The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops have named Fr. Peter Ryan, S.J., as executive director for the secretariat of doctrine and canonical affairs. The announcement was made May 29. Fr. Ryan will assume the responsibilities in August. Fr. Ryan is a former member of The Cardinal Newman Society's board of directors. He is replacing Fr. Thomas Weinandy, who is retiring.
Fr. Ryan is a member of the Maryland province of the Society of Jesus, and has been director of spiritual formation at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary.
In 2011, the National Catholic Reporter asserted that a Theological Studies article defending the prohibition of divorce and remarriage, written by Fr. Peter Ryan and Dr. Germain Grisez, was "unedited" and did not undergo the "normal peer review" process. The Vatican asked that the article be published in the journal.
The article, which appeared in the June 2011 issue of the quarterly, rebutted a September 2004 article in which two theologians argued for a change in church teachings on the subject.
In response to the Reporter's critique, Ryan stated that the journal had "submitt[ed] to higher authority" in publishing the piece and that the authors had done a "great deal of work" to respond to criticisms by a group of reviewers assigned by the journal.
Fr. Ryan has written on Ex Corde Ecclesiae, the Eucharist, and other topics. A Fellowship of Catholic Scholars article by Fr. Ryan examined the Eucharist and marriage. He has written on the moral obligation to the abandoned embryo. An article looking at Georgetown University and Ex Corde Ecclesiae appeared in a 1999 issue of the Fellowship of Catholic Scholars Quarterly.
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