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Clayton Berry
Phone: 314.977.7117

September 9, 2004

National Catholic Press Association Honors SLU Philosopher for Magazine Column

Fr. Kavanaugh

ST. LOUIS -- For the second consecutive year, the National Catholic Press Association has honored a magazine column written by Saint Louis University philosophy professor John F. Kavanaugh S.J.

Kavanaugh’s “Ethics Notebook,” which regularly appears in America magazine, earned second place for “Best Regular Column” from the association, which represents 640 publications with a combined circulation of nearly 27 million in the United States and Canada. Last year, the association gave “Ethics Notebook” its top award.

Whether addressing war or health care, Kavanaugh’s beliefs in intrinsic human dignity and justice run through all of his writings. In honoring him, judges with the National Catholic Press Association wrote: “John F. Kavanaugh has a knack for illuminating the moral dimensions of the major social and political issues we face as few other writers do. He is a columnist who writes straightforwardly and compellingly and without an axe to grind -- except on behalf of thoughtful moral choices.”

“His column on President Bush's decision to go to war was particularly insightful and thought-provoking. Writing in early 2003, Kavanaugh seems to see over the horizon with two columns that correctly point to major ethical and political concerns, particularly involving Iraq, that concern us still.”

During the last six years, “Ethics Notebook” has become one of the most popular columns in the magazine, which was founded by the Jesuits in 1909.

“I think the reason that these articles have received attention from the Catholic Press Association -- as well as from letters to the magazine and emails to me -- is the fact that they address the conflicts we encounter as people of faith when we try to make our faith real in an often violent and narcissistic society,” Kavanaugh said. “Since it is also a Catholic and Jesuit publication, it provides the opportunity to examine the ways we ourselves can be so easily seduced by nationalism and consumerism.”

Kavanaugh previously penned a weekly column for America called “The Word.” Those columns, which focused on Scripture, eventually became a book.

The director of SLU’s Ethics Across the Curriculum program, Kavanaugh has earned many accolades during his academic career. Students and faculty members alike have recognized his outstanding teaching.

In 1998, the Aquinas Institute of Theology presented him with the Great Preacher Award, which recognizes individuals who powerfully engage listeners with the Word of God through compelling and imaginative preaching. He was the first SLU faculty member to receive this award.

During his three decades of priestly ministry, Kavanaugh has exhibited a passion for justice. He has served as assistant for social justice for the Jesuits of the Missouri Province. He also has worked with various charitable organizations ranging from the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta, India, to a Catholic Worker house in St. Louis.

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