A journal of academic theology

June 2000 editorial

As I write these reflections during Easter Week in the year 2000, I look back over what has turned out to be an unusually dramatic Lenten season for the Catholic Church. On March 12, the first Sunday of Lent, a remarkable gesture of repentance took place in St. Peter’s Basilica, when the Church of Rome, led by John Paul II, formally requested pardon for past sins and injustices committed by Catholics over the centuries. Intended as a purification of memory, part of the ritual of the Jubilee Year, the petition in the pope’s homily was followed by prayers led by several senior curial cardinals (Gantin, Ratzinger, Etchegaray, Cassidy, and Arinze) as well as two archbishops (Hamao and Van Thuan). They recited a public confession of sins and made a plea for forgiveness in regard to sins committed against truth, against the unity of the Church, against the Jewish people, against peace, against women, and finally against every violation of human rights. The ecclesial and churchly significance of this event will be debated for years to come. Some of the complex theological issues relating to the Church’s sinfulness and its ongoing need for conversion are addressed by Professor Hinze’s timely article in this issue of Theological Studies.

Shortly thereafter, still in Lent, from March 20 to March 26, John Paul II undertook a historic pilgrimage of prayer and reconciliation to the Holy Land. International television provided viewers with a host of stunning pictorial mementos of this trip. The pope stood on Jordan’s Mount Nebo, the mountain from which Moses overlooked the Promised Land, territory he was destined never to enter. At Bethlehem in the Palestinian territories, a papal eucharistic liturgy paused in order to accommodate the Muslim call to prayer emanating from the local minaret. Most moving of all were the pope’s visits and prayers at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial and the Western Wall of the Temple. These stops began a process breaking down long-standing psychological barriers between Jews and Christians. As Prime Minister Ehud Barak assured the pope at Yad Vashem, “this moment will be remembered forever as a magical moment of truth and a victory for justice and hope.”

All of us at Theological Studies extend to our readers best wishes for a blessed paschal season. This issue marks another milestone in the life of our journal. Professor John Keating, S.J., of the Georgetown Jesuit Community, after completing over a dozen years of outstanding service to the journal as Book Review Editor as well as Managing Editor, is ending his association with TS. Father Keating has long served us in indispensable and valued roles: requesting and processing newly published books, inviting experts to provide reviews and shorter notices, painstakingly overseeing preparation of manuscripts for the printer, and numerous other tasks. Besides these editorial tasks as business manager he has processed advertisements, planned budgets, paid bills, dealt with our subscription agency, and many other organizations. On behalf of all our readers and colleagues, we offer him a hearty thank-you for brilliant service intensely appreciated. We wish him continued success as he prepares to relocate to New York City’s Fordham University where he will be teaching Scripture.

After his announcement in December that he planned to move on, the board of directors initiated a search for his successor. It soon became clear that it was unlikely that one person could continue to cover both jobs. The responsibilities of the Business Manager would be separated from those of the Book Review Editor. And after a search nationally the board chose as Book Review Editor, Professor David G. Schultenover, S.J., of the theology department of Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska, who will take on this job this summer.

Father Schultenover was born in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota, the ninth of eleven children. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1956 and was ordained priest in 1969. He was a year away from completing a doctorate in organic chemistry when Vatican II shifted his interest and course of studies to theology. While pursuing his Ph.D. in historical theology at St. Louis University, the strong connection he observed between the questions opened up by Vatican II and those investigated by the so-called Modernists at the turn of the 20th century led him to choose the English “Modernist” George Tyrrell as the focus of his doctoral research. He completed his dissertation and pursued postdoctoral research as a Fulbright-Deutsche Akademischer Austauschdienst fellow at the University of Tbingen on the relationship between German Protestant liberalism and Roman Catholic modernism. His study George Tyrrell: In Search of Catholicism received the Alpha Sigma Nu National Book Award in 1981. He served in the department of theology at Marquette University before joining the theology department at Creighton University. Grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Graduate School of Creighton University supported research represented by his most recent book, A View from Rome: On the Eve of the Modernist Crisis and his next book (in progress) whose working title is Luis Martn 1846-1906: The Black Pope of the Modernist Crisis. He earlier served as managing editor for Theology Digest, and is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the American Society of Church History, and the Catholic Theological Society of America. We wish him success in his collaboration and extend our thanks to the administration of Creighton University for its cooperation.

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