Fr. Robert Taft, S.J.

In Paul Turner's Blog by Paul Turner

Q:  We are all learning from you!!!

A question — I was reading some material from Fr. Robert Taft, S.J. who passed away almost two years ago.

He, like you, seems to have the ability to make a deep understanding and appreciation of liturgy accessible to “pew people” and so deepen our love of good liturgy and community prayer.  Though his focus is certainly on the Byzantine liturgy, there are “bits of wisdom” that help me long the way.

Did you know Fr. Taft?  Do you have any anecdotal recollection about him that you would share with me?

Thanks and God bless!


A: Yes, I was blessed to know Bob Taft. I saw him at the meetings of the North American Academy of Liturgy and the Catholic Academy of Liturgy.

I had the highest respect for him. People I trusted who had studied with him spoke of him in towering terms. My happiest memory of him was on January 6, 2006, in San Diego, where I had just delivered the Vice Presidential Address for the NAAL. I was in my early 50s. To my surprise the address was received quite graciously and enthusiastically by the membership. At an outdoor lunch break, Taft walked up to me and magnanimously shoved his hand into mine to congratulate me on the talk. It totally blew me away. And it said more about my respect for him than the quality of my talk. He revealed a side I hadn’t known before: the old don encouraging another generation of scholars. I still feel encouraged when I think of it.