Cardinal Deacon of Santissimi Nomi di Gesù e Maria in Via Lata
Cardinal Avery Dulles was born on 24 August 1918 in Auburn (in the Archdiocese of New York USA). He is the son of former US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, the nephew of Allen Welsh Dulles (founding administrator of the CIA), great-grandson of John Watson Foster, also a former US Secretary of State, and great-grandson of Theodore Medad Pomeroy, a speaker of the US House of Representatives.
He attended primary school in New York City and went to private high schools in Switzerland and New England. He was raised a Presbyterian and claimed to be agnostic when he commenced his tertiary studies at Harvard in 1936. He converted to Catholicism in 1940. After graduating from Harvard, he served in intelligence in the Naval Reserve. He was decorated with the "Croix de Guerre" in 1945 for his work in communication with the French Navy. Later in 1945, he contracted polio in Italy. He joined the Jesuits in 1946.
He was ordained a priest for the Jesuits in 1956 at Fordham University, New York by Cardinal Francis Spellman, Archbishop of New York. He joined the faculty of Fordham University in 1951as a philosophy professor. He also taught later at Woodstock College and Catholic University of America. Since 1988, he has been the Laurence J McGinley Professor of Religion and Society at Fordham University. He was a member of the International Theological Commission from 1991 to 1997. He has held 15 visiting professorships and numerous positions in theological organizations including being President of the Catholic Theological Society of America and the American Theological Society. He is currently a consultor to the Committee on Doctrine of the NCCB. He has received 21 honorary doctorates and is well know internationally as an author and a lecturer.