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 Does Anyone Know About Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton? 
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New post Does Anyone Know About Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton?
I have great respect for Msgr. Fenton, and admire immensely his true Catholic love for Holy Mother Church. Since Mike has posted some articles from AER by Msgr. Fenton, I have recently wondered what became of him. I know he died in 1969, well after VII.

Following is a quote from a Catholic Family News article debunking the Cardinal Siri Thesis:

Quote:
Throughout the 1950s, in the pages of the American Ecclesiastical Review, Msgr. Fenton opposed Father John Courtney Murray's progressivist teaching teaching on Religious Liberty. Both Fenton and Courtney Murray eventually became periti (expert advisors) at Vatican II.

On November, 1963, a Vatican meeting took place between Cardinal Ottaviani and Msgr. Fenton, who represented the traditionalists' position, and Cardinal Bea and Father John Courtney Murray, who represnted the liberal position. Here Msgr. Fenton was told that Father John Courtney Murray's position would become the teaching of Vatican II.

Msgr. Fenton immediately returned from Rome and resigned as Editor of the American Ecclisiastical Review, allegedly for health reasons. Yesterday's heresy had become today's orthodoxy, and Msgr. Fenton resigned his post rather than promote a teaching he knew to be incorrect. He virtually disappeared and died in New England in 1969.


Does anyone know if he finished as a periti at Vatican II or stayed here in the U.S.? Also, were there any post-VII writings of Msgr. Fenton: any interviews, etc? Any thoughts about his 'virtual disappearance' and what that means?

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Fri Sep 15, 2006 4:06 am
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Dear Teresa,

I am very happy that you brought this up. I have tried to learn about what happened to Msgr. Fenton, but it is a mystery to me as well. The internet provides no answers. The Catholic University of America website provides no answers. I do not know of any of his writings or his thoughts from the time of his resignation from AER until his death in 1969. It seems like some want his name to disappear.

The very fact that he has disappeared into history with no recognition speaks volumes. Msgr. Fenton was a holdover from the "Pope Pius XII" days and needed to be put out to pasture by the modernists. He was well versed in the teachings of Pope Pius XII, including that same pope's teaching on religious liberty and salvation which were at odds with Vatican II and post Vatican II teaching. As you can see by the many articles of his, now online, he vigorously worked to explain clearly the Catholic Faith, and debunk the modernists of the 1950's. He was perfectly safe during the days of Pope Pius XII, but, I suspect that they told him to step down in 1963, to make room for their new theology which Msgr. Fenton would not have agreed to.

These are just some of my thoughts as to what happened. I have asked for some help in this, and as I get more information, I will present it to this list. I hope this helps.

Yours in JMJ,

Mike


Sat Sep 16, 2006 6:58 pm
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New post Re: Does Anyone Know About Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton?
Bump.


Tue Apr 01, 2008 3:29 pm
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New post Re: Does Anyone Know About Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton?
Well I found the material that was sent to me by The Catholic University of America which only amounts to a single entry from The Encyclopedia of American Catholic History edited by Michael Glazier and Thomas J. Shelley and published in 1997. The author has an obvious axe to grind which I need not highlight.

PP. 505-06

Quote:
Fenton, Joseph (1906-69)

Priest, theologian. Joseph Clifford Fenton was born January 16, 1906, in Springfield, Massachusetts, the son of Michael Francis and Elizabeth (Clifford) Fenton. He received the A.B. degree in 1926 from Holy Cross College; the S.T.L. and J.C.B. degrees in 1930 from the University of Montreal; the S.T.D. degree from the Angelicum in Rome in 1931. Ordained a priest on June 14, 1930, he served as a curate at Immaculate Conception Church, Easthampton, Massachusetts, 1931-32, and at St. Joseph's Church, Leicester, Massachusetts, 1933-34. He taught philosophy at St. Ambrose College, Davenport, Iowa, 1934-35, and special dogmatic theology at St. Bernard's Seminary, Rochester, New York, 1936-38. From 1938 to 1963 he taught fundamental and dogmatic theology in the School of Sacred Theology at The Catholic University of America. He was editor of the American Ecclesiastical Review from 1944 to 1963.

He was named a papal chamberlain in 1951 and a domestic prelate in 1954, when he also received the papal medal Pro Ecclesia et Pontfice. An adviser to the Sacred Congregations for Seminaries and Universities 1950 to 1967, he was appointed a member of the preparatory Theological Commission and then of the Doctrinal Commission of the Second Vatican Council. He left The Catholic University in December 1963 to become pastor of St. Patrick's Church, Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts, where he died July 7, 1969.

Fenton was the author of numerous articles, almost all of them published in the AER, and of six books: The Theology of Prayer (1939), The Concept of Sacred Theology (1941), We Stand with Christ (1943), The Calling of a Diocesan Priest (1944), The Concept of the Diocesan Priesthood (1951), The Catholic Church and Salvation (1958).

As a theologian, Fenton was trained and thought within the classic neoscholastic framework. Not an original scholar, he was a passionate advocate of traditional methods and positions and promoter of the papal magisterium, defending them with vigor and little nuance not only against outsiders but, especially in the years between the Second World War and the Second Vatican Council, against the slightest tinge of liberalism and the threat of a revival of Modernism in the Church. In temperament and style he was an intransigent who sympathized with the integrists of the anti-Modernist reaction and their successors. As editor of the AER he used the journal as a forum in which to defend Catholic suspicion of modernity, which he saw as only the latest moment in the ancient and perennial warfare between the kingdom of Satan and the kingdom of God. He took part in a number of controversies: on membership in the Church, salvation outside the Church, biblical scholarship, Church and State, and religious freedom. On the last two of these issues, he opposed and actively sought a Roman rejection of the views of John Courtney Murray; in 1954, when procedures against Murray were initiated in the Holy Office, Fenton wrote two reports quite critical of the Jesuit. Officially informed of the quiet measures taken against Murray later that year, he was frustrated by the refusal of Rome to make them known.

On Vatican II's preparatory Theological Commission Fenton worked on the subcommission that wrote the schema on the Church, but, despite his close association with Cardinal Ottaviani, his personality and intransigence soon marginalized him even within that group. Nor did he have much influence in the Commission on Faith and Morals during the council, when he was also hampered by a series of heart attacks. He was not happy with the direction taken by the council, whose texts adopted a quite different orientation and method and vindicated many of the positions Fenton had devoted himself to opposing.

See also AMERICAN ECCLESIASTICAL REVIEW; MURRAY, JOHN COURTNEY; THEOLOGY IN AMERICA

JOSEPH A. KOMONCHAK


Someone should compile all of Msgr. Fenton's writings in the AER and publish it as a book(s).


Tue Apr 01, 2008 9:23 pm
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New post Re: Does Anyone Know About Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton?
Thank you for taking the trouble with this - very interesting. Mike has done some research along the same lines.

obscurus wrote:
On the last two of these issues, he opposed and actively sought a Roman rejection of the views of John Courtney Murray; in 1954, when procedures against Murray were initiated in the Holy Office, Fenton wrote two reports quite critical of the Jesuit. Officially informed of the quiet measures taken against Murray later that year, he was frustrated by the refusal of Rome to make them known.

On Vatican II's preparatory Theological Commission Fenton worked on the subcommission that wrote the schema on the Church, but, despite his close association with Cardinal Ottaviani, his personality and intransigence soon marginalized him even within that group.

I like him even more now. :)


obscurus wrote:
Someone should compile all of Msgr. Fenton's writings in the AER and publish it as a book(s).

I've had the same thought. You can see from the ones we have scanned that they follow a few main themes and therefore possess sufficient unity to make a book. The key is ecclesiology. Fenton saw the crisis developing in the Church in the twentieth century as an ecclesiological crisis. I think he was not only right in this focus, but that the crisis of Vatican II and its aftermath is one with this trend, its natural fruit, and that the best description of the present situation is still to call it an ecclesiological crisis. Where is the Church? She has been left unrecognisable by the treatment of her enemeies.

"there is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him, and there was no sightliness, that we should be desirous of him: Despised, and the most abject of men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with infirmity: and his look was as it were hidden and despised, whereupon we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our infirmities and carried our sorrows: and we have thought him as it were a leper, and as one struck by God and afflicted." (Isaias 53:2-4)

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Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:34 pm
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New post Re: Does Anyone Know About Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton?
Pax Christi!

The more I read about Father Fenton the more he looks to me like a modern day St.Anthanaius!

Vatican ii must have killed him....

In Xto,
Vincent


Wed Apr 02, 2008 5:14 am
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New post Re: Does Anyone Know About Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton?
You can purchase Vol. 145 of AER on ebay for $1.99!!!:

Vol. 145

This volume is from 1961 and includes an article by Msgr. Fenton, amongst many other articles, entitled "Revolutions in Catholic Attitudes".


Fri Apr 04, 2008 5:38 am
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New post Msgr. Fenton's obituary
(Springfield Union, July 8, 1969, p. 27)

Obituaries

Monsignor’s Funeral Thursday

The Most Reverend Christopher J. Weldon, bishop of the Springfield Roman Catholic diocese, will celebrate a pontifical high Mass Thursday at 10 in St. Patrick’s Church, Chicopee Falls, for Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton, pastor of St. Patrick’s Church, who was found dead shortly after 9 a.m. Monday. He was 63.

Burial in Palmer

Cause of death was an acute heart attack, according to Medical Examiner Edward I. Kraus. Msgr. Fenton, who had suffered for several years from heart trouble, apparently died in his sleep.

Burial will be in St. Thomas Cemetery, Palmer. Calling hours at St. Patrick’s rectory are today from 2 to 5 and 7 to 10, and Wednesday from 2 to 5.

The transfer of the body from the rectory to the church for the Bible ritual will be Wednesday night at 7.

Monsignor Fenton was born in Springfield Jan. 16, 1906, the son of the late Michael F. and Elizabeth (Clifford) Fenton.

A graduate of Cathedral High School and Holy Cross College, Monsignor Fenton also attended Grand Seminary in Montreal from 1926 to 1930.

He was ordained a priest of the Springfield Diocese in 1930, after which he acted as curate in Easthampton for several months.

From 1934 to 1935, Monsignor Fenton was professor of philosophy at St. Ambrose College in Davenport, Iowa. He then moved to Rochester, N.Y., where he stayed until 1938 as professor of special dogmatic theology at St. Bernard’s Seminary.

From 1938 to 1963, he was professor of fundamental dogmatic theology at Catholic University.

As a member of the Theological Commission, Monsignor Fenton attended all four sessions of Vatican II Council in Rome, between 1962 and 1965.

Meanwhile, he continued to move through the ranks of monsignor: In 1951, he was made papal chamberlain; in 1954, he attained the rank of domestic prelate; and, in 1963, he was made prothonotary apostolic.

Monsignor Fenton was the editor of the American Ecclesiastical Review from 1944 to 1963 and was the author of several books, among them “The Theology of Prayer,” “The Concept of Sacred Theology” and “The Calling of a Diocesan Priest.”

He was one of the organizers and first secretary of Catholic Theological Society of America.

Monsignor Fenton is survived by one brother, William E. of Washington D.C., and a niece.

(Springfield Union, July 10, 1969, p. 40)
Death Notice

Msgr. Fenton

In Chicopee, July 7. Rev. Msgr. Joseph C. Fenton, pastor of St. Patrick’s Church, Chicopee Falls. Pontifical High Mass at St. Patrick’s Church Thursday morning at 10. The Most Rev. Bishop Christopher J. Weldon will be celebrant. Burial in St. Thomas cemetery, Palmer. Calling hours at St. Patrick’s Rectory Tuesday from 2 to 5 and 7 to 10 and Wednesday from 2 to 5. Calling hours are open to all. The transfer of the body from the rectory to the church will be Wednesday at 7p.m. for the Bible vigil Wedneday night.

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Mike


Fri Apr 11, 2008 7:02 am
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New post Re: Does Anyone Know About Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton?
And Mike's photos of the grave in St. Thomas Cemetery, Palmer, Massachusetts.

http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/aer/fentonc.jpg
http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/aer/fentona.jpg

Thank you for all your work, Mike. Isn't that a lovely Celtic cross? I think it's the nicest one I've ever seen.

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Fri Apr 11, 2008 11:02 am
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New post Re: Does Anyone Know About Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton?
Entry in Catholic Authors, Contemporary Biographical Sketches, 1930-1947, edited by Matthew Hoehn, O.S.B., B.L.S., St. Mary’s Abbey, Newark, 1948, pp. 243,244.

Reverend Joseph C. Fenton 1906-

The careful research and crystal clear presentation which characterize the works of the Reverend Dr. Joseph Fenton have gained for him a recognized place of honor among Catholic theologians here and abroad. Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1906, Father Fenton’s preliminary education was at Holy Name Grammar School of that city and at Cathedral High School from which he graduated in 1922. His college years were spent under the Jesuits at Holy Cross College, Worcester, Massachusetts, where he received the B.A. degree in 1926. His gift of the pen was recognized while at Holy Cross and he was on the staff of The Purple, and also wrote for The Tomahawk.

His years of preparation for the priesthood were spent at the Grand Seminary, Montreal, from 1926 to 1930, until he was ordained priest in St. Michael’s Cathedral, Springfield, Massachusetts by Bishop O’Leary. From the University of Montreal he received the degrees of S.T.L. and J.C.B. The year following (1931) found him in Rome where he obtained his S.T.D. from the Angelico. His doctoral dissertation, De Natura Thealogaie Catholicae, was directed by Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange, OP., renowned Roman professor.

Returning home, the young priest, from 1931 to 1934, served as curate in his home diocese of Springfield. Then for a year he taught philosophy at St. Ambrose College, Davenport, Iowa, and from 1935 to 1938 was professor of dogmatic theology at St. Bernard’s Seminary, Rochester, New York. Since then Dr. Fenton has been at the Catholic University of America, teaching fundamental dogmatic theology and compiling a history of Post-Tridentine theology. From June 1943 to 1945 he was dean of the School of Sacred Theology of the Catholic University. He is now associate professor of dogmatic theology. He was administrative assistant to the late Bishop Joseph M. Corrigan when the latter was rector of the university and dean of the School of Sacred Theology. He became acting dean when Bishop Corrigan died. His book, The Theology of Prayer, is based on St. Thomas Aquinas, Sylvius, Vallgornera, and Joseph of the Holy Spirit and shows with scientific accuracy and clearness the Catholic doctrine of prayer.

His Concept of Sacred Theology, a masterly exposition of the nature and dignity of that science, was published in 1941. A year later, We Stand With Christ, an able and complete defense of the rational credibility of Catholic dogma, marked him as one of the outstanding authorities on Catholic apologetics. In 1943, his The Calling of a Diocesan Priest was welcomed as a valuable addition to the literature on the sacerdotal vocation.

With the issue of January, 1943, Dr. Fenton became editor of The American Ecclesiastical Review. His articles in that periodical on Ecclesiology have contributed greatly to progress in that field of sacred knowledge. He is also widely known for his contributions to Columbia, America, the old Fortnightly Review, the Catholic Educational Review, and Le Seminaire of Montreal.

He is Secretary of the Catholic Theological Society of America.

