Honorary Degree Citation - Bernard Lonergan*

by Sean McEvenue, June 1977

Mr. Chancellor,

I have the honour to present to you Reverend Doctor Bernard Lonergan, a very distinguished Canadian Jesuit, who is recognized as one of the leading philosophical and theological thinkers of this century.

Dr. Lonergan has devoted his life to learning. I am very proud to say that he was born in Buckingham, Quebec, that he was educated here at Loyola and that he began his teaching career as a lecturer on this campus in 1931. Since 1940 he has been a professor of Theology in Montreal, Toronto and Boston. He was a Stillman Professor at Harvard University in 1971 and at present holds the post of "Visiting Distinguished Professor" in Theology and in Economics at Boston College.

Father Lonergan is the author of twelve books, some of which have been translated into various languages. His work studies the core of human experience; it is basic, universal in application, utterly original, precisely articulated and powerfully argued. It has led a vast movement of thought in North America and Europe. A decade ago he was said to be thirty years ahead of his time, but in this age of Future Shock his time appears to be now. Although Dr. Lonergan is very alive and still active, books have already been written about him. A book entitled An Introduction to the Philosophy of Bernard Lonergan was published by MacMillan in London last year. Other books have been appearing regularly since 1970, studying his philosophy, his method, his achievement, comparing him to Emmanuel Kant and so forth. Between forty and fifty doctoral dissertations examining his thought have been completed and as many more are in progress. Several international comgresses have been held here and abroad to keep up with the impact and implications of the work of this remarkable Canadian.

This achievement, Mr. Chancellor, has been widely recognized. Within the organization of the Catholic Church he has been a much consulted theologian, and has held positions on important theological commissions and committees. In the United States he has received four major awards for his contributions to theology and philosophy. In this country he was made "Companion of the Order of Canada" in 1970. More recently, he has become a "Corresponding Fellow of the British Academy". He has been awarded fourteen honorary doctorates, most recently by the University of Chicago in 1974 and by McMaster University, Hamilton, last year.

Mr. Chancellor, I am honoured to present to you, on behalf of the University Senate, and the authority of the Board of Governors, The Reverend Doctor Bernard Lonergan, that you may confer on him the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

* deceased