Rorate Caeli

Avery Cardinal Dulles S.J., RIP



August 24, 1918 - December 12, 2008


Cardinal Dulles on Apologetics:
"...In a pluralist society like our own, religious faith is felt to be divisive. To avoid conflict Christians frequently take refuge in the excuse that people should be left free to make up their own minds about what to believe. After all, they say, no one can be argued into faith. Even to raise the question of truth in religion is considered impolite.

This withdrawal from controversy, though it seems to be kind and courteous, is insidious. Religion becomes marginalized to the degree that it no longer dares to raise its voice in public. This privatization has debilitating consequences for the faith of believers themselves. If we do not consider that it is important for others to hear the
Christian proclamation, we inevitably begin to question its importance for ourselves. The result is a massive loss of interest in religious teaching. The reluctance of believers to defend their faith has produced all too many fuzzyminded and listless Christians, who care very little about what is to be believed. Their halfhearted religion is far removed from that of the apostles and the martyrs. It is a degenerate offspring of authentic Christianity.

Recognizing that faith is enfeebled if its rational grounds are denied, committed Christians are today returning to apologetics..."
(From "The Rebirth of Apologetics", First Things, May 2004)

13 comments:

Cosmos said...

May heaven rejoice to recieve the Lord's loyal son this very day!

Woody Jones said...

Son of John Foster Dulles (former Secretary of State under Dwight Eisenhower, and before that managing partner of Sullivan & Cromwell, then probably NY's most prestigious law firm), nephew of Allen W. Dulles (also a Sullivan partner and then US Director of Intelligence), convert (in 1940), Companion of Jesus and prince of the Church, Avery, Cardinal Dulles, RIP.

Sean said...

May I humbly attempt to place some things in perspective?

Avery Dulles was converted as a result of the preaching of Father Leoneard Feeney in Harvard Square-- a fact he disassaciated himself from as the years went on. He also wrote one of the most destructive books ever to be used in a seminary: "Models of the Church", something for which he never apologized. May he rest in peace -- but he was the typical finger in the air politician-theologian: liberal with liberal popes (beginning with the Second Vatican Council), and grew more conservative as Rome did (though what Rome was "conserving" after 1965 is a mystery).

I pray for his soul.

Anonymous said...

A very great man, and great priest.
May God have mercy on His soul, and welcome him into Heaven for a well earned reward of its blessings .

John (Ad Orientem) said...

Not Roman here but Dulles was definitely one of the good guys.

Give rest, O Lord, to the soul of Thy servant who has fallen asleep and make his memory to be eternal…

Memory Eternal! Memory Eternal! Memory Eternal!

Under the mercy,
John

JM said...

He "grew more conservative as Rome did..."

And we can be grateful for that.

His was a great and typically sane voice in 'First Things' Magazine. His essays on Hell were amazingly helpful.

B. said...

Avery Dulles was converted as a result of the preaching of Father Leoneard Feeney in Harvard Square
This is not correct. Avery Dulles was already a Catholic and a member of the Saint Benedict Center when Fr. Feeney arrived there.

Syriacus said...

TELEGRAMMA DEL SANTO PADRE


TO MY VENERABLE BROTHER

CARDINAL EDWARD EGAN


ARCHBISHOP OF NEW YORK

HAVING LEARNED WITH SADNESS OF THE DEATH OF CARDINAL AVERY DULLES, I OFFER YOU MY HEARTFELT CONDOLENCES, WHICH I ASK YOU KINDLY TO CONVEY TO HIS FAMILY, HIS CONFRERES IN THE SOCIETY OF JESUS AND THE ACADEMIC COMMUNITY OF FORDHAM UNIVERSITY. I JOIN YOU IN COMMENDING THE LATE CARDINAL’S NOBLE SOUL TO GOD, THE FATHER OF MERCIES, WITH IMMENSE GRATITUDE FOR THE DEEP LEARNING, SERENE JUDGMENT AND UNFAILING LOVE OF THE LORD AND HIS CHURCH WHICH MARKED HIS ENTIRE PRIESTLY MINISTRY AND HIS LONG YEARS OF TEACHING AND THEOLOGICAL RESEARCH. AT THE SAME TIME I PRAY THAT HIS CONVINCING PERSONAL TESTIMONY TO THE HARMONY OF FAITH AND REASON WILL CONTINUE TO BEAR FRUIT FOR THE CONVERSION OF MINDS AND HEARTS AND THE PROGRESS OF THE GOSPEL FOR MANY YEARS TO COME. TO ALL WHO MOURN HIM IN THE HOPE OF THE RESURRECTION I CORDIALLY IMPART MY APOSTOLIC BLESSING AS A PLEDGE OF CONSOLATION AND PEACE IN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST.

BENEDICTUS PP. XVI


[01937-02.01] [Original text: English]


http://212.77.1.245/news_services/bulletin/news/23054.php?index=23054&lang=it

John said...

