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Theologians Move On Following Closure of Georgetown’s Woodstock Center


Matthew Archbold - published on 10/03/13

After the June closing of one of the most controversial institutes at Georgetown University, its theologians have moved on to new positions of influence.

After the June closing of one of the most controversial institutes at Georgetown University, its theologians have moved on to new positions of influence.

The Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown described itself as an “ecumenically open” organization which “carried out theological and ethical reflection on the most pressing human issues of the day.”

Fr. Gasper LoBiondo, S.J., director of the Woodstock Theological Center since 2002, explained to the heterodox National Catholic Reporter that the Center’s closing was part of the forthcoming reorganization of the Jesuits’ New England, New York and Maryland provinces and could be blamed on “the diminishing number of Jesuits.”

But for those hopeful that the Center’s demise would put an end to its influence, Fr. LoBiondo said, according to the website, “All who have been associated with Woodstock Theological Center over its 40 years of service can be proud of what they have accomplished, and should be encouraged by the knowledge that the work they have done will not come to an end, because the value of such work will be embraced by other institutions in new forms.”

LoBiondo himself is now superior of the Jesuit community at Gonzaga College High School in Washington, D.C., according to the Center’s website.

Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J., was a senior fellow at the Center. Reese’s most recent controversial statements include mocking the bishops as “only 200 votes” in last November’s presidential election and saying the bishops should accept the HHS contraception mandate because contraception is cheaper than live births. Ousted in 2005 as editor of America magazine, Fr. Reese is now a senior analyst at the National Catholic Reporter.

Sister Ilia Delio,O.S.F., was a fellow at the Center and has since been promoted to director of Georgetown’s Catholic Studies Program. She recently called participants at the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) to a “cosmological rethink” of Christianity as evolving with the world.

“We are on the cusp of an evolutionary breakthrough—one that requires our conscious participation as co-creative agents of love, midwives of the new creation,” she reportedly said. “Nothing is more awesome than to give birth to God.”

Delores Leckey, another fellow, was one of 13 Catholic college professors, along with Fr. Reese, to publicly support the nomination of the pro-abortion rights Kathleen Sebelius to her post at the Department of Health and Human Services.

Originally published by The Cardinal Newman Society's Catholic Education Daily on 2 October 2013.

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