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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Pope Francis and the Future of the Global Church

Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Photo of Pope Francis visiting Brazil

Francesco C. Cesareo, Assumption College
Richard Gaillardetz, Boston College
María del Mar Muñoz-Visoso, USCCB
Moderated by M. Shawn Copeland, Boston College

Date: Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Time: 6:30-8:00 PM
Location: Gasson 100, Boston College

Co-sponsored with the Church in the 21st Century Center

The Boisi Center will live-tweet the event. Join the conversation at #FrancisYear1.

A live broadcast of this event can be watched at for those who can not attend in person. 

Abstract: Pope Francis was elected Bishop of Rome in March 2013 following the first papal resignation in nearly six hundred years, and he leads the global Roman Catholic Church at a time of great turmoil and great promise. Francis immediately set a new tone for the papacy, but the impact of his leadership remains unclear this early in his reign. As the anniversary of his election approaches, this panel brings together four experts of diverse experience and perspective for a robust discussion. Topics will include inter-religious dialogue, the new evangelization, the status of women and women religious, the Jesuits, liberation theology, the Church and the global south, the Curia and Francis's continuities and discontinuities with his recent successors.

Cesareo Head ShotCesareo Head Shot

Francesco C. Cesareo, president of Assumption College, is an historian who specializes in Catholic higher education and the papacy during the Renaissance and Reformation periods. He is the author of two books and numerous articles on the Church during the Renaissance and Reformation era. Prior to his position at Assumption, he served as dean of the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts at Duquesne University, and has taught at Cathedral Preparatory Seminary, Albertus Magnus College, and John Carroll University. He has also served as the managing editor of Archivum Historicum Societatis Iesu, an international journal published by the Jesuit Historical Institute in Rome and the Institute of Catholic Studies at John Carroll University. He received his B.A. from Cathedral College of the Immaculate Conception and earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Late Medieval/Early Modern European history from Fordham University.

Gaillardetz Head ShotGaillardetz Head Shot

Richard Gaillardetz is the Joseph Professor of Catholic Systematic Theology at Boston College. His research interests include topics in ecclesiology such as Vatican II, ecumenism, authority, and ministry. He previously held positions at the University of Toledo and at the University of St. Thomas Graduate School of Theology at St. Mary's Seminary in Houston. He has published numerous articles and has authored eight books (one volume was co-authored) and edited two others (one was co-edited). He has served on the Board of Directors of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA), and in June 2013 became president of the CTSA. He has received numerous awards from the Catholic Press Association for articles he has written and is a past recipient of the Sophia Award (2000), offered annually by the faculty of the Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C., in recognition of a theologian’s contributions to the life of the church. He received a B.A. from the University of Texas and an M.A. in biblical theology at St. Mary's University in San Antonio. He recieved an M.A. and Ph.D. in systematic theology from the University of Notre Dame.

Mar Munoz-Visoso Head ShotMar Munoz-Visoso Head Shot

María del Mar Muñoz-Visoso is executive director of the Secretariat of Cultural Diversity in the Church at the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Between 2007-2012 she served as assistant director of Media Relations for the USCCB. Prior to that, she held various positions in the Archdiocese of Denver (1996-2007), including executive director of Centro San Juan Diego, director of Hispanic Ministry, and editor of El Pueblo Católico, the Spanish-language archdiocesan newspaper. Mar has a B.A. in communications from CEU San Pablo University in Valencia, Spain and a master of theological studies from Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan. She is married and the mother of three children.

Copeland Head ShotCopeland Head Shot

M. Shawn Copeland is Professor of Systematic Theology in the Department of Theology in the College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at Boston College. Prior to returning to Boston College, where she earned a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology, she taught theology at St. Norbert College, Yale University Divinity School, and Marquette University. Copeland is recognized as one of the most important influences in North America in drawing attention to issues related to the religious, cultural, and social experience of African American Catholics. She has written more than 100 articles, reviews, and book chapters on such topics as theological anthropology, suffering, freedom, gender, and race. Copeland is the principal editor of Uncommon Faithfulness: the Black Catholic Experience (2009), author of The Subversive Power of Love: The Vision of Henriette Delille (2010), and Enfleshing Freedom: Body, Race and Being (2010). Copeland is a former convener of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium (BCTS), an interdisciplinary learned society of Black Catholic scholars; and a former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA).

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In the News

The Catholic Church is entering a "new era," and critics of Pope Francis's teachings on economic injustice fail to "understand reality," said the head of the Council of Cardinals in a recent interview. Join us on February 25 for a robust discussion of "Pope Francis and the Future of the Global Church."

Cover of Time Magazine - Pope Francis person of the year 2013

Time names Pope Francis the 2013 "person of the year." On February 25, 2014, the Boisi Center will host "Pope Francis and the Global Church: A Year of Reform and Continuity," at which a panel of scholars will take stock of the new pope's first year.