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Kelly, Gerald Andrew


Jesuit moral theologian; b. Denver, Colo., Sept. 30, 1902; d. Kansas City, Mo., Aug. 2, 1964. After receiving his elementary and secondary education in Denver, he entered the Society of Jesus at Florissant, Mo., in 1920. He obtained his bachelor's and master's degrees in arts at St. Louis University, where he also received his licenciate in theology. He was ordained in 1933 and took his doctorate in theology at the Gregorian University in Rome in 1937.

For 26 years Kelly taught moral theology to Jesuit scholastics at St. Mary's College, St. Mary's, Kansas. At summer sessions he gave courses to nuns and laity at Marquette, St. Louis, and Creighton Universities, at Rockhurst College, and at St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, Ind. On many and various occasions he addressed assemblies of priests, nuns, physicians, nurses, and students in different parts of the United States. He was managing editor of the Review for Religious (194259).

His approach to moral problems was thoroughly scientific and his solution was always solidly based upon principles clearly seen and lucidly expounded. He was an independent thinker who respected points of view different from his own, but he did not hesitate to disagree with others when the occasion demanded it. If he could not solve a problem, he frankly said so. He had the ability to simplify complex problems without oversimplifying them and to deal with profound matters without recourse to jargon or complicated language. He was at his best in his treatment of medico-moral problems, and he was chairman of the committee that formulated the ethical code of the Catholic Hospital Association. He received the Cardinal Spellman award for theology for 1953.

Among his writings were Modern Youth and Chastity (1941), The Good Confessor (1951), Guidance for Religious

(1956), Medico-Moral Problems (1957), Moral Theology under Pius XII (with John C. Ford, SJ, 1957), Contemporary Moral Theology (with John C. Ford, SJ, v. 1, 1958; v. 2, 1963). His critical summaries of current developments in moral theology published between 1946 and 1952 in Theological Studies were of considerable value to theologians and students, and his many articles in the Linacre Quarterly were helpful especially to physicians and nurses.

[c. mcauliffe]

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