American Catholic Life and Thought

Katharine E. Harmon, Marian University (Indiana),

Michael Lombardo, University of Mary Rome Campus (North Dakota and Rome),

The American Catholic Life and Thought section welcomes papers that deal with all aspects of American Catholic history and theology. The convention theme for 2017, “American Catholicism in the 21st Century: Crossroads, Crisis, or Renewal?,” presents an opportunity to revisit questions about the relationship between the United States and Roman Catholicism in light of current trends on the global, national and ecclesial stages. We hope to explore these trends through three key topics which grapple with American Roman Catholic experiences at both the center, and at the margins, of these various venues: 1) the continuities and discontinuities inherent in American Catholic identity; 2) the changing role of the American Catholic Church on both the local (e.g., US, New England, Rhode Island) and universal levels (the world church); and 3) the role of theology and Catholic Studies in American liberal arts education.


We are particularly interested in papers exploring the plight of Americanism (Is Americanism dead?); the Francis Effect on the American Catholic Church; the ways in which immigration is reshaping what it means to be a Catholic living in the United States; tensions around questions of religious liberty in an increasingly secular culture; the responsibility of Catholics who play a prominent role in American politics; the marginalization of American Catholicism as a public voice in mainstream American culture (particularly in places like Rhode Island, which has traditionally had the one of the highest per capita percentages of Catholics among all US states); pockets of Catholic cultural “resistance” (e.g., the comedians Jim Gaffigan and Stephen Colbert); the marginalization of the American Catholic Church and the American hierarchy in the Francis papacy; and the role of theology and Catholic Studies in the contemporary liberal arts curriculum in light of the marginalization of the humanities and the emphasis on the STEM disciplines.

Submit your proposal via email 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.


Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software