Jesuits respond



After repeated phone calls requesting comment about Randolph Scott's claim that Loyola University president Rev. Kevin Wildes is forbidden, by church law, from being a member of the New Orleans Civil Service Commission, the Society of Jesus has finally gotten back to me. Via fax? Anyway, here's the initial response:

(Note: Rev. Mark Lewis is the Provincial, which is Jesuit for regional manager, for the New Orleans Jesuit Province)

Michael Bourg, Executive Director for Advancement
504-xxx-xxxx ext. xx

To: Charles Maldonado, Gambit

In response to your inquiry pertaining to Fr. Kevin Wildes, S.J. and his participation on the Civil Service Commission for the City of New Orleans, the Very Rev. Mark A. Lewis. S.J., Provincial, is presently looking into the matter.

Scott's claim is not without precedent. Priests have been prohibited from holding office (elected office, at least) by Papal decree since 1980, when Pope John Paul II ordered Priest-Congressman Robert Drinan to step down from office or leave the Church. The ban was added to Canon Law in 1983. Since then, some priests, with special permission, have been allowed to hold office. One example was former Canadian MP Raymond Gravel, who nevertheless was, again, eventually asked to step down.

The Church's position on political appointments, rather than elected positions, is a bit less clear. I can find at least one recent example, though. In 2009, Father Henry Charles was forced to resign his appointed post with the Integrity Commission of Trinidad and Tobago. The reason?

Father Charles says he had to resign because "the canon law of the church prevents him from assuming the post. Second source.

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