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Thomas Reese, S.J.

reese1Tom Reese, S.J.

Thomas J. Reese, S.J., Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley. Former editor-in-chief of America magazine (1998-2005). Visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC (1994-95) and at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, California (2005-06, 2008). Woodstock Senior Fellow (1985-98, 2005-present), working on various research projects on topics ranging from episcopal conferences to the Catechism for the Universal Church. Author of a trilogy examining church organization and politics on the local, national, and international levels: Archbishop: Inside the Power Structure of the American Catholic Church (Harper & Row, 1989), A Flock of Shepherds: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops (Sheed & Ward , 1992), and Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church (Harvard University Press, 1997). Currently co-ordinates the Religion & Public Policy Program and International Visiting Fellowship Program at Woodstock.

He writes a blog for Newsweek.Washingtonpost.com. For his older blog entries, click here.

Upcoming Events & Presentations

  • Please check back for information about Father Reese's upcoming talks events.

Selected Activities as a Woodstock Fellow

reese2Tom Reese, S.J.

July-August, 2009: University of San Francisco, Lane Center Lecture Series. A series of lectures was hosted by St. Ignatius Church featuring Thomas Reese, SJ, in Xavier Hall at USF. The events were sponsored by the St. Ignatius Church Adult Faith Formation Program Sundays mornings, July 19, August 16 & 23 10:45-11:45 am Fromm Hall, USF Main Campus (Parker & Golden Gate)

  • July 19, 2009, 10:45-11:45 am. Religion and Politics: What is Forbidden, What Allowed, What Prudent?
  • August 16, 2009, 10:45-11:45 am Pope Benedict XVI on the World Economy, Capitalism and Government: The New Encyclical "Caritas in Veritate"
  • August 23, 2009, 10:45-11:45 am Catholics and Obama: Bishops, People and Issues

During March to May of 2007, Thomas J. Reese, S.J., has become a regular contributor to the Washington Post-Newsweek religion blog, “On Faith.” He spoke on “The Catholic Church and Politics” to the faculty at The Catholic University of America’s Law School in March. Also in March, he made a presentation on Deus Caritas Est to the Board of Director of Catholic Relief Services. He returned to Catholic University in April, this time to the canon law department, to speak to students about church politics. During March and April he appeared on “NBC Nightly News” and was also quoted in the New York Times Sunday Magazine, BBC News, Washington Post, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Dallas Morning News, Austin American-Statesman, Newsweek, Los Angeles Times, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and Baltimore Sun, as well as in stories on Reuters and the Associated Press, which run in many newspapers.

During December of 2006 to February of 2007, Thomas J. Reese, S.J., gave a presentation on the Vatican to the Georgetown University Board of Trustees in anticipation of their spring meeting in Rome. In January, he attended the California Province Provincial Congregation, to which he was elected. The congregation elected two delegates who will go to Rome next January to elect a new superior general for the Society of Jesus. Also in January, he visited Santa Clara University where he is a trustee and member of the student life committee. At Georgetown’s Holy Trinity parish, he gave a talk on “Standing, Kneeling, Kissing: Symbolic Gestures in the Liturgy.” In February, he participated in a conference on the politics of the Vatican at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where he spoke on reforming the Vatican. Also in February, he spoke at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia on “Catholics in Public Life.”

During July to November of 2006, Thomas J. Reese, S.J., who arrived at the end of July, hit the ground running with numerous media interviews and talks. He was contacted by the press about Pope Benedict and Islam, Archbishop Emanuel Milingo's ordination of new bishops and even a $8.6 million theft from a parish in Palm Beach, Florida. He has given lectures at a Voice of the Faithful meeting in Washington, D.C., and a conference on religion and politics sponsored by the Leonard Greenburg Center at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut. In October, Father Reese also spoke about Benedict XVI to journalism students and the public at Syracuse University.

During January to March of 1998, Thomas J. Reese, S.J., was busy responding to media calls during Pope John Paul II's visit to Cuba and during the recent consistory. He appeared on ABC News, CBS News, NBC News, PBS's "The Jim Lehrer News Hour," Voice of America's "Talk to America," and National Public Radio's "All Things Considered" and "Weekend Edition." He also spoke about the pope's visit to Cuba at The Brookings Institution, about the church to the Jesuit Community at Holy Cross College, about papal succession at The Catholic University of America's School of Law, and about diocesan governance for a canon law class at CUA. Fr. Reese's Inside the Vatican is now available in paperback.

During July to December of 1997, Thomas J. Reese, S.J., went to Rome as a correspondent for America magazine to cover the month-long Synod for America which began November 16. Before going to Rome, he spoke about the synod at the Woodstock Forum and the Canon Law Society of America annual meeting in San Diego. He also helped give a seminar on the Vatican at the State Department for Corinne "Lindy" Claiborne Boggs, the new U.S. ambassador to the Holy See. Father Reese also spoke on his book, Inside the Vatican, at St. Francis Xavier Church, Wilmette, Illinois, and Good Shepherd Church in Alexandria, Virginia. In October he gave a weekend retreat at Blue Ridge Summit to the Young Adult Community of Holy Trinity parish, Washington, D.C. He was part of the Woodstock team that presented a Church Leadership Program in Hartford, Connecticut.

