Thursday, December 18, 2008

Avery Dulles, RIP

In a sense, he was not our kind of Roman Catholic.  By which we mean nothing more that that he was beloved of people who tire us, particularly, the neo-cons.  We have never recovered from an essay in First Things, years ago, in which he spelled out a Catholic rationale for capital punishment.  It was well-written, but struck us as letting down the side.  

Still, Dulles impresses.  Child of privilege and an immense heritage of government service; raised Presbyterian, converted by turns to agnosticism, theism and Catholicism;  52 years a priest, and seven years a cardinal (but never eligible to vote in conclave, and never a bishop); author of many books and articles; dissertation advisor to a dear friend.

Our whining aside, the world gained much from the presence of Avery Dulles, and is impoverished by his absence.  The Church gained much, and may continue to do so, since after all converts always pray loudest in the heavenly choir.

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