Sean,
Your analysis may be correct, but it may also be incorrect. He may have simply followed a natural evolution of thought known among theologians. Here is a quote from Fr. Garrigou-Lagrange, "The Mother of the Saviour" (1949, B. Herder, St. Louis, MO)

(Referring to St. Thomas Aquinas' change in position on the Immaculate Conception) "Such an evolution of doctrine is not rare among theologians. At first they propose a thesis which they accept from tradition without seeing all its difficulties. Later reflection leads them to adopt a more reserved attitude. Finally they return to their first position, realizing that God is more bounteous in his gifts than we can understand..." (pg 71)

Fr. Dulles was a solid theologian in the 1950's, then he became more liberal, finally returning to an more orthodox position. As Fr. G-L says above, this is not rare. St. Thomas Aquinas took the same course on the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, and, as far as I know, he did not apologize for his writings against the doctrine later in life. Anyway, just a thought - his changes may be natural and not related to overall church politics.

John McFarland said...

Gentlemen,

Herewith a quote from a piece by Cardinal Dulles in First Things at the beginning of the year:

"Who, then, can be saved? Catholics can be saved if they believe the Word of God as taught by the Church and if they obey the commandments. Other Christians can be saved if they submit their lives to Christ and join the community where they think he wills to be found. Jews can be saved if they look forward in hope to the Messiah and try to ascertain whether God’s promise has been fulfilled. Adherents of other religions can be saved if, with the help of grace, they sincerely seek God and strive to do his will. Even atheists can be saved if they worship God under some other name and place their lives at the service of truth and justice. God’s saving grace, channeled through Christ the one Mediator, leaves no one unassisted. But that same grace brings obligations to all who receive it. They must not receive the grace of God in vain. Much will be demanded of those to whom much is given."

Are some of you laboring under the misapprehension that the foregoing is the doctrine of the Church, or at least not inconsistent with it?

He was a liberal who was prepared to make occasional conservative noises. To be sure, that is pretty much the definition of "conservative" in the conciliar Church.

John said...

John McFarland,

Well, that's a tough quote to defend, that's for sure. I guess my response is that Fr. Dulles did not make occasional conservative noises. He made a lot of such noises. But he is close to your definition of a Conservative Catholic (its a good definition...).

As far as that quote goes, well, its not so defensible. Perhaps Fr. Dulles had a mental block on the subject of salvation after his early years with the strong opinion of Fr. Feeney. Perhaps his mind isn't as sharp as it used to be. Perhaps he was trying to support the teaching of Lumen Gentium with some creative ideas. Regardless, I don't accept his idea, but I did a lot of other ideas he had. I don't write off someone because a minority of their writings are wrong. I don't write off St. Thomas Aquinas because he taught against the Immaculate Conception.

Nevertheless, I accept your evidence that in his later years Fr. Dulles wasn't quite rid of his earlier liberalism. I stand corrected.

John McFarland said...

John,

So far so good.

Now let's take a look at Pope Paul VI.

Consider the following passage from his address at the last general meeting of Vatican II on December 7, 1965:

"...all this rich teaching [of the Council] is channeled in one direction: the service of mankind, of every condition, in every weakness and need. The Church has, so to say, declared herself the servant [in the Latin, ancillam -- handmaid] of humanity..."

Consider also the following earlier passage:

"...we call upon those who term themselves modern humanists [in the Latin, cultores humanitatis], and who have renounced the transcendent value of the highest realities, to give the council credit at least for one quality and to recognize our own new type of humanism: we, too, in fact, we, more than any others, honor mankind [in the Latin, hominis sumus cultores]."

Now: can you square all this preoccupation with man with the Catholic faith? The Church as the handmaid of man (cf. the Blessed Mother's "behold the handmaid of the Lord")with Jesus's injunction that no man can serve two masters? The use regarding man of "cultor," a word with overtones -- and more than overtones -- of worship?

But, you say, Pope Benedict is a great fan of Vatican II, properly understood.

He is indeed. Which leads to the question: is Pope Paul's understanding the proper understanding? After all, he was the architect of the Council.

And Pope John Paul the Great couldn't speak highly enough of Pope Paul. When in 2003 he spoke of the centenary of the election of St. Pius X, he spent more time talking about Pope Paul than about St. Pius.

I respectfully submit that the shortcomings of Cardinal Dulles (RIP) are among the lesser of our problems.

Jordanes said...

Are some of you laboring under the misapprehension that the foregoing is the doctrine of the Church, or at least not inconsistent with it?

It doesn't conflict with what the Church says (see LG and cf. the draft of Vatican I's proposed dogmatic constitution on the Church), so it would appear to be the doctrine of the Church.

"CAN be saved," of course, isn't the same as "will be saved" or "are saved" or "will almost certainly be saved."