Father Richard McBrien

McBrienFather Richard McBrien, 78, noted theologian and prolific writer who served on the faculty of Notre Dame University, South Bend, Ind., for almost three decades, died Jan. 25 in his native Connecticut, where he had recently returned. He had been ill for the past several years.

His popular works included “Catholicism,” “Lives of the Saints” and “Lives of the Popes.”

He also wrote a popular theology weekly column which ran in as many as 25 Catholic newspapers in the country, including The Tablet.

Father McBrien, a priest of the Archdiocese of Hartford, Conn., also taught at Boston College and Harvard University before moving to Notre Dame.

Father McBrien served as president of the Catholic Theological Society of America, 1972-74, and won its John Courtney Murray Award “for outstanding and distinguished achievement in theology” in 1976.

In 1985, the Committee on Doctrine of the U.S. bishops’ conference objected that his book Catholicism was “not supportive of the church’s authoritative teaching”on certain matters, especially contraception and the ordination of women.

Despite becoming a lightning rod on theological subjects and having his column removed from several newspapers, Father McBrien always remained a priest in good standing.

In 1985, Father McBrien spoke at a Tablet Forum held at St. Francis College, Brooklyn Heights.

Bishop Leonard P. Blair was the principal celebrant at the Mass of Christian Burial at St. Helena Church, Hartford, on Jan. 30. Interment followed at Mount St. Benedict Cemetery, Bloomfield, Conn.

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One thought on “Father Richard McBrien

  1. It was my good fortune to be a student at Boston College during the years Fr. McBrien was there. In fact, I was a student in his class on Ecclesiology. He did not just convey facts to us. Rather like any great teacher he challenged our convictions about the Church and the world we live and believe in a living God.