D. D.

Photograph of then-Dr. Fenton: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/aer/JCFenton.jpg


Fri Apr 11, 2008 1:59 pm
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New post Re: Does Anyone Know About Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton?
John Lane wrote:
And Mike's photos of the grave in St. Thomas Cemetery, Palmer, Massachusetts.

http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/aer/fentonc.jpg
http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/aer/fentona.jpg

Thank you for all your work, Mike. Isn't that a lovely Celtic cross? I think it's the nicest one I've ever seen.


Dear John,

Yes it is a magnificent Celtic cross. The cemetary is very small, but very fitting place place for this hero of our Faith.

Yours in JMJ,

Mike

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Fri Apr 11, 2008 11:42 pm
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New post Re: Does Anyone Know About Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton?
John Lane wrote:
Bump.

Thank you, John & all for "bumping" this thread up, and for your great input!

My mom only a few weeks ago was also asking what became of Msgr. Fenton after AER and Vatican II.

Today is her birthday; we'll be celebrating it on Sunday. I'll be giving her (for one thing) a copy of this thread! She could (and will, when I point it out) find the website and thread, but she likes to print out threads to read them more easily. So I'm doing it this time, and I'm sure she'll be happy to see this. (Of course maybe she'll find it first, but no problem there!)

A touch of God's providence, finding this thread today...

A book of AER articles would be wonderful; it is hard to read and/or print the AER posts one by one on this thread (or even to note when they are added). But thanks to John Lane, and Mike and whoever else, for making the articles available at all, when otherwise they might be lost.

Has anyone read Msgr. Fenton's other books, besides The Catholic Church and Salvation? The ebay AER offer unfortunately was gone by the time I got there. I did find some of his other books on abe.com, though (and I'm sure they're elsewhere too). Any recommendations?

Of course even more about Msgr. Fenton is always welcome!

Thanks,

EaglesWings


Sat Apr 12, 2008 5:40 am
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New post Re: Does Anyone Know About Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton?
EaglesWings wrote:
Has anyone read Msgr. Fenton's other books, besides The Catholic Church and Salvation?


I have only read "at" The Theology of Prayer, and it's typically clear and exact. Here's the title page, for interest: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/aer/T ... _Title.jpg

The Catholic Church and Salvation is excellent. I have not looked at The Calling of a Diocesan Priest or The Concept of Sacred Theology but I'm sure that they are in the same genre and of equal quality. I have one of my boys looking for We Stand With Christ at the moment. I think we have a copy somewhere but I'm not sure where it might be. :)

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Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:48 am
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New post Re: Does Anyone Know About Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton?
The Theology of Prayer
JC Fenton
Bruce, Milwaukee, 1939.

INTRODUCTION

This book constitutes an attempt to bring to the readers of the English language what the great scholastic theologians have taught about the nature of Christian prayer. The rather formidable Latin tomes of Thomas a Vallgornera, Joseph a Spiritu Sancto, Francis Sylvius, and Antoine Le Gaudier, to mention only four of them, contain treasures of doctrine on prayer so precious that t would be unfortunate if the people of God were to be deprived of them. These great scholastic theologians of prayer availed themselves of all the official pronouncements of the Church, and all the invaluable and vast resources of the teachers who had preceded them in the Church of God, and then expressed that living Catholic teaching with scientific accuracy and clarity. They were not concerned with any idle curiosity, with any mere drawing up of opinions or theories. The task which they set out to accomplish, and which they succeeded in accomplishing, was the statement of what God has revealed about prayer and what the Catholic Church proposes as having been revealed by God.

That teaching is obviously too good and too valuable not to transmit to the people of God. It was meant for them, and they cannot help but be benefited by it. The teaching of these great scholastics can help to increase the fervor and the intensity of the prayer of those who profit by it. These men show that prayer is a petition, the expression of a desire, ordered by God for the attainment of certain definite and necessary goods; an act which by its very nature gives God the reverence and worship which are due to Him because of His supreme excellence. They explain that this petition is meant to be composed of four parts. The person who prays is supposed to realize the cause which makes the granting of our petitions by God Possible. He is meant to arrive at an appreciation of God, as the One to whom prayer is offered, and as the One whom we wish to possess forever in the ineffable glory of the beatific vision. He is meant to express his gratitude to God for the various favors he has received from the divine bounty. These acts, taken with the actual statement of the desire which we wish to have fulfilled by God, constitute the complete prayer, the petition of fitting things from God.

On the basis of this scientifically exact teaching about the nature and the composition of prayer, these scholastic theologians have been able to put forward an invaluable presentation of the properties and the direction of prayer. They have analyzed the definition of prayer, not in function of useless hypotheses but in the light of the teaching of Our Lord Himself, as that teaching is proposed to us by the Catholic Church. They have brought out the meaning of the necessity of prayer, its causality and its character of worship in a way which can never be imitated by those who have not availed themselves of the doctrinal resources which these theologians have utilized. Most important of all, however, these scholastic theologians have brought out the inherent unity of all the Catholic teaching on prayer. They have shown clearly that meditation and all the other exercises of mental prayer cannot be understood properly except insofar as they are thought of as belonging to, and contributing to the perfection of the prayer of petition. The vagueness and impracticality which vitiate too many presentations of meditation in Christian literature vanish entirely in the light of this scientific Catholic teaching.

