Cardinal Robert McElroy to speak at Notre Dame Forum event exploring challenges to peace

Author: Sue Ryan

Cardinal Mcelroy Headshot
Cardinal Robert W. McElroy

As part of its annual Notre Dame Forum, the University of Notre Dame will host Cardinal Robert W. McElroy, bishop of San Diego, for a conversation on the ethics of nonviolence, nuclear deterrence and war in light of the ongoing war in Ukraine, a new nuclear arms race and long-term conflicts in many other parts of the world. After delivering an opening reflection, Cardinal McElroy will be joined by a panel of Notre Dame faculty experts.

The event, “New and Old Wars, New and Old Challenges to Peace,” will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday (March 1) in McKenna Hall rooms 215/216, and is free and open to the public. 

The Notre Dame Forum, hosted by University President Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., has been held annually since 2005, with events each year focused on a central theme of particular importance to the University, the nation and the larger world. This year’s forum theme is “War and Peace.”

Appointed bishop of San Diego by Pope Francis in 2015 and elevated to cardinal in May 2022, Cardinal McElroy holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard and a master’s in American history, as well as a doctorate in political science from Stanford and a doctorate in moral theology from the Gregorian University in Rome. He has written two books, “The Search for an American Public Theology” and “Morality and American Foreign Policy.” He has also written articles on theology and public policy for a variety of journals.

The Notre Dame faculty experts featured are:

Maj. Gen. (ret.) Robert Latiff, adjunct professor and chairman of the advisory board for Notre Dame’s John J. Reilly Center for Science, Technology and Values. He retired from the U.S. Air Force as a major general in 2006 and now works as a private consultant, providing advice on advanced technology matters to corporate and government clients and to universities. His current work includes a study for the U.S. Department of Defense on the ethical implications of emerging and dual-use technologies. He is the author of “Future War: Preparing for the New Global Battlefield” and “Future Peace: Technology, Aggression, and the Rush to War.”

Mary Ellen O’Connell, the Robert and Marion Short Professor of Law at Notre Dame’s Law School and concurrent professor of international peace studies at the Kroc Institute. Her work is in the areas of international law on the use of force, international dispute resolution and international legal theory. She is the author or editor of numerous books including, most recently, “The Art of Law in the International Community” and “Self-Defence Against Non-State Actors.” O’Connell recently spoke at the first international summit on Responsible Artificial Intelligence in the Military Domain: REAIM 2023 hosted in collaboration with the Ministry of Defence of the Netherlands and the Republic of Korea and held at the World Forum in The Hague. 

A. Rashied Omar, associate teaching professor of Islamic studies and peacebuilding at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, part of the Keough School of Global Affairs. He specializes in religious violence, the potential of religion for constructive social engagement and interreligious peacebuilding. In addition to being a University-based researcher and teacher, Omar serves as imam at the Claremont Main Road Mosque in Cape Town, South Africa. He is co-author of “Religion in Public Education: Options for a New South Africa,” a contributor to the Oxford Handbook of Religion, Conflict and Peacebuilding and a contributor to the Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World.

Gerard Powers, director of Catholic Peacebuilding Studies at Notre Dame’s Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies, will serve as moderator for the evening’s conversation. Powers is also coordinator of the Catholic Peacebuilding Network, which links 22 bishops’ conferences, Catholic development agencies, universities and independent peace organizations in an effort to enhance the study and practice of conflict prevention, conflict management and post-conflict reconciliation in war-torn areas. He specializes in the ethics of the use of force; religion, ethics and U.S. foreign policy; and Catholic approaches to peacebuilding. 

Cardinal McElroy will also preside at the 11:30 a.m. Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart on March 1. All are welcome.