Fr. Francis Clooney, SJ, Receives 2017 John Courtney Murray Award
June 23, 2017 — Hailed as a founder of
modern comparative theology, Jesuit Father Francis X. Clooney was given the
2017 John Courtney Murray Award for distinguished theological achievement from
the Catholic Theological Society of
America (CTSA) at
its annual convention in Albuquerque, New Mexico on June 10.
An expert in Hinduism
and religions of South Asia, Fr. Clooney was inspired by a decision to teach in
Kathmandu, Nepal, after graduating college and entering the Society of Jesus.
Jesuit Father David
Hollenbach, (president of the CTSA), said the choice of Fr. Clooney reflected
"hope that growth in the depth of our understanding of both the Christian
tradition and the reality of God remain possible in our day." He added
that Fr. Clooney's work is "profoundly traditional and creatively
original" and has "made contributions to both interreligious
understanding and Christian theology."
In his remarks, Fr. Clooney
emphasized the importance of "looking out into a larger world" from
the Catholic tradition. "I had to find a way to be a Catholic theologian
and take seriously this vast other world of Hinduism," he said.
"There was no immediate way of doing this … I've had to invent the field
to do the work I wanted to do."
acknowledged his brothers and sisters who are Protestant, Orthodox, Jewish,
Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu. "Somehow theologically we have to be in our
tradition and step beyond it all at once," he said. "This idea of
finding God in all things, finding God in the world around us, affirming God
where God is to be found is something I've always tried to do." [Source: National
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