Online Edition: May 2009
Vol. XV, No. 3
News & Views
Monsignor William Smith, a leading moral theologian and dean of New York’s St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie, died January 24, after a brief illness, at the age of 69.
Monsignor Smith, a native New Yorker, was ordained by Cardinal Spellman in 1966. He joined the Dunwoodie faculty in 1971, at age 32, and taught there for the next thirty-seven years.
He was a founding member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars, frequently appeared on television on issues of Catholic moral teaching — particularly medical ethics, and was chaplain to the Missionaries of Charity in the South Bronx.
He was, first and last, a man of conviction, a priest who took seriously the apostle Paul’s charge to Timothy to “speak the truth in season and out of season”. But the nearly forty years of his teaching and preaching was “out of season”, in the sense that the truth embodied in Scripture and Catholic moral teaching was heavily obscured by what he sometimes called a “gray moral mist”. That the source of this gray mist was not only from the outside culture, but also arose from within the Church, from outright dissent and clouded theological opinions, was a reality that did not diminish either his conviction or his courage. Throughout his life as a priest and as a moral theologian teaching seminarians he was a beacon in the mist.
Transmitting the truth was always Monsignor Smith’s primary goal and his great witness. Once when asked how a priest can teach the truth of the Gospel, he responded:
Most of us can be funny every now and then … but that’s not what we are ordained for, we are ordained to live the Gospel and to preach the Gospel, and it is up to each one of us in every setting, every assignment, to find the right words and the right examples to take that message which is true for all of us and put it into terms that the community you’re preaching to, and living with, can say “yes” to. Whether that persuades them or not, that’s up to them, but if you are to fulfill your ministry, then you do the truth in love.
Monsignor Smith’s ability to teach the truth with intelligence, wit and grace was a great gift to the Church in the United States. He will be very sorely missed. — hhh
Thomas Dillon, president of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California, died in a car accident on April 15, while in Ireland for a conference. His wife, Terri, was injured.
Dr. Dillon, who had been president of TAC since 1991, received his doctorate from Notre Dame University in 1977. He taught philosophy and literature at TAC, and before becoming president had served as dean.
During the 18 years of his presidency, Dr. Dillon oversaw extensive growth of the campus. The most recent addition is the college’s new chapel, Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, dedicated on March 7. Construction of the chapel took nearly ten years from design to completion. Duncan Stroik of Notre Dame University was the architect, and the chapel architecture was the subject of an essay by Denis McNamara in AB April 2009.
In addition to his wife, Dr. Dillon is survived by two sons and two daughters and their spouses, and fifteen grandchildren.
Publishers of texts and formation materials for the new translation of the Missale Romanum (Roman Missal) are scheduled to meet in Washington on April 30 at the invitation of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) Committee on Divine Worship and USCCB Publishing.
The USCCB intends to develop a comprehensive strategy and plan of action for introducing and implementing the new Missal — including both the publication of the liturgical texts and the development of liturgical and catechetical materials in preparation for the new Missal. Some materials have already been developed by the international “Leeds Group”, and by the US Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions (FDLC).
The USCCB representatives plan to inform participants of the anticipated timeline for publishing the ritual edition of the Missal and worship aids; and to initiate a conversation on other related publication issues for both English- and Spanish-language resources to aid in introducing and implementing the new Missal.
Monsignor Anthony F. Sherman is director of the Secretariat of the Committee on Divine Worship, and Paul K. Henderson is the director of USCCB Publishing.
Helen Hull Hitchcock will represent Adoremus at the meeting.
The International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) recently announced the appointment of Father Andrew Wadsworth as Executive Director of its Secretariat in Washington.
Father Wadsworth, a priest of the Archdiocese of Westminster, will take office in September 2009, succeeding Monsignor Bruce Harbert, who will have completed seven years of service to ICEL. The new appointment was approved by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, as required by the ICEL charter.
Father Wadsworth, who was born in 1961, holds degrees from Trinity College of Music, Allen Hall, London (the Westminster Diocesan Seminary), the Pontifical University of Maynooth, and University College, London. Ordained priest in 1990, he has worked in several London parishes, and is currently Catholic Chaplain and head of Italian at Harrow School, London. He is also an accomplished linguist and musician.
The ICEL Executive Director oversees all the work of the Secretariat, and serves as liaison with the chairman (currently Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, UK) and with the Commission, assisting in the formulation and communication of policy. The ICEL Director also supervises the processes of translation and revision and coordinates communication with parties interested in ICEL’s work.
With the new translation of the Missale Romanum (Roman Missal) completed, ICEL will be moving to new translation projects as requested by its member Conferences of Bishops.
The Fellowship of Catholic Scholars 2009 annual convention will focus on the thought of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger/Pope Benedict XVI. It will take place in Providence, Rhode Island, September 25-27, at the Providence Marriott Downtown.
Father John Michael McDermott, of the Pontifical College Josephinum, will present the keynote address: “Benedict XVI and the Faith-Reason Relation”. Among other speakers will be Father James Schall, SJ, of Georgetown University, Dr. Tracey Rowland, of the John Paul II Institute in Australia, and theologian Dr. William May, who is program chairman. A panel exploring the liturgical thought of Pope Benedict is scheduled, with panelists Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, Dr. James Hitchcock and Helen Hull Hitchcock.
The Fellowship of Catholic Scholars is an association of Catholic scholars in various disciplines who see their intellectual work as a service they owe to God.
For FCS membership and conference information contact Msgr. Stuart W. Swetland, Executive Secretary: firstname.lastname@example.org.