Amid the great public spectacles of his visit to America, Pope Benedict XVI made time for a private, poignant encounter with Cardinal Avery Dulles, SJ, on April 19 at New York’s St. Joseph’s Seminary.
Cardinal Dulles, suffering the effects of post-polio syndrome, now lives in the Jesuit infirmary at Fordham University. As his muscles atrophy, he is no longer able to walk and is unable to speak. He was therefore unable to participate in the papal events alongside the other cardinals.
Instead, the Holy Father decided to meet him privately as a gesture of esteem and affection...
...Benedict, the university professor, saluted America’s greatest scholarly theologian. And, suitably, the latter encounter was private, at Fordham, a place of teaching, with the two scholars speaking about their earlier theological collaborations and their books.
“Eminenza, Eminenza, I recall the work you did for the International Theological Commission in the 1990s,” said the Holy Father as he greeted Cardinal Dulles with obvious enthusiasm. Cardinal Dulles kissed the papal ring and smiled back at Benedict. Unable to speak, Cardinal Dulles had prepared a text that was read to the Holy Father by a fellow Jesuit priest.
Cardinal Dulles then presented Benedict with a copy of his most recently published book, a splendid collection of the McGinley Lectures he has been delivering at Fordham for 20 years under the title Church and Society.
Benedict immediately took it in hand, read the inscription and began to look through the pages — as happy as any scholar is to get a new book by a respected friend.
Friday, May 2, 2008
Pope's Meeting with Avery Dulles
Another private moment when Benedict was in the U.S., described in the National Catholic Register: