its normal," he said. "Start with normal, healthy sexuality as a gift of God."

Fr McGlone said that children also have to be taught how to get out of uncomfortable situations, such as by avoiding being left alone with adults who make them feel uncomfortable.

Teaching children "to just say 'no' could increase the violence against the child," he said.

Children should be taught that once they have removed themselves from a bad situation, they should tell an adult they trust about the incident. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


Marquette University Studies Newspaper Coverage of “The Passion”

An analysis of newspaper coverage of the movie "The Passion of the Christ" conducted by Marquette University showed that there was more positive than negative coverage in news stories, although news stories with neutral coverage outnumbered the positive and negative coverage.

William Elliott, dean of Marquette's College of Communication, which conducted the study, said he found the level of coverage extraordinary.

The first phase of the Marquette study covered the 10 highest-circulation US newspapers. The second phase will cover at least one newspaper in each of the 50 states.

Under analysis were stories published between January 1 and March 20; the film was released Feb. 25. The 10 newspapers averaged 35 stories each over that time period, or close to one story every other day.

News articles made up 42.1 percent of all newspaper coverage of the film. Of the 146 articles, 50 were judged to be positive and 21 negative, but 75 were considered neutral.

Letters to the editor accounted for 23.3 percent of the coverage of the film. Of 81 letters, 31 were judged to be negative, 27 positive, and 23 neutral.

Of the 47 feature stories, which accounted for 13.5 percent of all newspaper coverage, 29 of the stories were neutral, 11 were negative, and seven were positive.

Reviews of "The Passion of the Christ" were almost evenly split, with 11 being neutral, 10 positive, and 10 negative. Of editorials about the movie, 13 were negative, 13 were neutral, and only four were positive.

The newspapers studied were the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Daily News, the Dallas Morning News, the Philadelphia Inquirer, and the Denver Post. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


Loyola University New Orleans Selects New President

Loyola University New Orleans has named Fr Kevin Wildes SJ to be the next president of Loyola University New Orleans, effective July 2004. Fr Wildes succeeds Fr William Byron SJ, who has served as interim president since October 2003.

Currently at Georgetown University, Fr Wildes is associate dean of Georgetown College, associate professor in the philosophy department, and assistant professor in the department of medicine at the Georgetown's School of Medicine. He is also a senior research scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and the Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown. [Source: Loyola University New Orleans]


Jesuit College and University Alumni Team up for Jesuit Service Day

Xavier University alumni in Sarasota, Florida, are teaming up with alumni from College of the Holy Cross, John Carroll University, Loyola University Chicago, Spring Hill College, and the University of Detroit Mercy for as a service project as part of Jesuit Service Day on April 24. The alumni will split up and go to several sites to do repair work, clean carpets, paint, rake lawns, and help seniors.

The project is based on a similar one in Cincinnati where Xavier alumni, students, and friends team up with their counterparts from the University of Cincinnati to help the community.

“This event fulfills an integral part of our shared Jesuit education: devotion to service,” said John McGruder, president of the Sarasota/Bradenton chapter of the Xavier University National Alumni Association. “We’re excited about the prospects of getting together with likeminded graduates from other Jesuit institutions and really believe this event will be something special.” [Source: Xavier University]


On the Web

Ten years after genocide tore his country apart, a Rwandan Jesuit carries on; read the story in the Boston College Chronicle at


Remembrance of Things Past


From the Editors

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