Wednesday September 11, 2013

Logos of Love

The University of Dayton will host a conference on the changing times and the response of Catholic intellectuals.

The Catholic intellectual tradition is changing with the times. In the age of fast news and social media, Catholic thinkers have had to adapt in order to continue to connect with the public.

The University of Dayton will host an event that addresses these changes. Writer and essayist Richard Rodriguez will deliver the keynote address for a national conference on Catholic intellectual life, co-sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California.

The keynote address, free and open to the public, is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 20, in Kennedy Union Boll Theatre. 

Rodriguez, raised in a Mexican family in San Francisco, is the author of Hunger of Memory and two other volumes of personal memoir. He says the church was the only institution that ever treated his parents as intellectuals.

"I think that says something important about the way the Catholic tradition approaches the world," said Una Cadegan, associate professor of history at the University of Dayton and member of the conference planning committee. "It's not just the people with Ph.D.s who are asked to think about the role intellect plays in thinking about the world."

One of the reasons Rodriguez was chosen to speak is because he is not an academic.

"He's just wonderful with language," said Cadegan. "We're interested in the conference and the Catholic intellectual life as a resource for the Catholic community and the wider world. It doesn't just exist in universities."

The conference, titled "In the Lógos of Love: Promise and Predicament of Catholic Intellectual Life Today," is scheduled for Sept. 20–22 at the University of Dayton. The conference title is inspired by Pope Benedict XVI's encyclical Caritas in Veritate, in which he challenged people to link together love and truth in the search for unity. 

With this challenge in mind, a wide variety of speakers, from within the academy and outside of it, have been invited to think through the current situation and possible futures of Catholic intellectual life.

The speakers will address certain themes and questions, including what the Catholic intellectual tradition looks like in the age of Fox News, MSNBC and Wikipedia, who today's Catholic intellectuals are, and where tomorrow's Catholic scholars, writers and artists are going to come from.  

Other conference speakers include:

  • 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. Díaz, 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

The event is co-sponsored by the University of Dayton and the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies at the University of Southern California.

The University of Dayton, a top-tier national research university, is committed to participating in Catholic intellectual dialogue. 

For more information, contact Meagan Pant, assistant director of news and communications, at 937-229-3256 or

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