Francis, a Voice Crying Out in the World: Mercy, Justice, Love, & Care for the Earth


April 12–15, 2018

The Institute for Catholic Social Thought at Villanova University invites you to join us in celebration of the fifth anniversary of the election of Pope Francis. The goal of the conference is to provide a theological and historical analysis of this pontificate.


The Inn at Villanova Univeristy and the Radnor Hotel have each set a block of rooms aside for conference goers who identify themselves as being with the Villanova University Pope Francis Conference. You must call to receive the conference rate.

The Inn at Villanova University  [610] 519-8000
Radnor Hotel  [610] 688-5800


Keynote Speakers

Flight or Field Hospital: Pope Francis and the Church’s Engagement with the World

Cardinal Joseph Tobin, CSSR

Newark, NJ


Reconciling Doctrine, Theology, Spirituality, and Pastorality: Vatican II and Pope Francis

John O’Malley, SJ

Georgetown University


Pope Francis and “Laudato Si”

Jeffrey Sachs

Columbia University


A hunter who advances too far ahead of his fellow hunters ends up with an arrow in his behind: Following Francis’s Tough Leadership Act

Agbonkhianmeghe Orobator, SJ

Hekima University, Nairobi, Kenya


Pope Francis and His Impact on the Church of Latin America

Cardinal Óscar AndrJs Rodriguez Maradiaga, SDB

Tegucigalpa, Honduras


Pope Francis: The Catholic Church as a Social Movement

Margaret Archer

President, Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences


Pope Francis’ Interpretation of Vatican II

Massimo Faggioli

Villanova University


The Spiritual Roots of “Reform” in Pope Francis

Antonio Spadaro, SJ

Editor, La Civilta Cattolica


Pope Francis: A Theologian of Migration

Anna Rowlands

Durham University, UK

Conference Schedule

Download a Digital Conference Schedule

Date    Time [start] Event Location
April 12 7:30 PM Vice President's Welcome St. Thomas of Villanova Church
April 13 9:30 AM Flight or Field Hospital: Pope Francis and the Church’s Engagement with the World St. Thomas of Villanova Church
April 13 8:30 AM Continental Breakfast TBD
April 13 9:30 AM Reconciling Doctrine, Theology, Spirituality, and Pastorality: Vatican II and Pope Francis Villanova Room, Connelly Center
April 13 10:30 AM Break Connelly Center
April 13 10:45 AM Pope Francis and Laudato Si Villanova Room, Connelly Center
April 13 11:45 AM Break Connelly Center
April 13 12:00 PM Noon Mass St. Thomas of Villanova Church
April 13 1:45 PM A hunter who advances too far ahead of his fellow hunters ends up with an arrow in his behind: Following Francis’s Tough Leadership Act Villanova Room, Connelly Center
April 13 2:45 PM Break  
April 13 3:00 PM Concurrent Session 1 TBD
April 13 4:00 PM Break  
April 13 4:15 PM Pope Francis and His Impact on the Church of Latin America Villanova Room, Connelly Center
April 13 5:15 PM Break  
April 13 5:30 AM Vespers St. Thomas of Villanova Church
April 13 6:00 PM Dinner Break  
April 13 8:00 PM President's Welcome St. Thomas of Villanova Church
April 13   Organ Concert in Honor of Pope Francis’ Fifth Anniversary St. Thomas of Villanova Church
April 14 8:00 AM Mass Villanova Room, Connelly Center
April 14 8:30 AM Continental Breakfast TBD
April 14 9:15 AM Concurrent Session 2 TBD
April 14 10:15 AM Break  
April 14 10:30 AM Pope Francis: The Catholic Church as a Social Movement Villanova Room, Connelly Center
April 14 11:30 AM Break  
April 14 11:45 AM Pope Francis’ Interpretation of Vatican II Villanova Room, Connelly Center
April 14 12:45 PM Lunch  
April 14 1:45 AM The Spiritual Roots of “Reform” in Pope Francis Villanova Room, Connelly Center
April 14 2:45 PM Break  
April 14 3:00 PM Pope Francis: A Theologian of Migration Villanova Room, Connelly Center
April 14 4:00 PM Break  
April 14 4:15 PM Concurrent Session 3  
April 14 5:15 PM Break  
April 14 5:30 PM Vespers  
April 14 7:00 PM Banquet The Inn at Villanova
April 15 10:30 AM Mass St. Thomas of Villanova Church
April 15 11:45 AM Wrap Up Panel Villanova Room, Connelly Center


Concurrent Session Details


Friday April 13  |  3-4PM

GROUP 1 Roots of Francis’ Theology

Bernard Brady
From Leo to Francis: The Narrative of Catholic Social Thought
There are three stages, interrelated and overlapping, in modern Catholic social thought. These stages are marked by dominant imperatives: From Leo XIII to John XXIII the tradition highlights the rational responses to injustice based on a vision of an ordered society. The second stage, from Pius XII to John Paul II, supports the "sacredness of persons" and their legitimate moral claims within a globalized moral vision, the imperative being human dignity and human rights. The third stage John Paul II to Francis, stresses the interiority of persons and addresses the affective responses of persons as agents of social change, the imperative being solidarity and mercy.

