March 27, 2000
volume 11, no. 61
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NEWS & VIEWS     Acknowledgments
Articles provided through Catholic World News and Church News at Noticias Eclesiales and International Dossiers, Daily Dispatches and Features at ZENIT International News Agency. CWN, NE and ZENIT are not affiliated with the Daily CATHOLIC but provide this service via e-mail to the Daily CATHOLIC Monday through Friday.


    WASHINGTON ,DC ( - A Chicago priest was sworn in as chaplain of the US House of Representatives on Thursday, ending a four-month controversy over allegations of anti-Catholic bias in the selection process.

    Republican leaders had broken with precedent and asked a bipartisan panel to select candidates from which House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, would choose a nominee for the whole House to vote on. After, one of the three nominees, a politically-active priest from Milwaukee, was overlooked and claimed bias, four months of allegations that the GOP leadership is anti-Catholic followed.

    In a speech on Thursday castigating critics for politicizing the selection of a pastoral minister for congressmen, Hastert announced that his previous nominee, the Rev. Charles Wright, a Presbyterian, had withdrawn his name from consideration. Instead, Hastert asserted his privilege and unilaterally named Father Daniel Coughlin, 65, as chaplain.

    Father Coughlin, vicar for priests for the archdiocese of Chicago, called the appointment "terribly unexpected." Cardinal Francis George called him one of the archdiocese's "most deeply respected priests." He added, "I pray that Father Coughlin -- and the pastoral gifts he brings -- will be well received by those who serve our nation in the House of Representatives."

    Fr. Coughlin, 65, who was ordained a priest on May 3, 1960, has been serving as the vicar for priests for the Archdiocese of Chicago since 1995. The vicar for priests assists active priests of the Archdiocese with their spiritual, professional and personal needs.

    Prior to that position, Fr. Coughlin served as director of the Cardinal Stritch Retreat House in Mundelein, IL, from 1990 to 1995. He also has been pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish, LaGrange, IL (1985-1990), director of the archdiocesan Office for Divine Worship (1969-1984), associate pastor of Holy Name Cathedral (1965-1969) and associate pastor of St. Raymond Parish (1960-1965).

    He took a one-year sabbatical in 1984-1985 to study east-west religions, serve with missionaries in India and teach at the North American College in Vatican City.

    A native of Chicago's northwest side, Fr. Coughlin attended St. Mary of the Lake University, Mundelein, IL, where he received a degree in Sacred Theology. He also holds a degree in pastoral studies from Loyola University, Chicago. In the 1970s he served as chairperson of the Federation of Diocesan Liturgical Commission, and was a member of the national and international committees regarding prayer, spirituality and liturgical renewal.

    (A portion of this article was taken from the press release for the Archdiocese of Chicago).


March 27, 2000
volume 11, no. 61

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