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Remembering Paul Crowley, S.J. - Died August 7

08/07/2020 11:36 PM | Anonymous

The CTSA mourns the loss of its beloved member Paul Crowley, S.J.  Below is Santa Clara's tribute of Paul the university community. 

Eternal rest, grant unto Paul, O Lord,
and let perpetual light shine upon him.
May Paul's soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace. 

Dear Members of the University Community,

Today, we lost one of our beloved faculty members, Paul Crowley, S.J., Santa Clara Jesuit Community Professor in Religious Studies, after his long battle with cancer. We join with the Jesuit community in mourning Paul’s loss and pray for consolation for all of us who loved and cared for him. 

Since 1989, Paul served the Santa Clara University community with generosity, gentleness, and a profound holiness that grounded his teaching, scholarship and vocation. Over his years at Santa Clara, he held the titles of professor of religious studies, department chair, and member of numerous committees and planning initiatives that would guide the University’s understanding of its Jesuit Catholic mission in the world. 

Paul’s contributions to the Church and all people of faith as a renowned and gifted theologian are expansive. Paul taught theology in the Religious Studies Department, Graduate Program in Pastoral Ministries and at the Jesuit School of Theology. His teaching also brought him to Stanford University and the Weston School of Theology, now the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, as a visiting professor. He was a prolific writer with numerous award-winning publications, with books on Karl Rahner, Robert McAfee Brown, pluralism in the Church, and faith and suffering. Paul was very active in his profession, having served as editor-in-chief of the prestigious journal of the Society of Jesus, Theological Studies, and as a member of its board. He also held appointments on the boards of the Catholic Theological Society of America, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, and Jesuit School of Theology.  

Paul held an inclusive view of faith that reflected an Ignatian ministry of hospitality. As one of his colleagues reflected, “It is very easy to describe Paul and his life as a priest, professor, and friend. This word is simply this: Paul is a holy man. What a gift his holiness is to all of us!” 

On a personal note, I am a better Jesuit, priest, theologian, and person because of Paul. By his writing and example, he always reminded me that before everything else, we are human, and it is in the human -- in our beauty and brokenness --  that we meet the divine. 

We all have been so very blessed with Paul as priest, professor and friend. After such a generous life spent for others, we are confident he now rests in the peace of God, whom he spent his life leading others to.

May God grant him eternal rest with the communion of saints!

Notes of condolence may be sent to the Jesuit Community:

Jesuit Community
Santa Clara University
500 El Camino Real
Santa Clara, CA 95053


Kevin F. O'Brien, S.J.


  • 08/08/2020 9:41 AM | Etchi Besem Oben
    Thank you Fr Kevin for this tribute. I remember noticing him as just joyful. May he enjoy eternal joy. Rest in Peace F Paul.
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  • 08/08/2020 11:41 AM | Susan Abraham
    I met Paul at my first CTSA meeting, as a "just out the gate" new ThD, almost 20 years ago. I was presenting a paper, and I was excited, but also nervous and tentative. Thank goodness for the warm smile and receptive sense I got from a person in the front row. After the session: " Hi, I'm Paul! That was great!! I'd love to hear more!! Shall we get a cup of coffee??" and just like that, a junior member was folded into the CTSA community. Thank you, Paul for the gift of your loving kindness.
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  • 08/08/2020 12:58 PM | Rosemary P. Carbine
    I first met Paul as we journeyed on an Ignatian pilgrimage in Spain and Italy sponsored by College of the Holy Cross. We continued to meet at CTSA, other conferences, and other venues where we shared theological views and offered each other constructive feedback. His ability to take joy from all aspects of life, expressed by his hearty laugh, impressed me, along with his keen theological acumen. I continue to count on Paul among so many other liberationist theologians in the communion of saints, resting in peace but rising in power and striving to bend the arc of the universe toward justice for all humanity and the earth.
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  • 08/08/2020 1:47 PM | Jessica Coblentz
    I was really fortunate to be Paul's student at SCU. With Michael Buckley, he taught a multi-term seminar on Rahner that rocked my world. It's where I really fell for theology, I think. In 2007, when a rag-tag group of Religious Studies undergrads asked him--the department chair--for money to fly across the country for a big-time conference on feminist and queer theology, he said "Yes!" and rounded up $12,000 for our group. Still more, he and Rachel Bundang *went with us,* which included multi-flight delays, lots of airport hours, and many nights in a run-down motel. We students loved every minute of it. He was always saying yes to our intellectual adventures. I try to do this for my students because he did it for me, and it opened up the whole world to me.

    In the more-than-a-decade since, Paul continued to support me and so many others in word and deed. He unshakingly believed that the younger generations of Catholic theologians, especially women and those beyond North America, had vital contributions to make. And he made room for us. This meant so much to me because I admired him so much as a scholar: he was courageous and rigorous and open-hearted.

    There is so much more I could say--about how he was the kind of priest you wanted to be around when someone died; about his joyous laugh; about the great celebratory feast we enjoyed the last time I saw him. I will remember him, and I will do what I can to carry forth all the good things he gave me. I hope we all do.
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  • 08/10/2020 9:14 AM | Anonymous
    I add my name to the list of those who valued his role as editor of TS. H was a great help to me in getting articles published. R.I.P. Joe Bracken
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  • 08/17/2020 6:20 PM | Paul J. Schutz
    Anyone wishing to remember Paul is welcome to join the SCU community for a live-streamed memorial liturgy next Monday, August 24th, at 11am PST. Please use this link to join (it's case-sensitive):

    May he rest in peace!
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