Siena College is honored to have the opportunity to recognize the achievements of Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., priest, distinguished theologian, internationally-known author, teacher, and lecturer.
Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J. was born in Auburn, New York, the son John Foster Dulles and Janet Pomeroy Avery Dulles. After graduating from Harvard College in 1940, he studied for a year and a half at Harvard Law School before serving in the United States Navy. Raised as a Presbyterian, it was during his time at Harvard Law School that he converted to Catholicism. Following his discharge from the Navy, he entered the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) and was ordained to the priesthood in 1956. He received a Ph.L. from Woodstock College in 1951, a S.T.L. in 1957, and was awarded a doctorate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome in 1960.
Cardinal Dulles began his teaching career as an instructor of philosophy at Fordham University from 1951-1953. He served on the theology faculty of Woodstock College from 1960 to 1974, at the Catholic University of America from 1974 to 1988, and has been a visiting professor at numerous colleges and universities. Cardinal Dulles is currently the Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society at Fordham University, a position he has held since 1988.
Attempting to summarize the Cardinal's accomplishments is a daunting task, they are so numerous. Cardinal Dulles is the author of twenty-two books including, perhaps his best known, Models of the Church (1974) and the fiftieth anniversary edition of A Testimonial to Grace (1996), the memoir of his conversion to Catholicism. He has published over seven hundred articles and reviews on a variety of theological subjects including revelation, Church, faith, apologetics, and ecumenism.
Past President of both the Catholic Theological Society of America and the American Theological Society, he is a former member of the United States Lutheran/Roman Catholic Coordinating Committee. Cardinal Dulles is currently a consultor to the Committee on Doctrine of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Cardinal Dulles is the recipient of numerous honors including the National Catholic Book Award, the Cardinal Spellman Award from the Catholic Theological Society of America for distinguished achievement in theology, and the Religious Education Forum Award from the National Catholic Educational Association.
When in 2001 Fr. Avery Dulles S.J. was created a cardinal by Pope John Paul II, he became the first U.S. theologian to be named to the College of Cardinals. When the Cardinal's appointment was announced, Rev. Joseph A. O'Hare, S.J., president of Fordham University, commented:
“In selecting Fr. Avery Dulles to be the first United States Catholic theologian to become a cardinal, Pope John Paul II has recognized the extraordinary contribution that Fr. Dulles has made in the life of the Church as the preeminent Catholic theologian in this country for nearly four decades.”
Siena College honors Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., an extraordinary contributor, by awarding him the degree of Doctor of Sacred Theology.