Monday November 14, 2011

Faith, Justice, War, Technology

Religious studies faculty and students have recently added their voices to national and Catholic conversations about war and peace, economic justice and technology.

Two noted University of Dayton professors have been tapped by national outlets for their perspectives on issues ranging from Veterans Day to Catholic social teaching on the economic structure.

David J. O'Brien, University Professor of Faith and Culture, and Vincent J. Miller, Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology and Culture, have together contributed five major comment pieces. In addition, four University of Dayton theology doctoral scholars contributed book reviews.

Miller and O'Brien both are frequently called upon by national media to comment on issues related to the Catholic church.

"U.S. Bishops Should Focus on the Economy"

As the U.S. Conference of Bishops started their national gathering this week, The Washington Post's "On Faith" blog turned to O'Brien for his thoughts on what should be at the top of the agenda. O'Brien suggested the bishops turn their focus to the rising number of Americans in poverty and the Catholic Church's teachings that compel Catholics to help the poor.

"So, in their meeting this week, listening to the worries of their people back home, the bishops have great resources of experience and ideas to draw upon to remind the nation of the human realities behind the depressing numbers we hear about unemployment and poverty," O'Brien wrote. "And they have the capacity to call forth the compassion and sense of solidarity that is deeply rooted in the lives of most Americans. With their help, perhaps we can move the national debate to better advance the unambiguous economic principles of Catholic social justice, affirm life and fulfill our shared responsibility for the common good."

Read it at The Washington Post.

"Honor veterans, but don't forget war strategy"

O'Brien wrote an opinion peace that examined the observance of Veterans Day in the context of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. O'Brien's commentary was distributed Nov. 11 by the McClatchy-Tribune News Service and carried up by numerous outlets across the nation.

To read the piece, visit The Monterey Herald.

"Is the idea of a global government agency radical?"

Miller wrote in an Oct. 28 commentary in the National Catholic Reporter that the recent document from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace calling for a global authority to regulate financial markets was a moderate position and fully in line with Catholic teaching.

To read the commentary, visit the National Catholic Reporter.

"More than a relic? The bishops' economic pastoral turns 25"

David O'Brien in the Nov. 7 subscription-only Commonweal magazine traced the history of "Economic Justice for All," the comprehensive commentary by the U.S. Council of Bishops in 1986 that looked at the U.S. economic system through the lens of Catholic social teaching, concluding "The economy should serve people, not the other way around."

In his commentary, O'Brien wrote: "'Economic Justice for All' set forth a broad framework that must remain the bulwark of our mission: a church in sacramental solidarity with the human family, especially with those who are 'poor or in any way afflicted;' an ethic of shared responsibility in public life; and an understanding that the church is church round-the-clock, in all aspects of its members' lives.

"The things we make remake us in turn"

In the National Catholic Reporter in mid-October, Vince Miller shared the writings of several University of Dayton scholars gathered for a doctoral theology seminar on "Technology and Christian Anthropology." In addition to Miller's introduction and a book review, National Catholic Reporter carried the book reviews by students Katherine G. Schmidt, Adam Sheridan and Herbie Miller as well as Jana Bennett, assistant professor of religious studies.

To read the reviews, visit the National Catholic Reporter Book Club.

For more information, contact Cilla Shindell, executive director of news and communications, at 937-229-3257 or