Although the Catholic literature of the English language is comparatively rich in treatises on prayer, this particular aspect of the subject, or to be more exact, this fundamental scientific teaching on prayer, is not as yet adequately available to our fellow countrymen. Most of the worth-while volumes on prayer which are at the disposition of our readers deal with methods of prayer, or with the characteristics of the various stages of mental prayer. Others are predominantly exhortations to prayer, of which, being emotional or sentimental in content, are of little objective value. At any rate, the field which this volume sets out to cover is comparatively untouched. The present volume is not meant to replace or to duplicate any book in the English language.

What this book contains, and what it is important that Catholics of our time should have, is the actual doctrine these scholastic theologians. Their own books are heavy with erudition. They cite and evaluate the statements of their fellow workers, they delve into the statements of the Fathers, in order ultimately to present an exact teaching on prayer. That teaching is presented in these pages, without the eruditional apparatus by which it was perfected.

The order of the chapters in this book follows that of the articles in the eighty-third question in the secunda secundae of St. Thomas’ Summa Theologica. Consonant with the express teaching of the Holy Father in the encyclical Studiorum Ducem, that we should follow the doctrine of St. Thomas in the matter of ascetical and mystical theology, this book contains the principles and the explanations of the Angelic Doctor on prayer. That teaching is expressed as it is found in the works of St. Thomas, and of his authentic and qualified exponents, for Sylvius, Vallgornera, and Joseph a Spiritu Sancto were men who applied themselves to the adequate statement of his doctrine.

The matter of this volume has been given, in lecture form, in the course of ascetical theology at St. Bernard’s Seminary, in Rochester, New York, and in classes on the spiritual life at the Catholic University of America. The preparation of the book has been facilitated by the kindness and the co-operation of the author’s fellow workers at both these institutions. The author wishes to thank particularly Father Joseph LaRue, the Procurator, Dr. John K. Ryan, of the Faculty of Philosophy. Dr. Francis Mullin, the Director of the Library, Drs. O’Brien, Parente, and Quasten of the Faculty of Sacred Theology, Drs. Sheehy and Russell of the Department of Religious Education, in the University, and Monsignors John F. Goggin and Joseph Grady of St. Bernard’s.


CONTENTS

I. The Two Definitions
II. The Faculty of Prayer
III. The Causality of Prayer
IV The Necessity of Prayer
V The Fitness of Prayer
VI Prayer as Worship
VII Prayer to God and to the Saints
VIII The Things for Which We Pray
IX Prayer for Temporal Things
X The Beneficiaries of Prayer
Xl Prayer for Our Enemies
XII The Lord’s Prayer
XIII Those Who Can Pray
XIV The Prayer of Christ
XV The Prayer of the Church
XVI The Prayer of Our Lady the Saints, and the Angels
XVII Prayer and the Holy Souls
XVIII Vocal and Mental Prayer
XIX The Requisite Attention
XX Perseverance in Prayer
XXI The Conditions of Prayer’s Efficacy
XXII The Theology of Meditation
XXIII The Degrees of Mental Prayer
Footnotes
Index


Sat Apr 12, 2008 12:06 pm
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New post Re: Does Anyone Know About Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton?
Here is the title page of The Concept of Sacred Theology. I've been reading this book and it's another gem. It is an expanded version of Fenton's doctoral thesis, the supervisor of which was Garrigou-Lagrange, and one of his advisors was Michael Browne, later the General of the Dominicans.

http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/aer/C ... _Title.jpg

Following are the Introduction and Contents pages.

INTRODUCTION

This book is meant to aid those who are professionally and culturally interested in the science of sacred theology better to appreciate the nature and the characteristics of this discipline. Within the science of sacred theology are those lessons which will tell man how he can attain an everlasting and ineffable happiness in the next world and possess the justice, peace, and security so tragically lacking in this world in our own time. It is then a matter of the utmost importance that those who are privileged to study this science should realize its nature and its competence from the very outset of their course.

Every textbook on fundamental theology begins with some explanation of the essence and the attributes of sacred theology as a whole. Usually, however, because of the tremendous extent of the matter which must be covered in a class of fundamental dogma, the treatise on theology itself is very brief indeed. The men of our own country and of our own time, who must rely so much on the datum of sacred theology for the rebuilding of civilization, stand in evident need of some more complete exposition of the concept of theology than that which has been presented in the ordinary manuals.

There has been no book on this subject in the English language since the brilliant Clerical Studies of the Abbé Hogan, in which the great Sulpician described the characteristics and the dignity of each subject taken up in the regular courses offered to candidates for the priesthood and Dr. Scannell’s book, The Priest’s Studies, which was intended to aid those continuing to advance in ecclesiastical science after seminary days. However, since the appearance of these fine works, and since the writing of the article on “Theology” by Monsignor Pohle in the Catholic Encyclopedia, the literature of this science has been enriched by the methodological treatises of such men as Gardeil, Rabeau, Schultes, and Marin-Sola. It is only fitting that the American student of today should have some access in his own literature to the conclusions which have been illumined through the discussions which followed upon the production of these works.

