Avery Dulles: Essential Writings from America Magazine

Avery Dulles: Essential Writings from America Magazine
by Cardinal Avery Dulles S.J. (Author), America Media Inc. (Compiler), James T. Keane (Editor), James Martin S.J. (Introduction).
Christian Classics (November 8, 2019). 384 pages.

Cardinal Avery Dulles, S.J. (1918–2008), was one of the leading American Catholic theologians of the twentieth century. Published in partnership with America Media, this collection of Dulles’s essential work from America magazine includes more than five decades of writing that showcases his wide-ranging interests in ecclesiology, salvation history, pastoral theology, and contemporary literature and reflects the Jesuit’s warm personality and astute insights on the Church in an era of great change.

Avery Dulles: The Essential Writings from America Magazine includes occasional and formal writing, book reviews, reflections, and extended essays from America. Known as a synthesizer of Catholic thought from disparate traditions and theological positions, Dulles is perhaps best known for his book Models of the Church, one of a number of important academic works he wrote. Dulles was the author of twenty-five books and produced hundreds of articles for America and other journals.

In these selections from America, Dulles reflects on theological questions such as the relationship between faith and reason, as well as events like the Second Vatican Council that affected average Catholics. Avery Dulles also includes the late cardinal’s exploration of the teachings of John Paul II and the authority of the episcopacy—solidifying our understanding of Dulles as both a towering figure and a mediating voice in American Catholicism.

The Legacy of Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ: His Words and His Witness

The Legacy of Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J.: His Words and His Witness
Ann-Marie Kirmse (Editor), Michael Canaris (Editor), Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick (Foreword)
Fordham University Press (September 1, 2012)

In his nearly 50-year career teaching philosophy and theology at Fordham and other distinguished universities, Cardinal Avery Dulles wrote and traveled extensively, writing 25 books and more than 800 articles, book reviews, forewords, introductions, and letters to the editor, translated into at least 14 languages and distributed worldwide. This work serves as a companion to the previous volume of McGinley Lectures, published as Church and Society (Fordham, 2008), and also provides an independent research guide for scholars, theologians, and anyone interested in American Catholicism in the decades immediately before and following the Second Vatican Council.

From his poems and reflections composed in prep school where he first crossed paths with John Fitzgerald Kennedy (with whom he would graduate from Harvard in 1940) to a private meeting in his last days arranged at Pope Benedict XVI's personal request, the book explores a theological topography that includes truly monumental figures and events of the modern era. As the product of perhaps the most influential American Catholic theologian in history, Dulles's writings continue to inspire and shape the way theology has been studied and practiced in academic institutions throughout the United States and the world.

Having worked closely with Cardinal Dulles, the editors have compiled an exhaustive bibliography of his works and have included a series of essays that shed light on the twilight of his life, one that intersects with ecclesiastical, theological, philosophical, and political leaders of every stripe and worldview. Contributions include Dulles's farewell lecture as McGinley Professor of Religion and Society with a stirring response by Robert Imbelli; a reflection on the Cardinal's last days by longtime research assistant Anne-Marie Kirmse, O.P.; and the moving homily given at his funeral by Edward Cardinal Egan.

The book also chronicles Cardinal Dulles's relationship with Fordham University, where he began his academic career as a Jesuit regent, teaching philosophy (1951 53), and where, for the last twenty years of his life, he held an endowed chair named in honor of a former president of Fordham, Laurence J. McGinley, S.J. This text will serve as a liminal passageway into the splendid mansion of Dulles's thought for theologians, scholars, believers, and all thinking men and women of goodwill.


Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ: A Model Theologian, 1918-2008

Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ: A Model Theologian, 1918-2008
by Patrick W. Carey. Paulist Press. 736p.

Cardinal Avery Dulles, SJ, is the foremost American Catholic theologian of the post-Vatican II era. This book is a religious and intellectual biography that focuses on his contributions to the development of American Catholic theology and to the larger arena of American Catholic life. The book traces his life and thought from his childhood in a prominent American Presbyterian and political family to his days as a student at Harvard where he converted to Catholicism, to his World War II experience in the Navy, to his ordination as a Jesuit, and then to his career as a theologian in the post-Vatican II era. In the entire twentieth century, no other theologian, with the possible exception of John Courtney Murray, SJ, has had as important an impact upon American Catholic thought. Dulles, though, is unmatched in the twentieth century because of his prolific publications and the wide distribution and reading of his published theology. More bishops, priests, and religious, as well as large numbers of laity, have been influenced by his writings and by any other single American theologian. This book will put his contributions to theology within the wider context of his religious life and the cultural and religious transformations in the United States during the last half of the twentieth century.


