WASHINGTON, DC - On Wednesday, December 11th, TIME announced the selection of Pope Francis as the magazine's Person of the Year. As the first Jesuit Pope to receive this honor, the selection was met with great praise from Jesuit institutions across the country. The following links to interviews, commentary and articles feature administrators and faculty from Jesuit colleges and universities, who offered their insight on the 2013 Person of the Year:
Loyola University Maryland President Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J. remarked, "Particularly around Francis there’s this sense of almost returning to the roots of Christianity and recovering the notion of joy. At the same time, this is a man who is not afraid to look at the harshest dimensions of human existence. He has been so vocal on the situation of refugees in Europe and around the world, the role of the marginal, the role of the poor, and the way the world’s economic system is grinding down on the poor—and at the same time he has an infectious love of people and of the human situation.” Read the full statement here.
Wheeling Jesuit University President Rev. James Fleming, S.J. said, “There is no question that his impact on the Catholic Church and on the world has been powerful. If this recognition brings hope to the world, it should be welcomed and celebrated." See the statement online.
Santa Clara University's statement reads, in part, "By representing the best of the ideals of the Order of the Society of Jesus, Pope Francis reminds us all that we are called to put our gifts to work not for competitive advantage, divisive dogma, or self-preservation, but rather as 'servants and comforters of hurting people in an often harsh world,' as TIME noted." See it online.
Creighton University's Eileen Burke-Sullivan, S.T.D., Barbara Reardon Heaney Chair in Pastoral Liturgical Theology and associate professor of theology, said, "Perhaps TIME has captured the 'wave' of gratitude that people the world over seem to be feeling for being given a reason to believe in God and have hope again – even hope that a 2,000 year-old movement/institution really is guided by God’s Spirit, and when responding to that Spirit, does lots of things right for humanity and for God’s created order." Read more of her reflections here.
Saint Louis University's Vice President for Mission and Ministry, Rev. Paul Stark, S.J. said, "I think this global recognition speaks volumes--not just about Pope Francis, per se--but about the universal hunger for meaning he addresses, for religion to have practical implications and applications in our lives, for all of us, Catholics, Christians, Jews, members of all faith traditions, to rise to the call of humanity. Pope Francis, very much a member of the Society of Jesus, speaks to us all, calling us to humility, to service, to care for the others clearly among us, calling us to address and solve universal issues affecting and afflicting more of humanity than ever before--hunger, conflict, homelessness, disregard for those on the margins, disregard for each other--universal human issues. He clearly speaks for the Universal Church, calling us back to the clarity of the Gospels, to the promises of Christ, to our opportunities and obligations as members of one Body, co-builders of the greater Kingdom of God."
Many administrators from Jesuit institutions participated in TV interviews about the selection. Regis University President Rev. John Fitzgibbons, S.J. was interviewed about the selection by Denver's NBC affiliate; watch the video here. Two Boston College faculty were interviewed by New England Cable News (NECN) about the selection: Rev. Jeremy Clarke, S.J., assistant professor of history and Rev. James Bretzke, S.J., professor of moral theology at the BC School of Theology & Ministry. Rev. Matthew Carnes, S.J., assistant professor in the government department at Georgetown University, was interviewed on CNBC; watch it here. Loyola University Maryland theology professor Rev. John Conley, S.J. was interviewed by the Baltimore CBS affiliate. Tom Ryan, director of the Loyola University New Orleans Institute for Ministry, was featured on ABC affiliate WGNO-TV, Fox affiliate WVUE and CBS affiliate WWL-TV in New Orleans. In addition, three Saint Joseph's University faculty were interviewed by the local CBS affiliate in Philadelphia: theology professors Bill Madges and Phillip Cunningham, and adjunct professor Rabbi Alan Iser; check out the full coverage here.
Several Fordham University faculty weighed in on the selection for the Fordham Notes newsblog. On the radio, Rev. Thomas Reese, S.J., visiting scholar at Santa Clara University, shared his thoughts with Public Radio International (PRI), while Mark Markuly, Dean of Seattle University's School of Theology, spoke with Seattle's NPR affiliate, KUOW. Rev. John Staudenmaier, S.J., Assistant to the President for Mission and Identity at the University of Detroit Mercy, had an extensive interview with Detroit's NPR affiliate, which is available online on WDET.org.
Rev. Mark DeStephano, S.J., professor of modern and classical languages at Saint Peter's University, was interviewed by Steve Adubato for the program Caucus NJ (please note: we will add a link to watch the interview online as soon as it is available).
Please note: We will keep adding to this list over the next few weeks. Please send any updates to Deanna Howes, AJCU's Director of Communications: firstname.lastname@example.org.