Anthony Caloma
The Ignatian Spiritual Exercises and the Second Vatican Council: Pope Francis’ Framework for Communion and Dialogue with the Church in the World
The pastoral approach of Francis may easily be conceived as a form of rupture, divergence from the Church's fundamental teachings. However, a deeper look at the Pope's pastoral direction, one recognizes the fruits of the Ignatian Spiritual Exercises and the renewed vision of the Second Vatican Council operative in Francis' words and deeds. It is the convergence of the "consolation" of the personal encounter nurtured in the Spiritual Exercises and the "joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties" articulated in the Second Vatican Council that shaped the paradigm of Pope Francis' pastoral direction for the Church in the world. The author proffers that the Spiritual Exercises and the Second Vatican Council serve as the hermeneutic lenses to understand the pastoral framework and legacy of Pope Francis.

Marcus Mescher
Mercy: The Crux of Pope Francis’ Moral Imagination
This presentation explores how Pope Francis focus on Mercy functions to expand the moral imagination of Christians and a robust social imaginary in the world today. Francis is repeated emphasis on Mercy does more than amplify quote Jesus most important message. And quote the word "imagination" does not appear in Laudato Sí or Amoris Laetitia but these documents, Francis other addresses, and his overall mode of preceding comprise an expensive imaginative framework meant to inspire people to embrace new possibilities for practicing mercy and their lives and Bash especially as Mercy is connected to a matrix of Virtues including hope, courage, solidarity, and Justice. Drawing from the work of Robert Putnam (who finds that moral formation is influenced more by religious belongingness than religious belief) this presentation concludes by proposing goals and strategies for being a church marked by steadfast Mercy in a way that galvanizes hope and promotes inclusive solidarity with all creation.

GROUP 2 Francis, Amoris Laetitia and Sexual Ethics

Annie Selak
Missing Voices in “Amoris Laetitia”

I will both highlight continuities between the view of Francis and previous popes–especially Paul VI and John Paul II–and highlight several ways that Francis articulates important new or enhanced emphases in Catholic social teaching. Among these new emphases are a more central awareness of the profound depths of our world's ecological crises and Francis stress on grassroots action and popular movements as the manner in which CST is to be implemented, a welcome change from more top down visions of social change present in most prior CST documents. I will also suggest several ways that CST could be yet further enhanced, particularly in developing a clearer notion of what viable alternatives to current dominant policies might entail. This will include dialogue with the work of prominent proponents of "economic democracy" and ecological economics."

William Werpehowski
Agape and Special Relations: The Case of “Amoris Laetitia”
Over the past fifty years, Christian Ethicists have critically addressed the connection between Christian agape, taken to be a form of "neighbor love" with universal human reach, and "special relations, " i.e., particular bonds such as marriage and friendship that crucially involve matters of personal preference and difference regarding, e.g., desire, common interests and loyalties, and/or personal commitment. After reviewing the state of the question on this front by way of appeal to the work of Margaret Farley, Stephen Pope, and others, I will consider Pope Francis's unique contribution to the subject of "love in marriage" through his close reading of 1 Corinthians 13.

GROUP 3 Francis, Laudato Si and the Environment

Abigail Lofte
Sacrifice at the Center of commitment: “Laudato Si” and “Evangelii Gaudium” in Conversation
In this presentation I will demonstrate that EG and LS must be read together to achieve a panoramic vision of ecological responsibility through missionary discipleship, founded upon the significance of the resurrection for inspiring actions that seeks the good of the whole community and hopes for a better future. Drawing upon Edward Schillebeeckx' theology of the Easter experience for describing the importance of an encounter with the living God who inspires the disciples to renew the world enhances Pope Francis' call to missionary discipleship. Recovering a sense of the sacred motivates us to adjust our lifestyles to accommodate Earth's needs and appreciate the mysterious power of the universe driving life forward into the far-future.

Elliott Maloney
“Laudato Si”: Ecology, Poverty, and Eschatology

In his recent encyclical Laudato Sí Pope Francis has searched sacred scripture for wisdom on the questions of ecology and poverty for today. He notes that misuse of Natural Resources stems in part from a Miss reading of Genesis on creation and that the lack of concern for other human persons by so many comes from loss of understanding of God as Creator and father of all humankind. with a timely reminder of the Judeo-Christian Traditions preferential option for the poor, the pope goes on to reimagine Jesus teaching on the beauty of Nature and his Embrace of the joys of human living. Jesus emphasis on God's plan has promised to deliver all things rests on the bike Biblical teaching of the goodness of all creation and on the salvation of the world that we have been given. The Pope's renewed understanding of eschatology can correct a misguided and otherworldly focus on God's plan and the erroneous reading of apocalyptic texts in the Old and New Testaments.

