Biographical / Historical
Thomas Mulvihill King, S.J., was born on May 9, 1929, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1951, Father King entered the Society of Jesus after earning a Bachelor’s degree in English at the University of Pittsburgh. He continued his studies as a Jesuit at Fordham University and Woodstock College; and was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1964. On completion of a doctorate in theology at the University of Strasbourg in 1968, Father King joined the faculty of the Theology Department at Georgetown University where he taught until a few years before his death on June 23, 2009.
At Georgetown University, Father King was well known among Georgetown students and alumni for offering Mass every night from Sunday to Friday, in Dahlgren Chapel on the main campus, a tradition he started in 1969. In 1999, the student newspaper The Hoya, declared Father King "Georgetown's Man of the Century", noting that "no one has had a more significant presence on campus and effect on students than Father King."
In keeping with Catholic moral teaching, Father King took a strong stance against abortion and euthanasia. He co-founded the University Faculty of Life group aiming to create a dialogue on life issues in the academic community. He was also founder of the science and religion group Cosmos and Creation; as well as a member of Pax Christi, a group opposed to war and capital punishment.
Father King was a scholar of the Trappist monk Thomas Merton, as well as Jesuit priest and paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. He wrote prolifically on both and was a conduit and facilitator for the acquisition of several collections relating to the latter by the Booth Family Center for Special Collections. In particular, Father King helped to bring to the Library, a collection of the original letters written by Teilhard de Chardin to Lucile Swan. These were eventually published in the volume “The Letters of Teilhard de Chardin and Lucile Swan” (1993), co-edited by Father King.
- Davis, Rebekah. "Thomas M. King Dies at 80." Washington Post, Washington, D.C. 28 June 2009. Print.