The great effect of these discussions has been to show that theological truth expresses the very meaning which can be proved to belong to the body of revealed doctrine rather than merely a teaching connected with the divine message. The illustration and demonstration of this fact are the dominant concerns in this book. If American students of our day can be brought to realize clearly that the body of theological literature sets forth the very meaning inherent in the teaching which comes to man from the lips of our crucified Saviour, then they will be able effectively to use this tremendous resource which God has given them for the happiness and the perfection of their fellow men. On the other hand, if they conclude, erroneously, that the body of theological teaching is merely a doctrine connected with divine revelation, then there is always the danger that they will seek to set aside this treasure for spurious studies which claim to bring men directly to the words and the meaning of our Lord. The setting aside of the theological resource today would constitute an irreparable harm to those men who stand in such great need of it.

The last four chapters of this work are, of course, not intended as even a complete outline of the history of sacred theology. As a matter of fact very little has been done in the line of a complete history of theology in postpatristic times. Monsignor Martin Grabmann’s Geschichte der katholischen Theologie is very incomplete although it is the best work available on this subject. It does little better than list and classify by schools the names of post-Tridentine theologians. Likewise the classical Nomenclator Literarius of Hurter, S.J., gives a résumé of the lives of theological writers and classifies them by schools, but with few exceptions no attempt has been made to analyze the teaching of the masters.

The present work is a development of a doctoral dissertation completed ten years ago at Rome, while the author was a student priest at the Angelico. The author was fortunate enough to have this dissertation directed by that eminent theologian, Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange. Fathers Friethoff and Ceuppens were the readers, Father Michael Browne, since Rector Magnificus of the Angelico, and Father Mariano Codovanni, now Master of the Sacred Palace, were of inestimable help by reason of their gracious counsel. It is the sincere hope of the author that this book may cooperate in some way in giving to American students a measure of that lofty and correct notion of sacred theology which these great professors expounded and realized.

The author wishes to acknowledge the kindness of his friends, the Reverend John J. Reilly, Director of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception and the Reverend Doctor Cornelius Collins, National Director of the Archconfraternity of Christian doctrine, both of whom have been of service in the preparation of this volume.

The Catholic University of America,
Washington, D. C.
June 25, 1941.


CONTENTS

Introduction

1. The Function and Necessity of Sacred Theology
2. The Subject Matter
3. The Light of Sacred Theology
4. Certitude in Sacred Theology
5. The Equipment of Sacred Theology — Part I
6. The Equipment of Sacred Theology — Part II
7. The Equipment of Sacred Theology — Part III
8. The Scientific Character of Sacred Theology
9. Opinions, Systems, and Schools
10. Unity and Pedagogical Division in Sacred Theology
11. The Development of Sacred Theology — The Patristic Period
12. The Development of Sacred Theology — The Medieval Period
13. The Development of Sacred Theology — The Post-Tridentine Theologians
14. Theology in America – Retrospect and Prospect
Index

_________________
In Christ our King.


Sun Apr 20, 2008 10:07 pm
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Joined: Sat May 27, 2006 8:18 pm
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Location: Brookfield,Wis. --Naples, Fla
New post Re: Does Anyone Know About Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton?
Thanks to Mike --oh that gorgeous photo of Fr. Fenton's tombstone!!--
the aura of a saint lingers there--and to John for giving us the scans
and startup on the Fenton Project. Fr. Fenton is much suppressed by
his former faithful compatriots.

I volunteer to help steer, purchase, scan, type, print, or whatever
is needed. All of Fr. Fenton's books are unavailable for preview in
googlebooks. Other collections may turn up some scans, but it is
to be doubted. If not, the books must be purchased or interloaned
and then scanned.
----
Scheeben's Mariology II is now into the proofreading level. Do not
be afraid of proofreading, it is just looking for a person's typing
errors. It is quick, easy and enjoyable to do a read-over. You
only need Microsoft Word.

When we get to Fenton, we will need proofreaders again.


Thu Apr 24, 2008 12:24 pm
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New post Re: Does Anyone Know About Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton?
From the American Ecclesiatical Review, 1941, p. 502.

BOOK REVIEWS.

THE CONCEPT OF SACRED THEOLOGY. By Rev. Joseph Clifford Fenton, S.T.D. The Bruce Publishing Company, Milwaukee. 1941. Pp. xiv + 276. Price, $3.00.

There is a mounting interest in theology in the world of to-day. To aid those who are professionally and culturally interested better to appreciate the nature and the characteristics of this discipline we need a clear concept of sacred theology. Unfortunately we had no work in the English language on this subject. The present volume fills this gap. Its author is well known from his excellent book The Theology of Prayer which placed the whole of the English-speaking world in his debt, as the Dublin Review remarked. His newest publication will have no less success because it makes available to the American student not only the content of continental writings but is a very valuable contribution to the science of theology itself.

The book is divided into fourteen chapters. The reader gets an excellent information on the function and necessity of sacred theology (Chapter I), on the Subject Matter, the certitude and equipment of this discipline and of its scientific character (II-VIII). Chapter IX gives a bird’s-eye view of the different opinions, systems and schools. The last four chapters contain a brief history of sacred theology. Although the author remarks that he did not intend even a complete outline of this historical side of his subject, theologians will be obliged to him for this survey because it is up to date. The much neglected post-tridentine period has never received a better description. Here we have not only a classification of writers and treatises by schools, but we receive a masterly analysis of the teaching of these theologians. The modern period puts the accent mainly on theology in America.

