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Memorial Tribute
John P. Boyle

died: February 23, 2006

John P. Boyle, the president of CTSA in 1988-89, died on February 23, 2006, after three years of declining health.  John, a diocesan priest of Davenport, Iowa, received the STL from the Pontifical Gregorian University in 1957 and the Ph.D. from Fordham University in 1972 with a dissertation on “Faith and Community in the Ethical Theory of Rahner and Lonegran.”  He began a long and distinguished teaching career in Catholic Studies at the School of Religion of the University of Iowa in 1972 and went through the professorial ranks until his recent retirement.  His primary areas of scholarly research were bioethics and nineteenth and twentieth century Catholic thought.

John was a careful and precise scholar best remembered by the Catholic academic community for his 1995 book, Church Teaching Authority: Historical and Theological Studies.  He traced the development within the church from a juridical model of teaching authority within an institutional model of church to the need for a community of moral and religious discourse with appropriate roles for the hierarchical teaching office, theologians, and the people of God.

In addition to his scholarship, the Catholic theological community respected John for his practical wisdom, his judiciousness, and his exemplary fairness and evenhandedness.  In the light of these qualities he was often asked to take on many administrative duties and to serve on committees dealing with delicate matters.  John was Director of the School of Religion at the University of Iowa from 1979-89.  He served the Catholic Theological Society of America as a member and chair of a number of very significant committees dealing with the relationship of theologians and the hierarchical magisterium, the imprimatur, and academic freedom.  He served as the first Senior Director of the Society of Christian Ethics from 1991-94.  He was Vice-Chair of the Council of Societies for the Study of Religion in 1991-92.

We mourn the loss of a significant scholar, a willing and unselfish collaborator in the life and work of the theological community, a well respected colleague, and, for some of us, a good friend.  Requisescat in pace.

Charles E. Curran
Elizabeth Scurlock University Chair of Human Values
Southern Methodist University






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