During April to June of 1997, Thomas J. Reese, S.J., gave the John Courtney Murray Lecture, sponsored by America Press, Inc., on May 6 in New York City. The lecture will be published in America in June or July and will also be placed on the Woodstock Web page. On June 4 he attended the first meeting of the National Board of Advisors for the Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, whose purpose is to continue the legacy of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin. In the last few months, he has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and NPR's "Talk of the Nation" to speak about a variety of topics such as saints, cults, and his book, Inside the Vatican.

During January to March of 1997, Thomas J. Reese, S.J., has been invited to give the John Courtney Murray Lecture, sponsored by America Press, Inc., on May 6, at 5:30 p.m. at the Lincoln Center Campus of Fordham University in New York City. He has also been asked to speak on "The Experience of Special Synods of Bishops" at the Canon Law Society of America meeting in San Diego on October 15. During February he guest-lectured at the Washington Theological Union, in the Canon Law Department at the Catholic University of America, and at the Jesuit Collegian program at Loyola University, Chicago. He also gave presentations on his book, Inside the Vatican, to a group of religious sociologists at the Life Cycle Institute of Catholic University, and to a national meeting of social ministers in Washington. Since being published in December, his book has been reviewed in America, The Boston Globe, Catholic News Service, Commonweal, The Economist, The Financial Times, The Irish News, Library Journal, The National Catholic Register, The National Catholic Reporter, The New York Times, Our Sunday Visitor, Publishers Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Tablet (of London), Time (Atlantic edition), The Times (London), The Tribune (Dublin), and The Washington Post. He has recently been appointed to the National Board of Advisors for the Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, whose purpose is to continue the legacy of Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.

During November to December of 1996, Thomas J. Reese, S.J., lectured on his new book, Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church, to the faculty and students of the Canon Law Department at the Catholic University of America. Interviews on his book have appeared or will appear in the National Catholic Reporter, Commonweal, USA Today, CBS Radio, Voice of America, and other media. The book has already been favorably reviewed in the Library Journal and Publishers Weekly. Father Reese also covered the National Conference of Catholic Bishops meeting for America, in which his article, "Living the Bernardin Legacy," was published on November 30. His comments and analysis on the bishops' meeting were cited by The New York Times, The Washington Post, Associated Press, and other papers. He appeared on NPR's "Talk of the Nation" twice, once on "Character in the Presidential Election" and once on "The Impact of Augustine and Aquinas on Contemporary American Politics." He also spoke about Cardinal Bernardin on NPR's "All Things Considered" and "Morning Edition." Father Reese has been on MSNBC about a half-dozen times this fall. He also published "Catholic Voters: Pulled in Two Directions," in America (Nov. 2, 1996).

During July to October of 1996, Thomas J. Reese, S.J., has completed his new book, Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church, which will be published by Harvard University Press in early November. In July, he participated in a Jesuit writers' symposium at the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley. Also in July he was a guest on the National Public Radio program, "Talk of the Nation," discussing religion and politics. Over Labor Day weekend, he gave a presentation on politics and religion to the Religion News Writers Association meeting in Chicago. In July and September Father Reese appeared on the MSNBC network discussing the American Catholic Church and the process for electing a new pope. He has recently published an article on the "Catholic Common Ground" project initiated by Cardinal Joseph Bernardin.

During April to June of 1996, Thomas J. Reese, S.J., is seeing his new book, Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church, through its final stages of production with Harvard University Press for release this fall. All that remains is indexing and final proofreading of the typeset text. Tom began research on this book after completingA Flock of Shepherds, a study of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, in 1992. While waiting for his book to be copy-edited, Tom created a World Wide Web page on the Internet for the Woodstock Center. He moderated a May 14 Woodstock Forum on "Election '96: The Values Behind the Issues." Panelists of the forum were: Thomas B. Edsall, national correspondent for The Washington Post; Peter N. Skerry, visiting fellow, Governmental Studies Program, the Brookings Institution; and Mary McGrory, syndicated columnist for The Washington Post. The press, including BBC, German radio, UPI Radio, RNS, CNS, the National Catholic Register, the National Catholic Reporter, USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Economist, and others continue to seek out Father Reese for analysis and comment on issues touching the church.

During January to March of 1996, Thomas J. Reese, S.J., spoke to the U.S. bishops' Domestic Policy Committee on January 23 on principles to guide tax policy. On February 25, he gave another presentation on tax policy to The Roundtable, a day-long symposium for diocesan social action directors. In an earlier incarnation, Father Reese was a lobbyist for a tax reform organization in Washington and currently serves on the board of directors of Tax Analysts, a print and electronic publisher of tax information. He gave a presentation on diocesan church politics to a canon law course on diocesan governance at The Catholic University of America on February 14. On February 23, he spoke at a dinner for Woodstock friends about his book, Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church (Harvard University Press, fall 1996). Tom is currently developing a World Wide Web page for Woodstock.

During September to December of 1995, Thomas J. Reese, S.J., is finishing a book, titled The Vatican: Organization and Politics in the Catholic Church, to be published next fall by Harvard University Press. During the papal visit to the United States in October, he provided background material and commentary for numerous members of the media, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, Christian Science Monitor, Newsday, Time, Associated Press, ABC, CBS, NBC, and CNN. In November he covered the meeting of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops for America magazine. The November issue of Worship contains his article, "A Eucharistic Millennial Jubilee."