50 Years Ago: John Courtney Murray, SJ
Featured on the cover of Time magazine, 50 years ago today, was a one-time associate editor of America magazine you might have heard of. The original portrait of John Courtney Murray, S.J., (1904-1967) by Boris Chaliapin, one of Time's regular cover artists, now hangs in the lobby of America House in New York. If you've not heard of this great American Jesuit theologian, who was for a time prevented from writing on issues of church and state (his primary field of interest and the subject of his book We Hold These Truths), whose ideas were eventually incorporated into the Second Vatican Council's "Declaration on Religious Liberty," and who was later officially "rehabilitated" by Pope Paul VI during his concelebration with the pope at a public Mass, here are pieces in America by the Msgr. Robert McElroy ("He Held These Truths"), Gregory Kalscheur, S.J. ("American Catholics and the State"), John Coleman, S.J. on what was at stake in the debates over religious liberty during Vatican II ("Religious Liberty") and Fr. Murray himself, in an article that concisely maps out his position in 1963 ("On Religious Liberty.") The time of his "silencing" is covered in Robert Nugent's new book Silence Speaks: Teilhard de Chardin, Yves Congar, John Courtney Murray and Thomas Merton. As McElroy, Kalscheur, Coleman show, his far-ranging ideas on church and state are particularly applicable today. And, as Nugent shows, the church often ends up incorporating into her teaching the very ideas that she rejected not long before. Finally, an excellent bio of Fr. Murray is here at the Murray Collection at the Woodstock Center in Georgetown.