Susan Nedza, MD
Responding to “Laudato Si”: Building Catholic Partnerships between Catholics in the United States and Honduras to Care for the Earth

Honduras is a country facing many challenges, including dissolution of the family, unemployment, and gang violence. Yet all Hondurans recognize the environmental crisis that threatens their home. The Catholic Church in Olancho is playing a key role in responding to Pope Francis' call to care for the Earth. The Olancho Aid Foundation through unique partnerships with US Catholic Parishes, high schools, and universities is supporting this effort. The panel will discuss how these partnerships are assisting citizens in Olancho Honduras through educational programs in Honduran Catholic schools serving 900 students and their families, providing volunteer opportunities to build clean water projects, and fostering faith-based missions for parents and high school students that provide insight into how our environmental decisions impact the world.

GROUP 4 College of Engineering—Applying Laudato Si

Gary Gabriele, Jordan Ermilio & William Lorenz
Incorporating “Laudato Si” in the College of Engineering

The panel will provide three short talks that describe programs within the College of Engineering focused on sustainability. The first talk will provide an overview of the College-wide sustainability activities, which include a number of academic programs, research programs, and service programs that engage our students, faculty and alumni the poor and underserved throughout the world.

The second talk will provide a more in-depth overview of our masters in sustainable engineering (MSSE) and how this program is engaging students and industry partners in addressing important global sustainability issues. The MSSE is one of only two graduate programs in sustainable engineering in the country and has grown to be one of the largest in our College. It has also engaged industry partners from a dozen top companies that have engaged with the students and faculty in addressing real-world sustainability problems.

The Third Talk will focus on recent research in evaluating sustainable water, sanitation, and health (WASH) issues. The Sustainable WASH Research Initiative at Villanova is working to address these challenges by developing objective, continuous monitoring techniques that can simultaneously address the needs of external support agencies as well as local operators who struggle to ensure the sustainable supply of safe drinking water on a daily basis. This presentation will present an overview of this research initiative along with a summary of results that include next steps for addressing the long-term sustainable development of water resources.

GROUP 5 Francis and the Media


Thomas Dailey, OSFS
The Church at 30,000 Feet: Appreciating Pope Francis’ Interviews with Journalists
Francis's theology of the Church is taught and lived through his encounters with the media. Using words and images especially apt for today's social communications, he brings the Good News of mercy, justice, and care for the earth to the Media and, through them, to the whole world. In a distinctive way, the papal press conferences give expression to key concepts in Pope Francis's theology of the Church by embodying his emphasis on going out to the "peripheries," engaging in "dialogue," and cultivating "joy."

David Gibson & Michael O’Loughlin
Medium, Message—or Messenger?: Pope Francis and the Power of Language as a Path to Church Renewal
Our panel will look at various aspects of the Pope's media strategy and analyze its effectiveness in running and renewing the global church. Topics include his novel use of papal press conferences; his revolutionary use of social media; his reliance on the power of his image; and how this pope has affected Catholic and secular journalists.

Sarah Thomas
Mercy in Cyberspace: Pope Francis as Model for a Theological Anthropology
Given his usage of digital media and his broad appeal to believers and nonbelievers alike, I consider Pope Francis a paradigmatic figure of mercy in cyberspace. In this presentation, I will critically analyze Pope Francis' usage of digital media as a case study. From this analysis, I will then propose a theological anthropology, using the work of Agnes Brazal. Within my analysis, I will include a definition of cyberspace and attend to the cybernetic experience of embodiment in distinction to face to face encounter. In particular, I tend to the theme of mercy throughout the analysis, focusing primarily on the digital communication surrounding the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy (December 8, 2015–November 20, 2016). By the end of my analysis, I hope to answer the question, how does Pope Francis traverse Areopagus?

GROUP 6 Francis and Catholic Bioethics—Health

Charles Camosy, M. Therese Lysaught & Christopher White
The ‘Throwaway Culture’: Pope Francis, Markets, and a New Methodology for Catholic Bioethics

Pope Francis has pioneered a new moral discourse by linking a broad critique of the market economy to its implications for the disregard of human life at various stages of development. We demonstrate how Francis' vision lays the groundwork for integrating the formerly siloed discourses of Catholic social doctrine and traditional moral method into a new methodology for Catholic bioethics. We argue that this methodology is more theologically robust, particularly vis a vis Christology and ecclesiology, and is more analytically powerful, particularly in the way that it illuminates previously obscured issues in bioethics as well as illuminating previously obscured dynamics driving many traditional issues in bioethics.


