Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Fr Kenneth Baker SJ to Retire from Homiletic and Pastoral Review

With Pope Benedict XVI continuity is in and discontinuity is out. In its 110 years of life, HPR has had a lot of continuity. Two great Dominicans, Fathers Callan and McHugh, edited it for forty years, from 1917 to 1956. Father Aidan Carr was at the helm for twelve years. This month, yours truly is beginning his fortieth year as editor. Much has changed in the Church and we have seen much turmoil since Vatican II. Through it all we have tried to steer a straight course for HPR, always in conformity with the doctrine and morals taught by the Holy Catholic Church, which is the one and only Church of Jesus Christ who is both God and man.

Ignatius Press, owner and publisher of HPR, thinks now is a good time to replace me with a young editor to direct the magazine well into the twenty-first century—and I agree. The new editor is a Jesuit friend and scholar, Father David Vincent Meconi. Currently he is teaching patrology at St. Louis University. Father Meconi will officially assume the editorship on January 15. From now on all articles, homilies, letters to the editor and other editorial materials should be sent to Father Meconi in St. Louis.

During the past ten years or more Father Meconi has written articles and book reviews for HPR, so he should be known to many of our readers. Recently he has also contributed to our homily section. He is totally committed to orthodoxy and support of the Magisterium, just as I have been.

This is not a swan song. I will still be taking an active part in the publication of the magazine. My responsibility will be for the book review section and I will also continue to write the monthly editorial on the last page. My new title is “Editor Emeritus.” I will also help in any other way I may be needed.

This is a difficult time for magazines and the print media generally. Several large newspapers and many magazines have been forced for financial reasons to cease publication. HPR also faces a difficult future. I recently learned from Ignatius Press that HPR lost over $100,000 last year. Obviously that cannot continue. Accordingly the price, which has not been raised since 1995, is being increased from $26 to $34. Even that is not enough to solve the problem. So when you renew your subscription this year please add a donation of $25 or more to help us balance our budget. If you can send $100, we will not object.

I have very much enjoyed editing this monthly magazine for busy priests. I am constantly amazed at the quality of the articles I receive. We receive many more than we can print. It averages out to about thirty each month, or one a day. Since so many articles come in unsolicited, it has not been necessary to seek articles. For example, when the Pope publishes a new encyclical letter, it is not necessary to solicit an article on it. I know from experience that shortly thereafter a few articles analyzing it will be sent to me.

I urge you to support Father Meconi just as you have supported me and encouraged me with your letters and phone calls. Since no two editors are exactly the same, his style will differ from mine but it will be in conformity and continuity with the Church.

As I mentioned above, Benedict XVI is keen on continuity. The appointment of Father Meconi as the new editor of HPR is a clear signal from Ignatius Press that HPR will continue to be a bastion of orthodoxy and continuity with its history of fidelity to the Catholic Church. HPR is by priests and for priests. It is here to help priests grow in knowledge and love of the Church and of their own priesthood. Our Holy Father has declared this to be the year for priests. HPR is honored to take part in that, not only this year but every year.

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