Richard Mcbrien Essays

Richard Mcbrien Essays-65
He was also the president of Notre Dame’s faculty senate for three years.Both of these aspects of his career were over by the time I arrived here in 1996.

He usually represented what had been a pretty widespread point of view among Catholic theologians in the late 60s and 70s: liberal on the “hot-button” issues, but—as he saw it—still theologically defensible.

He understood himself, I think, to be making available a Catholic viewpoint that was both substantially anchored in the theological tradition and decidedly on the “progressive” side.

As a theologian and fellow Jesuit, what is your own impression of Pope Francis?

I am a great admirer of Pope Francis, I have to say.

In your view, what did Father Mc Brien contribute to Catholic theology?

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By the late 80s, though, this approach had definitely become a minority voice, especially among younger Catholics – and remains so, except in the secular media.He used to say that if he were beginning his life over, he might well have become a politician instead of a priest.I think that reveals a good deal about his understanding both of himself and of the priesthood. On a personal level, how will you remember Father Mc Brien?In your view, what is the greatest need in Catholic theology today?I think our greatest need is for well-informed, generous moderation.To my mind, we especially need Catholic thinkers who are deeply conscious of the roots of Catholic teaching and practice in the Scriptures and in the great classical writers of our tradition, and who are confident enough of what the church has thought and thinks to be able to know what forms of further development are possible.A thoughtful and sympathetic understanding of tradition—as the theologians of the “ressourcement” showed us in the 1930s and 1940s—frees us to imagine what the church can best be today and tomorrow. I suppose I would have to pick 2 Cor 4:7-12, where St.I know he liked Jesuits, and I think that eased our relationship a good deal.I will miss his generosity and his willingness to help all of us here work together, despite our differences, as a department of theology.But from all I have heard, he enjoyed both positions, and showed real leadership abilities in them.He was a team player, and like a good captain, sacrificed himself for what he thought were the best interests of the team.


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