Saturday, April 14  |  9:15-10:15AM

GROUP 1 Roots of Francis’ Theology

Peter Folan, SJ
Scripture as ‘the Soul of Theology’?: A Critical Assessment of the Biblical Hermeneutics of Pope Francis
For the post-Vatican II popes prior to Pope Francis, Scripture has either functioned as a treasury of proof-texts, or been focused upon one or two themes so sharply that the bible’s broader contributions get lost. The encyclical Laudato Sí and the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, however, while still showing traces of these two tendencies, appropriate the call of DV§24 with a new seriousness. This paper will present and evaluate the biblical hermeneutics that Francis deploys in theses texts, arguing that he is demonstrating what it looks like to place Scripture at the soul of theology.

Thomas Massaro, SJ
He Drinks from His Own Wells: The Jesuit Roots of the Ethical Agenda of Pope Francis
While Francis undoubtedly draws from other Wells (EG his Latin American background, elements of Franciscan spirituality), this paper proposes that he drinks most deeply from Ignatian spirituality and his Rich Jesuit inheritance as resources that shape and inform his ethical agenda. I trace some of the quote Jesuit DNA on quote that guides Pope Francis back to the founding documents and early history of the Society of Jesus, such as the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola. Core themes of his papacy like Mercy, reconciliation, dialogue and discernment find resonance in these deep Jesuit sources.

Matthew Petrusek
Separating the Goat from the Sheep: The Role of the Devil in Pope Francis’ Ethics
How should we relate this understanding of the devil, and the urgency that Francis attaches to it, to Francis's wider ethics? This presentation will seek to clarify Francis's conception of the devil and locate it in relation to his broader conceptions of both individual and structural sin, with special attention to how non-human forms of evil complicate his understandings of individual and social responsibility to combat evil. Francis's acute awareness of the devil's presence in human life reveals an ever-greater depth to his insistence that grace, and a personal relationship with Jesus, are essential both to define, and advance the cause of justice.


GROUP 2 Francis, Laudato Si and the Environment


Mark Doorley
Ecological Conversion and the Emergent Universe: an Interpretation of Francis’ Call to Conversion in “Laudato Si”
In Laudato Sí Pope Francis calls for an ecological conversion. This presentation, calling on the work of Bernard Lonergan, SJ, will seek to elucidate what Francis means by ecological conversion. The author will argue that rather than calling for a significantly different kind of conversion, Francis is re-situating the necessity for, and experience of, conversion within the horizon of the emergent universe as a whole, hence the adjective “ecological.”

Christophère Ngolele, SJ
African Identity in Dialogue with “Laudato Si” on the Environmental Crisis: Toward a Paradigm of Recognition and Sacred Care
In this encyclical, Laudato Sí, the pope calls for multifaceted dialogue that includes different Sciences, cultures, and religious Traditions. Here, the African identity stands as an appropriate interlocutor, since the African identity helps to recover relationality as an important dimension of human identity. The dialogue between Laudato Sí and African identity is a major contribution of this work, as it leads to the proposition of an environmental ethics that will no longer be based on the paradigm of dominion or stewardship.

Barbara Wall
Concept of Nature from “Rerum Novarum” to “Laudato Si”
This presentation will examine the treatment of "nature" and the created world through the historical lens on encyclicals from Rerum novarum to Laudato Sí, addressing the early understanding of the relationship between humans and the natural world as one of dominance. The legacy of the Enlightenment on Catholic social teaching and support from a philosophical worldview of hierarchical dominance created a paradigm that reflects a kind of "speciesism" and exclusion of animals and vegetative life from moral consideration. Vatican II brought about a paradigm shift with the recognition and legitimacy of the created world as the locus for the discovery of God. The emphasis on all of creation having intrinsic and aesthetic goodness go beyond the cultural context of instrumental worth. Laudato Sí follows in the tradition of Vatican II and emphasizing that an "integral ecology" embodies a moral commitment to the creation account which, Pope Francis says, "suggest that human life is grounded in three fundamental and closely intertwined relationships with God, with our neighbor, and with the earth itself." (LS, 66)

GROUP 3 Francis and Ecclesiology

Dennis O’Brien
Pope Francis’ Theology of the Church: The God of Forgiveness
Pope Francis—and the second Vatican Council—Call for a church that speaks with a "pastoral" voice. The Church may present dogmas, but they can be received only in the pastoral voice. One must be beloved in order to be believed. The Church as a "field hospital", as personalized and pastoral, is not a cosmetic change for Catholic Christianity, it is fundamental. It is the only possible ministry for a God who forgives.

Erik Ranstrom
Francis’ Vision for Church and the Four Americans: Coincidence or Convergence?
Pope Francis' historic speech to the United States Congress, and the people of the United States, on September 24, 2015 included a commentary on four Americans who represented for Francis exemplars of the American cultural tradition and harbingers of hope for a renewal of the integration of spirituality and ethics. This presentation will continue in that line of inquiry by carefully considering the significance of these four individuals-two non-Catholics and tow Catholic converts-in Francis's Speech and their resonance with his distinctive ecclesiology, mode of engagement with culture, spirituality of social engagement and leadership, and pastoral sensibilities.

