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Remembering Rev. Robert M. Doran, S.J. - d. Jan. 21, 2021

01/21/2021 11:47 AM | Anonymous

Remembering longstanding member Robert M. Doran, S.J.   

May he rest in peace.

Robert M. Doran

CTSA Proceedings:
View of Nature and Method of Theology

Brief biography on Bernard Longergan, S.J. (1904-1984)


  • 01/22/2021 9:21 AM | Gordon A Rixon SJ
    Bob was a constant source of collegial encouragement, a diligent curator of Bernard Lonergan's works and an original contributor to the church as servant through his writings and personal integrity. He will be missed by his colleagues and students from around the world.
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  • 01/22/2021 9:30 AM | Paulinus I. Odozor, C.S.Sp
    Bob Doran’s death is indeed sad news for many of us. I had him as teacher in Toronto in his class on Lonergan’s hermeneutics. He was a very good teacher and a good man. In those days, ( 1970s till the late 1990s) the Jesuits packed Regis College Toronto with seriously good scholars. Bob was one of them. Students came to Toronto to study with this pack of serious selfless scholars. Many of these men have died and retired. I know that I speak for many who went through the Toronto School of Theology within this period that this death is indeed the end of an era. Thank you Bob. Rest In Peace. I shall offer a mass for his repose this weekend. It is a shame we cannot attend such a funeral at this time. But he will continue to live in the memories of the many students he taught or directed. Paulinus I. Odozor, C.S.Sp.
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  • 01/22/2021 9:41 AM | SimonMary A. Aihiokhai
    Bob will be missed. Our paths crossed several times over the years and he was always a man full of joy and hope. He left a positive mark in the theological world and the church in North America. Rest in God's peace and love for all eternity.
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  • 01/22/2021 10:15 AM | William George
    I consider myself so blessed to have crossed paths over the years with this wonderful scholar, teacher, Jesuit, and human being--both through his writings and more personally, especially at Lonergan workshops at Boston College where he was a frequent gentle and inspiring presence. Over forty years ago, I wrote master's thesis in philosophy at Gonzaga University entitled "Imagination and Conversion," based on the writings of Lonergan, C.G. Jung, and Ignatius of Loyola. Bernie Tyrell, SJ, pointed me to Bob's dissertation on "Subject and Psyche," and his notion of "psychic conversion," to help bring it all together--which they did. No doubt he helped many to make better sense of their lives and to undergo the kinds of conversion of which we are in such need today. Bob, may you now join fully in the life of the Trinity that you pondered so well and so long.
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  • 01/22/2021 12:21 PM | Carla Mae Streeter OP
    Bob Doran was my doctoral thesis director. But in addition to this mentoring, he introduced me to the depths of Religion and Culture, opened up the real possibility of a psychological and spiritual synthesis, and asked the questions that opened up a rich intellectual career for me. I will be forever grateful to him.
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  • 01/22/2021 12:23 PM | Joseph Ogbonnaya
    I was privileged to study under Bob in the Toronto School of Theology and to work with him as a colleague and relate as a friend. Doran's significant contribution to Lonergan studies especially the addition of psychic conversion to Lonergan's intellectual, moral and religious conversion advances Lonergan's work. It concretizes conversion by promoting the attentiveness that has been applied by some scholars in Pope Francis' call for integral ecology. It emphasizes the healing we are in dire need of today to overcome the dramatic bias reflected in what has been recognized as unconscious racism which has been at the nerve center of American life seeking to overthrow American civilization by making people susceptible to lies and demagoguery.
    Most important for me in closer reading of Bob's work which I consider the application of Ignatian exercises to various aspects of contemporary society is its relevance to world Christianity by laying out the dogmatic theological context, the unified field structure for systematics.
    In the words of a friend of mine, Bob is the "master-collaborator." The experiences of many of us members of CTSA is a clear testimony to this. He promotes his students, does not shy away from citing their works and collaborating with them in areas their works interrelate. Bob's broadmindedness which knew no bounds attracts students from far and wide to study under him. Bob is irreplaceable and will be truly missed.
