Friday, December 12, 2008

Light Goes Out

America: The National Catholic Weekly has the sad news that Avery Cardinal Dulles has passed on:

This morning, we received this announcement from the New York Province of the Society of Jesus:

"This is to inform you that Avery Cardinal Dulles died this morning at about 6:30 at Murray-Weigel Hall. Funeral arrangements will be announced shortly. May he rest in peace." [Murray-Weigel Hall is the Jesuit infirmary, located at Fordham University, in Bronx, New York.]

Cardinal Dulles, the first American Jesuit ever to be named a cardinal, was widely considered to be the dean of American Catholic theologians. An archive of articles by, and an interview with Cardinal Dulles, a longtime and beloved contributor to America magazine, for the past 40 years is here.

Dulles was a leading light in the Catholic Church in America and he and his writings (which I'm most familiar with from the pages of First Things) will be greatly missed. R.I.P.

UPDATE-- David Gibson has more on Dulles at beliefnet:

Dulles' own journey to the church was remarkable: a scion of the great WASP Dulles dynasty, his father was John Foster Dulles, Eisenhower's Secretary of State, and his uncle was Allen Dulles, director of the CIA, also during the 1950s.

Avery Dulles moved from the Presbyterian Church of his youth to agnosticism and then to a conversion to Catholicism--a very intellectual progression, as he always said, but one that clearly, and progressively, transformed him. He became a Jesuit, and he was a prolific writer, a popularizer with depth, one might say. (And he is one of the rare Jesuits to accept a red hat, though he refused to be made a bishop--God bless him!)