American Catholic Life and Thought

Katharine E. Harmon, Marian University (Indiana),

Paul G. Monson, Sacred Heart Seminary & School of Theology (Wisconsin),

The American Catholic Life and Thought section welcomes papers that address all aspects of American Catholic theology, history, and culture. The convention theme for 2018, “‘You Say You Want a Revolution?’ 1968-2018 in Theological Perspective,” presents a prime opportunity to expand upon the 2017 theme of American Catholic “crossroads” by revisiting the critical post-conciliar juncture of 1968. In particular, the section wishes to engage Mark Massa’s claim in The American Catholic Revolution (2010) that the rise of historical consciousness among U.S. Catholics in the 1960s served as a prime force in driving concurrent shifts in American Catholic life and thought, especially in worship and moral theology. Once U.S. Catholics realized that the church could “change,” Massa and others assert that “the law of unintended consequences” enveloped the reception of Vatican II.


In highlighting the watershed year of 1968, we welcome studies that explore historical and theological “change” at both the internal and external levels: that is, both within the local and universal church and beyond in ecumenical collaboration and secular society. We are notably interested in papers that focus on internal and external “revolutions” in the context of the 1960s. Topics include (although are by no means limited to) changes in: (1) religious life, the priesthood, and missionary activity in a postcolonial context; (2) sacramental practices and moral thought in relation to new pedagogies and shifting social and racial dynamics; (3) technology, media, and communication, especially amid a global race for arms and the moon; and (4) American attitudes toward the Council and the papacy, particularly during the years of Pope Paul VI. Echoing the convention’s discouragement of nostalgia, the conveners favor studies that engage the past to discover meaning and lessons for the present.

Proposals of approximately 500 words should include the scholar’s name, position, institution, and CTS membership status, and should be emailed to both of the conveners listed above.

The College Theology Society is a registered, non-profit professional society and a Related Scholarly Organization of the American Academy of Religion.


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