Avery Dulles - 1918 - 2008

Avery Cardinal Dulles passed away at about 6:30 on the morning of December 12th, 2008 -- at Murray-Weigel Hall, the Jesuit infirmary, located at Fordham University, in Bronx, New York.

Obituaries | In the News

"Having learned with sadness of the death of Cardinal Avery Dulles, I offer you my heartfelt condolences, which I ask you to kindly convey to his family, his confreres in the Society of Jesus and the academic community of Fordham University. I join you in commending the late Cardinal's noble soul to God, the Father of Mercies, with immense gratitude for the deep learning, serene judgment and unfailing love of the Lord and his Church which marked his entire priestly ministry and his long years of teaching and theological research. At the same time I pray that his convincing personal testimony to the harmony of faith and reason will continue to bear fruit for the conversion of minds and hearts and the progress of the gospel for many years to come. To all who mourn him in the hope of the resurrection I cordially impart my apostolic blessing as a pledge of consolation and peace in our Lord Jesus Christ." - Pope Benedict XVI.

Personal Tributes

Collected Archives

Avery Cardinal Dulles - Biography

Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., is currently the Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society at Fordham University, a position he has held since 1988. An internationally known author and lecturer, he was born in Auburn, New York, on August 24, 1918, the son of John Foster Dulles and Janet Pomeroy Avery Dulles. He received his primary school education in New York City, and attended secondary schools in Switzerland and New England. After graduating from Harvard College in 1940, he spent a year and a half in Harvard Law School before serving in the United States Navy, emerging with the rank of lieutenant.

Upon his discharge from the Navy in 1946, Avery Dulles entered the Jesuit Order, and was ordained to the priesthood in 1956. After a year in Germany, he studied at the Gregorian University in Rome, and was awarded the doctorate in Sacred Theology in 1960. He was created a Cardinal of the Catholic Church in Rome on February 21, 2001 by Pope John Paul II.

Installation of Cardinal Avery Dulles

Cardinal Dulles served on the faculty of Woodstock College from 1960 to 1974 and that of The Catholic University of America from 1974 to 1988. He has been a visiting professor at: The Gregorian University (Rome), Weston School of Theology, Union Theological Seminary (New York, N.Y.), Princeton Theological Seminary, Episcopal Seminary (Alexandria, Va.), Lutheran Theological Seminary (Gettysburg, Pa.), Boston College, Campion Hall (Oxford University), the University of Notre Dame, the Catholic University at Leuven, Yale University, and St. Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie.

The author of over 700 articles on theological topics, Cardinal Dulles has published twenty-two books including Models of the Church (1974), Models of Revelation (1983), The Catholicity of the Church (1985), The Craft of Theology: From Symbol to System (1992), The Assurance of Things Hoped For: A Theology of Christian Faith (1994), The Splendor of Faith: The Theological Vision of Pope John Paul II (1999), The New World of Faith (2000), and Newman (2002). The fiftieth anniversary edition of his book, A Testimonial to Grace, was republished in 1996 by the original publishers, Sheed and Ward, with an afterword containing his reflections on the past fifty years.

Avery Cardinal Dulles passed away at about 6:30 on the morning of December 12th, 2008 -- at Murray-Weigel Hall, the Jesuit infirmary, located at Fordham University, in Bronx, New York.

Selected Biographical and Personal Information

Interviews with Avery Cardinal Dulles

Avery Dulles - Collected Articles and Addresses

First Things America Magazine Contributions to The Acton Institute

Theological Studies

Other Periodicals / Addresses

The Creation of Cardinal Avery Dulles - Consistory in Rome, February 21, 2001

  1. Consistory in Rome, February 21, 2001
    A) High Speed; B) Modem Speed;
  2. English summary of Prior's welcome at Church of Jesus and Mary
    a) High Speed; B) Modem Speed;
  3. Kyrie at the Church of Jesus and Mary, Titular Church Mass
    A) High Speed; B) Modem Speed;
  4. Readings and homily of acceptance at his titular church in Rome (Church of Jesus and Mary), 2/23/01 (Videotaped in Rome, digitized in the Faculty Resource Center)
    A) High Speed; B) Modem Speed.

