Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

No News from Rome on Fessio's Appeal

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

No News from Rome on Fessio's Appeal

Article excerpt

The Jesuit president of the University of San Francisco, Fr. Stephen Privett, responding to recent news reports of Vatican intervention at the university, said he had received no word from Vatican officials regarding his controversial decision to reorganize the conservative St. Ignatius Institute. His Jesuit superiors in Rome also said they had received no word.

Press reports in late March said Vatican officials had signaled opposition to Privett's recent decision to reorganize the institute and planned to intervene.

The institute's founder and supporter Jesuit Fr. Joseph Fessio said he recently met in Rome with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, director of the Vatican doctrinal office, who assured him his concerns would be passed on to the pope. Fessio was in Rome for a meeting of the board of Casa Balthasar, a house of formation.

Fessio said, "We have gone through proper channels, and the Holy Father is aware of what has happened."

According to a San Francisco Chronicle story that appeared March 28, Raymond Dennehy, a professor at the university who had taught in the institute, had said, "It's my understanding that the pope has signed a letter saying he wants the institute restored to its pristine state."

Privett accused Fessio and other institute lobbyists of "McCarthy-like" tactics. "Joe Fessio is the source of these rumors," said Privett, "but he'll produce no document. Fessio, a la Joe McCarthy, is claiming to have a draft of a document approved by the pope, but we have seen nothing. …

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