International Honor Is an Unprecedented Opportunity for Benedictine’s Baucum

In a remarkable honor, Tory Baucum has been tasked with an enormous responsibility.

Tory Baucum, director of Benedictine College’s Center for Family Life, has been elected to the Polish Academy of Sciences and appointed by Polish President Duda to the Copernicus Academy. He will be inducted February 19.

Other members of the academy include Nobel Laureates in science and scholars worldwide.

“We are certain that your participation in the activities of the Academy will help immensely to assure its success,” said Grzegorz Gorski, Poland’s Minister of Education and Science for Organization of the Copernican Academy.

Helen Alvaré of George Mason university is one of several leading Catholic intellectuals who commended Baucum’s achievement.

Tory Baucum’s “strength of mind, conviction, and character, as well as his courage in pursuing truth where it leads him” make him a great addition to the Copernican Academy, she said. Baucum is to be commended for “uniting his faith, his intellect, and his positive spirit, to accomplish difficult and necessary ends in the Church and in the world.”

Baucum’s appointment comes in the wake of several visits to Poland and his participation in an international conference sponsored by the Polish government to address the refugee crisis.

Kansas City-Kansas Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann said, “Tory has a great love and admiration for Poland. In part because of his appreciation for the great modern Polish saints, such as St. Faustina, St. Maximillian Kolbe, and St. John Paul II, but also for his great admiration for the response of the Polish people to the Ukrainian refugees.”

The year 2023 marks the 550th anniversary of the birth of Nicolaus Copernicus. The Polish government launched new efforts with the Copernican Academy to commemorate the occasion saying:

“This great Polish thinker played exceptional role in science, and still inspires scientists worldwide with his achievements. Recognizing this, the government of Poland, and Polish scientific community decided to celebrate this important anniversary by establishing the international Copernican Academy, and organizing the World Copernican Congress. We have also decided to establish the Copernicus Prize to be bestowed on those who made exceptional contributions to the development of world science.”

Like Copernicus, Baucum has a history of following the truth where it leads. Beginning in 2018, Tory’s friends, Father Paul Scalia and Dominican Father Dominic Legge, prepared Tory and his wife Elizabeth for entrance into the Catholic Church, though he was a successful Anglican minister. Archbishop Naumann received Tory and Elizabeth into the Church Easter of 2020.

Father Scalia, son of the deceased Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, is Episcopal Vicar for Clergy in the Diocese of Arlington. He said, “Throughout his life he has followed the truth wherever it has led him, through even the greatest trials.”

Father Jim Carlyle has been a colleague of Baucum’s both before and after his entrance into the Catholic Church. Carlyle also entered the Church after serving as an Episcopalian minster. Now a priest of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph, Father Carlyle said, “I first met Tory when he was a young Episcopal priest developing a dynamic small groups ministry in a large parish in Kansas City. Over the years, I’ve watched him grow in competence and prominence as a teacher and leader.”

Baucum was a significant leader in the Anglican world. In 2014, he was appointed as one of the Six Preachers of Canterbury by the Church of England. The College of Six Preachers was created in 1541. Today, the Six Preachers are called to preach on various occasions at Canterbury Cathedral, the Mother Church of the Anglican Communion. The preachers serve five-year terms. Baucum entered the Catholic Church during his term.

American Anglican Bishop Todd Hunter said, “It was obvious from the moment I met Tory Baucum: he has a special gift from God. Tory is a tireless bridge builder and effective peacemaker. His appointment to the Copernican Academy will bear wise, peaceable fruit in both the Polish church and society.”

Bishop Graham Tomlin of Lambeth, formerly bishop of London, has known Baucum for 30 years.

“Perhaps the theme which holds together his academic and theological and practical work has been the theme of hospitality,” he said.

“His early research and writing was on how the Church can become mor welcoming to those in secular western cultures who do not yet have faith. Beyond that he has gone on to focus on marriage and the family as places of welcome and hospitality, and as such, the building blocks of healthy social and cultural life. He also has extensive experience of working at both the theology and practice of reconciliation, enabling opposing parties to find the ability to welcome each other in Christ, both in the context of the divisions within American Anglicanism and also more recently in Eastern Europe.”

Baucum has made an impact in his “new” Church home as well. In this past decade he and Elizabeth, his wife, worked ecumenically and closely with the Catholic Church, especially with the Italian movement Mistero Grande and its founder Don Renzo Bonetti.

Dominican Father Thomas Joseph White, rector of the Angelicum in Rome, is one of the world’s leading Thomists.

White said, “Tory Baucum has for many years been at the forefront of efforts in Christian education and genuine ecumenical engagement. In his journey from the Anglican communion to the Catholic Church he has been a promoter of the traditional teachings of the Catholic Church, in regard to faith and morals, and has worked for unity and reconciliation among Christians of various confessional traditions.”

His work in the Church has been effective. “His preaching and catechetical work has affected innumerable persons, and his recent work in the Ukraine aiming at peacemaking on behalf of those affected by the war has been a continuation of his service to others,” Father White said. “It is a fitting and joyous occasion, then, that he is being inducted into the Copernicus Academy, in recognition of his longstanding service to others.”

Tory and his wife Elizabeth spoke at the Vatican’s 2015 World Meeting of the Family in Philadelphia. Baucum has been working with Archbishop Naumann along with the Center for Family Life. Baucum explained that he and the Archdiocese are partnering with J.P.  DeGance and his ministry Communio to teach the skills and strategy of marital health as a privileged pathway of the New Evangelization.

Archbishop Naumann said Baucum’s work with families will be a huge plus at the Copernicam Academy.

“Tory will bring great philosophical and theological insight to the Academy. Tory is especially renowned for giving practical application for renewal of marriage and family life based on the wisdom and teaching of St. John Paul,” he said. “I am excited to see the contribution the Copernicus Academy will make to the advancement of Faith and Reason, Science and Ethics.”

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Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes

Tom Hoopes, author of The Rosary of Saint John Paul II and The Fatima Family Handbook, is writer in residence at Benedictine College in Kansas and hosts The Extraordinary Story on Ex Corde. A former reporter in the Washington, D.C., area, he served as press secretary of the U.S. House Ways & Means Committee Chairman and spent 10 years as executive editor of the National Catholic Register newspaper and Faith & Family magazine. His work frequently appears in Catholic publications such as Aleteia.org and the Register. He and his wife, April, have nine children and live in Atchison, Kansas.