Italy named a mountain peak for Pope John Paul II on what would have been his 85th birthday May 18. At the same time, some 12,285 people have signed an online petition to call the late pope “John Paul the Great,” even as his potential sainthood has been approved for fast-track status by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI. John Paul died April 2 at age 84. His 26-year reign was the third-longest in church history. The peak named after John Paul is in the Gran Sasso Mountains in the Apennines range east of Rome.
Thomas Reese, forced to resign as editor of the Jesuit magazine America under Vatican pressure, said he will move to California to take a job at Santa Clara University. The priest and author, a much-quoted commentator on church affairs, announced May 6 he would leave the New York magazine where he served for seven years—but without citing widely published accounts that Rome pushed him out because he allowed dissenting views in the magazine along with the church’s official positions. Reese will take a yearlong sabbatical at the Jesuit school “with no university responsibilities” as he ponders his future, said Santa Clara president Paul Locatelli. He said Reese has been offered a chance to travel to El Salvador with other Jesuits, or he may work with the school’s centers for Jesuit education or ethics.
Zimbabwe’s Archbishop Pius Ncube, upon receiving Scotland’s Robert Burns International Humanitarian Award, dedicated it to the citizens of his country, who endure “unabated suffering,” and urged Britain not to send exiles from the southern African nation back to what he says is certain death. Ncube, 58, the Catholic archbishop of Bulawayo, has stood up to the policies of President Robert Mugabe and his ruling Zanu-PF Party despite death threats. He received the award May 20 at Culzean Castle in Ayrshire, home of legendary Scottish poet Burns. Mugabe has dismissed the archbishop as a “puppet” of British prime minister Tony Blair. Ncube has described the 81-year-old president, who was brought up in a Catholic home, as “an evil man” who oppresses his people by all the means at his disposal.
Howard Clinebell Jr., 83, a longtime professor in pastoral counseling at the Claremont School of Theology whose books pioneered approaches combining psychotherapy and religious faith, has died. Though he succumbed to complications from Parkinson’s disease April 13 at a retirement community in Santa Barbara, California, his death was not reported until a month later when a memorial service was scheduled at the United Methodist–related seminary. His book Understanding and Counseling the Alcoholic Through Religion and Psychology was published in 1956 and updated frequently. His Basic Types of Pastoral Counseling was one of the most widely used books on the subject. He was a founding member of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and served as its first president in 1964-1965. The ordained United Methodist minister co-wrote The Intimate Marriage (1970) with his wife, Charlotte. The next year he published a book on helping troubled children. Claremont colleague Kathleen Grieder told the Los Angeles Times that one topic led to another for Clinebell, who wrote Ecotherapy: Healing Ourselves, Healing the Earth in 1996. He retired from the seminary in 1988 after teaching there 30 years.