The longtime editor of the international Jesuit magazine "America" has resigned after years of tension, sparking speculations about the reasons for his departure.
Fr. Thomas J. Reese’s resignation from the New York-based weekly is effective June 1. Fr. Drew Christiansen, a fellow Jesuit who was recruited as a writer and associate editor by Fr. Reese in 2002, will be the new editor.
The magazine's statement did not offer any explanations for Fr. Reese's departure.
However, the National Catholic Reporter, a liberal Catholic weekly, said he resigned at the request of the Jesuit order after “five years of pressure” from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The newspaper provided no source to support this claim.
According to the National Catholic Reporter, the Vatican had objected to several controversial articles published in the magazine, favoring condom use for AIDS prevention, homosexual priests, homosexual unions and other sensitive issues.
In recent weeks, America has published an essay favorable to homosexual priests and another, written by U.S. Rep. David R. Obey (D-Wis.), challenging then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's view that the Church should refuse Communion to Catholic politicians who fail to follow Church teachings.
Before coming to “America”, Fr. Christiansen was a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown University. He is former director of the Office of International Justice and Peace, United States Catholic Conference (1991-1998) and served as counselor for international affairs for the U.S. bishops until December 2004.
He was also an associate professor of theology, University of Notre Dame (1986-1990); assistant professor of social ethics, Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley and Graduate Theological Union (1981-86) and director, Center for Ethics and Social Policy (1982-86).
He is author of more than 100 articles on moral theology, ethics and international affairs, just war and nonviolence, Catholic social teaching, and family care of the elderly. His most recent book is “Forgiveness in International Politics: An Alternative Road to Peace” (USCCB, 2004), co-authored with William Bole and Robert T. Hennemeyer.