Rorate Caeli

Reprint of old classic on prayer by Msgr Fenton

Monsignor Joseph Clifford Fenton (1906–1969), a professor of fundamental and dogmatic theology at the Catholic University of America and editor of the American Ecclesiastical Review, was one of the twentieth century’s foremost theologians. His work is particularly notable for its total fidelity to sound Catholic principles: inerrant Sacred Scripture, apostolic and ecclesiastical Tradition, and the consistent Roman Magisterium.

His 1939 text The Theology of Prayer has been re-published in a beautiful newly typeset and designed edition from Cluny Media. (Cluny last year released a collection of Monsignor Fenton’s essays, edited by Christian D. Washburn, which was reviewed here on Rorate Caeli by Christopher Malloy).

The Theology of Prayer distills the teachings of Thomas Aquinas, Thomas a Vallgornera, and Joseph a Spiritu Sancto, among other great scholastic theologians, on the nature of Christian prayer. The writings of those theologians hold such treasures on praying effectively that their loss would be a tragedy for the people of God. In these pages, Monsignor Fenton clearly and concisely presents to the contemporary reader the scholastics’ works and their penetrating insights into Sacred Scripture and Catholic Tradition. With The Theology of Prayer, Fenton revitalizes the work of those theologians, preserving their insights and presenting plainly what God has revealed about prayer and how the Church has preserved and expounded that revelation for the good and the salvation of all who believe.

As Fenton writes so beautifully: “Prayer is something, then, which is instituted, and which is commanded, for our benefit. It tends to make us love God more fully, hope in Him with greater confidence, and serve Him with greater devotion.”

The Theology of Prayer is available for purchase on and at (sign up for the company newsletter and you receive a discount code for your first purchase!).