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Honoring Archbishop Jean Jadot
In November 2005, ARCC gave its first Hans Küng Rights of Catholics in the Church Award to Hans Küng himself. This November, at the Foundry Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., ARCC gave the Award to Archbishop Jean Jadot, who was the Apostolic Delegate to the U.S. 1973-1980. For the occasion Hans Küng wrote: "As you know there is a whole generation of 'Jadot-bishops' in the States who belong to the best. I wish that the Catholic Church in the United States may again receive apostolic delegates and bishops of the quality of Jean Jadot."
Although Archbishop Jadot was not able to come to Washington, D.C. for the Award, his nephew Louis de Strycker attended in his stead, and the "No-Longer-Catholic-Theologian" Charles E. Curran gave the stirring keynote address entitled "Pilgrim People in a Pilgrim Church: Is there Hope for the Catholic Church?" Curran concluded by saying:
One source of hope for all of us struggling for reform in the church is the example of people like Hans Küng and Archbishop Jadot who have continued to work for reform in the church despite their own personal hurts and suffering.
Text of the 2006 Hans Küng Rights of Catholics in the Church Award ARCC Presented to Archbishop Jean Jadot
on November 16, 2006
Archbishop Jadot, in May 1973 you accepted Pope Paul VI's appointment as Apostolic Delegate to the United States of America. When you met with Pope Paul in July of that year, he informed you that you had been selected to "the most important of our posts" because you were not under the influence of the curia and would not have to follow in the footsteps of your predecessors. Pope Paul VI was very much aware of the fact that previous apostolic delegates had been pawns in the hands of powerful king-maker American cardinals. Nor did Paul VI like the fact that most American bishops were, in his opinion, more big businessmen than they were pastors. He said it was time for a change.
In the seven years that you were Apostolic Delegate (1973 - 1980), you were responsible for the appointments of 103 new bishops and the assignments of 13 archbishops. The bishops appointed, upon your recommendation, were quickly known as (and denounced by conservative American Catholics as) the "Jadot boys."
Key turning points in your USA ministry were your personal involvement in the 1976 Call to Action in Detroit and your address on 9 November 1976, to the General Meeting of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, DC, titled "A Watchman for the House of Israel." In your candid assessment of the state of the Catholic Church in the United States you stressed and asked the American hierarchy to be alert to four specific areas of concern: the immanent shortage of priests; the need for "new forms of parochial life and perhaps new forms of parochial organization so that the parish can become a community of small communities"; the role of women in church and society; and the problems of minorities in the American church, saying then: "How are we to give pastoral care to those who do not feel at home with our white, Western-European ways of public worship and community living…?" Your words in 1976 were prophetic in every way.
An enthusiastic and positive editorial about you ("Jadot Urbi et Orbi" – 25 March 1977) in the National Catholic Reporter was the straw that broke the conservative-American-Catholic camel's back. From that time on, you received a steady flow of anonymous hate mail (originating from Missouri) telling you to "get out of the United States and go back to Belgium." Two US cardinals denounced you at the Vatican. At one point, you offered your resignation to Paul VI who responded immediately by saying "No. You are doing just what I want you to do." Sentiments at the Vatican would change significantly with the election of Pope Paul's second successor, who accused you of "destroying the Catholic Church in the United States."
We honor you today for your courageous faith and clear vision. We honor you because you have been a role model for all who work for a vital and contemporary church. For these, and a myriad of other, reasons, the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church bestows on you the 2006 "Hans Küng Rights of Catholics in the Church Award."
Questions From a Ewe
Challenges Facing Catholicism
(Bishop Geoffrey Robinson in converation with Dr Ingrid Shafer)