Arlene F. Montevecchio
Pope Francis, Ignacio Ellacuria, and the Church's Political Mission
In Evangelli Gaudium and Laudato Sí, Pope Francis articulates and ecclesiology rooted in the documents of the second Vatican Council, the meeting of CELAM at a parecida, and in the Theology of the people. Francis ecclesiology takes seriously integral ecology, or a way of Reading and Responding to the signs of the times that recognizes the complex nature of social problems including the relationship between the Cry of the earth and the Cry of the poor. The result is a missionary ecclesiology of hope that transforms Society through both charity and justice for humans and Earth. That said, while Francis is more political than his immediate predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, I maintain that the ecclesiology of Francis is not political enough. 50 years after the CELAM meeting at Medellin, Colombia, the political mission of the church has yet to be realized. I will use elements of this document to complement the thought of Ignacio Ellacuria who placed the political mission of the church at the center of his ecclesiology. This, in turn, will enhance the political focus of Francis ecclesiological project, bearing fruit for church and world. PhD Candidate

GROUP 4 Francis and the Media


Michael Canaris, Mary Beth Yount & Katherine Schmidt
The Pope and the Nones’ New Habits: Pope Francis, the Millennial Generation, and the Post-Post-Conciliar Church
This panel, consisting exclusively of theologians born after the election of Pope John Paul II, examines the complex relationship between Pope Francis's documented popularity among young people and the continued escalation in disaffiliation rates within that demographic. The scholars on this panel are uniquely equipped to consider issues connected to the pontificate of Pope Francis from a perspective view rather than strongly retrospective view.

Answers to these questions are situated within the larger discussion of the significant ways Pope Francis's globally connected ecclesiological vision intersects with a Western/Northern Atlantic Culture dominated by Twitter, Snapchat, and the 24-hour news cycle.

This prospective lens is brought to bear on questions including: How can Pope Francis's personal approval rating be so high among millennials, while their distrust of authorities in ecclesial, political, and institutional settings intensifies? What role do hermeneutical approaches of suspicion and reception play in these conversations?

GROUP 5 Francis and Social Justice

Mary Hirschfeld
The Technocratic Paradigm and Creation: The Challenge of “Laudato Si”

Pope Francis' encyclical, Laudato Sí, has been widely misunderstood as a condemnation of technological progress. Pope Francis is, indeed, critical of modern global capitalism, but his real challenge is not to progress or even economic growth, but rather to the paradigm that informs our thinking about both. Drawing on the writings of Romano Guardini, Pope Francis challenges the worldview that undergirds modern capitalism, which he dubs the technocratic paradigm. In this presentation, I discuss the technocratic paradigm, demonstrating that modern economic thought is grounded in its presuppositions. It is the technocratic paradigm and not technology that threatens both the environment and economic justice. The paper concludes with a discussion of creation as an alternative paradigm that can offer us a fruitful way forward in thinking about the twin problems of environmental degradation and economic injustice.

Ikenna Paschal Okpaleke
Faith as Common Good: Exploring Pope Francis’ Ecumenical Incentive to African Solidarity

In exploring the intrinsic relationship between faith and social justice, this presentation seeks to examine Pope Francis' identification of faith as CG (Lumen Fidei no. 51.). The aim is to take up Pope Francis' contribution in two interrelated contexts, namely a) ecumenical dialogue, and b) the quest for justice and peace in Africa. In doing this, I shall first demonstrate that Pope Francis' identification of faith as CG provides the grounding for ecumenical collaboration, particularly in the struggle for social justice. Secondly, in a dialogue with an African theologian, Stn C. Ilo (2016), I shall then argue that faith understood as CG could serve as an incentive towards developing an ecumenical response that is uniquely African in the quest for social justice in Africa. The analysis it is hoped, will help to show the far-reaching implications of Pope Francis' contributions to ecumenical dialogue and social debates from the vantage point of his profound understanding of the Christian faith as common good.

John Sniegocki
Pope Francis and Alternative Economic Visions

I will both highlight continuities between the view of Francis and previous popes-especially Paul VI and John Paul II-and highlight several ways that Francis articulates important new or enhanced emphases in Catholic social teaching. Among these new emphases are a more central awareness of the profound depths of our world's ecological crises and Francis stress on grassroots action and popular movements as the manner in which CST is to be implemented, a welcome change from more top down visions of social change present in most prior CST documents. I will also suggest several ways that CST could be yet further enhanced, particularly in developing a clearer notion of what viable alternatives to current dominant policies might entail. This will include dialogue with the work of prominent proponents of "economic democracy" and ecological economics."

