Gregory Baum 1923-2017.

Author:Chodos, Bob

One of my early involvements with Inroads, before I became managing editor, was an article on religion and politics that I wrote for the 2001 issue (Inroads was still an annual at that time). When the issue came out, I found myself sharing a section with two of Canada's most distinguished thinkers on the subject, Claude Ryan and Gregory Baum.

I had met Gregory Baum before, soon after I became editor of Compass: A Jesuit Journal in the late 1980s. Having been born to a Jewish mother and Protestant father and chosen Catholicism as an adult, he was intrigued by the idea of a Jewish editor of a Jesuit magazine. On his initiative, we met in his office at McGill University, and he wrote for Compass a number of times after that.

We were aware of the important role he had played in changes to the Catholic Church, as an expert theologian at the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. Changes arising from Vatican II had made Compass possible. Janet Somerville, a theology student in Toronto at the time of Vatican II, wrote in 1996, "Gregory Baum, a very gifted interpreter of what the council was doing, went to every session, flew back from Rome and told us what was happening. It was unbelievably exciting."

Gregory was also supportive of Across Boundaries, the short-lived multifaith successor to Compass. His sympathetic interest in such a resolutely secular publication as Inroads--he wrote articles, bought gift...

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