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Essays in Theology

Fr. Hesburgh at 93


On May 25, Holy Cross Fr. Theodore M. Hesburgh or Fr. Ted as he prefers to be called, will be 93 years of age. Apart from macular degeneration, which requires that everything be read to him, he is as mentally sharp as ever.

And on June 24, he will observe the 67th anniversary of his ordination to the priesthood in the Congregation of Holy Cross.

Ratzinger's past vs. Benedict's present


In mid-March John Allen, the National Catholic Reporter's senior correspondent and long-time expert on Vatican affairs, published an article that pitted Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, formerly Archbishop of Munich and Freising (1977-82) and head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (1982-2005), against his current persona, Pope Benedict XVI.

The gist of Allen's insightful article is that there has been a great transformation of Joseph Ratzinger's attitude toward the sexual-abuse crisis from his years in Munich and most of his years in the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and his last few years in the congregation and his years in the papacy.

Papal resignations


Because of the dramatic outbreak of sexual-abuse cases involving priests in Germany as well as in Ireland, Austria, and Switzerland, the scandal and ensuing crisis have suddenly become a European problem as well as an American problem, with concerns now being expressed even about the administrative record of Pope Benedict XVI when he was Archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1981.

An Easter retrospective


Having all of my columns readily available on my Web site ( -- back to the first column published for the week of July 8, 1966 -- has been a boon to my own personal research, especially today when I am preparing to write yet another column to mark the church's central feast of Easter.


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