Vatican pressure said to have forced editor's resignation

The editor of the US Jesuits' pretigious America magazine has resigned amid widespread speculation about the involvement of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, although neither the official announcement nor the Catholic News Service report tension between Fr Thomas Reese and the Vatican.

The National Catholic Reporter says the resignation caps five years of tensions and exchanges among the congregation, which was headed at the time by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, the Jesuits and Reese.

According to one source of the paper, the communication about Reese's fate was carried on between the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the superior general of the Jesuits, Dutch Fr. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, with the content then relayed to Reese's Jesuit superiors in the United States.

In February 2002, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith proposed creating a three-member commission of censors for the magazine, though the idea was never implemented. According to sources, the congregation told the Jesuits that the action was in response to concern from bishops in the United States.

America's sister magazine - the Italian Jesuits' La Civila' Cattolica - has its content reviewed by the Vatican as part of its editorial proess.

Catholic News Service says that Fr Reese announced on Friday that he is leaing on 1 June after seven years as its editor in chief. It says Fr Drew Christiansen, an associate editor since 2002, who is widely known for his work on Catholic social teaching and international justice and peace issues, is replacing him.

Fr Christiansen said: "Fr Reese greatly improved the magazine, adding news coverage, color and the Web edition. His technical expertise, in this age of new media, will be greatly missed."

He added: "By inviting articles that covered different sides of disputed issues, Father Reese helped make America a forum for intelligent discussion of questions facing the church and the country today."

Editor of Jesuit's America magazine forced to resign under Vatican pressure (National Catholic Reporter 6/5/05)
Father Thomas Reese leaves America magazine (Catholic News Service 6/5/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)

Reese in pieces (Bettnet.com 8/5/05)
Pope vows to uphold tough stance (BBC 7/5/05)
Leading US Catholic is forced out by Vatican (London Independent 8/5/05)
Editor of Jesuit Magazine Leaving (Associated Press/Yahoo 6/5/05)
Catholic editor quits, Vatican pressure cited (Reuters 6/5/05)
New Editor of America Magazine Named (America Magazine 6/5/05)
Andrew Sullivan: The Purge Begins (The Daily Dish 7/5/05)
America: the magazine for thinking Catholics (Catholic World News 6/5/05)
Report: Vatican sacked Catholic magazine editor (NYNewsday.com 6/5/05)
Vatican Is Said to Force Jesuit Off Magazine (New York Times 7/5/05)
U.S. Catholic editor quits, Vatican pressure seen (Reuters 7/5/05)
Editor of moderate Catholic journal ousted Criticism of church reportedly rankled Vatican leaders (San Francisco Chronicle/New York Times 7/5/05)
Jesuit magazine editor ends tension-filled tenure (STLToday 7/5/05)

9 May 2005