In Memoriam

Richard McBrien — priest, theologian, mentor — passed from this life on 25 January 2015. Archbishop Leonard P. Blair will preside at his funeral liturgy on Friday 30 January.

“The theologian’s job,” McBrien said, “is one of critically reflecting on that tradition or raising questions about it, even challenging it, and that’s how doctrines evolve and move forward.”

When asked about the greatest need in theology today, Father McBrien replied:

“I think our greatest need is for well-informed, generous moderation. We live in a culture that is increasingly polarized: in politics, in public discourse, in social institutions, even in the church. The “culture wars” continue to grow more intense, and to paralyze us. 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.”

The process continues; and the challenge and the task are passed on to a new generation….


4 thoughts on “Fr. Richard McBrien

  1. I got to meet and share with Dick McBrien when he used to come to Houston and teach in the summer MRE program at the University of St. Thomas in the late 60’s and early 70’s.  He was very well accepted, understood and appreciated.I was in contact with him over the years and he was always very grateful.  May he rest in peace, freed from the nastiness of our present Church climate. Peace, Louie  Louis Arceneaux, C.M. 812 Constantinople St. New Orleans, La 70115 504.453.4744

    1. Thanks Louis. He was a wonderfully pastoral man as well. He and Edward Schillebeeckx had a profound influence on my own theological and personal development. Jack

  2. While I did not know this man, the description suggests he was someone who will be a sad loss in the fight to make the Church more reflective of Christ.

    I offer my sincere sympathies to all who loved and knew this man and suffer his loss. Know that in the life beyond, his work goes on.


Leave a Reply