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Theology professor wins award for service to Church

| Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Fellowship of Catholic Scholars awarded the Cardinal Wright Prize to professor of theology Fr. Brian E. Daley on Saturday at its annual meeting in Pittsburgh, according to a University press release. Daley said receiving the award came as a surprise.

“I really don’t know why they singled me out for the award,” Daley said. “I just do my thing and don’t think of myself as a public figure. The current president of the Fellowship, Fr. Joseph Koterski from Fordham [University], is a friend and former student of mine, so that may explain how they found me. I also got an award from the Vatican — the Ratzinger Prize — two years ago, so they may have heard of that.”

The Fellowship gives the Wright Prize for outstanding scholarly service to the Church in a wide range of fields, Daley said.

“The Fellowship is an organization of Catholic scholars in many fields — not just theology, but philosophy, literature and the social sciences — and also of others interested in the Catholic tradition of learning and thought,” Daley said. “It was founded, as I understand, by a group of professors about 50 years ago, who included the late professor Ralph McInerny from Notre Dame.”

Daley, a Jesuit priest who has taught both undergraduate and graduate students at Notre Dame for 18 years, said his academic area of expertise includes early Church writings.

“My field of research and writing is really the theology of the early Church writers — in Greek, Latin and other ancient languages — from the second through about the ninth centuries,” he said. “I’m especially interested in the early Church’s understanding of God, of the person of Christ, of Mary, of our hope as Christians and of how to interpret the Scriptures.”

Daley said he enjoyed his time in Pittsburgh during his trip to receive the award last weekend.

“Pittsburgh is one of my favorite cities, anyway, and the drive there, as the fall colors are just starting, was really beautiful,” Daley said. “I really enjoyed meeting all the members of the Fellowship, who were very hospitable.”

This semester, Daley is on sabbatical in Washington, D.C., but while on campus he stays busy with courses, research and involvement with Notre Dame students.

“I do a good bit of priestly work and for fun also help coach the men and women in our Boxing Club,” Daley said.


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