    May Robert M. Doran rest in peace. Amen
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    • 01/22/2021 4:02 PM | M Shawn Copeland
      Bob Doran was a wonderful and generous human being, always turned outward and ready to engage others. Bob also was an excellent theologian and thinker. He was affirming and also challenging: this made conversation with him such stimulating and valuable learning experience. Bob Doran's death leaves us saddened, but we can continue to count on his spirit!
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  • 01/22/2021 3:56 PM | Liam Farrer
    Around the time I was finishing my PhD coursework, two of my committee members had moved onto other jobs. When we were discussing the faculty changes at my institution, I told Bob about this and mentioned that I heard that an incoming Jesuit was interested in historical theology. Bob informed me that this was true but that his area of research was quite different from my interests. I responded that I guessed I could become interested in that. At this point Bob looked at me and said very seriously "don't change your research." I could tell he meant it and he moved on to another topic of conversation. Just him telling me that filled me with so much confidence that I was really able to see past this transition. I didn't change my research and I'll forever be in Bob's debut for that. Bob was not just an amazing scholar and a caring priest, he was genuinely one of the most lovely human beings I've ever encountered. I'll miss seeing him in the front row at Lonergan Conference's but am comforted knowing that he's currently sitting in a different front row seeing God face to face.
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  • 01/22/2021 5:44 PM | John Dool, Ph.D.
    Bob was my teacher and doctoral thesis supervisor. I owe him a great deal intellectually and personally. He could challenge his students to rise to their best, but would do so invariably in a kind and gentle way. He was a great scholar, teacher, and model. May he rest in peace in Christ.
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  • 01/22/2021 6:06 PM | Susan Gray
    So very sad to hear of Bob's passing. Turning to theology later in life, Bob kindly welcomed me into the world of Lonergan and always very patiently answered my questions about his own work, which in turn had a tremendous impact on my own work. His corpus will continue to have enormous value for Theology writ large and the Lonergan community, for many years to come. May he rest in the love of Christ's glory and peace.
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  • 01/22/2021 6:16 PM | Thomas Aquinas Dunne
    Bob and I were fellow students at Regis College, Toronto, and then fellow teachers there. He faithfully and successfully carried forward Lonergan's own hope to extend his method in theology to other human studies. From Bob I felt encouraged to learn about the role of symbols in theology and in the practical dynamics of Jesuit discernment. Personally, I remember his gracious invitations to join him over lunch at the Jesuit residence during a Lonergan Workshop at Boston College. I will miss his presence, leadership, and gentle wisdom, as will many others, probably at times they least expect. - Tad Dunne
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  • 01/22/2021 6:22 PM | Neil Ormerod
    My first encounter with Bob, as with many theologians, was through his writings. I had encountered Lonergan both early and later. Early in relation to my theological career, late academically as I had spent years honing by skills as a mathematician. But Lonergan enabled me to move from maths to theology through his focus on insight, something as a mathematician I had lots of experience with. As very green, young and dedicated theologian I read everything I could get on Lonergan and those around him. Sebastian Moore opened me up to the world of affective interiority, but it was Bob’s writings in his engagement with Jung that provided me with the framework for understanding the affective life at greater depth and coherence. I read his Subject and Psyche and Psychic Conversion and Theological Foundations eagerly, understanding as much as I could, but nothing prepared me for his Theology and the Dialectics of History when it landed in my lap (as Fred Crowe referred to it, “a real ball buster”); 700 pages of dense text which I read and re-read until it became second nature (except for Chap 19 for obvious reasons to anyone who has read it). Anyone familiar with my own writings will know how much I drew from this work. Indeed I can still remember teaching a unit on “mission and ministry” in the 90s when pennies started to drop and the seeds of my book of ecclesiology were planted.

