Embracing the Third Millennium

Empowering the People of God

The William H. Shannon Chair in Catholic Studies Presents:

M. Cathleen Kaveny

  • Faith and Citizenship: A Challenge for American Catholics
    March 19, 2015, 7 p.m.
    Forum, Otto A. Shults Community Center
  • How Should Believers Speak Truthfully in the Public Square?
    March 20, 2015, 1:30 p.m.
    Linehan Chapel, Golisano Academic Center


A legal scholar and moral theologian, M. Cathleen Kaveny is the Donald and Juliet Libby Professor at Boston College where she holds appointments in both the Department of Theology and the Law School. Before joining the faculty of Boston College, she taught law and theology at the University of Notre Dame and was a visiting professor at Princeton University, Yale University, and Georgetown University. Kaveny teaches first-year law students and offers seminars exploring topics such as “Faith, Morality, and Law,” “Mercy and Justice,” and “Complicity.”


As a nationally noted expert on the intersections of law, morality, and religion, she is frequently interviewed by media outlets such as the Washington Post, New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and Boston Globe. A columnist for Commonweal magazine and the author of countless journal articles and book chapters on law, ethics, and medical ethics, Kaveny is the author of Law’s Virtues: Fostering Autonomy and Solidarity in American Society (2012) and the forthcoming Prophecy without Contempt: An Ethics of Religious Rhetoric in the Public Square.


She is currently serving as president of The Society of Christian Ethics, the major professional society for scholars of Christian ethics and moral theology in North America.

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William H. Shannon Chair in Catholic Studies

The William H. Shannon Chair in Catholic Studies presents...

In his last book, How to Become a Christian Even If You Already Are One, Fr. William Shannon affirmed his belief in a key teaching of the Second Vatican Council: that the Church is the people of God. Then, as we came to expect, Fr. Shannon posed a critical question: “How can we get the voice of God’s people heard in the Church?” Inspired by his inclusive theological vision and faithful witness, we have invited our lecturers to consider this question and to help us think about how the people of God might more fully exercise a responsibility that is theirs by virtue of baptism.

Our lecturers bring to this task a variety of perspectives and skills that reflect the study of and work in theology, law, political science, ministry, social action, and journalism. Their interests and concerns span the breadth of issues that face us today in our culture and Church: politics and economics, ethics and justice, sexuality and gender, authority and conscience, faith and citizenship. They share a readiness to ask hard questions, a commitment to analyze with integrity, and a determination to confront complex issues. Like Fr. Shannon, they do not hesitate, in theologian Richard Gaillardetz’s words, to “wrestle with the tradition,” to engage in constructive critique, and to envision a Church in which all God’s people have a voice.