O'Meara, Thomas F(ranklin) 1935–

views updated

O'MEARA, Thomas F(ranklin) 1935–

PERSONAL: Born May 15, 1935, in Des Moines, IA; son of Joseph Matthew and Frances Clare (Rock) O'Meara. Education: Dominican College of St. Rose of Lima (now Aquinas Institute), B.A., 1958, M.A. (philosophy), 1959; Aquinas Institute of Philosophy and Theology (now Aquinas Institute), M.A. (theology), 1963; University of Munich, Ph.D. (theology), 1967.

ADDRESSES: Office—Department of Theology, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN 46556. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Entered Order of Preachers (O.P.), 1955, ordained Roman Catholic priest, 1962; Aquinas Institute of Philosophy and Theology (now Aquinas Institute), Dubuque, Iowa, professor of theology, 1966–79; University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, professor of theology, beginning 1981, became emeritus professor of theology. Visiting associate professor at University of Notre Dame, 1968–73; visiting professor at Weston College, Boston Theological Institute, 1970–73, Seminary of Saints Peter and Paul, Ibadan, Nigeria, 1974, and Wartburg Theological Seminary, 1977–78.

MEMBER: Catholic Theological Society of America (president, 1980–81), American Academy of Religion.

AWARDS, HONORS: Mary in Protestant and Catholic Theology was named the outstanding book on Mary in 1967 by the University of Dayton; Romantic Idealism and Roman Catholicism: Schelling and the Theologians was nominated as best book on the history of Christian doctrine by the Church History Society of America.

WRITINGS:

(Editor, with Celestin D. Weisser) Paul Tillich in Catholic Thought, Priory Press (Dubuque, Iowa), 1964.

Mary in Protestant and Catholic Theology, Sheed & Ward (New York, NY), 1966.

(Editor, with Donald M. Weisser, and contributor) Rudolf Bultmann in Catholic Thought, Herder and Herder (New York, NY), 1968.

(Editor, with Donald M. Weisser) Projections: Shaping an American Theology for the Future, Doubleday (Garden City, NY), 1970.

Holiness and Radicalism in Religious Life, Herder and Herder (New York, NY), 1970.

Paul Tillich's Theology of God, Listening Press (Dubuque, Iowa), 1970.

The Presence of the Spirit of God, Corpus Books (Washington, DC), 1970.

Loose in the World, Paulist/Newman (New York, NY), 1974.

Romantic Idealism and Roman Catholicism: Schelling and the Theologians, University of Notre Dame Press (Notre Dame, IN), 1982.

Theology of Ministry, Paulist Press (New York, NY), 1983, revised edition, 1999.

Fundamentalism: A Catholic Perspective, Paulist Press (New York, NY), 1990.

Church and Culture: German Catholic Theology, 1860–1914, University of Notre Dame Press (Notre Dame, IN), 1991.

The Basilica of the Sacred Heart at Notre Dame: A Theological Guide to the Painting and Windows, T. F. O'Meara (Notre Dame, IN), 1991.

Thomas Aquinas, Theologian, University of Notre Dame Press (Notre Dame, IN), 1997.

Erich Przywara, S.J.: His Theology and His World, University of Notre Dame Press (Notre Dame, IN), 2002.

A Theologian's Journey (autobiography), Paulist Press (New York, NY), 2002.

Contributor to periodicals, including Theological Studies, Worship, America, and Philosophy and Theology.

SIDELIGHTS: In his book Mary in Protestant and Catholic Theology, Thomas F. O'Meara discusses the role of Mariology (study of doctrine relating to the Virgin Mary) in exegesis, in the teachings of Catholic theologians and Protestant reformers of the past, and in post-Vatican II attempts at ecumenical reconciliation. He explains that because Mariology affects a variety of canonical issues, including grace and the relationship between Scripture and tradition, it is vital to fellowship between Protestants and Catholics that they come to a consensus on the doctrine of Mary. Although such an agreement was not reached during the 1960s, reviewer Titus Cranny suggested in America that O'Meara's book "is bound to advance the cause of unity." And what it "successfully accomplishes," assessed Commonweal critic Donald P. Gray, "is to place Mariology squarely within the ecumenical problematic and in this way to integrate it with the central dogmatic tracts from which it has for so long been divorced."

The author is also noted for editing and contributing to a collection of essays, Rudolf Bultmann in Catholic Thought. Bultmann, a German theologian who denied the existence of Jesus Christ as a historical personage, provided valuable insights for contemporary Catholic theology. The book as a whole, observed William A. Scott in a Commonweal review, emphasizes reflections on Bultmann's ideas which contribute to making "the word of God presently meaningful," while the individual essays cover specific aspects of Bultmann's thought, ranging from his method of scriptural exegesis to his program of demythologizing the Scripture. O'Meara's essay, "Bultmann and Tomorrow's Theology," is the last of the ten essays presented, and according to Scott it is "the most valuable because of its synthesis of Bultmann's key ideas and its review of the directions in which theologians are presently moving from these ideas."

Other publications by O'Meara have similarly earned praise. Holiness and Radicalism in Religious Life was commended in Commonweal by E. C. Kennedy for "perform[ing] a great service to the church." It analyzes why so many of the clergy are leaving the religious life and proposes a solution: the creative solving of problems by the apostolic community. And regarding Projections: Shaping an American Theology for the Future, R. P. McBrien specified in his Commonweal critique that "the editors are to be commended for the [book's] planning and execution." It surveys how cultural influences—politics, technology, language, mass media, and the like—affect theology.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

America, April 30, 1966.

Catholic World, September, 1969.

Christian Century, March 30, 1966.

Commonweal, September 16, 1966; April 25, 1969; July 10, 1970; October 30, 1970.

Critic, June, 1966; September, 1970.

Journal of Ecclesiastical History, April, 2003, Adian Nichols, review of Erich Przywara, S.J.: His Theology and His World, p. 378.

Journal of Religion, October, 1965.

Library Journal, May 15, 2002, Anna M. Donnelly, review of Erich Przywara, S.J., p. 102.

Theological Studies, December, 2003, Kevin Mongrain, review of Erich Przywara, S.J., p. 882; September, 2004, David Coffey, review of A Theologian's Journey, p. 677.

Times Literary Supplement, March 3, 1966.

About this article

O'Meara, Thomas F(ranklin) 1935–

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article