Archive for the ‘Robert McAfee Brown’ Tag

Feast of Gustave Weisel (January 16)   1 comment

Above:  Logo of the Society of Jesus

Image in the Public Domain



U.S. Roman Catholic Priest and Ecumenist


Whether we like it or not, Protestants and Catholics are inevitably related to each other by the concept of opposition, and the opposition is stronger the nearer we approach the moment of split of one from the other.  Today we are all striving manfully to overcome the sense of opposition, but we are descendants of the past and history works in all of us.

–Father Gustave Weigel; quoted in G. Scott Cady and Christopher L. Webber, A Year with American Saints (2006), 452


Gustave Weigel, a Jesuit priest and a professor of theology, became a pioneer of ecumenism in the Roman Catholic Church.

Weigel, a native of the United States, taught in both the United States and Chile.  He, born in Buffalo, New York, on January 15, 1906, was the second of three children of Auguste Weigel and Louise Leontine Kiefer.  He attended Catholic schools in Buffalo.  After graduating from high school in 1922, our saint became a Jesuit novice at Poughkeepsie, New York.  In 1926 he transferred to Woodstock College, Woodstock, Maryland.  There he earned the A.B. and M.A. degrees in three years.  After teaching Latin and English at Loyola College, Baltimore, during the 1929-1930 academic year, Weigel returned to Woodstock College, to study for the priesthood.  He, ordained a priest on June 25, 1933, earned the Licentiate of Sacred Theology degree the following year.  Our saint continued his education in Rome, where, in 1937, he earned his Doctor of Sacred Theology degree.  Weigel taught theology at the Catholic University of Chile from 1937 to 1948 and for two months in 1949.  He spent the rest of his academic career at Woodstock College while writing books and articles, as well as lecturing in the United States and Germany.

Years before Pope St. John XXIII opened the windows of the Church, so to speak, Weigel became involved in ecumenism.  He engaged with Protestantism in writing as early as 1954.  Six years later, our saint and Presbyterian Robert McAfee Brown collaborated on An American Dialogue.  That year, Weigel became the first Roman Catholic to deliver endowed lectures at Yale University.

Weigel, aged 57 years, died on January 3, 1964.

As Weigel wrote, final ecclesiastical reunion will be the work of God.  Christians, however, can and must overcome misconceptions they harbor about each other and their traditions.





God our Father, your Son Jesus prayed that his followers might be one as he is one with you,

so that in peace and concord we may carry to the world the message of your love,

through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.  Amen.

Isaiah 2:2-4

Psalm 133

Ephesians 4:1-6

John 17:15-23

Evangelical Lutheran Worship (2006), 61