Maryknoll chooses Vatican liaison as new superior general

A Maryknoll priest who has served as the religious community’s liaison to the Vatican since 2000 has been elected Maryknoll’s next Superior General. The boss.

Father Edward M. Dougherty, who is from Philadelphia, will serve a 6-year term.

The Maryknoll Fathers & Brothers have been holding their 12th General Chapter meetings at the big HQ in Ossining.

Fathers Jose Aramburu, Ed Mc Govern and Paul Masson will serve on the Maryknoll council with Father Dougherty.

Dougherty has been living in Tome, Italy, while serving as Maryknoll’s procurator general. He’s also been active at the Church of Santa Susanna, an English-speaking parish for Americans in Rome.

frgreganniversary8.jpgDougherty is also well known for serving as postulator — or leader — of the cause of beatification of Maryknoll’s co-founders, Bishop James A. Walsh and Father Thomas F. Price.

He was ordained in 1979 and served in Tanzania for several years before doing mission education/promotion work in Detroit and New Orleans. He was Maryknoll’s director of admissions from 92-97.

In 1997, Dougherty was assigned to Kenya, where he worked with an ecumenical peace group, People for Peace, that sought to promote dialogue and end ethnic violence in East and Central Africa.

Dougherty returned to the U.S. briefly before heading to Rome.

One has to wonder: Will Dougherty’s connections at the Vatican help with the fall-out from the Roy Bourgeois affair?

You might remember that Father Bourgeois — one of Maryknoll’s best-known priests because of his work to close the School of the Americas — is in hot water for taking part in a “ordination” ceremony for a female priest this past August.

Maryknoll’s current leadership issued a “canonical warning” to Bourgeois, telling him that he has broken church law. Their findings were then sent to the Vatican.

But Bourgeois has no regrets, insisting that the Catholic Church’s unwillingness to ordain women is sexist and discriminatory.

He told me: “As a Catholic priest – and this is important – I cannot possibly speak out about the injustice of the war in Iraq, about the injustice of the School of the Americas and the suffering it causes, and at the same time be silent about this injustice in my church. I belong to a huge faith community where women are excluded, and I have a responsibility to address this.”

You have to figure that disciplinary action from Rome is a strong possibility. Can Daugherty help? Will he want to?

We’ll see.

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.