A celebrated theologian

Theologians Robert S. Goizueta and M. Shawn Copeland
Faith & Religion / Jesuit, Catholic | May 31, 2017

Margaret O'Brien Flatley Professor of Catholic Theology Roberto S. Goizueta shares a moment with Professor of Theology M. Shawn Copeland, who co-organized a symposium in his honor in advance of his retirement in June. (Frank Curran)

Colleagues from Boston College and beyond recently gathered for a symposium celebrating the theological contributions of Margaret O’Brien Flatley Professor of Catholic Theology Roberto S. Goizueta, one of the country’s leading theologians, who is retiring after nearly 20 years of teaching at Boston College.

Besides extending nascent lines of theological inquiry, Goizueta has shaped an entire field of academic study and influenced the understanding of what it means to be Church, according to organizers of the April 28-29 symposium “Beauty and Knowledge, Love and Justice: A Symposium Celebrating the Theological Contribution of Roberto S. Goizueta.” 

Theology Professor M. Shawn Copeland, one of the symposium organizers, presented the opening lecture. "Roberto has made an essential and invaluable contribution to Catholic theology in our regional church in the USA and the global church as well," she said.

Other BC participants included: School of Theology and Ministry faculty Associate Professor Nancy Pineda-Madrid (symposium co-organizer) and Assistant Professor O. Ernesto Valiente, and Theology Department faculty members Professor Kristin Heyer, Professor Stephen Pope, Associate Professor Mary Ann Hinsdale, I.H.M., and Associate Professor Brian Robinette.


I’ve been blessed to be a part of this academic community, whose support over the years has exceeded anything I could have hoped for. I continue to be inspired by my students and my colleagues.”--Flatley Professor of Catholic Theology Roberto S. Goizueta

Goizueta, who came to BC in 1999, previously taught at Loyola University Chicago, Emory University and Loyola University in New Orleans. He has served as president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States. The author of more than 100 journal articles and book chapters, Goizueta has published such books as Christ Our Companion: Toward a Theological Aesthetics of Liberation and Caminemos Con Jesus: Toward a Hispanic/Latino Theology of Accompaniment. He has received honorary doctorates from Elms College and the University of San Francisco as well as the Virgilio Elizondo Award from ACHTUS and the 2012 Yves Congar Award for Theological Excellence.  

Goizueta expressed his gratitude to the organizers. “I am humbled by their incredible generosity and the generosity of the BC community. I’ve been blessed to be a part of this academic community, whose support over the years has exceeded anything I could have hoped for. I continue to be inspired by my students and my colleagues.”

Other symposium participants included: Tony Alonso (Emory University); Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado (University of Miami); Mark Potter (Newton Country Day School of the Sacred Heart); Robert Rivera (St. John’s University, New York); Christopher Tirres (DePaul University); Benjamin Valentin (Yale University Divinity School); Orlando Espín (University of San Diego); Timothy Matovina (University of Notre Dame)  

Asked about his professional legacy, Goizueta said, “I have tried only to accompany the Latino/a Catholic community and to discern within the lived faith of our community the profound spiritual and theological wisdom that is too often marginalized in our academy, Church, and society.”

He added, “The central question confronting Christian theology today is the same as it has always been: How does one proclaim credibly, in one’s contemporary context, that Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life? How does one do that today in a religiously and culturally pluralistic world? How does one do that in a world where the vast majority of Christians – and all people – are poor, dispossessed, marginalized and excluded? How does one do that in what has been called a ‘post-truth’ society, where the very search for truth itself has been abandoned?”

Sponsors for the symposium were the Office of the Provost; Office of the Morrissey College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean; Church in the 21st Century Center; Institute for the Liberal Arts; School of Theology and Ministry, and Department of Theology.

Kathleen Sullivan | University Communications