Theologian Gregory Baum dies at 94: Practiced Meditation in his last years

Gregory Baum, one of the most influential theologians of our time, author of 20 books on the renewal of Christianity following the Second Vatican Council, and an advocate for social justice, liberation theology, and the preferential option for the poor, died October 18 in Montreal, Canada. He was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 1990, which recognizes recipients for a lifetime of outstanding achievement dedicated to the service of Canada.
Gregory Baum was a theological priest expert at the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) and was one of the drafters of the Council document Nostra Aetate, which repudiated anti-Semitism and radically helped change the relationship of Catholicism to Judaism. As well he contributed to the Decree on Ecumenism, which launched the ecumenical movement after Vatican II.
 Many observers place Baum in the same category as Vatican II era theologians, Hans Kung, Edward Schillebecckx, and Karl Rahner, all of whom helped in an “updating” to renew the Catholic Church in its social teaching, interreligious dialogue and openness to Non-Christian Religions. 
In the last years of his life Gregory Baum sought out the teaching of John Main on Christian Meditation and in a letter to me in 2015 stated: ” I have just read and enjoyed your article in the National Catholic Reporter on Christian Meditation. It is a great movement you are fostering. I have discovered quite late how deeply sustaining meditation is”.
Perhaps it is not too bold to suggest that Gregory Baum, the great thinker, intellectual and theologian, had in the final years of his life found” the other half of his soul” in the contemplative practice of Christian Meditation. Perhaps he had taken to heart the famous words of the fourth century spiritual writer Evagrius when he wrote:” If you are a theologian you truly pray, if you truly pray you are a theologian”.
On Sunday November 5, 2017, A well attended Memorial Mass and social event honoring the life of Gregory Baum was held at Regis College in Toronto, Canada.
In his last of his life Gregory Baum wrote a semi autobiographical book entitled;” The Oil has Not Run Dry: The Story of My Theological Pathway”. In this book he writes about his oncoming death: He says:” I hardly ever think about what happens to me after I die….I leave this to God…”.I have had a life of light and happiness in the darkness of an unjust world…. Christ is Risen is a good note on which to close my theological pathways”.
As a friend of Gregory’s for over 50 years I would like to offer this tribute. Thank you Gregory for your kindness, generosity and love to all you have touched. Thank you for a raft of books, articles, talks, essays and editorship of the magazine, the Ecumenist. Thank you for your sensitivity to all forms of injustice. Thank you for stretching our minds, and opening our hearts to a faith centered on Jesus in the Gospels, and a faith directed to social justice in its many forms. To sum up Gregory thank you for a life well lived.

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