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Feb. 16, 2006 • Volume 14 Number 11

Conference on John Paul Legacy

The wealth of encyclicals, letters and other writings Pope John Paul II produced during his 26-year papacy, and the extraordinary intellectual depth and subtlety they reveal, will be the subject of a two-day conference to be held at Boston College later this month.

"Truth, Life and Solidarity: Philosophical Perspectives On The Thought Of Pope John Paul II," which takes place Feb. 24-25, features a diverse group of internationally renowned scholars and other experts on John Paul II from both North America and Europe, including BC Philosophy Department faculty members Prof. Jorge Garcia and Asst. Prof. Marina McCoy. Boston Archbishop Sean O'Malley, OFM, Cap., will join the participants on Saturday evening and celebrate Mass for them in St. Mary's Chapel.

Conference organizers say the event will contribute to the on-going worldwide Catholic intellectual effort to consider the legacy of John Paul II.

"The sheer output of this thinker is formidable, and has affected thinking among both Catholics and non-Catholics, academics and pastoral leaders, theologians, philosophers, social scientists, and many others," said Church in the 21st Century Center Director Timothy Muldoon, noting John Paul's presence in some of the key facets of 20th-century history.

"He grew up amidst fascism and communism, and was, according to many thinkers, a key player in the demise of the Soviet system of government," said Muldoon.

From his early efforts to synthesize Aquinas's theorizing with the mysticism of John of the Cross, Muldoon says, to his intellectual struggle with the Marxism that dominated Poland's universities, John Paul II is credited with striving to contextualize and rethink a Christian understanding of humanity. Participants will focus on the significance of John Paul's work in ethics, social theory and anthropology, and in particular will seek to connect his early efforts as a young scholar to his writings as Pope.

Among the scholars appearing at the conference will be: George Weigel, senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and author of the international bestseller Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II; Emory University Professor Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, an authority on comparative women's history; Amherst College Professor Hadley Arkes, a leading expert on American political philosophy, public policy and constitutional law; and Rev. Joseph W. Koterski, SJ, a Fordham University professor of philosophy who is editor-in-chief of the International Philosophical Quarterly.

"Because John Paul II was such a charismatic figure, those who have been attracted to his thinking come from many different perspectives," said Muldoon. "Certainly those who attend the conference will come away with a deeper appreciation of the breadth of his influence."

For more information on the conference, or to register for the event, see the Church in the 21st Century Web site: www.bc.edu/church21/. -Stephen Gawlik

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