Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Dominican theologian, Fr. Benedict Ashley, O.P., has passed away

Sad news. The great Dominican theologian, Benedict Ashley, has passed away at the age of 97. Ashley was an atheist and a communist who converted to Catholicism after reading Thomas Aquinas' works. He was truly a brilliant theologian and he will be sorely missed by those of us who benefited from his work.

From the Order of Preachers' website:
Fr Benedict M. Ashley, a foremost theologian and philosopher of the Central Province of St Albert the Great, USA has passed on. He had a major influence on the 20th century Catholic Moral Theology, Moral Philosophy and Ethics in America through his writings, teachings, and consultations. He passed on peacefully on Saturday, 23rd of February, 2013. 
He was born in Kansas in 1915 and raised in Blackwell, Oklahoma. He started off as a committed atheist and communist but after studying the works of St Thomas Aquinas, he was baptized in the Catholic Church. He entered the Dominican Order, made his religious profession in 1942 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1948. 
He has a Doctorates from the University of Notre Dame (Political Science) and Aquinas Institute, River Forest, Illinois (Philosophy). He also has a post-doctoral Master of Sacred Theology from University of St Thomas Aquinas, Rome and a Honorary Doctor of Theology from Aquinas Institute. 
He has taught various subjects in various capacities in the following institutes; Aquinas Institute (1952-69), Pontifical Institute of Philosophy, River Forest (1957-69), Institute of Religion and Human Development, Texan Medical Centre, Houston (1969-72), Aquinas Institute of Theology, Dubuque (1969-81), Aquinas Institute of Theology, St Louis (1981-88), Pontifical Pope John II Institute for Studies in Marriage and Family, Washington DC (1988-92), Kenrick Seminary, St Louis (1996-2004), Center for Health Care Ethics, St Louis University (1997-2003), Institute for Psychological Sciences, Washington DC (2001), John Paul II Cultural Center, Washington DC (2001), Institute for Advanced Physics (2003) and the University of Chicago. 
He has been a consultant to a number of groups, notable among this is the US Conference of Catholic Bishops. He received the medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice from John Paul II and he is also a Senior Fellow of the National Catholics Center for Bioethics, USA. 
He has author some 22 books and even more articles. He was a major exponent of the "River Forest School" of Thomism. Health Care Ethics, which he co-authored in 1975 and now in its fifth edition, continues to be a fundamental text in the field of Catholic Medical Ethics. 
May his soul rest in peace.


Unknown said...

That's unfortunate. I just got done reading about him last night. He seemed like my kind of author which is why I intend to read as much of his material that I can get my hands on.
Thank you prof. Barber for the notification. God bless.

Brian said...

I am so sorry to read this news. Father Ashley, I hope you are at peace with the Lord. You were an important philosopher and theologian, and I admired you and your writings. Thank you also for your priesthood.