In a December 23 press release from the Vatican, it was announced that His Holiness Pope John Paul II appointed Christendom College President Timothy T. O’Donnell to a five-year term as a Consultor of the Pontifical Council for the Family, beginning on November 18, 2002.
Dr. O’Donnell, 51, has served as President of Christendom College in Front Royal, Virginia, since 1992 and has taught both theology and history at Christendom since 1984. The father of nine children – the eldest of whom is a cloistered Poor Clare Nun in the Catholic Diocese of Arlington, VA – O’Donnell was the first layman to receive both his licentiate and doctoral degrees in Ascetical and Mystical Theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome. He has taught at St. John’s Seminary in Camarillo, CA, and at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, CA. He is a Knight Commander with Star in the Knights of the Holy Sepulchre. He is the author of Heart of the Redeemer and Swords Around the Cross: The Nine Years War and he has filmed many programs for the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) including Glory of the Papacy and Luke: Meek Scribe of Christ.
Selected for this appointment by Alfonso Cardinal Lopez Trujillo, President of the Pontifical Council for the Family, O’Donnell hopes to aid the Council in its responsibilities of promoting the pastoral ministry of and apostolate to the family, through the application of the teachings and orientation of the ecclesiastical Magisterium, and helping Christian families fulfill their educational and apostolic mission.
This Pontifical Council, established by Pope John Paul II in 1981, also promotes and coordinates pastoral efforts related to the issue of responsible procreation, and encourages, sustains, and coordinates initiatives in defense of human life in all stages of its existence from conception to natural death.
Additionally, the topics of theology and catechesis of the family; marital and family spirituality; the rights of the family and the child; formation of the laity for the family pastoral; and marriage preparation courses fall under the sphere of the council.
In a letter of December 6, Cardinal Trujillo Lopez extended to O’Donnell his sincere congratulations on the pontifical appointment and expressed his “deep satisfaction for the possibility to profit from [his] competent and esteemed collaboration in the activities of this Dicastery.”
O’Donnell will be joining the presidential committee of the Pontifical Council with fellow newly appointed consultors Carl Anderson, the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, and Fr. David Jaeger, O.F.M., of the Custody of the Holy Land, as well as several others.
Cardinal Lopez Trujillo visited Christendom College’s campus in May of 2002 where he celebrated the Baccalaureate Mass and while delivering the Commencement Address to the Class of 2002 said that “Christendom College has sought to form its students by using a challenging curriculum centered on faith and the truths of Divine Revelation as taught by the Roman Catholic Church and by natural reason as derived from natural law and human experience in fidelity to the Magisterium. The objective of your College, instaurare omnia in Christo, to restore all things in Christ, is laudable.”