Father Jenkins to discuss polarization among American Catholics at Notre Dame conference

by Michael O. Garvey

Polarization in the U.S. Catholic Church

A group of Catholic scholars and Church leaders, including University of Notre Dame president Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., will gather at the University April 27-28 (Monday-Tuesday) to examine the problem of polarization among American Catholics and to propose ways it might be resisted and overcome.

The conference, Polarization in the U.S. Catholic Church: Naming the Wounds, Beginning to Heal, opens at 4:30 p.m. Monday (April 27) in Notre Dame’s McKenna Hall auditorium with a panel discussion addressing the question, “How can we heal the division and reestablish the virtues of solidarity, love and humility at the heart of the Christian message?” The panelists will include Father Jenkins; Bishop Daniel Flores of Brownsville, Texas; Christian Smith, professor of sociology and director of Notre Dame’s Center for the Study of Religion and Society; Julie Hanlon Rubio, professor of moral theology at St. Louis University; and Michael Sean Winters, columnist for the National Catholic Reporter.

The conference will be live-streamed from its Web page. Twitter users can also follow #UnaEcclesia.

Organized by Notre Dame sociologist Mary Ellen Konieczny and Fordham University theologian Charles Camosy, the conference will include some 50 participants, 20 of whom will present papers that will be published in an edited volume next year.

“Our effort is deeply intertwined with Notre Dame’s Catholic mission,” Konieczny said. “Moreover, the timing is optimal for such a conference, especially in the time of Pope Francis, a Christian leader who resists the categories and thinking which drive polarization in the United States. There could not be a more opportune time to engage these issues.”

Contact: Mary Ellen Konieczny, 574-631-2781, MaryEllen.Konieczny.1@nd.edu