Conference Conference, Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin: The Role of Church in a Pluralist Society: Good Riddance or Good Influence?

Mar 16, 2016 | 0 comments

Conference 22nd – 24th June 2016, Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin

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This conference is being organised with the aim of contributing towards the Church’s interrogation of its This conference is being organised with the aim of contributing towards the Church’s interrogation of its identity and mission in contemporary society.

Has Church a distinctive voice in the Public Square? Is the Catholic Church, along with other Christian Churches, just another group fighting for a place in society, seeking to further their own interests? Or do Christian Churches have a different standing? A claim to be heard?

We have invited a distinguished panel of speakers to Trinity College Dublin to address questions such as these, to challenge thinking and ways of acting, and indicate a way forward on these vital issues.

Fifty years ago John Courtney Murray entered debate about the social and political role of Church in the society of his time. In the same intellectual trajectory we invite scholars and other interested inquirers to gather in Trinity College Dublin in June 2016 to hear our distinguished speakers and to take part in this continuing debate about Church and civil society.



A very distinguished panel of speakers to Trinity College in June 2016 to address these questions, challenge thinking and acting, and perhaps indicate a way forward on these vital issues

William T. Cavanaugh is Director of the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology and Professor of Catholic Studies at DePaul University, Chicago.

He is the author of six books, including The Myth of Religious Violence: Secular Ideology and the Roots of Modern Conflict. (2009) and ‘Migrations of the Holy’ (2011).

Patrick Deneen is Professor of Constitutional Law, University of Notre Dame, Indiana. His research interests include the history of political thought, and religion and politics.
Published Books include: The Odyssey of Political Theory, 2000, Democratic Faith, 2005, Democracy’s Literature (ed.), 2005, The Democratic Soul (ed.), 2011.

Sim D’Hertefelt is the co-ordinator of the Catholic portal website in Flanders, Belgium. He has worked as an information architect since the start of the commercial internet in 1996. Since 2011 he has directed several digital evangelisation projects.

Terry Eagleton is widely regarded as Britain’s most influential living literary critic and theorist.

He has published about 50 books including: The Body as Language: outline of a new left theology (1970), Literary Theory (1996), Culture and the Death of God (2014).

Massimo Faggioli is professor of theology and director of the Institute for Catholicism and Citizenship at the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul (Minnesota).

Publications in English include: Vatican II: The Battle for Meaning (2012); True Reform: Liturgy and Ecclesiology in Sacrosanctum Concilium (2012); A Council for the Global Church. Receiving Vatican II in History (2015).


Siobhán Garrigan is Director of The Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin. She holds the Loyola Chair of Catholic Theology.  Her most recent book is The Real Peace Process: Worship, Politics and the End of Sectarianism (2014).

J. Bryan Hehir is the Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life at Harvard.
His writings include Social Values and Public Policy: A Contribution from a Religious Tradition. He was the chief author of the U.S. bishops’ 1983 pastoral letter on nuclear weapons.

Hans Joas is the Ernst Troeltsch Professor for the Sociology of Religion at Humboldt University, Berlin, and Professor of Sociology at the University of Chicago.
Among his most important recent book publications in English are “The Sacredness of the Person. A New Genealogy of Human Rights”, “War in Social Thought. Hobbes to the Present”, “Faith as an Option. Possible Futures for Christianity”.

Archbishop of Munich and Freising, is President of the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union, a position he has used to support migrants rights.
Author of Das Kapital: A Plea for Man (2008), the book argues that the whole world adopt a market economy that is kinder to the weak and downtrodden instead of “heaping even more rewards on those who behave immorally.”

Margaret O’Brien Steinfels, with her husband, Peter Steinfels, is a founding co-director of the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture.
Professor Steinfels served for 15 years as the editor of Commonweal. She co-directed the ground breaking project, American Catholics in the Public Square. She was the founding editor of the Hastings Center Report from 1974 to 1980.

Catherine Pepinster has been editor of The Tablet for the past ten years.
Before joining The Tablet she worked for The Independent and Independent on Sunday. She is a regular contributor to national newspapers and to Thought for the Day, on Radio Four’s Today programme.

Patrick Riordan teaches political philosophy at Heythrop College, University of London.
His current research interests are ‘Religion in Public Life’, the ‘Philosophy of Justice’, and the ‘Common Good’. His latest book is Global Ethics and Global Common Goods (2015).

Fáinche Ryan is the Assistant Professor in Systematic Theology at the Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin.
Her current research interest lies in the area of questions of ecclesiology and leadership. Her publications include The Eucharist: What do we believe? (2012) and Formation in Holiness. Thomas Aquinas on Sacra doctrina (2007).

Peter F. Steinfels is an American journalist. From 1990 to 2010 he wrote a column in the New York Times. He was founder of the Fordham Center on Religion and Culture.
His books include The Neoconservatives: The Men Who Are Changing America’s Politics (1980) and A People Adrift: The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America (2004).

Gerry Whyte is Professor of Law and Fellow of Trinity College Dublin.

Professor Whyte is the co-author of a leading text on Irish constitutional law, Kelly: The Irish Constitution, (1994). He has also published extensively in the areas of public interest law, social welfare law and labour law.

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