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CTSA presents highest award to Fr. Buckley of Jesuit Institute

(6-26-2000) Canisius Professor of Theology Michael J. Buckley, SJ, director of the Jesuit Institute at Boston College, has been honored by the Catholic Theological Society of America with its highest award for excellence in theology, the John Courtney Murray Award.

The award was presented earlier this month at the CTSA annual conference, in San Jose. Fr. Buckley was hailed as "a colleague whose power of mind brings insight and elegance to our communities of learning, and whose power of heart reminds us of our calling and the persistent courage that it requires."

Fr. Buckley, director of the Jesuit Institute since 1992, is the author of numerous essays and five books, including Papal Primacy and the Episcopate: Towards a Relational Understanding (1998); The Catholic University as Promise and Project: Reflections in a Jesuit Idiom (1998), and At the Origins of Modern Atheism (1990).

"His service to Church leaders, to the theological community, to students, is in many ways unparalleled," the award citation declared. "Moreover, this theologian's articulation of Christian belief and hope, spoken out of and back into the community of faith, is matched by the healing word he has offered to many who stand outside of and even against the community. He belongs to a long line of theologians who do not shrink from addressing the deepest aspirations of co-believers and the deepest objections of those who question religious faith of any kind."

Fr. Buckley is a former president and vice president of the Catholic Theological Society of America. He has delivered more than a dozen named lectures around the world, and will soon present the D'Arcy Lectures at the University of Oxford.

A member of the California Province of the Society of Jesus since 1949, he has served as a trustee for a number of Jesuit universities and as a representative at three General Congregations of the Society of Jesus.

He earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in philosophy from Gonzaga University; licentiates in philosophy and theology from the Pontifical Faculties of St. Michael's and of Alma College in California; a graduate degree in theology from the University of Santa Clara, and a Ph.D from the University of Chicago.

Before arriving at Boston College, he was a professor of systematic and philosophical theology at the University of Notre Dame, and also served as rector and professor at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley, Calif.

Fr. Buckley's current areas of research include the theological significance of the rise of atheism in the 19th century; the character and possibilities of contemporary Catholic higher education in the United States, and contemporary spirituality in the traditions of Saints Ignatius of Loyola and John of the Cross.

The Murray Award is named in honor of Rev. John Courtney Murray, S.J. (1904-67), a Jesuit theologian whose work was instrumental in Second Vatican Council reform of Catholic doctrine on religious liberty.

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