Thomas J. Reese

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Thomas J. Reese SJ (born 1945) is an American Catholic Jesuit priest, author, and journalist. He is a senior analyst at Religion News Service, a former columnist at National Catholic Reporter, and a former editor-in-chief of the weekly Catholic magazine America .


Life and works

Reese entered the Society of Jesus in 1962 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1974. He has a Doctor of Philosophy degree in political science from University of California, Berkeley. He was an associate editor of America from 1978 to 1985, a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center from 1985 to 1998, and editor-in-chief at America from 1998 to 2005. Over a period of five years, Reese adopted various stances at odds with official Catholic teaching on matters such as homosexuality, priestly celibacy, birth control, and the abortion debate. He resigned from America in 2005. [1] The National Catholic Reporter claimed that Reese's resignation was forced by the Vatican, [1] although America and the Society of Jesus in Rome denied this. [2] He subsequently spent a sabbatical year at Santa Clara University, where he continues to contribute during the summers as a visiting scholar at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics. [3]

In 2006 he returned as a fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center in Washington, D.C. Reese wrote for the National Catholic Reporter from 2013 to 2017, and was senior analyst there. [4] In 2017, he became senior analyst at Religion News Service. He was appointed to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2014 and in 2016 was elected chair of the commission. [5] His term as commissioner expired at the end of May 2018.


In 2018, he argued that the pro-life movement should support birth control as a "lesser of two evils" in reducing the number of abortions. [6] He also argued that Humanae vitae was a 'mistake' since a majority of American Catholics ignore it, and that forbidding contraception was 'an insult to all the good people who have used contraceptives at some point in their lives'. [7] Cardinal Timothy Dolan expressed his "serious reservations" to Reese's proposed strategy, "considering it a capitulation to the abortion culture, and a grave weakening of the powerful pro-life witness." [8]




Articles and Columns

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  1. 1 2 Tom Roberts and John L. Allen, Jr., "Editor of Jesuits' America magazine forced to resign under Vatican pressure, National Catholic Reporter, May 6, 2005
  2. "Signs of the Times". America. May 23, 2005. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
  3. "Thomas Reese, S.J. - Distinguished Visiting Scholar for Summers". Markkula Center for Applied Ethics . Santa Clara University . Retrieved July 20, 2019.
  4. 1 2 Thomas Reese, Presentation at NCR
  5. "Jesuit Father Thomas Reese Appointed Chair of U.S. International Religious Freedom Commission". National Catholic Register . Retrieved 2017-06-24.
  6. "Irish vote shows need for new pro-life strategy". Religion News Service. 2018-05-27. Retrieved 2020-12-26.
  7. "Humanae Vitae: Sex and authority in the Catholic Church". National Catholic Reporter. 2018-07-20. Retrieved 2020-12-26.
  8. Cardinal Dolan: Let's not capitulate to the abortion culture, Catholic News Agency, 11 June 2018