By Catholic News Service
WASHINGTON – A Jesuit priest who is currently director of spiritual formation and professor of moral theology at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis has been named executive director of the Secretariat of Doctrine and Canonical Affairs of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington.
Father Peter F. Ryan, a member of his order’s Maryland province, succeeds Capuchin Father Thomas Weinandy, effective Aug. 19.
Monsignor Ronny Jenkins, USCCB general secretary, announced the appointment May 29.
In his current post since January 2012, Father Ryan was professor of moral theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Md., from 2001 to 2011 and assistant professor of theology at what is now Loyola University Maryland in Baltimore from 1994-2001.
Father Weinandy, who announced his resignation in January, began his work at the USCCB in 2005. According to Monsignor Jenkins, the priest will take a sabbatical to prepare “for further work in academia.”
The executive director of the doctrine secretariat oversees the work and staff of the secretariat for the bishops’ Committee on Doctrine, and also assists the bishops’ Subcommittee on Health Care Issues and Subcommittee on the Translation of Scripture Texts.
Father Ryan is a member of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars and has served three terms on its executive board. He also was been a senior fellow with the Westchester Institute for Ethics & the Human Person, founded in 1998 to renew, deepen and promote the Western tradition of moral reflection.
He has written extensively on ethical and theological issues and been published in scholarly journals, including Theological Studies, Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly, Homiletic and Pastoral Review, the National Catholic Bioethical Quarterly, American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly and American Journal of Jurisprudence.
“Father Ryan’s considerable expertise on bioethical issues is vital as contemporary society addresses moral challenges inherent in biotechnology, medical ethics and environmentalism,” Monsignor Jenkins said in a statement. “He brings a depth of theological knowledge to these and other areas, including the study and teaching of systematic theology, that are critical to the church today and to the strategic priorities adopted by the bishops.”
He thanked the Jesuits for permitting Father Ryan to join the USCCB staff.
Monsignor Jenkins also applauded the contributions of Father Weinandy, who “has offered a steady hand in serving the U.S. bishops in their immersion in today’s theological issues. He leaves the USCCB knowing he has been a valued contributor to its work.”
Father Ryan holds a licentiate and doctorate in theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome; a Master of Divinity degree from Regis College in Toronto; a Master of Arts degree in English and a licentiate in philosophy from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash.; and a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science from Loyola University Maryland.
He speaks and reads English, Italian, French and German and also reads Latin and Spanish.
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