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You’ll recall that in our Dec. 22 issue we published a story reporting that Fr. Kris D. Stubna, secretary for education in the Pittsburgh diocese, had barred staff and educators there from attending the National Catholic Educational Association convocation because Benedictine Sr. Joan Chittister is scheduled to be a featured speaker.

Stubna has written to NCR claiming that the story contained significant errors, that he never intended that the diocese boycott the convocation, that no one was forbidden to attend and that he had never singled out in public any specific speakers or sessions on the program.

Our story was based, in part, on a Stubna memo, sent out to Secretariat for Education staff Nov. 22. It contained the following order: “No diocesan staff will attend the NCEA Convocation.”

The memo continued, “You will need to communicate this information to others in your program who might be considering attending the 2001 NCEA Convocation.” Staff members were also ordered to stay away from the National Association for Parish Catechetical Directors convocation, which runs concurrently with the national education gathering.

Maybe Stubna lost track of his memos. Maybe he didn’t intend for them to sound as severe or absolute as they do. As for the accuracy of the story, I think the easiest thing to do is print Stubna’s letter and an earlier memo and let you make the judgment.

Congratulations to the staffs of the National Catholic Educational Association and the National Association for Parish Catechetical Directors for keeping Chittister on the program. If the adult Catholic educators I know are any indication, those attending the educational association convocation will have fully developed powers of discernment and will know true from false.

Sr. Joan Chittister, by the way, was recently in Rome, sharing the stage with Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, Dominican master general, while addressing leaders of religious orders from around the world. Tom Fox was in Rome at the same time and attended the sessions. Check out his Perspective on page 24.

Many of you have written, called or e-mailed seeking more information on how to be in touch with Fr. John B. Giuliani, whose art was featured on the cover and in a center spread of our Dec. 22 Christmas issue.

He can be reached by writing to him at:
The Benedictine Grange
W. Redding, CT 06896.
He assures us that he is good about answering letters.

-- Tom Roberts

My e-mail address is troberts@natcath.org

National Catholic Reporter, January 12, 2001