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Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences

David Hollenbach, S.J.

theology department

University Chair in Human Rights and International Justice

Director, Center for Human Rights and International Justice

David Hollenbach, SJ

Stokes N417
Boston College
Chestnut Hill, MA 02467

Phone: 617-552-8855
Fax: 617-552-0716

Personal Web Site

Curriculum Vitae

Office Hours


Ph.D. in Religious Ethics, Yale University

Biographical Summary

Before coming to Boston College, Hollenbach taught at Georgetown University and at Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, MA. He has been Visiting Professor of Social Ethics at Hekima College of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya; and at the Jesuit Philosophy Institute in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. In 1990 he conducted the annual Winter School of Theology in six cities in Southern Africa, sponsored by the Catholic Bishops Conference of Southern Africa.

For the fall term of 2015 he holds the Cary and Ann Maguire Chair in Ethics and American History at the Library of Congress' John W. Kluge Center. His research at the Library deals with his current book project, tentatively titled "Humanity in Crisis: Religious and Ethical Responses to War and Disaster." The book will explore the role of faith-based communities in responding to humanitarian crises.

Research Interests

His research interests are in the foundations of Christian social ethics, especially human rights in the context of humanitarian crises and the displacement of refugees, theories of justice and the common good, and religion in political life.


Ethics of War and Peacemaking
Human Rights
Ethics, Religion and International Politics
Human Rights, Humanitarian Crises and Refugees: Ethical, Religious and Political Perspectives
Niebuhr and Murray
Contemporary Theories of Justice
The Common Good

Professional Activities and Awards

David Hollenbach, S.J., was elected Vice-President of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) at its annual convention held in San Diego, June 5-8, 2014, is now President-Elect and will become President in June, 2016. The CTSA is the professional association of theologians working in the Catholic  tradition in North America. At this year's convention Hollenbach presented a paper on "State Sovereignty and the Human Rights of Migrants and Refugees in Catholic Perspective."

Hollenbach served as President of the Society of Christian Ethics (1995-1996) and on the Board of Directors of the Catholic Theological Society of America (1982-1984). He assisted the National Conference of Catholic Bishops in drafting their 1986 pastoral letter Economic Justice for All: Catholic Social Teaching and the U.S. Economy. In 1979 he received a Walsh-Price Fellowship for travel in Israel, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt to do research on religion and human rights in the Middle East. In 1996 he received a Fulbright Fellowship for research and teaching in Kenya. In June 1998, Hollenbach received the John Courtney Murray Award for outstanding contributions to theology from the Catholic Theological Society of America. In January 2009 he received the Marianist Award, given by the University of Dayton to a Roman Catholic whose work has made a major contribution to the intellectual life.

Publications Since 2007


公共信仰的全球面相﹕政治,人權與基督教倫理 (Chinese translation of The Global Face of Public Faith - Politics, Human Rights and Christian Ethics, with new Foreword by the author). 公共神學系列 (Series on Public Theology).  香港 (Hong Kong):  漢語基督教文化研究所 (Institute of Sino-Christian Studies), 2013.

Driven from Home: Protecting the Rights of Forced Migrants. David Hollenbach, S.J., ed. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2010.

Refugee Rights: Ethics Advocacy, and Africa, David Hollenbach, S.J., ed. Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2008.

Articles and Chapters in Books


"Jesuit Ministries for the 'More Universal Good':  Global Contributions at Vatican II and After," In Jose Casanova (ed.), The Jesuits and Globalization. December, 2014.

"A Future with(out) Borders?  Migration, Refugees, and the Nation State in Christian Ethical Perspective," In ed. Agnes Brazal and M. T. Davila (Ed.), Catholic Theological Ethics on the Migrations of Peoples: Living with(out) Borders. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2015.


"Religious Freedom in Global Context Today: Some Contributions by Vatican II and John Courtney Murray." In Massimo Faggioli and Andrew Vicini, eds., The Legacy of Vatican II. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2015, 248-272.

