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America's Only Theologian-Cardinal to Receive Saint Thomas Aquinas Medallion

dullesHis Eminence Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J. His Eminence Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., will preside over commencement ceremonies at Thomas Aquinas College on May 14, 2005. He will serve as principal celebrant of the baccalaureate Mass and deliver the commencement address. The homilist at the baccalaureate Mass will be the Reverend Monsignor George Parnassus, pastor emeritus of St. Vincent Church in West Hollywood, California, and long-time friend of the college.

By resolution of Thomas Aquinas College's Board of Governors, Cardinal Dulles will also be awarded the Saint Thomas Aquinas Medallion, an honor established by the Board in 1975. The resolution states: "Cardinal Dulles has shown an exemplary loyalty and devotion to the Holy Father and the magisterium of the Church. As an author and in his numerous appointments, he has worked tirelessly to proclaim, support, and defend the teachings of the Church, and to advance the mission of Christ on earth."

parnassusReverend Monsignor George Parnassus. Although this will be Cardinal Dulles's first trip to Thomas Aquinas College, he has been a friend of the college for several years, having served as a member of the Fides et Ratio grant committee when it awarded the college a grant of $300,000 in 2002.

Cardinal Dulles has held the Laurence J. McGinley Chair of Religion and Society at Fordham University since 1988. He is an advisor to the Committee on Doctrine of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and a member of the International Theological Commission. He has also received an impressive array of awards, including Phi Beta Kappa, the Croix de Guerre, the Cardinal Spellman Award for distinguished achievement in theology, the Cardinal Gibbons Award from The Catholic University of America, the John Carroll Society Medal, and 28 honorary doctorates.

An internationally known author and lecturer, Cardinal Dulles has published over 22 books and 700 articles on theological topics such as the Catholic Church's stand on hell and capital punishment. His most recent book, about Venerable John Henry Cardinal Newman and simply titled Newman, was published by Continuum Press in 2002.

In his long academic career, he has held many distinguished academic positions, including professor of theology at The Catholic University of America, the Gregorian University in Rome, Princeton Theological Seminary, Oxford University, and the North American College at Louvain.

The 86-year-old cardinal was born in Auburn, New York, the son of John Foster Dulles, Secretary of State in the Eisenhower Administration, and Janet Pomeroy Avery Dulles. He was ordained to the priesthood in 1956 and "given the red hat" by Pope John Paul II on February 21, 2001, making him the only American theologian ever to be named to the college of cardinals.

Cardinal Dulles will be the 8th cardinal to preside over commencement at the college. Previous commencement speakers include Francis Cardinal Arinze (2004), J. Francis Cardinal Stafford (2003), Christoph Cardinal Schönborn (2002), Francis Cardinal George (2001), the late Jan Cardinal Schotte (1999), Anthony Cardinal Bevilacqua (1998), and the late John Cardinal O=Connor (1989).

Ceremonies on May 14th will begin with the baccalaureate Mass at 9:00 a.m., followed by a continental breakfast. Commencement will begin at 11:00 a.m.