The book is charmingly written. The style is clear and winning, and the description is so full of interest as to carry the reader along without effort. In his introduction the author tells us that the present volume is a development of a doctoral dissertation completed ten years ago at the Angelico in Rome. His work proves that he is a brilliant disciple of his great teacher Father Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange.


Fri May 16, 2008 12:14 pm
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Location: Tucson, Arizona
New post Re: Does Anyone Know About Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton?
From the New Catholic Encyclopedia:
Quote:
MURRAY, JOHN COURTNEY

Jesuit theologian and expert on Church-state relations; b. New York City, Sept. 12, 1904; d. New York City, Aug. 16, 1967; the son of Michael John and Margaret Courtney Murray; entered the Society of Jesus in 1920; ordained June 25, 1933. Murray was educated at Weston College (B.A., 1926), Boston College (M.A.,1927), Woodstock College in Maryland (S.T.L., 1934), and the Gregorian University in Rome (S.T.D., 1937). Upon completing his studies at the Gregorian University, he was appointed professor of dogmatic theology at Woodstock, the Jesuit theological seminary for the Maryland province, where he remained on the staff until his death. He was one of the chief editors of the scholarly quarterly, Theological Studies (1941–1967); visiting professor of Medieval Philosophy and Culture at Yale (1951–52); and noted peritus at Vatican Council II. He also served as director of the John La Farge Institute in New York City, a center for the interreligious and interracial dialogue that was Murray's life-long commitment.

Murray first gained prominence through a series of literary debates on the questions of ecumenical cooperation, religious freedom, and the Church-state relationship. Convinced that the Catholic Church could not accomplish a redemptive purpose in society and history on its own, he began to promote what was then known as "inter-religious cooperation." This led to several bishops and theologians accusing him of promoting indifferentism. At the same time, many Jews and Protestants were equally suspicious of Catholic motives in "inter-religious cooperation," fearing that the Catholic Church would infringe on the religious freedom of non-Catholics. Writing in Theological Studies along with two other prominent Jesuits, John La Farge and Wilfried Parsons, Murray defended his view on Church-state relations and religious freedom against the attacks of several conservative theologians, notably Francis CONNELL C.Ss.R., Joseph Clifford FENTON and George Shea, writing in the American Ecclesiastical Review. The discussion continued in the two journals for more than eight years, and attracted national and international attention. In the debates, Murray strongly insisted that the American system of Church-state relations was in fact the most desirable form and should be acknowledged as such by the Vatican.

Murray's view attracted the criticism of Cardinal Ottaviani, secretary of the Holy Office, who denounced Murray's stance without naming him in a lecture on the duties of a Catholic state toward religion on March 5,1953. After being assured by PIUS XII'S private secretary, Robert Leiber, S.J. that Ottaviani's views were his own, and by other sources that Pius XII's subsequent speech in December 1953 on tolerance was a diplomatic repudiation of Ottaviani, Murray delivered a lecture at THE CATHOLIC UNIVERSITY OF AMERICA in March 1954 where he publicly stated that Pius XII had repudiated the position of Ottaviani on church-state relations. After learning of this, Ottaviani initiated a formal investigation into Murray's views. At a session on July 7, 1954, the Holy Office held that Murray's views, summarized in four propositions, were condemned as "erroneous." These were communicated to Murray by the Jesuit Father General in 1954. The Holy Office also attempted, without success,Page 69 | Top of Article to halt the publication of a book by the University of Notre Dame Press that contained an essay of Murray's that was deemed objectionable. In October 1954, Murray's chief critics, Fenton and Connell, were given copies of the four propositions against Murray and informed of the measures against him, but they were told that these measures were to be kept under wraps.

Under pressure from the Holy Office, Murray's Jesuit superiors in Rome requested that he stop speaking and writing on the topic. When his 1955 essay to clarify and defend his position was rejected by the Roman censor, Murray was advised by his Jesuit superiors to withdraw from this area of enquiry. After another attempt in 1958 to clarify his stance was refused permission, Murray turned to what he called a "public philosophy," a set of principles derived from natural law that could serve as the foundation of a pluralistic society, providing the criteria for addressing social-ethical issues. In 1960, a selection of his many essays on this issue was published as We Hold These Truths: Reflections on the American Proposition, which subsequently earned him a place on the cover of Time magazine.

During the second session of Vatican Council II, Murray became one of the most influential and best known periti from the United States. Notwithstanding the repudiation of his views in the Theological Commission's first draft on Church and state, Cardinal Spellman secured Murray's appointment as a peritus, enabling him to be the U.S. bishops' chief adviser on Church-state matters. Murray was entrusted by Cardinal BEA and his committee with the task of rewriting the Declaration on Religious Freedom (Dignitatis humanae), following the suggestions of the Council fathers in the second session. The final draft of the document, promulgated in 1965, adheres for the most part to the language and reasoning of Murray. In addition, his many appearances before various national groups of bishops contributed to the successful acceptance of his ideas on religious freedom by the Council. He spent the final two years of his life writing and lecturing on the Declaration on Religious Freedom.