"Foreward" to John R. Donahue, Seek Justice that You May Live: Reflections and Resources on the Bible and Social Justice. New York: Paulist Press, 2014.

"Religion and Forced Migration," In Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, Gil Loescher, Katy Long, and Nando Sidona, eds., The Oxford Handbook of Refugee and Forced Migration Studies, Oxford, UK, Oxford University Press, June, 2014, 447-459.

"Human Dignity in Catholic Thought." In M. Düwell, J. Braarvig, R. Brownsword, D. Mieth, eds., Cambridge Handbook on Human Dignity: Interdisciplinary Perspectives. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2014, 250-259.

"Foreword" to Meghan J.  Clark, The Vision of Catholic Social Thought: The Virtue of Solidarity and the Praxis of Human Rights. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2014, ix-xi.

"Human Dignity: Experience and History, Practical Reason and Faith," In Christopher McCrudden, ed., Understanding Human Dignity. Proceedings of the British Academy, no. 192. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013, 123-139.

"Peace, Justice and the Global Common Good:  Pacem in Terris and Governance Today." In Vittorio V. Alberti, ed., Il Concetto di Pace: Attualità della Pacem in Terris nel 50o Anniversario (1963-2013) Vatican City, Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace: Libreria Vaticana, 2013, 299-316.

"Sustaining Catholic Social Engagement: A Key Role for Movements in the Church Today," Journal of Catholic Social Thought, 10, no. 2 (2013), special issue on “Social Movements in Context,” edited by Johan Verstraeten , 431-447.

"Accompaniment, Service, and Advocacy: Responding to Global Poverty and Displacement," Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education 44 (August, 2013): 10-12.

"Pacem in Terris and Human Rights." Journal of Catholic Social Thought, 10, no. 1 (2013), 5-15.

"The Catholic Intellectual Tradition, Social Justice, and the University." C21 Resources, Spring, 2013, 12-13.  Reprinted from Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education, 36 (Fall, 2009): 20-22.

"Economic Justice and the New Challenges of Globalization." In Mark J. Allman, ed., The Almighty and the Dollar: Reflections on Economic Justice for All. Winona, MN: Anselm Academic, 2012, 98-113.

"A World Church." In William Madges and Michael J. Daley, eds., Vatican II: Fifty Personal Stories. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2012, 241-244.

“The Promise and Risk of Charity.” In Daniel K. Finn, ed., The Moral Dynamics of Economic Life: An Extension and Critique of Caritas in Veritate. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2012, 39-43.

“Religious Freedom, Morality, and Law: John Courtney Murray Today.” Journal of Moral Theology (Inaugural Issue), 1, no.1 (2012): 69-91. Online at:

“A Balancing Act: Catholic Teaching on the Church’s Rights—and the Rights of All.”  With Thomas A. Shannon. America, 206, no. 7 (March 5, 2012): 23-26.

“Migration as a Challenge for Theological Ethics.” Political Theology, 12(6), Dec. 2011: 807-812.

“Soudan du Sud: nouvelle nation, nouvelles responsabilités: Comment la doctrine catholique peut aider à façonner la vie de la nation.”  Published on the Ceras/Projet website.  Paris: Centre de recherche et d’action sociales (Ceras), December 1, 2011, at:

“Creating South Sudan: The Challenges of Nation-building.” America, 205,14 (November 9, 2011): 22-26.

"New Nation, New Responsibilities How Catholic Teaching Can Help Shape the Life of South Sudan." America, online edition, October 29, 2011, at:

"Expérience des chrétiens [comme source de discourse social de l'Eglise catholique]." In Bertrand Cassaigne, Bertrand Heriard Dubreuil, Christian Mellon (Ed.), Discourse Social de l'Eglise Catholique (web-based resource on the study of Catholic social thought). Paris: Centre de recherche et d’action sociales (Ceras). October, 2011.  At

"Reports: Exploring the Heights and Depths: Boston College Center for Human Rights and International Justice," Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education 40 (2011), Article 13. Available at:

“Caritas in Veritate: The Meaning of Love and Urgent Challenges of Justice,” Journal of Catholic Social Thought 8/1 (Winter, 2011): 171-182.