GROUP 6 Francis and Discipleship

June Ann Greeley
“Laetitia Amoris” and the Way of Love and Mercy in Human Encounters
Although it is well known that Pope Francis' recent exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, is focused primarily on the Catholic family and serves as a document of reflection and discernment for clergy and other religious leaders, it is also seems that the exhortation has profound relevance for the lay faithful as a guide for their own moral discernment and spiritual reflection. Moreover, while the exhortation speaks largely to family matters and marital relationships, this presentation will address only the final section of Amoris Laetitia, Section 8, entitled, "Accompanying, Discerning and Integrating Weakness," a most provocative (and welcome) papal meditation on the care of mercy, love and hope that is available to and expected of all the faithful.

Ines Angeli Murzaka
Centered in the Periphery—Pope Francis and St. Mother Teresa
"Go out, head for the peripheries" is the central theme in Pope Francis' pontificate. Pope Francis is the pope of the peripheries. There are three reasons to be considered:

  1. Francis himself comes from the periphery. He was born and raised in Argentina, which is both a geographical and existential periphery.
  2. Francis is the first Latin American, non-European pontiff in modern times to lead the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
  3. Francis was born and raised on the periphery of political and ecclesial power. As a result, his strongest appeal is always going to lie in the periphery, and to some extent, the historic centers of the faith will always see him as not quite "their" man.


GROUP 7 Francis and Discipleship II

Alessandro Rovati
The Church of Joy: Ecclesiology and Mission in Paul VI and Francis
The Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium carefully articulates the Pope's vision for the renewal of the Church and it represents a powerful invitation for all the faithful to rediscover their calling to be active agents in the task of evangelization. The presentation focuses on Pope Francis' insistence on the need to rediscover the joy that comes from being touched by the merciful love of the Lord as the starting point for a renewed missionary zeal. In the process, it traces the connection between Francis' own missionary ecclesiology and the one developed by Paul VI, whose Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Nuntiandi figures prominently in the teachings of the current Pope and has had a pivotal role in shaping Francis's Vision and apostolate both before and after his election.

Marc Tumeinski
Learning from the Call to Fraternity in the ‘World Day of Peace Messages’ of Pope Francis
Francis is calling on the Church, parishes, families and individual Catholics to cultivate an openness to fraternity with the 'other,' whether an individual or a nation. I explore ways that such fraternity is relevant to the life and witness of the Church, as well as to various social domains (e.g., education, labor, the economy). Ultimately, the Pope is emphasizing the vital role that fraternity plays in Christian peacemaking.

Mathew Verghese
Hearing the Cry of the Earth in a Missionary Key: The Ecclesiology of “Laudato Si”
This presentation will interpret this journey through the footnotes of Laudato Sí in a more substantive vein via the lens of Francis' ecclesiology as articulated in his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium. It will also draw attention to two concrete instances of the synthesis of collegiality and concern for the environment: Francis' dialogue with Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople as well as documents on the environment from the bishops of the Appalachian region of the United States. The importance of collegiality will underscore the ways in which Francis Ecclesiology bolsters just action on behalf of the environment on the local level.



Saturday, April 14  |  4:15-5:15PM

GROUP 1 Francis, Amoris Laetitia & Sexual Ethics

James Bretzke, SJ
Responsum ad Dubia: Harmonizing “Veritas Splendor” and “Amoris Laetitia” through a Conscience-Informed Casuistry
Careful analysis of the relevant texts shows that Pope Francis has neither contradicted the moral tradition of the Church nor VS itself by envisioning such a practice (Dubia 2-5). This thesis will be further developed by careful attention to a conscience-informed casuistry grounded in the teaching of Gaudium et spes and the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Nicolete Burbach
Goodness, Rightness, and ‘Creative’ Conscience in the Thought of Pope Francis
One of the more controversial aspects of Amoris Laetitia is its claim that conscience can recognize with "a certain moral security" that an action is "what God himself is asking amid the concrete complexity of one's limits, while yet not fully the objective ideal" (§303). Critics have noted that this seems to contradict the condemnation in Veritatis Splendor (§55) of "creative understandings of conscience, "according to which the moral conscience is in no way obliged, in every case, by a particular negative precept". This presentation argues that Francis' pastoral principle of "time is greater than space" (Evangelii Gaudium: §223) provides the key to understanding the model of conscience presented in Amoris Laetitia. It argues that this principle invokes a tacit distinction between what can be described as moral goodness and moral rightness.

Antoine Guggenheim
Law as a Pedagogue of Love after “Amoris Laetitia”
The encyclical adds to the teaching of Veritatis Splendor a chapter on discernment which manifests benevolence for the people and commitment to their side.

GROUP 2 Francis, Laudato Si and the Environment

Gerald Beyer
Pope Francis’ Vision of Integral Ecology and Catholic Universities: “Everything is Interconnected”
In Laudato Sí Pope Francis stresses that the poor in particular suffer from the effects of climate change and environmental degradation. Echoing St. John Paul II (Centesimus Annus, no. 38), Francis thus maintains that "since everything is closely interrelated, and today's problems call for a vision capable of taking into account every aspect of the global crisis...we [must] now consider some elements of an integral ecology, which clearly respects human and social dimensions" (no.137). In my presentation, I will discuss the implications of Pope Francis' vision of integral ecology for Catholic Universities.

