Dominican Fr. Cletus Wessels

Dominican Fr. Cletus Wessels died on Aug. 13. He was a pastor, theologian, author, college professor and seminary president. He made his profession as a Dominican friar in 1951, followed by his ordination as a priest in 1957. He held a doctorate in systematic theology from St. Paul University, Ottawa, Ontario.

He served for 18 years as professor of theology at Aquinas Institute of Theology in Dubuque, Iowa, and became the third president of the Institute (which is now located in St. Louis). He also taught for a time at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids as well as other centers of learning, including the Quixote Center in Hyattsville, Md., and the Weber Center in Adrian, Mich.

Wessels died of complications from Alzheimer's disease Wednesday at Providence Health Care Center in Minneapolis. He was 79.

We refreshed our website! Drop us a line at to tell us what you think. We value your feedback.

He devoted the last years of his life to preaching and writing about the “new universe story” and its implications for Catholic theology and spirituality. He wrote two books on this subject: The Holy Web: Church and the New Universe Story (2000) and Jesus in the New Universe Story (2003).

Support independent reporting on important issues.

 One family graphic_2016_250x103.jpg

Show comments

NCR Comment code: (Comments can be found below)

Before you can post a comment, you must verify your email address at
Comments from unverified email addresses will be deleted.

  • Be respectful. Do not attack the writer. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the original idea will be deleted. NCR reserves the right to close comment threads when discussions are no longer productive.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report abuse" button. Once a comment has been flagged, an NCR staff member will investigate.

For more detailed guidelines, visit our User Guidelines page.

For help on how to post a comment, visit our reference page.

Commenting is available during business hours, Central time, USA. Commenting is not available in the evenings, over weekends and on holidays. More details are available here. Comments are open on NCR's Facebook page.