Hilary White

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Jesuit Editor of America Resigns after Years of Promoting Opposition to Catholic Moral Teachings

Hilary White

NEW YORK, May 9, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Through three papacies and thirty years, the US weekly Jesuit magazine, America, has been the intellectual flagship of the leftist dissident movement within the Catholic Church. Three weeks into Benedict XVI’s papacy, however, the editor has announced his resignation after complaints from bishops about its anti-Catholic editorial policies.

Thomas J. Reese SJ, according to anonymous Jesuit sources in Rome, has been the subject of complaints from American bishops for his criticism of the new Pope and anti-Catholic statements in recent editorials, especially during the papal interregnum (the time between the death of John Paul II and the election of Benedict XVI.) Since the papal election, Reese has become the liberal media darling, appearing frequently on television to talk about what he considers the shortcomings of the new Pope, with whom, as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, he clashed many times.

The magazine issued a press release May 6th saying that Reese would be resigning as editor after having consulted with his Jesuit superiors in Rome.

As editor of America, Reese is one of the most sought-after US “experts” on Catholic affairs for the mainstream secular media. After the papal election, thousands of stories ran echoing America’s editorial policy, calling the former Cardinal Ratzinger a litany of names such as ‘hard-line enforcer’ and “God’s rottweiler.”

The magazine had evaded correction for years by claiming to present both sides of a given discussion. This method, however, was itself disingenuous. As one Catholic commenter pointed out, by presenting itself as a Catholic magazine, America has a duty to present Catholic doctrine as doctrine, not as mere opinion. Catholic World News editorialist and blogger, Diogenes wrote, “Simply by presenting the disputants as representatives of different opinions the doctrine is viewed as up for grabs, i.e., as something less than doctrine.”

Over the last three decades, America has given a platform to dissident Catholics on all the favorite topics: abortion, contraception, homosexuals in the priesthood, and more recently, denial of Holy Communion to politicians who support abortion and the use of condoms to fight AIDS.

Diogenes, a frequent critic of the Jesuits, also reminds that America’s often sympathetic coverage of homosexual politics meant it was not always forthcoming about Jesuit complicity in the priestly sex abuse scandals. “Not a word on the contradiction between these crimes and the Society’s official devotion to the cause of social justice or its call for ecclesial transparency…America’s notion of what counts as a hot topic is selective and ideologically slanted against the Holy See,” he writes.

Since the 1960’s the Jesuit voice, represented by Reese and America, has deteriorated to one of open opposition to Catholic moral teaching, and finally, of outright contempt for the Church and hatred for the pope to whom they are still obliged to swear oaths of fidelity. Diogenes relates one revealing anecdote in which, after the assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II in 1981 by Turkish gunman Mehmet Ali Agca, one English Jesuit was heard loudly exclaiming in a restaurant, “the only thing wrong with that bloody Turk was that he couldn’t shoot straight.”

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