Center for Social Concerns to explore promise of Francis’ papacy at five years


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The University of Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns will host “Five Years of Francis’ Papacy: Prospects for Peace, the Poor and the Planet,” a lecture and panel discussion at 4 p.m. April 3 (Tuesday) in the McKenna Hall Auditorium. The event will mark the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ papacy by exploring its major geopolitical, ecumenical and cultural themes.  

Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio was elected pope on March 13, 2013, taking Francis as his papal name to signal a ministry that would share St. Francis of Assisi’s concern for the poor, the environment and peace. Since then his papacy has been especially distinguished by its pastoral outreach, reorganization of the Vatican and the central position it has accorded creation in Catholic social teaching.

The fifth anniversary of Francis’ papacy has prompted Catholic universities around the country to hold events exploring its historical meaning and importance to the Church and the modern world.

“‘Five Years of Francis’ Papacy’ aims to join fifth anniversary conversations happening in other Catholic universities,” says Rev. Kevin Sandberg, C.S.C., acting executive director of the Center for Social Concerns. “But we want to focus more on the still unfolding promise of Francis’ papacy and our participation in it, instead of presuming a legacy. Any legacy of this papacy will be determined by our ability to address the tension between the center and the periphery of both Church and society.”

Bishop Robert McElroy of the Diocese of San Diego will give the opening lecture, "Seeing Through a New Lens: Pope Francis’ Quest on Behalf of Peace, Justice and Our Common Home, then join a panel featuring Anne Thompson, NBC News correspondent; Julie Hanlon Rubio, professor of Christian ethics, Saint Louis University; and Anantanand Rambachan, professor of religion, philosophy and Asian studies, St. Olaf College. Father Sandberg will serve as moderator.

The event is co-sponsored by the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, Institute for Latino Studies and Keough School of Global Affairs.

Contact: JP Shortall, director of communications and advancement, Center for Social Concerns, 575-631-3209,

Originally published by JP Shortall at on March 26.