“Human Rights in a Pluralist, Unequal Globe: Contributions of Jesuit Universities,” Catholic Education: A Journal of Inquiry and Practice 15 (2011): 338-345.      

“Humanitarian Intervention: Why, When, and How?” Commonweal 137, no. 19 (November 5, 2010): 9-11.

“Ethical Globalization and the Rights of Refugees,” Grace and Truth: A Journal of Catholic Reflection for Southern Africa 27, no. 2 (August, 2010): 29-42.

“Comparative Ethics, Islam, and Human Rights: Internal Pluralism and the Possible Development of Tradition.” Journal of Religious Ethics 38:3 (2010): 580-587. 

“John Courtney Murray: Theologian of Religious Freedom,” in Reclaiming Catholicism: Treasures Old and New. Edited Thomas H. Groome and Michael J. Daley. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2010, 79-83.

“Reconciliation and Justice: Ethical Guidance for a Broken World,” Promotio Justitiae 103 (Rome: 2009, no. 3): 71-74 .

“Response to V. Bradley Lewis on Theory and Practice of Human Rights: Ancient and Modern,” Journal of Law, Philosophy and Culture III, no. 1 (Spring 2009).

“U.S. Walks Tightrope on Sudan and Uganda,” America, November 2, 2009: 6-8.

“Corruption and Inaction Leave Kenya on the Brink,” America, September 28, 2009: 8-9.  Republished in Jesuit Refugee Service-Eastern Africa Headlines, October 31-November 6, 2009, electronic bulletin. 

“The Catholic Intellectual Tradition, Social Justice, and the University,” Conversations on Jesuit Higher Education 36 (Fall, 2009): 20-22.

“The Rights of Refugees in a Globalizing World.”  Marianist Award Lecture/2008.  Dayton, OH: University of Dayton, 2009.

“An Advocate for All: How the Catholic Church Promotes Human Dignity,” America, December 1, 2008, 14-16.

“The Common Good and Issues in U.S. Politics: A Critical Catholic Approach,” Journal of Religion and Society 4 (2008), 33-46.

Economic Justice for All Twenty Years Later: Keynote Address at Symposium on Catholic Social Teaching on the Market, the State, and the Law, Villanova University School of Law, September 21, 2007,” Journal of Catholic Social Thought 6, no.1 (2008): 315-321.

“Humanitarian Crises, Refugees, and the Trans-national Good: Global Challenges and Catholic Social Teaching,” in Scrutinizing the Signs of the Times in Light of the Gospel: Proceedings of the Expert Seminar, Leuven/Louvain-la-Neuve, 9-11 September 2004,  Johan Verstraeten, ed.  Leuven, Belgium: Peeters Publishers, 2007, 221-245.

“Catholic Ethics in a World Church: A U.S. View,” in Catholic Theological Ethics in a World Church: The Plenary Papers from the First Cross-cultural Conference on Catholic Theological Ethics, James F. Keenan, ed. New York: Continuum, 2007, 140-146.

“Human Rights and Women’s Rights: Initiatives and Interventions in the Name of Universality,” in A Just and True Love. Feminism at the Frontiers of Theological Ethics: Essays in Honor of Margaret A. Farley, Maura Ryan and Brian Linnane, eds.  Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press, 2007, 47-74.

“Ecumenical Perspectives on Human Rights and Religious Freedom: Response to John Witte,” in Violence and Christian Spirituality: An Ecumenical Conversation,” Emmanuel Clapsis, ed. Geneva: World Council of Churches (WCC) Publications, 2007, 212-214.

“Lessons from the Wounded Edge,” The Tablet (London), August 11, 2007, 8-9.

“More Than One Way of Dying: Living Conditions of Forcibly Displaced People Violate Human Rights,” America, January 15-22, 2007, 15-19.


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