Meagher, Paul Kevin

views updated


Dominican moral theologian and editor; b. Clarion, Pennsylvania, May 14, 1907; d. Washington, D.C., Jan. 2, 1977. Meagher's family moved to Portland, Oregon, from Pennsylvania. He joined the Holy Name Province of dominicans at Ross, California in 1924. His novitate was spent in St. Rose Priory, Springfield, Kentucky; his philosophy course at River Forest, Illinois and Benicia, California; his theology at the Collegio Angelico (now the University of St. Thomas Aquinas) in Rome and at Blackfriars, Oxford, where he was ordained by Bp. Alban Goodier on May 30, 1931. At Blackfriars his mentor was Thomas gilby, OP, and the two became life-long friends and collaborators. There also, Fr. Meagher and Fr. Gerald vann, OP, became friends; in later years they coauthored The Temptations of Christ (London 1966; first published as Stones Are Bread, London 1957).

Fr. Meagher's teaching career was spent chiefly at St. Albert's College, Oakland, California, a house of studies of his province. He was professor of moral theology, lector primarius (1946), and, when it became a studium generate (1949), regent of studies. He received the highest Dominican degree in 1946, being made Master of Sacred Theology by Master General Emmanuel Suárez. During these teaching years Fr. Meagher was confessor and spiritual director to the Dominican students, preached retreats, and lectured in theology to many communities of women. He also taught at the Dominican College of San Rafael and assisted in establishing a graduate program in theology there in 1946.

Fr. Meagher left St. Albert's in 1961 to join Thomas Gilby at Blackfriars in launching the 60-volume English-Latin edition of St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae (completed in 1976). The following year, however, he took on the editorship of the area on moral theology for the New Catholic Encyclopedia at the request of Card. Patrick o'boyle and Rev. John P. whalen, managing editor. In 1967 he received the annual Cardinal Spellman award for excellence in theology. From 1966 to 1970 he conceived, planned, and was editor-in-chief of the dictionary program of Corpus Instrumentorum, Inc. This work, suspended for a period between 197073, led to the publication of the Encyclopedic Dictionary of Religion (3 v.1979), on which he worked until the eve of his death in spite of ill-health. The period from 1970 to 77 was also one of great pastoral activity, in which he delighted, at St. Mary's Oneonta, New York (197073), then at St. Mark's, Hyattsville, Maryland (197377). His funeral was held at St. Mark's, and he was buried in St. Dominic's Cemetery, Benicia, California.

[p. kelly]