Boston College students and faculty participating in the Theology Department’s summer program in Italy have received first-hand experience of church and state. The program explores the relationship, from antiquity to the present day, of the institutional, theological, political, and social dimensions of Catholicism with culture, as it is expressed in the art, architecture, and artifacts of  Rome, Assisi, and Florence.  


During their time in Rome, the group visited the Embassy of the United States to the Holy See, where Ambassador Ken Hackett ’66 (far left) discussed with students the diplomatic cooperation between the U.S. and the Vatican, as well as joint environmental interests, concern for Christians in the Middle East, and the urgent humanitarian response to the current refugee crisis, said Professor of the Practice of Theology Monsignor Liam Bergin (far right), who is traveling with the group. Also accompanying the students is Walsh Professor of Bioethics John Paris, S.J. (second from right).


Bishop Paul Tighe, Adjunct Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture, hosted the BC group at his office. Bishop Tighe, who was responsible for the introduction of social media into the Vatican’s communication services, spoke of the opportunities and challenges that it presents.

The group also met with Italian Senator Anna Rita Fioroni at Palazzo Madama, the seat of the Senate of the Italian Republic, said Msgr. Bergin.

—News & Public Affairs