Now this is certainly a sad loss for the Catholic Church in America. Cardinal Dulles, S.J. passed away early this morning at Fordham University in New York. I have recently gotten to know the work of Cardinal Dulles, mostly through FIRST THINGS and Church and Society, a book I have commented on several times on this blog. Even though I am not well read in the theology of Cardinal Dulles, I have greatly enjoyed what I have read. If you want to understand Catholic theology in simple terms from one of the Church’s serious scholars, Cardinal Dulles is a good place to start. He is easy to understand, straight-forward, and intellectually honest with his subject matter. In short, he his a scholar of the first rate. Now perhaps he is not as intellectually stimulating or creative as a Hans Urs von Balthasar or a Henri de Lubac, but Cardinal Dulles never intended to be either. He was found of saying that the last thing he wanted to be was “original”. Cardinal Dulles was a theologian who wanted to pass down to others what was handed down to him. And he did this well.
FIRST THINGS has a nice collection of writings from Cardinal Dulles that have appeared in their fine journal. You can view the list, put together by the journal’s editor, Joseph Bottum, over at their On the Square blog.
The Church will obviously miss Avery Cardinal Dulles, and the Society of Jesus has lost one of its shining stars.
Cardinal Dulles, 1918-2008. Resquiat in Pace.