In addition to many periodical articles, Murray is the author of the following books: We Hold These Truths (1961), The Problem of God (1963), Yesterday and Today (1963), Problems of Religious Freedom (1965), and editor of Religious Liberty, An End and A Beginning (1966). A selection of Murray's important writings may be found in J. C. Murray, Bridging the Sacred and the Secular: Selected Writings, ed. J. L. Hooper (Washington, DC 1994).

Bibliography: D. PELOTTE, John Courtney Murray: Theologian In Conflict (New York 1976). D. GONNET, La liberté religieuse à Vatican II: La contribution de John Courtney Murray (Paris 1994). J. L. HOOPER, The Ethics of Discourse: The Social Philosophy of John Courtney Murray (Washington, DC 1986). R. MCELROY, The Search for an American Public Theology: The Contribution of John Courtney Murray (New York 1989).

[C. P. MICHAEL/

J. M. KOMONCHAK]

_________________
«The Essence & Topicality of Thomism»: http://ar.gy/5AaP
by Fr. Réginald Garrigou-Lagrange, O.P.
e-Book: bit.ly/1iDkMAw

Modernism: modernism. us.to
blog: sententiaedeo.blogspot. com
Aristotelian Thomism: scholastic. us.to


Tue May 01, 2012 5:02 am
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New post Re: Does Anyone Know About Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton?
This is great!

Quote:
In the fall of 1950 I started a four years program in theology at the University leading to an STL (Sacrae theologiae licentia). It was a program heavy with courses in Scripture, patristics, doctrinal theology, moral theology, Church history, canon law, catechetics, Hebrew, Greek, liturgy and ministry. My major interest was in doctrinal theology, and I found this much richer than philosophy. My favorite professor was Fr. Eugene Burke, a Paulist, because of the content of his courses (The One and Triune God, Grace), his asides and his style. Though some of our Scripture professors were creative, it was a conservative period in theology. Pope Pius XII’s encyclical, Humani generis, was promulgated in 1950. In it he was critical of a movement in Europe called nouvelle théologie that sought to get beyond scholastic theology, particularly the early modern theology that made an excessive division between the natural and the supernatural, to embrace the riches of the Fathers of the Church and thus point out a certain relativity in the conceptuality used by scholasticism. We had one professor, Fr. Joseph Fenton, who taught ecclesiology, was a good friend of the very conservative Cardinal Octaviani, and happily claimed that in the previous 15 years he had always written articles correcting theologians, never praising any of them. Ecumenism was not in the air. And one of our professors of moral theology who had a cherubic face, Fr. Francis Connell, C.SS.R., obviously thought that all the serious moral issues had been adequately solved. These two theologians, good and holy priests, contested Fr. John Courtney Murray, S.J.’s views advocating freedom of religion, somewhat on the United States’s model, even in a country that was Catholic. Murray and a couple of other theologians were not allowed to lecture on the campus of the Catholic University.


http://www.stanselms.org/memoir/chapter2.html

_________________
In Christ our King.


Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:28 pm
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Joined: Tue Feb 12, 2008 9:11 pm
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New post Re: Does Anyone Know About Msgr. Joseph Clifford Fenton?
Fascinating! I repeat a comment I made years ago (wow has it been that long?). Someone should compile his writings, perhaps a "collected works" edition. Also, a good biography would be helpful as well!
John Lane wrote:
This is great!

Quote:
In the fall of 1950 I started a four years program in theology at the University leading to an STL (Sacrae theologiae licentia). It was a program heavy with courses in Scripture, patristics, doctrinal theology, moral theology, Church history, canon law, catechetics, Hebrew, Greek, liturgy and ministry. My major interest was in doctrinal theology, and I found this much richer than philosophy. My favorite professor was Fr. Eugene Burke, a Paulist, because of the content of his courses (The One and Triune God, Grace), his asides and his style. Though some of our Scripture professors were creative, it was a conservative period in theology. Pope Pius XII’s encyclical, Humani generis, was promulgated in 1950. In it he was critical of a movement in Europe called nouvelle théologie that sought to get beyond scholastic theology, particularly the early modern theology that made an excessive division between the natural and the supernatural, to embrace the riches of the Fathers of the Church and thus point out a certain relativity in the conceptuality used by scholasticism. We had one professor, Fr. Joseph Fenton, who taught ecclesiology, was a good friend of the very conservative Cardinal Octaviani, and happily claimed that in the previous 15 years he had always written articles correcting theologians, never praising any of them. Ecumenism was not in the air. And one of our professors of moral theology who had a cherubic face, Fr. Francis Connell, C.SS.R., obviously thought that all the serious moral issues had been adequately solved. These two theologians, good and holy priests, contested Fr. John Courtney Murray, S.J.’s views advocating freedom of religion, somewhat on the United States’s model, even in a country that was Catholic. Murray and a couple of other theologians were not allowed to lecture on the campus of the Catholic University.


http://www.stanselms.org/memoir/chapter2.html


Wed Jul 25, 2012 2:31 am
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