Matthew Eaton & Timothy Harvie
“Laudato Si” and Animal Well-Being: Exploring Food Ethics in a Throwaway Culture
While Pope Francis’ ethical vision in Laudato Sí is clear, further socio-political exploration is needed to embrace the encyclical call to “is.” This presentation explores the ethics of eating, especially as participants in economies driven by industrialized animal agriculture. Building on Francis's understanding of unnecessary animal suffering (LS 130) and his rejection of “throwaway culture” (LS 22), we question Catholic participation in the economies of animal agriculture.

Mark Graham
Pope Francis’ “Laudato Si”: Next Steps in a Catholic Response to the Environmental Crisis
Pope Francis' Laudato Sí represents the most comprehensive official statement from the Roman Catholic hierarchy on contemporary environmental issues. While we ought to be grateful that Pope Francis has put environmental matters front and center on our moral radar screen and has also provided incisive analyses of a number of theological and ethical concepts, Laudato Sí suffers from a number of drawbacks that make it less than effective as a platform for generating a credible Catholic environmental ethic and for motivating large-scale change. My hope is that by offering a critique of Laudato Sí, the next steps in generating a Catholic response to the environmental crisis will become clearer.

GROUP 3 Francis and Ecclesiology

Kevin Ahern
Integrating Mission: Pope Francis’ Challenge to Catholic Organizations
Francis's integrated model stands in contrast to other post-conciliar models of mission and discipleship. On the one hand, it departs from the missiological frameworks of his two immediate predecessors. That model tended to downplay the religious congregations. For Francis, the Gospel mission clearly includes action for social transformation, even by these groups. While essential, mercy, charity and education alone are insufficient for the church in its task of proclaiming the Kingdom.

Antonio D. Ballaró
Social Ecclesiology: Francis’ Pontificate as Conciliar Experimentation of a New “Forma Ecclesiae”
The presentation wants to explore the pontificate of Francis from an ecclesiological point of view. It tries to connect Pope Francis and Vatican II through the Lumen Gentium constitution, especially in its "social" part, where it lays the foundation for a "poor and for the poor" Church (LG 8). The author is convinced the Church's mission amongst men and women deserves a critical understanding that clarifies ad intra and ad extra relationships, which are closely connected but they have been enlightened by another light under this papacy.

Paolo Gamberini, SJ
Discernment of and in Doctrine: Pope Francis’ Reform Process of Catholic Thought
Discernment of and in Doctrine is at the very foundation of the Reform process that Pope Francis has prompted in His pontificate and may have repercussion not only in the development of the moral teaching but also in the Dogmatic of the Church. My proposal is to highlight this major shift in approaching Catholic doctrine and figure out how such a dynamic and relational paradigm of Catholic thought can reimagine religious identity and beliefs in a post-Christian culture vis-à-vis other religious.

GROUP 4 Francis and Social Justice

Stewart Braun
Yes to (Fair) Markets, No to Capitalism: Pope Francis’ Radical Economic Pragmatism
I contend that a fruitful way to interpret Francis' assertions is as a criticism of unrestrained capitalism and an implicit acceptance of a fair market system. To be more specific, Francis rejects the commitment to profit maximization and efficiency that characterizes capitalism, while pragmatically accepting that fair markets, responsive to the broader needs of the person, are useful in securing the common good.

M.T. Davila
Challenge to the Rich Nations: Pope Francis’ Brand of the “Option for the Poor”
Pope Francis’ brand of option for the poor presents challenges to rich countries in ways both distinct and bolder than his predecessors. While the rich tradition of Catholic social thought raised concerns about the dehumanizing trends of the global economy and the ways these damaged the human family, with particular attention to the poor, Francis’ concerns are much more specific, seeking to embolden poor communities to advocate for themselves, while challenging elite powers, rich nations, and Christians everywhere to outright reject those dimensions of current systems that stand in the way of building stronger links between diverse communities-including such systems as they might exist in the church itself-as a demand of discipleship.

Robert DeFina
“Such an Economy Kills”: Pope Francis and the Rise of Income Inequality
The growth in inequality in the United States and other countries constitutes one of the most profound social trends of the past several decades. While several documents beginning with Economic Justice for All have remarked on the rise and its broader repercussions for economic and social life, Pope Francis' has offered the sharpest critique. This presentation explores Francis's reaction to the rise and his prescriptions for change as elucidated in the encyclical Evangelii Gaudium. In particular, the paper analyzes his diagnosis and response to growing inequality in light of social science evidence regarding its causes and consequences.

