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Contemporary Catholic Belief and Action

 

The mission of ARCC is to bring about substantive structural change within the Catholic Church by seeking to institutionalize a collegial understanding of church where decision making is shared and accountability is realized among Catholics of every kind and condition.
 
Once people start to believe change is possible, 
the drive to achieve it accelerates. 
                                          -   Patrick Sullivan, ARCC President
 
 
 
Jean Jadot
Paul’s Man in Washington
Book Review
Anneliese Sinnott, O.P.
 
 
Adrian Dominican Sister Anneliese Sinnott, OP, is recently retired Professor of Systematic Theology at Ecumenical Theological Seminary in Detroit and
Member of the ARCC Board of Directors
 
This work, Paul’s Man in Washington, written by John Alonzo Dick, recounts the journey of Archbishop Jean Jadot during his time as Apostolic Delegate to the United States. It is not so much a “biography” of the man as it is a recounting of his ministry as Apostolic Delegate of the Holy See to the church of the United States from 1973 to 1980. The work includes not only his work as Apostolic Delegate, but also, and perhaps most importantly, Jadot’s reflections on his experience in the United States. The work is written in the style of a chronology, recounting the ministry of this Apostolic Delegate during the seven years Jadot held this office. It includes many of Jadot’s original notes and reflections, recorded while in this ministry. Thus the reader can capture the “human person” within the outward office of Apostolic Delegate.
 
Jadot, it appears, was appointed because Paul VI wanted “bishops who were healers and bridge-builders… modest, unassuming men who modeled Christian virtues”. A premonition of the work he would do occurred upon his arrival in the US. Instead of flying to New York and being greeted by the New York Cardinal (as was customary), Jadot flew directly to Washington and was greeted there by representative cardinals and bishops. The very next day he astounded the secretaries assigned to assist him by inviting them to sit around the table and go through the mail together! This small action would foretell his entire ministry as Apostolic Delegate.
 
The work contains a detailed account of the many duties, trips and ministries that were part of Jadot’s daily life. He took it upon himself to be as independent as possible. A good example of this was his driving his VW around the city of Washington to get to know it and its residents.
 
Jadot made friends with a number of important “non hierarchical” Church leaders, such as John Tracy Ellis and Charles Curran, and got to know US presidents. He made some vital additions to the work of an Apostolic Delegate: he often invited small groups of priests and bishops to have a meal with him so he could get to know them and the reality of ministry in the United States better.
 
It was the ministry of Jean Jadot that made a significant imprint on the Catholic Church of the United States, not only through his style of leadership but also through the many episcopal appointments he made. He listened, read, questioned and observed, all the while making a huge impact on the US Church through his episcopal appointments. H e met with all who would invite him. Especially interesting is his willingness to meet with women of the Church.
 
The work gives a detailed account of the bishops he would ordain and appoint to different dioceses. The list can grow a bit tedious, but it shows the radical change that Jadot instigated by his pastoral appointments. If one were to study a history of the American Catholic Church side by side with a list of the priests appointed to be bishops by Jadot, one would see a significant shift in the quality of the American bishops. It is clear that Jadot’s choices for episcopal leadership in the American Church  were both “loyal men of the Church” and those who had a deep love for the people.
 
Jadot did not limit his attention only to those who shared his vision of Church. A good example of this was his attendance at the opening session of Catholics United for the Faith, a group that continues to exist today and is known for its conservative interpretation of Catholic teaching. However, he made sure that the press received a copy of his text from his hands, to prevent any distortion of his talk. 
 
This work includes a brief history of the life story of Jean Jadot. Jadot was not the “usual” Apostolic Delegate.” Before he even entered seminary he was well educated and widely traveled. His preparation for “church work” had opened his understanding to a wide world and a diversity of theologies. His early ministry experience in Belgium during and after World War II gave him a broad perspective of the Church and Catholic ministry. His trips to the Belgian Congo in the early years of his ministry, and his time of ministry there, and later as the Papal Nuncio to Thailand, and then as Apostolic Pro-Nuncio to Yaournde, Cameroon broadened immensely his understanding of what it means to belong to and minister to a world church.
 
The work can seem a bit labored at times, listing in some detail the ordination of so many American bishops. However, in retrospect, it is Jadot’s thoughtful reflections accompanying these lists which offer a great deal of insight into the struggles that he had, both in trying to live up to the expectations of the ministry as Apostolic Delegate, yet also following his own personal convictions, developed over the years in the variety of places of his ministry in a world church.
 
I would highly recommend this work as a “must” for those who work in the Church today and were not around when Jadot was Apostolic Delegate, This will give you some new insights into the Church that surrounds us today. And, if you were around when Jadot served our US Church so well, the work will bring back some good (and perhaps not so good) memories.
 
This review of John Dick’s book is written with perhaps some mitigating factors. The work recalls his presence at the Call to Action Conference in Detroit, his interest in the Women’s Ordination Conference, his part in the conflict among women religious and his ordination of ‘Bishop Kenneth Untener. I was present at the Call to Action Conference and at the first Women’s Ordination Conference. I was a small part of the ministry that emerged under the leadership of Bishop Kenneth Untener. I am a member of a congregation of Women Religious that holds membership in the LCWR. And, perhaps, most important, I am a longtime friend of John (or as we know him Jack) Dick.
 
(Jean Jadot - Paul’s Man in Washington, by John Alonzo Dick, is available as an e-book as well as paperback via Amazon.com)
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