R. Kevin Seasoltz, OSB, monk of Saint John’s Abbey, passed away this morning at 5:30 am.

Fr. Kevin was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania on December 29, 1930, professed a monk November 13, 1960 and ordained a priest on June 3, 1956. Before coming to Collegeville, he was on the faculty of the Catholic University in Washington for twenty-five years. He has been the editor of the liturgical journal Worship for twenty-six years. The journal was awarded the Michael Mathis award by the University of Notre Dame. In 2005 he was the recipient of the Berakah Award from the North American Academy of Liturgy, and in 2009 he received the Frederick McManus Award from the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commissions. His most recent books include A Sense of the Sacred: Theological Foundations of Christian Architecture and Art, which won first place for liturgy in the Catholic Press Associations Awards for 2006,God’s Gift Giving: In Christ and through the Spirit (2007), and A Virtuous Church: Catholic Theology, Eithics, and Liturgy for the 21st Century.

May he rest in peace.

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In the forthoming May issue of Worship, that last edited by Fr. Kevin, Fr. Paul Philibert OP has a review of Fr. Kevin’s recently released book A Virtuous Church: Catholic Theology, Eithics, and Liturgy for the 21st Century. Philibert begins:

In “A Virtuous Church,” Kevin Seasoltz analyzes the forces that have enabled the restorationist reaction to Vatican II. Drawing on the social sciences, biblical studies, the Catholic tradition of moral theology, and contemporary ecclesiology and liturgiology, he underlines how poorly founded and inept is the present option of the Church’s leadership for authoritarianism, centralization, and clericalism. With the Roman Catholic Church more centralized than ever before in its history, bishops have become vicars of the pope rather than vicars of the apostles, women feel intensely marginilized, and the laity have not been able to achieve fully the role proposed for them by the Second Vatican Council.

The review concludes:

The author writes that many people today “wonder whether the Lord Jesus, as master of the Church, has gone on a very long journey and left the Church as an orphan in [the] charge of rascals” (195). The deepest cultural challenges and opportunities for the Kingdom of God have been systematically ignored in order to butress the Roman option for a classicist theology and for juridical approaches to ministry that mask the universal call to holiness and the universal responsibility for the Church’s apostolic life. The virtue of this book is that the author explains calmly and clearly what that means and how it happened. As a carefully documented work of theological synthesis, it will be not only enriching but also important for theologians and pastors, catechists and ecclesial ministers. We are in debt to the author for a potent prod to assess what we see happening in the Church and to address it, each of us within the sphere of our capacities.