Brett Fawcett
A Business Ethic of Joy: A Lonerganian Reading of Pope Francis on the Economy
Based on his analysis, Lonergan proposed a new kind of business ethic depending on what phase the economy was in, which would advance the goal of a “cosmopolis”. This presentation will analyze both Jesuits in the light of each other, summarizing Lonergan’s economic research and proposals and suggesting ways that these can be implemented in a way that fulfills the Holy Father’s specific suggestions, found throughout his Papacy, of ways to bring about an economy of joy and care for our common home.

GROUP 5 Francis and Catholic Bioethics – Health


Jason Eberl
Culture of Life, Culture of Death, and Culture of Waste
Laudato Sí and Animal Well-Being: Exploring Food Ethics in a Throwaway Culture

Ruth McDermott-Levy, Katie Huffling & Poune Saberi, MD
Climate Changes Health: Identifying the Health Risks in Our common Home
This session, presented by health professionals, will examine the health impacts of climate change on vulnerable populations; discuss the community-level health impacts of unconventional natural gas extraction; and relate the effects of unconventional natural gas extraction to greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. The scientific lens of climate impacts of the on human health will be framed with the insights from Pope Francis' encyclical letter, Laudato Sí: On Care of Our Common Home.

GROUP 6 Francis and Discipleship

Anthony Chukwhemeka Atansi
From Christological Hermeneutics to Discipleship: How Pope Francis is Doing what Dietrich Bonhoeffer Envisioned
This presentation explores accompaniment as a key element of the Francis papacy. After highlighting Francis’s calls for accompaniment with specific groups (e.g. migrants, the divorced), it considers a marginalized population with which he has not yet robustly engaged—the mentally ill—and explores what his model of accompaniment might offer to these people. It proposes that the interpersonal dimension of accompaniment can invite the Church to friendship with people with mental illness, especially through liturgy, and that the political dimension of accompaniment can steer the Church toward advocacy on their behalf. Ultimately, then, Francis’s model of accompaniment can bolster the agency of this neglected population while pursuing social justice.

Peter Fay
Walking at the Side of People with Mental Illness: Guidance from Pope Francis’ Model of Accompaniment
This presentation explores accompaniment as a key element of the Francis papacy. After highlighting Francis’s calls for accompaniment with specific groups (e.g. migrants, the divorced), it considers a marginalized population with which he has not yet robustly engaged—the mentally ill—and explores what his model of accompaniment might offer to these people. It proposes that the interpersonal dimension of accompaniment can invite the Church to friendship with people with mental illness, especially through liturgy, and that the political dimension of accompaniment can steer the Church toward advocacy on their behalf. Ultimately, then, Francis’s model of accompaniment can bolster the agency of this neglected population while pursuing social justice.

GROUP 7 Francis and Discipleship II

Brian Flanagan
A Bruised, Hurting, and Dirty Church
This presentation will look at Pope Francis’s vision of a church that is “bruised, hurting, and dirty,” as he names it in Evangelii Gaudium (49). By looking at both Francis’s explicit statements on the church as well as the ecclesiology implicit in the first years of his papacy, it will ask how Francis has spelled out in greater detail in his striking image of a church that has gone forth “out on the streets” (EG 49) The Church’s real yet incomplete holiness in relation to the reign of God, that is, its “fallible holiness,” provides a counterweight to theologies of ecclesial holiness burdened by non-eschatological expectation of perfection and purity. By beginning to free the church from such expectations and to allow the church to recognize its location in a world still awaiting the fullness of redemption, Pope Francis has begun to cultivate a church that more closely imitates the self-emptying of its Lord and Head.

Arthur Purcaro, OSA
Pope Francis: Building the City of God on the Firm Foundations of Humility
Augustine dared to promote the inclusive life-style of communion for all the faithful, providing an alternative way of being in the world, for a better world, emphasizing the need to share material goods as a witness for sharing the greatest of all spiritual goods: God as our Father, our true and most precious inheritance. Rooted in the experience of the early Christian community, Augustine understood the following of Christ to involve the testimony of the community itself. This evangelical principle was once again recovered in Vatican II, pursuing means to give contemporary witness to the call of being the Church to the poor. the Medellin and Puebla documents, formative for Francis, made a valiant effort to concretize this principle, offering specific goals and guidelines for the Latin American church in which Jorge Bergoglio grew in faith. In 2007, the Bishops gathered together in a Aparecida, Cardinal Bergoglio guided the discussion which fashioned the document of Aparecida, forerunner of the Apostolic Exhortation Evangelii Gaudium, the pastoral blueprint for his papacy. To collaborate in building up the City of God, as in the case of Augustine, a firm foundation in the virtue of humility in indispensable. A pastoral conversion is called for, both on a personal and a communal level, a change of hearts, minds as well as structures, involving material as well as spiritual goods. The challenge to sow what we hope to reap, to give witness to what we anticipate as to be fulfilled, to not only pray but also to work for communion along all is the invitation Christ puts before us in the ministry and person of Pope Francis.