Plenary Speakers 2017

Most Reverend Stephen E. Blaire, DD

Most Reverend Stephen E. Blaire is the Bishop of Stockton, California.  He was ordained to the priesthood for the archdiocese of Los Angeles in 1967.  During his priestly life, he has ministered as an associate pastor, a Catholic secondary school teacher and principal, moderator of the curia, and auxiliary bishop for the archdiocese of Los Angeles.  He was named Bishop of Stockton in 1999.  Bishop Blaire has distinguished himself for his pastoral zeal and dedication, and is known for speaking out on behalf of various justice issues, including the rights of immigrants, the need for accessible, affordable health care and inner city education, and the problem of international debt and the burden it places upon the poorer countries of the Americas.  Bishop Blaire has served the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops as chair of various committees, including Pastoral Practice, Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, and Domestic Policy, as well as serving on the Safe Environment for Children and Vulnerable Adults Committee.  Bishop Blaire's plenary address will take place on Thursday evening and is titled The Church and Popular Movements: Signs of Renewal.

Professor Timothy Matovina

Timothy Matovina is Professor of Theology and Co-Director of the Institute for Latino Studies at the University of Notre Dame. He works in the area of Theology and Culture, with specialization in U.S. Catholic and U.S. Latino theology and religion. Professor Matovina has authored over 100 essays and reviews in scholarly and opinion journals. He has also written or edited 16 books, most recently Latino Catholicism: Transformation in America’s Largest Church (Princeton, 2012) and Guadalupe and Her Faithful: Latino Catholics in San Antonio, from Colonial Origins to the Present (Johns Hopkins, 2005). Among his various scholarly awards, in 2010 Matovina received the Virgilio Elizondo Award “for distinguished achievement in theology, in keeping with the mission of the Academy” from the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS). At Notre Dame he has won two teaching awards, including the Julian Samora Award that members of Notre Dame’s La Alianza student organization confer on a faculty member whose research, teaching, and service advance knowledge and empowerment of Latino/a students and communities. He has also won thirteen book awards, including five for his most recent book, Latino Catholicism: Transformation in America’s Largest Church, which was selected as a CHOICE “Outstanding Academic Title” for 2012. His current book project is tentatively titled Engaging a New World: Theologies of Guadalupe from the Era of Conquest to Pope Francis.  Professor Matovina will give his plenary address on Friday afternoon and his title is  Catholic History and College Theology in 21st-Century América

Sister Patricia Wittberg, SC

Patricia Wittberg, SC, is a Sister of Charity of Cincinnati, Ohio.  She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago in 1982 and taught for over 30 years at Fordham University and at Indiana University.  She currently holds a position as a Research Associate at the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, where she is helping to assemble the third edition of a directory of emerging Catholic religious orders and lay movements in the United States.  She is the author of numerous books and articles on Catholic religious communities and on Catholic parishes, the most recent of which is Catholic Cultures: How Parishes Can Respond to the Changing Face of Catholicism (Liturgical Press c. 2016).  Sister Patricia's plenary address will take place on Saturday morning and her title is The Pentecost Challenge: Proclaiming the Gospel in New Parish Cultures

A Discussion of Issues and Questions
in American Catholic Theology Today

This plenary panel will be on Saturday afternoon and will offer a theological discussion, from a variety of historical and social viewpoints, of American Catholicism in the 21st century. The panel consists of four CTS members—scholars who have been trained in Catholic theology and who have worked across different times, in difference places, from within various social locations—who will discuss what each sees as the pressing theological issues or questions in American Catholicism today. This kind of intergenerational and social diversity will highlight the fact that a theologian's historical and social location is as important in shaping how they do theology as any other factor. Sandra Yocum (University of Dayton) has graciously agreed to serve as moderator.


The Panelists:

Mary Doak

An Associate Professor of Theology at the University of San Diego, where she has taught courses in systematic theology for the past 9 years.  She has an M.A. and a Ph.D. in theology from The University of Chicago’s Divinity School, and an Honors B.A  from Loyola University of Chicago.  Her publications include the forthcoming Divine Community: Seeking Community in a Broken World (Paulist, 2017), Translating Religion (Orbis, 2013), co-edited with Anita Houck, and Reclaiming Narrative for Public Theology (SUNY 2004), as well as various articles on public theology, eschatology, and ecclesiology.   Her research interests involve issues in American public theology, religious freedom, ecclesiology, and eschatology.  She is currently working on a book in public ecclesiology, addressing the specific challenges that globalization and global climate change raise for the mission of the church.

Anthony J. Godzieba

A Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University and editor emeritus of Horizons: The Journal of the College Theology Society.  He specializes in fundamental theology, philosophical theology, theology of God, Christology, and theological anthropology.  He is the author of Bernhard Welte’s Fundamental Theological Approach to Christology (1994) as well as numerous essays, and most recently is co-editor with Brad Hinze of Beyond Dogmatism and Innocence: Hermeneutic, Critique, and Catholic Theology (Liturgical Press, 2017).  He is currently writing on embodiment at the intersection of art, music, theology, and spirituality in early modern Catholicism, as well as a "short but necessary" treatise on theological method.

Katharine Mahon

A postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame, where she recently earned her PhD in Theology with a concentration in Liturgical Studies. Her dissertation, “‘Teach Us to Pray’: The Lord’s Prayer in Sixteenth-Century Re-Ritualizations of Christian Formation,” explored the reforms of lay formation for prayer and liturgical participation during the sixteenth century. Her research and teaching interests include: the history of Christian spirituality; the history of Christian prayer and devotions; the religious and spiritual formation of lay Christians; Mary and the saints; science and spirituality; popular culture and spirituality; and ecumenical issues in liturgical and sacramental theology.

Cyril Orji

An Associate Professor of Theology at the University of Dayton, OH. He specializes in systematic and fundamental theology with particular emphases on the theology and philosophy of Bernard Lonergan, which he brings in conversation with Wolfhart Pannenberg and the American pragmatist and semiotician C.S. Peirce. Dr. Orji also collaborates in inter-religious dialogue and the intersection of religion and culture-- inculturation, post-colonial critical theory, and Black and African theologies. He is the author of Ethnic and Religious Conflicts in Africa: An Analysis of Bias and Conversion based on the Works of Bernard Lonergan (Marquette University Press, 2008); The Catholic University and the Search for Truth (Anselm Academic, 2013); A Semiotic Approach to the Theology of Inculturation (Pickwick, 2015); and An Introduction to Religious and Theological Studies (Wipf and Stock, 2015). He has co-edited (with Joseph Ogbonnaya) Christianity and Culture Collision: Particularities and Trends from a Global South (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2016). He has also written scores of articles and book reviews in peer-reviewed journals.

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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