For over a century, America has provided a provocative and distinctly Jesuit voice on religion, society, politics and culture. That proud history continues as America’s board of directors on June 5 named Matt Malone, S.J., to succeed Drew Christiansen, S.J., as the magazine’s editor in chief. Father Malone, 40, will assume his appointment in October. The board first approved plans for a transition at its September 2011 meeting.
Father Christiansen has served as editor in chief since 2005. He will be on sabbatical for the next year, serving as a visiting scholar in the department of theology at Boston College. Father Christiansen has accepted an appointment, beginning in January 2014, as Distinguished Professor of Ethics and Human Development at Georgetown University, with a joint appointment to the School of Foreign Service and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs.
Father Malone served for two years as an associate editor of America from 2007 to 2009, when he covered foreign policy and domestic politics. He had earlier won a first-place award from the Catholic Press Association for a moving essay recounting his father’s decision to forgive the man responsible for the death of Matt’s brother Joseph in a drunk driving incident in 1984.
Before becoming a Jesuit, Father Malone served as deputy director of MassINC, an independent public policy research center, and as co-publisher of CommonWealth, an award-winning review of politics, policy, ideas and civic life.
He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, a master’s degree in philosophy from Fordham University and a graduate degree in theology from Heythrop College in Great Britain and The Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium.
“We are pleased to welcome Father Matt Malone back home to America, a place that is meaningful to him as both a journalist and a Jesuit. A talented writer and editor, he is uniquely qualified to help lead America into its next century,” said Albert C. Pierce, chair of the board of directors of America Press Inc. John P. Schlegel, S.J., president and publisher, added, “As the 14th editor in America‘s 100-year history, Father Malone knows he has big shoes to fill, and we are confident that he will exceed all expectations.”
About his new role, Father Malone said: “I am honored by this appointment and grateful to be able to return to America. The publication has a storied tradition and is well positioned for a bright future. America’s mission has never been more relevant. Questions of faith and culture, democracy and Catholicism—the very questions that America has explored for more than a century—will continue to dominate the public argument. I look forward to continuing the conversation.”
Father Schlegel also praised the contributions of the current editor in chief, noting Father Christiansen’s leadership through a period of major transition, including instituting a new board of directors comprising Jesuit and lay trustees, expanding America’s Web presence and leading the publication through its centennial celebration in 2009.
Mr. Pierce noted Father Christiansen’s important role: “America has always been committed to ideas and to rigorous and civil dialogue, and Father Christiansen championed both during his seven years leading the publication. From politics to social justice to foreign affairs, he challenged America’s readers to consider the most important issues of the day and, in the process, created a platform for faith and freedom.”
Father Christiansen noted: “America has always played a key role in ‘the broad middle’ of U.S. Catholic life, and many readers have told us they regard it as a lifeline in sustaining their Catholic commitment. I wish Father Malone and the whole staff well as they continue the journey of America’s second century. Matt possesses the talent and experience to help take this Jesuit ministry into once unimagined space in the digital universe.”