Seal of the Jesuits
Jesuit USA Newsletter

November 30, 2004

Jesuit Says Bishops’ Positions During Election Could Produce Backlash

Boston College theology professor Fr David Hollenbach SJ said the approach bishops took during the presidential election campaign "is likely to produce a very strong backlash."

A handful of bishops said because of his support for legal abortion Kerry would not be permitted to receive Communion if he came to them. Some also said Catholic voters would be committing a sin by voting for a politician whose public actions conflict with church teaching on the sanctity of life, same-sex marriage, or embryonic stem-cell research.

"People don't like to have a group of bishops throwing their weight around, with religious claims attached to a political point," Fr Hollenbach said. "I think those bishops are going to be proven to have made a bad mistake."

Fr Hollenbach sees the division in how US bishops approached the issues raised by a Catholic candidate for president as the beginning of a theological argument about the church's relationship to the civic and political order.

The church has a history over hundreds of years of attempting to work alongside whoever is running a government, he explained. Even "with some fairly nasty regimes," including those of Hitler and Mussolini, the attitude was "we can try to do some good."

The "purist" position that a Catholic cannot be involved with politicians unless they are in total agreement with the church's teaching on certain issues "is not a part of the tradition of the Catholic Church," Fr Hollenbach said. "We're not a sect that simply cuts itself off from society over one position. The church tries to be a leaven for good in society." [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


Fifteenth Anniversary of Assassination of Jesuit Priests Observed

November 16 marked the 15th anniversary of the assassination of six Jesuit priests and two others at the University of Central America (UCA) in El Salvador. At dawn on November 16, 1989, the priests, their housekeeper, and her 15-year-old daughter were murdered by uniformed gunmen. Twenty-six soldiers were later convicted in the deaths.

In remembrance, Xavier University hosted the Salvadoran musical group, Exceso de Equipaje, and on November 18 the university had a showing of the film A Question of Conscience: The Murder of the Jesuit Priests in El Salvador.

Seattle University commemorated the anniversary with a "Celebration of Hope" mass to reflect on the role of faith and justice in the school's mission of Jesuit education. [Source: Xavier University, Seattle University]


Nepal's King Bestows Royal Award on US Jesuit

Nepal’s king Gyanendra Bir Bikram Shah Dev presented Fr James Donnelly SJ with the Auspicious Right Hand of the Gorkha Dynasty Award for his work in education and social service.

Fr Donnelly, of the Nepal Region but originally from the Chicago Province, has worked in Nepal for the past 43 years as an English teacher, school administrator, and writer of English textbooks for Nepal's school system. He is the fifth Jesuit priest to be given a royal award.

Fr Donnelly said he "got a smile out of the king" when he said he had enjoyed his 43 years of service in education in Nepal and was looking forward to more opportunities to serve in the future.

Fr Donnelly is called a "walking encyclopedia" by friends and students due to his extensive knowledge in various fields, including high-altitude mountaineering. [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


Gonzaga College High Teacher Encourages Students to Think About Food Issues

Andrew Turner, a social justice teacher at Gonzaga College High School in Washington DC, also operates a 20-acre farm in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, with his wife, Avis, when he is not in class.

Turner devotes a portion of the year's studies to food issues, pointing out how food factory employees and migrant farmworkers are often underpaid. He urges his students not to take their food for granted, but he admits that is a hard lesson to get across to students primarily from the Washington suburbs.

He said students really begin to understand the issue when they participate in a school-sponsored service project of helping migrant workers on a Florida farm; they also seem to respect him for the work he puts into farming.

Turner and his wife raise corn, tomatoes, beans, squash, melons, and cut flowers for their farming business called TGIF--Thank God It's Fresh--and sell the produce at three different farmers' markets each week during growing season.

He said maintaining the farm, which is particularly challenging in the spring and early fall while he is teaching, has taught him to deal with life's ups and downs and to accept whatever happens.

Turner said when certain crops do not yield much of a harvest he is reminded that "there are certain things in life you have no control over." [Source: CNS. Do not repost electronically]


Saint Joseph's University Collects 4,000 Books and Videos for Troops in Iraq

Saint Joseph's University's Administrative/Staff Council recently conducted a book drive for troops in Iraq that collected 4,000 paperback books and videos.

The donations came from faculty and staff. For instance, Dr Nancy Fox, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, contributed about 50 boxes of books from the Haverford Township Library. Dr Fox explained, "I was picking up my son from the library and noticed that they were getting rid of leftover books from the library book sale. I told them Saint Joseph's was collecting books for troops, and they were more than happy to donate their extra boxes to such a worthy cause."

The books include everything from romance to mystery, and the university will fund the delivery of the books to troops in Iraq. [Source: Saint Joseph's University]


Remembrance of Things Past


From the Editors

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