Books by Avery Cardinal Dulles

Church and Society: The Laurence J. McGinley Lectures, 1988-2007
Fordham University Press (February 2008)

One of the leading theologians of our time, Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., has written and lectured on a wide range of topics across his distinguished career, and for a wide range of audiences. Integrating faith and scholarship, he has created a rich body of work that, in the words of one observer, is “both faithful to Catholic tradition and fresh in its engagement with the contemporary world.”Here, brought together for the first time in one volume, are the talks Cardinal Dulles has given twice each year since the Laurence J. McGinley Lectures were initiated in 1988, conceived broadly as a forum on Church and society. The result is a diverse collection that reflects the breadth of his thinking and engages with many of the most important—and difficult—religious issues of our day.Organized chronologically, the lectures are often responses to timely issues, such as the relationship between religion and politics, a topic he treated in the last weeks of the presidential campaign of 1992. Other lectures take up questions surrounding human rights, faith and evolution, forgiveness, the death penalty, the doctrine of religious freedom, the population of hell, and a whole array of theological subjects, many of which intersect with culture and politics. The life of the Church is a major and welcome focus of the lectures, whether they be a reflection on Cardinal Newman or an exploration of the difficulties of interfaith dialogue. Dulles responds frequently to initiatives of the Holy See, discussing gender and priesthood in the context of church teaching, and Pope Benedict’s interpretation of Vatican II. Writing with clarity and conviction, Cardinal Dulles seeks to “render the wisdom of past ages applicable to the world in which we live.” For those seeking to share in this wisdom, this book will be a consistently rewarding guide to what it means to be Catholic—indeed, to be a person of any faith—in a world of rapid, relentless change.


Magisterium: Teacher and Guardian of the Faith
Sapientia Press of Ave Maria University, 2007.

Substantial theological and ecumenical questions cluster around the term 'magisterium': Does the Church need a teaching office? Can we clearly trace its origins? What is its sphere of competence and the force of its pronouncements? Most importantly, how does it give living witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ? In this comprehensive and highly readable study, Avery Cardinal Dulles answers these questions and others like it with a compelling precision honed by a lifetime of reflection on the Church and her singular mission. This book is a rich and informative resource for all inquirers into the nature, purpose and testimony of the teaching office of the Catholic Church. --Thomas G. Guarino, Professor of Systematic Theology, Seton Hall University


A History of Apologetics [Revised Edition]
Ignatius Press, 2005

Making the case for the Christian faith—apologetics—has always been part of the Church's mission. Yet Christians sometimes have had different approaches to defending the faith, responding to the needs of their respective times and framing their arguments to address the particular issues of their day.

Cardinal Avery Dulles’s A History of Apologetics provides a masterful overview of Christian apologetics, from its beginning in the New Testament through the Middle Ages and on to the present resurgence of apologetics among Catholics and Protestants. Dulles shows how Christian apologists have at times both criticized and drawn from their intellectual surroundings to present the reasonableness of Christian belief.


Newman Continuum, 2002

The Holocaust: Never to be Forgotten: Reflections on the Holy See's Document We Remember
by Avery Dulles, Leon Klenicki, Edward Idris Cassidy.
Paulist Press / May 2001

The New World of Faith
Our Sunday Visitor / September 2000

"In Christ, God opens up to us a new world of faith, in relation to which the world of daily experience is tired and old." In this beautifully simple explanation of the Catholic Faith, America's leading theologian Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J. unfolds the teaching of the Catholic Church for believers and inquirers alike. Dulles presents the faith not as a dry system of propositions, but as an invitation to communion with Jesus Christ and the call to offer our lives to Him in loving service.


  • An Affirming Theological Synthesis, by William J. Collinge. America Nov 4, 2000.
  • The Splendor of Faith: The Theological Vision of Pope John Paul II
    Crossroad/Herder & Herder / May 1999.

