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Logos of Love Conference

In the Lógos of Love: Promise and Predicament of Catholic Intellectual Life Today

Main Conference Page | Themes and Texts | Schedule | Details

Among the speakers…

  • Richard Rodriguez, essayist and author of Hunger of Memory.
  • Nancy Dallavalle, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Religious Studies, Fairfield University.
  • Paul J. Griffiths, Warren Professor of Catholic Theology, Duke Divinity School.
  • Leslie Woodcock Tentler, Professor of History, The Catholic University of America.
  • Miguel H. Diaz, University Professor of Faith and Culture, University of Dayton. U.S. Ambassador (Ret.) to the Holy See.
  • Diane Winston, Knight Chair in Media and Religion, Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California.
  • Scott Appleby, Professor of History and John M. Regan Jr. Director of the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, University of Notre Dame.
  • Vincent J. Miller, Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology and Culture, University of Dayton
  • Amelia J. Uelmen, Visiting Lecturer, Georgetown Law School. Former Director of the Institute on Religion, Law, & Lawyer's Work at Fordham University.


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University of Dayton


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Registration deadline is 8/15/2013.



An important tradition among Catholic intellectuals is working from common texts. We ask that participants read the following texts before coming to the conference. These texts do not exhaust the extent of our conversation; they provide a point of focus.

Fifty years after the convening of the Second Vatican Council, the promise and the predicament of Catholic intellectual life are evident. The promise lies in the potential gift to the Church and the world of reasoned reflection and careful research rooted in the Catholic tradition. The predicament lies in the challenges to this effort in and out of the academy, as well as in and out of the Church.

This conference seeks to address these and related questions, and to chart a faithful and critical scholarly path for the future.

In his 2009 encyclical, Caritas in veritate, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI writes,

"Truth, by enabling men and women to let go of their subjective opinions and impressions, allows them to move beyond cultural and historical limitations and to come together in the assessment of the value and substance of things. Truth opens and unites our minds in the lógos of love: this is the Christian proclamation and testimony of charity” [§4].

By inviting a wide variety of participants to think through the current situation and possible futures of Catholic intellectual life in light of this challenge to link love and truth, this conference will draw on ancient and contemporary resources in the hope of addressing the good of whatever age it is that is emerging.

  1. The contemporary moment in context, especially of the last half-century — U.S. Catholic intellectual life has changed since 1950 in ways nearly unimaginable to those of that earlier generation. These changes have occurred in a wider, global context that has definitively altered the role of the intellectual in public life. We seek a compelling, freshly-imagined overview of the substance of those changes and the possibilities they pose for the next generation of Catholic intellectuals, both within and outside the university.

  2. Academic life and Catholic intellectual tradition — Catholic intellectual tradition was altered irrevocably by the rise of the secular research university in the 19th century. Academic life was altered by the relegation of religion to a separate sphere of voluntarism and sentiment. After at least two centuries of separation, there are signs of a rapprochement. What do Catholic intellectual tradition and contemporary academic practice have to offer to each other today? How might their potential mutual influence provide new resources for the Church as it confronts the challenges of its third millennium?

  3. Media and public life — All of these others factors are deeply affected by the communications revolutions that have thrown open the gates and given rise to new forms of authority: the pundit, the special agenda organization, the partisan blogger, and cloud-sourced Wikipedia. These new figures have quickly achieved social capital exceeding that of traditional ecclesial and academic authorities. Indeed they have the power to delegitimize, frame, and yoke other authorities to their own agendas. Where do the church and the university stand to speak in this new arena?

  4. Christian tradition, sexual morality, and gender — One of the most distinctive aspects of contemporary Catholic intellectual life is the unprecedented number of women scholars; one of the greatest current obstacles is a diffuse but real and probably increasing sense of disconnection, a shift in the sense of belonging, that weakens the ties between the contemporary Church and its members. This shift has been pushed to the point of crisis by the blow to the hierarchy’s teaching authority dealt by the clerical sexual abuse scandal, which is in turn related to a wider loss of credibility on issues of sexual morality. On what resources can Catholic intellectual life draw to address these issues in ways that move beyond the last half-century’s culture wars?

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Themes and Texts


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