    I only got to meet Bob in the flesh in 2004 at the International Lonergan Workshop in Toronto. The Workshop itself was a bit of a mess in terms of organisation, but Bob asked to meet me prior to its start and we had lunch together. By this stage I had a couple of articles in Theological Studies drawing on his work and had been in some communication with him. He was a generous and engaging host and our paths continued to cross over the years at CTSA, Boston Workshop and West Coast Method Institute meetings on Los Angeles. In 2012 I enjoyed perhaps my first and only major sabbatical leave which included three weeks at Marquette, living with the Jesuit community there, attending daily mass, exercising in the gym and having my morning, lunch and evening meals with Bob and some of the other Jesuits there (special mention to David Schultenover, then editor of TS, who regularly joined us).These three weeks were one of special blessing for me.

    While my own writings explored the potentialities of TDH Bob had moved on to a larger vision of systematic theology, with his book What is Systematic Theology?, and the beginnings of his unpacking of Lonergan’s four-point hypothesis for the Trinity. For me the penny dropped on this while at an international Lonergan workshop in Mainz in 2007. During one of the presentations which was in Italian, my mind started to focus on the logic of Lonergan’s position, and suddenly it all fell into place. I was playing catch up now reading Bob’s work, his articles and eventually two volumes of his The Trinity in History, which I was honoured to read in mss form for UTP prior to publication. Bob’s work on the Trinity opened up for me a rich vein of theological insights as we both wrote article after article exploring its potentialities. I would like to think of myself now as his collaborator, if only as a junior partner.

    Bob was a theological giant. I remember seeing a cartoon once which seemed to have amused Rahner. It depicted four levels of theologian: the nuclear powered; the disseminators; the popularisers; and the preachers. Bob was definitely nuclear powered. In an informal launch of his first Trinity volume which came out during my stay at Marquette, I said Bob was not writing for the decades but for the centuries. His work will stand, as much of the theological dross has fallen away. I used to joke that every book he wrote extended my own theological career by a decade, as I helped unpack its significance and applied it to an array of theological issues. His passing will leave a hole that cannot be filled until we meet again, with God’s good grace, in the vision of a loving intelligence and intelligent loving that is our Triune God. Rest in peace Bob.
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  • 01/22/2021 6:59 PM | Christine Firer Hinze (Administrator)
    A wonderful scholar and a wonderful human being has gone from our midst. I am finding the testimonials being posted by those who knew Bob well to be very moving, and a reflection of the impact for good he made on our field and in our world. May he rest in peace.
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  • 01/24/2021 2:03 PM | Prof. Michael Vertin
    As a colleague at St. Michael’s College, I was privileged to collaborate closely with Robert Doran during his three decades as a professor at Regis College, Toronto. Among his many scholarly achievements, surely one of the most important was his role in the publication of the twenty-five volume Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan by the University of Toronto Press. The first volume appeared in 1988; the final volume, in 2019. The idea and the plan for this massive project originated with Frederick Crowe and Bob; and together they served as editors of the initial (and much simpler) volumes. But following Fred’s retirement in 2006, the task of being the lead editor fell to Bob; and he performed it with enormous determination and devotion.

    However, Bob’s priestly ministry was not just scholarly: it was intensely pastoral as well. Among other things, he had a special commitment to fostering a place in the Church for gay Catholics. He was the primary organizer, celebrant, and overseer of the weekly “healing mass” at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish in Toronto. The weekly services went on for some two decades. And although they ended not long after Bob returned to Milwaukee, much healing---of both the local gays and the local Church---had occurred.

    May Bob now share in the loving communion of the Blessed Trinity.
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  • 01/24/2021 4:15 PM | Donna M Teevan
    I am saddened by this news. Bob was my dissertation director when he was at Regis College, Toronto. To this day, I remain so grateful for having had the opportunity to learn about Lonergan in his classes and then to work with him when writing my dissertation. Much can be said about his theological contributions. I would add that, in my experience, he was not only a brilliant scholar, but a wonderful teacher and an authentic human being. It is good to know that such a gracious person has been a part of our profession and can continue to inspire us to practice that way of being with our students and colleagues.
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  • 03/10/2021 12:11 PM | Thomas Aquinas Dunne
    Bob and I were fellow students at Regis College, Toronto, and then fellow teachers. His ideas on a "psychic conversion" have enlightened me about how art and a notion of beauty fills out gaps in Lonergan's views on "self-appropriation" and helps artists and their attenders to continue growing in being wholesome. Bob was also kindly company in the several walks and meals we shared at Boston College during BC Lonergan workshops. While the music of Lonergan will continue, there seems to be a violin missing -- Tad Dunne
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