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Law, culture, and Catholicism...up in smoke!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fr. Paul M. Quay, S.J.

In my ongoing series of tributes to "Tough Old Jesuits," today I profile

Fr. Paul M. Quay, S.J., Research Professor of Philosophy, Loyola University Chicago.

A big hat tip to Dr. Ed Peters and his wonderful site (Thales--for the love of God add this to the blogroll already!!) for providing this biography of Fr. Quay.

Paul Michael Quay was born in Arkansas on August 24, 1924. After military service he entered the Chicago Province of the Society of Jesus on September 1, 1946, and was ordained to the priesthood on June 11, 1961. He died in Chicago at Loyola University on October 10, 1994, at the age of 70. His doctorate in theoretical physics was from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied under Professor Alfred Shatkin—a convinced atheist who forced Quay to answer hard questions about why Catholics are no better and often worse than atheists. Quay did a year of postdoctoral research in physics at the Case Institute of Technology and then taught physics and theology at St. Louis University for fourteen years, returning to Chicago in 1981. He wrote over seventy-five scholarly articles and the book, The Christian Meaning of Human Sexuality (1988) which has been translated into several languages. At the time of his death he held the position of Research Professor of Philosophy at Loyola University in Chicago.

Quay’s outstanding contribution to Roman Catholic studies in the United States is his posthumous book, edited by Joseph Koterski, S.J., in 438 pages: The Mystery Hidden for Ages in God. After the initial input from Shatkin during the years of Quay’s doctoral studies, the book was first conceived as a project in 1964 through conversation in France with Winoc De Broucker, S.J., and then again gained momentum in 1969 as a result of further investigation at Fourvière, the Jesuit theologate in Lyon, with Henri de Lubac, S.J. It explores the thought of de Lubac on the patristic theme of recapitulation, and was distilled into its present form after being presented first as a university course, then as symposium lectures, then as essays. The Mystery Hidden for Ages in God (1995) is thus the result of thirty years of meditation upon recapitulation, that is, how the individual Christian goes through “biblical stages” of gradual transformation into the likeness of Christ. From Rev. Brian Van Hove, S.J., FCS Quarterly, 27:4, p. 8 (Winter 2004) PDF. See also this 1991 Touchstone interview.

Also: Toward an Understanding of Academic Freedom (1994).

I would encourage all to visit Dr. Peters site to view many of Fr. Quay's fine articles. (Here also is a great picture of Father's ordination.) FUMARE has cited Fr. Quay numerous times before in other contexts, but I have found the following to be most powerful and worthy of frequent meditation:
To an even greater degree, Catholics who have matured to this point have always been forced into a ghetto— often enough by their fellow Catholics. This is not usually a constriction in living quarters but of exclusion from the exercise of their competencies in dealing with the issues that most concern their lives, their country, and the Church. Though they may think that they are bumping into invisible walls, set up to keep them out of positions of influence, more often it is they who are invisible. They are passed over and ignored by people who may have no dislike for them but who sense them as strangers to the life of the world around them.