January 4, 2018

Msgr. David Liptak, longtime editor of The Catholic Transcript, dies

By Catholic News Service

Msgr. David Quentin Liptak, a columnist and editor for more than 60 years for The Catholic Transcript, newspaper for the Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn., died Jan. 1 at the age of 89. He is pictured in an undated photo. (CNS photo/Catholic Transcript

HARTFORD, Conn. (CNS) — Msgr. David Quentin Liptak, a columnist and editor for more than 60 years for The Catholic Transcript, newspaper for the Archdiocese of Hartford, died Jan. 1 at the age of 89.

Hartford Archbishop Leonard P. Blair was to celebrate the priest’s funeral Mass Jan. 5 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford. Burial was to be at St. Michael’s Cemetery in Stratford.

Msgr. Liptak began his newspaper career soon after his ordination in 1953 and worked as a columnist, journalist and editor of the newspaper, concentrating on theology. He retired as the publication’s executive editor in January 2016 after serving under five archbishops.

When he retired from his newspaper work, he was praised by Archbishop Blair for his “great intellect, wide interests and a deep love of the church.”

The archbishop also said: “The Catholic Transcript stands out particularly for its editorial page, thanks to Msgr. Liptak,” and noted that in the “rapidly changing world of communications and print media, the talents of a writer and thinker like Msgr. Liptak are as important as ever.”

Msgr. Liptak was born Jan. 17, 1928, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He graduated from St. Thomas Seminary in Bloomfield, Connecticut, and received degrees in philosophy and theology from St. Bernard’s Seminary in Rochester, New York. He was ordained to the priesthood May 14, 1953 at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Hartford.

Archbishop Henry J. O’Brien, then Hartford’s archbishop, appointed the young priest to the post of associate editor of the newspaper 13 months later. The priest began writing his “What’s Your Question?” column, which first appeared July 1, 1954, and continued to be published until November 2015.

From 1981 to 2003, Msgr. Liptak continued as consulting editor at the Transcript, contributing theology-based columns while increasing his involvement with academia at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell. In 2003, Hartford Archbishop Daniel A. Cronin appointed Msgr. Liptak executive editor of the Transcript.

In the position, his editorials and the Transcript received top awards from the Connecticut Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, New England Newspaper and Press Association and Catholic Press Association.

The Catholic Transcript transitioned to a magazine format in January 2017.

While working at the newspaper, the priest also initially served in parish ministry and continued his education, earning a doctorate in ministry from Drew University in Madison, New Jersey, in 1978. He worked for more than 20 years at Holy Apostles College and Seminary in Cromwell as instructor, professor, director of priestly formation and chair of the theology department. He continued his work there until 2014.

In 1988, he co-edited the seminary’s three volumes of the John Paul II Lecture Series in Bioethics. He was one of three co-founders of the St. Pope John Paul II Bioethics Center at Holy Apostles College and Seminary, which honored him in 2016 with its Lifetime Achievement Award for his years of devoted service there. The center’s Bioethics Resource Library was dedicated to Msgr. Liptak in January 2010.

Through the years, Msgr. Liptak authored or coauthored more than a dozen books about saints, moral theology, bioethical issues and sacramental theology. He also published numerous essays, homilies, book reviews and encyclopedia articles and conducted seminars, lectures and retreats nationwide.

In 1993, he was appointed pastor at St. Catherine Church in Broad Brook. He was appointed censor librorum for the Archdiocese of Hartford in 1995 and held that position of reviewing texts and granting them church approval, until his death.

Msgr. Liptak is survived by his sister, Mercy Sister Dolores Liptak of West Hartford, a brother-in-law and several nieces