The Rev. Walter J. Burghardt, a Jesuit theologian who taught at the old Woodstock College for more than three decades, died of congestive heart failure Friday at his order's retirement home in suburban Philadelphia. He was 93.
Born in New York City, he attended Woodstock College in Baltimore County, where he was ordained into the Roman Catholic priesthood in 1941. He taught for 32 years.
"Love every man, woman and child as Jesus loves us, each an image of God whether friend or enemy, of whatever culture or color," Father Burghardt once said. "Touch the earth, God's material creation - nuclear energy or a blade of grass - with respect. With reverence as a gift of God."
He had a 1950s radio program on Baltimore's WWIN-AM. He was also featured on the Catholic Hour on NBC in 1959 and 1964. He was listed in "Best Easter Sermons" in Life magazine on Easter 1957.
He was also a professor at Catholic University, where he received his doctorate, and was a visiting lecturer at Union Theological Seminary in New York City and Princeton Theological Seminary. He was the longtime editor of Theological Studies and the author of many articles and books.
Father Burghardt often spoke on Christian unity and belonged to the Academic Council of the Ecumenical Institute for Advanced Theological Studies in Jerusalem, the Baltimore Archdiocesan Commission for Christian Unity, the U.S. Dialogue Group of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Conversations and the North American Academy of Ecumenists, of which he had been president.
He held 21 honorary degrees.
Graveside services will be held at 10 a.m. today at Woodstock Jesuit Cemetery in Woodstock. A Mass was offered yesterday in Washington.
There are no immediate survivors.