Jesuit Fr. Thomas J. Reese's column for Religion News Service, Signs of the Times, appears regularly in National Catholic Reporter.

Father Reese entered the Jesuits in 1962 and was ordained in 1974. He was educated at St. Louis University, the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley, and at the University of California Berkeley, where he received a Ph.D. in political science. He worked in Washington as a writer and lobbyist for tax reform from 1975 to 1978. He was an associate editor of America magazine, where he wrote on politics, economics and the Catholic Church, from 1978 to 1985 and editor-in-chief from 1998 to 2005. He was a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center from 1985 to 1998 and 2006 to 2013. During the summers, he works as a visiting scholar at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University. 

While at Woodstock, he wrote the trilogy on the organization and politics of the church: Archbishop: Inside the Power Structure of the American Catholic Church (1989), A Flock of Shepherds: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops (1992), and Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church (1996). He also edited The Universal Catechism Reader (1990), an analysis of the first draft of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and Episcopal Conferences: Historical, Canonical and Theological Studies (1989). He is also author of a NCR e-book, Caring for Our Common Home: A Readers’ Guide and Commentary on Pope Francis’ Encyclical on the Environment (2015).

In 2014, Father Reese was appointed by President Obama to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission that reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress. He was reappointed to another two-year term in May 2016, and he was elected to a one-year term as chair of the commission in June 2016. His writings for NCR do not necessarily reflect the views of the commission.

Father Reese was senior analyst for the NCR from March 2013 to June 2017. He is based in Washington, D.C.

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Commentary

The Eucharist is about more than Christ becoming present

Signs of the Times: There has been a lot of clerical hand-wringing of late about Catholics who don’t believe what the church teaches about Christ's presence in the bread and wine of the Eucharist. 

Column

Gilroy, El Paso, Dayton, and the normalization of violence

Signs of the Times: I am afraid that others may soon respond to mass shootings that same way I do, the same way we do to other gun violence — ignore it and move on. No matter how horrible something is, if it is repeated time and time again, we get accustomed to it.

Column

Will the Catholic Church self-destruct or bridge the partisan divide?

Signs of the Times: American Catholics are almost evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats, which means the church can either self-destruct or bridge the partisan divide.

Commentary

Send back the Statue of Liberty

Signs of the Times: The purpose of this memo is to inform you of an upcoming raid to arrest a woman living in New York City who we plan to send back to her country of origin, France.

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