Catholic Diocese of Spokane, Washington



From the

Official News Magazine of the Diocese of Spokane

Eric Meisfjord, Editor
P.O. Box 1453, Spokane WA 99210
(509) 358-7340; FAX: (509) 358-7302


Compiled by Father Tom Caswell, for the Inland Register

(From the August 18, 2016 edition of the Inland Register)

From the Inland Register – Volume LV, Number 16
Fifty Years Ago: August 21, 1966

News from Gonzaga

Twelve members from the Gonzaga University faculty will take leaves-of-absence from the Boone Avenue campus for the 1966-67 academic year, according to school officials.

From the school of education: Dr. William H. Barber, dean, has been awarded a post-doctoral fellowship in academic administration by the American Council on Education to attend Tufts University in Boston; Omar Olson, assistant professor, will work on a doctorate in higher education at the University of Washington; and Instructor William A. Cablanca is studying for a doctorate in guidance and counseling at Washington State University.

Dean of Students, Jesuit Father William Bischel, will pursue graduate studies in student personnel guidance and counseling at Boston University.

Going abroad to join the faculty of Gonzaga-in-Florence, Italy, is Jesuit Father Arthur L. Dussault, vice president of university relations, who will serve as chaplain; and Jesuit Father Jerome J. Murray, associate professor of mathematics.

Continuing his study for another year at Washington State College in pursuit of a doctorate in mathematics is Gerald E. Bergum, assistant professor of mathematics.

Dennis J. Kelsh, assistant professor of chemistry, is making use of a post-doctoral fellowship at New York University. Assistant Professor of history, Herbert F. Gretsch, will work on a doctorate at Columbia University during the fall semester.

Jesuit Father John J. Evoy, professor of psychology, will be associated with America, the national Jesuit weekly.

Professor of Engineering, Dr. James G. McGivern, on a sabbatical leave, will participate as a visiting professor at Dartmouth College in a series of three experimental projects in engineering education, sponsored by the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth College.

And Dr. John W. Tanner, assistant professor of economics, has been appointed a member of a special group of economists who will work with the United States Treasury Department in Washington, D.C.

The assignment of five Jesuit priests to this year’s faculty at Gonzaga University will bring members of the Society of Jesus from other states, Germany and Malta. They include:

Father Victor J. Xuereb, of Valletta, Malta, who will join the classics department as instructor in the classical languages. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Oxford University.

Two Jesuits have been named in the philosophy department: Father Armand M. Nigro of Mount St. Michael’s Scholasticate as an assistant professor, and Father John E. Martin, who has spent a year in Germany, as an instructor. Father Nigro received his Ph.D. in philosophy from Gregorian University in 1963. Graduated from Gonzaga University in 1957, Father Martin received his master’s degree from the University of Santa Clara in 1965.

Father Anthony P. Via, appointed assistant professor of history, received his doctorate from the University of Wisconsin this year. Father Via has done extensive traveling in Europe including France, Germany, Southern Italy and Greece.

Joining the psychology department as assistant professor is Jesuit Father Clyde B. Kelly, from Loyola University in Chicago. Father Kelly holds a master’s degree in psychology from Loyola University.

One hundred and twenty-seven Spokane area students have been admitted to Gonzaga University for the 1966-67 academic year, according to Jesuit Father J. Francis Gubbins, registrar.


From the Inland Register – Volume 49, No. 2
Twenty-five Years Ago: August 1, 1991

Bishop Skylstad was the ‘star’ of his Vatican astronomy class

VATICAN CITY (CNS) – Nineteen bishops from seven countries helped the Vatican Observatory celebrate its 100th anniversary by subjecting themselves to the rigors of a summer school on “Galileo and Galaxies.”

The star of the class, one participant said, was Bishop William S. Skylstad of Spokane.

But Bishop Skylstad, who had taught physics in a high school seminary, said he found the two courses – a historical investigation of the case of Galileo Galilei and a scientific survey of galaxies – to be as “challenging” to him as they were to his brother bishops.

The summer school also gave him his first opportunity to view the heavens through professional quality telescopes.

“The magnificence of the universe” prompted spiritual reflections amid the scholarly pursuits, Bishop Skylstad said.

“It’s really exciting,” said Bishop Dinualdo D. Gutierrez of Marbel, Philippines. “You look at the heavens, and a star is so beautiful, it knocks you down. You say, ‘O God, thank you.’”

Bishop Gutierrez and U.S. Archbishop John P. Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, said they were amazed by the view the telescopes gave them of Saturn and its rings.

The July 1-20th school was held at the pope’s summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, south of Rome, where the Vatican Observatory has offices. The telescopes at Castel Gandolfo now are used only for practice and demonstrations because of light pollution from Rome.

Jesuit Father George Coyne, director of the observatory, said the summer school is part of the research institute’s responsibility “to give the church an idea of what the world of science is like.”

Father Coyne said the galaxies were chosen as “a topic that’s very hot in modern research” and would allow the bishops “to learn what scientists do by doing what scientists do.”

It was “a good, solid, college-level course in galaxies.”

The study of Galileo, who was condemned by a 1633 church inquisition for promoting the view that the Earth revolves around the sun, gave the bishops a look at “one of the prime, classical examples in history of the meeting of the culture of faith and the culture of science,” Father Coyne said.

A Vatican-commissioned 1984 study concluded that the judges who condemned Galileo were wrong, but a formal repeal of the 1633 judgment has not been issued.

Galileo’s teaching contradicted a literal reading of Old Testament passages that implied the sun revolved around the Earth. It also seemed to undermine the theological belief that human beings, redeemed by Christ, were the center of the universe.

The course, of course, recognized the truth of Galileo’s discoveries, but also painted him as “abrasive” to the point of cutting off dialogue with the church and causing normal human reactions among church leaders – they wanted him to shut up.

Perhaps if Galileo had been more of a “gentle spirit,” more open and respectful in his dialogue, things would have turned out differently, Bishop Skylstad suggested in one class.

The bishop told Catholic News Service the modern church often finds itself “embarrassed” by the case. “Maybe it will be a red flag for the church in dealing with future developments in science.”

Bishop R. Pierre DuMaine of San Jose, Calif., said “the ghost of Galileo hovers over” all of the church’s discussions with scientists.

Bishop DuMaine said his enrollment in the summer school was motivated partly by his experience as former chairman and current member of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Science and Human Values, which tries to promote “dispassionate, disinterested dialogue between science and religion.”

Archbishop Foley said he and his classmates took advantage of good professors and evening free time to explore other faith and science topics not on the curriculum, including discussions on the origins of life.

They spent extra time discussing the “anthropic principle” which holds that the solar system is arranged as it is to make human life possible, Bishop Gutierrez said.

“I understand more the goodness of God. He has such concern for us,” the bishop said. “If the earth were a little closer to the sun, we would burn; if it were a little further, we would freeze.”

The summer school, he said, “helps you appreciate science and appreciate your faith. There is no reason they should conflict. They have the same author.”

The summer students included four bishops from the Philippines, two each from Iraq and the Dominical Republic, one each from South Africa, Jamaica and Ireland, and eight from the United States.

In addition to Bishops Skylstad and DuMaine and Archbishop Foley, the other Americans were Archbishop Joh P. Whealon of Hartford, Conn., Bishops Manuel D. Moreno of Tucson, Ariz., and Daniel L. Ryan of Springfield, Ill., Auxiliary Bishop Roger L. Kaffer of Joliet, Ill., and retired Bishop Nicolas E. Walsh of Yakima, Wash.

(Father Caswell is archivist for the Inland Register, and a frequent contributor to this publication.)


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