    A philosopher and theologian, as well as priest, and finally Pope, John Paul II has written extensivley on a wide variety of subjects. With his considerable theological expertise and acumen, Avery Dulles has undertaken the demanding task of synthesizing the Pope's theological insights on the complete range of topics from the Trinity and Christology to the economic and social order.


      The Splendour of Faith, New York: Crossroad, 1999 204 pp. Review by Kevin E. Schmiesing. Markets & Morality, Volume 3, Number 1-Spring 2000. Published by The Acton Institute.
    The Priestly Office: A Theological Reflection
    Paulist Press / May 1997.

    The Assurance of Things Hoped For: A Theology of Christian Faith
    Oxford University Press / October 1996.

    Faith, since the earliest Christian theologians, has been regarded as the fundamental Christian virtue--the prerequisite for hope, charity, and good works. In this book, Avery Dulles examines the biblical foundations and history of theological reflection on faith, from the Greek and Latin fathers to such modern giants as Tillich, Rahner, and Lonergan. Further, Dulles presents his own systematic synthesis, reflecting on such topics as the nature and object of faith; the certitude of faith; the birth, growth, and loss of faith; and faith and salvation. The result is a refreshingly relevant theology of faith for our day.


    Testimonial to Grace and Reflections on a Theological Journey
    Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. / September 1996.

    Dulles account, written in 1946, of his conversion to the Catholic Church. This special 50th Anniversary Edition contains a newly penned afterword in which the author details his fifty-year journey from conversion to priesthood to theologian. Dulles describes the mentors and the experiences that shaped his perspective as a theologian.

    Crossroad Publishing Company / March 1995


    Models of Revelation
    Orbis Books / September 1994.

    The Catholicity of the Church
    Oxford University Press / January 1987.

    Avery Dulles, well-known for several previous works in ecclesiology, including Models of the Church, here surveys a theme that demands new treatment in the present global and ecumenical context. He deals with questions that are vital for the identity of churches that designate themselves Catholic, and for the relationship between these churches and Protestant forms of Christianity. The prospects of Catholicism are realistically appraised. The Catholicity of the Church reproduces, in slightly revised form, the Martin D'Arcy Lectures delivered by Fr Dulles at Campion Hall, University of Oxford.
    Models of the Church
    Doubleday & Company, Inc. / 1978.

    Avery Cardinal Dulles - Video / Media

    Excerpted from Avery Dulles: Fordam University's Videos-on-Demand

    Pope Benedict XVI's personal visit to Cardinal Dulles

    Pope Benedict XVI pays a personal visit to Cardinal Avery Dulles during his U.S. apostolic visit (America "In All Things" May 16, 2008). The meeting took place in Cardinal Egan's suite in St. Joseph's Seminary, after the Pope's meeting with disabled children. The following account is taken from the New York Jesuits' newsletter, written by Anne Marie Kirmse, O.P., Cardinal Dulles's longtime assistant:
    "The Pope literally bounded into the room with a big smile on his face. He went directly to where Avery was sitting, saying, 'Eminenza, Eminenza, I recall the work you did for the International Theological Committee in the 1990's.' Avery kissed the papal ring and smiled back at the Pope. Then the Pope looked at the people in the room who had accompanied Avery to the Seminary: Fr. Tom Marciniak, who served as Cardinal Dulles's priest-chaplain for the meeting; Sr. Anne-Marie Kirmse, O.P.; and Francine Messiah and Oslyn Fergus of the [Jesuit infirmary's] medical staff. After this warm and friendly exchange of greetings, the Pope sat down next to Avery to hear the remarks that Avery had prepared and which were read for him by Fr. Tom Marciniak. During the presentation, Fr. Tom handed the Pope a copy of Avery's latest book, Church and Society: The Laurence J. McGinley Lectures, 1988-2007, which was published earlier this month by Fordham University Press. The Pope expressed great interest in the book, and even interrupted the reading of the remarks to ask again when the book had been published. He eagerly looked through it, and was touched by Avery's inscription to him. Before leaving, the Pope blessed Avery, assuring him of his prayers, and encouraging him in his sufferings. He then said good-bye in turn to each of the four persons who accompanied Avery."

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