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 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."
Fr. Clooney 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 Catholic Reporter]