Thomas Mulvihill King, SJ

The founder and long-time president of University Faculty for Life, Fr. Thomas King, passed away last week at the age of 80.
He had degrees in Economics, Physics Education and Sacred Theology, wrote a stack of books (mostly about Teilhard de Chardin --he said Chardin's interest in science and his passion fascinated him) and taught Theology at Georgetown for years, but was probably best known to most students (and Catholics in the city with pleasures to pursue on Sunday) as the celebrant of "last chance Mass," 11:15 pm in Dahlgren chapel.
He was also a minor celebrity in our burg. After a series of odd happenings on the set of The Exorcist, he was called in to bless the crew and set. Every so often there'd be an Exorcist revival and he'd turn up in an interview.
He's an interesting fellow, as this interview with him reveals. He kind of shatters my categories --a Teilhard fan who turns some people off for being too hard-line on moral issues? I liked this:

“Sometimes people asked me why I was going to college,” King recalled. “My answer was ‘momentum.’ I was going so fast through grade school and high school, college was just the next step.”

King said that his decision to go to college in Pittsburgh lacked any free choice.

“Momentum is kind of a non-freedom,” King said. That’s why his decision to join the Jesuits is so important to him.

Sophomore year in college, King began to feel the sense that Christ was present in his life. One day, King felt that Jesus invited him to become a priest.

“I said yes, and it seemed so fundamental,” King said, “like it was rising up from my toenails.”

Part of King’s philosophy on life and religion involves freedom. He said he doesn’t believe that people are just part of a complex, moving machine.

“I didn’t have a vocation,” King said about becoming a priest. “I had an invitation. I wanted to come. It was my free choice.”

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.