I was honored to be present for the First Annual Dean Hoge Memorial Lecture at Catholic University on March 24. It was delivered by Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., vice-president of the U.S. bishops' conference. Jerry Filteau’s account of that evening provides a good summary of what he said.
I want to talk about what he did not say. I knew Dean Hoge when he headed the Life Cycle Institute and discussed his ongoing research interests with him on occasion. He focused much of his work on Catholic priests, but one of his major concerns was mandatory celibacy for priests. Yet Bishop Kicanas omitted that issue in his address. It’s not hard to figure out why he omitted it. It’s a “hot button” issue, and the Vatican shows no sign of wanting to change the rules. Bishops like Kicanas probably don’t want to raise any eyebrows in the Vatican.