Krol Chair of Moral Theology
The John Cardinal Krol Chair of Moral Theology was founded by His Eminence Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua in January of 1990. The Krol Chair, named in honor of a great churchman who clearly and unwaveringly proclaimed the moral demands of Christian life, was established to enhance the Seminary’s efforts to promote a better understanding, appreciation and acceptance of Catholic moral teaching.
Through teaching, lectures, symposiums, workshops and publications, the Krol Chair contributes to the seminary’s primary mission of preparing men for pastoral service as ordained priests and to its secondary mission of educational outreach to the broader Church community. In these ways, the Krol Chair augments the theological enterprise of the seminary and directly responds to the Second Vatican Council’s charge that: “…special care be given to the perfecting of Moral Theology. Its scientific exposition, more deeply rooted in Sacred Scripture, is to illustrate the eminent vocation that the faithful have in Christ and the obligation they have to bear fruit in charity for the life of the world” (The Decree on Priestly Formation, 16).
The previous holder of the Krol Chair was Rev. Dennis J. Billy, C.Ss.R. A Redemptorist priest of the Baltimore Province, Father Billy was professor of the history of moral theology and Christian spirituality at the Alphonsian Academy of Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University for more than 20 years. He assumed the responsibilities of the Krol Chair in the summer of 2008.
Most Reverend Timothy C. Senior, Rector of Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary, announced the appointment by Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., of John M. Haas, Ph.D. to the John Cardinal Krol Chair in Moral Theology in January 2019. Dr. Haas was the inaugural holder of the Krol Chair from 1990-1996 and now returns to Saint Charles Seminary after a 23-year tenure as President of the National Catholic Bioethics Center.
“Dr. John Haas is an internationally recognized theologian and expert in medical moral issues and has been at the forefront of the Church’s thoughtful response to these issues,” said Saint Charles Seminary Rector Bishop Timothy C. Senior. “Saint Charles Seminary is blessed to have this respected scholar with broad theological expertise now serving in the formation of our future priests who will increasingly be asked to provide pastoral guidance on difficult moral questions.”
“I am deeply grateful to Archbishop Chaput and Bishop Senior for the opportunity to return to St. Charles Seminary after twenty-two years,” said Dr. Haas. “Teaching has always been my first love and I consider it to be an undeserved privilege to be involved once again in the preparation of men for the priesthood.”
Dr. Haas has been the President of The National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania since 1996. He received his Ph.D. in Moral Theology from The Catholic University of America in 1988 and his S.T.L. in Moral Theology (summa cum laude) from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, in 1975. He also studied at the University of Chicago and the University of Munich, Germany. Before assuming the Presidency of the NCBC, Dr. Haas was the John Cardinal Krol Professor of Moral Theology at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia from 1989 until 1996 and Adjunct Professor at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies in Marriage and the Family, Washington, D.C. For a number of years Dr. Haas produced and hosted a program on EWTN called the “St. Charles Forum” interviewing Catholic leaders on critical issues facing the Church and society.
Dr. Haas served as a consultant to both the Committee for Pro-Life Activities and the Health Care Subcommittee of the Doctrine Committee of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. He was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI as a Member of the Pontifical Academy for Life and later as a member of the Academy’s Directive Council. In 2011, the Holy Father appointed him as a Consultor to the Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers. In 2018 Pope Francis reappointed him to the Pontifical Academy for Life. He has received two honorary doctorates (Immaculata University and Franciscan University). He served on the Medical Moral Commission of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He is a member of the Sovereign Military and Hospitaller Order of St. John of Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta and has served as the Philadelphia area chairman. He was awarded the Cross of Commander “Pro Merito Melitensi” by the Order in 2016. He is also a Knight of Columbus and a Knight of the Sacred Constantinian Order of St. George. In 2019 Pope Francis conferred the Pontifical Equestrian Order of St. Gregory the Great on Dr. and Mrs. Haas, the highest honor the Pope bestows on members of the laity. Dr. Haas and his wife Martha have nine children and numerous grandchildren and reside in Philadelphia.