22-March-2002 -- Catholic World News Brief |

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CATHOLICS PROTEST REASSIGNMENT OF FATHER FESSIO

BOSTON, (CWNews.com) - A coalition of 155 Catholic leaders from around the world have signed on to a letter to Vatican officials and leaders of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), protesting the reassignment of Father Joseph Fessio, SJ, by his order in apparent retaliation for his efforts to found an orthodox Catholic college.

Earlier this month, Father Fessio, founder of Ignatius Press and co-founder of Campion College in San Francisco, was reassigned as an assistant chaplain at a 40-bed hospital in Los Angeles. He will be allowed to continue his work at Ignatius Press-- which is based in San Francisco-- but has been ordered under obedience not to play a role in Campion College. The college was founded in response to a dispute over the Ignatius Institute at the University of San Francisco, which Fessio also co-founded. The Institute was stripped of its orthodox character by the university in a reorganization last year.

In the letter signed by the Catholic leaders-- which was addressed to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith as well as three other Vatican cardinals and the father-general of the Jesuit order-- notes that the silencing of Father Fessio comes while active dissent from the Church's teachings remains rampant among the Jesuits and is tolerated by the order's leadership.

The signatories said the action against Fessio "brings shame upon the Society of Jesus." They added, "These attitudes and actions have caused widespread demoralization and cynicism among the Catholic faithful, not only with respect to the Society of Jesus, but with respect to the just exercise of authority within the Church itself." The coalition includes academics, journalists, and others, priests and laymen, from the US, Canada, Australia and other countries.

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