The Lumen Christi Institute for Catholic Thought was founded by Catholic scholars at the University of Chicago in 1997 to bring the light of Christ and the Catholic intellectual and spiritual tradition to the secular academy and the general public. On this station we make available our many lectures and programs, as well as interviews with visiting scholars.
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Race and Justice In America
A panel discussion with Herschella Conyers(University of Chicago Law School), Darren Davis (University of Notre Dame), andBrandon Viadyanathan (Catholic University of America), moderated by Judge Thomas More Donnelly (Cook County). This event is part of the Lumen Christi Institute's Catholic Criminal Justice Reform Network.
National conversation about racial bias in law enforcement has become increasingly polarized over the last year. Some deny the existence of any widespread discrimination, while others see systemic racism as an inextricable part of American criminal justice, and call for defunding or even abolishing police forces.
Professor Brandon Vaidyanathan says that racial bias in the criminal justice system is more complicated. A number of factors, including personal prejudice, laws and policies with racist origins, and broader cultural disparities that reflect the history of American racial discrimination, all contribute to a system that is neither irredeemably racist nor free from racial bias. Recognizing this complex interplay of problems, says Vaidyanathan, can help us move toward solutions.
Join Brandon Vaidyanathan, Herschella Conyers, and Darren Davis for a conversation moderated by Cook County Judge Tom Donnelly, as they discuss race in contemporary American criminal justice and a path to equality in a fractured nation.
This event is cosponsored by the Institute for Human Ecology, and was originally broadcast as a live webinar June 23, 2021.
René Girard, Conversion, and the Present Media Moment
An online panel discussion with Professor Grant Kaplan (Saint Louis University), Carly Osborn (University of Divinity), and Fr. Steve Grunow (Word on Fire), moderated by Cynthia Haven (National Endowment for the Humanities).
While social media has become a source of meaning and identity formation for many, its dangers have become clear in recent years, from promoting disinformation to algorithm-aided polarization. Despite these dangers, can social media be a medium for the Gospel? Does a model for discipleship within social media exist?
René Girard’s theory of mimesis or imitation provides a powerful diagnostic for analyzing aspects of human behavior and culture that contribute to the current media climate, including rivalry, escalation, and scapegoating. It also points towards the fragile possibility of positive mimesis: imitation of Christ.
This panel draws together Girard scholars and Catholic media experts to explore how Girard’s analysis can inform our understanding of the current media climate and how we might approach social media as a space for evangelization and conversion.
Originally broadcast May 27, 2021
The Crisis of Mysticism: Quietism in 17th Century Spain, Italy, and France
A webinar conversation with Bernard McGinn (University of Chicago), David Tracy (University of Chicago), and Sandra Schneiders, IHM (Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University), moderated by Willemien Otten (University of Chicago).
The Crisis of Mysticism (Herder & Herder, 2021), by Bernard McGinn is the first book in English in seventy years to give a full account of the struggle over mystical spirituality that tore the Catholic Church apart at the end of the seventeenth century, resulting in papal condemnation of some mystics and the decline of mysticism in Catholicism for almost two centuries. Join Professors McGinn, David Tracy, and Sandra Schneiders for a conversation on "The Crisis of Mysticism," moderated by Professor Willemein Otten.
Originally broadcast May 6, 2021. This event was co-sponsored by the Collegium Institute, the Martin Marty Center for the Public Understanding of Religion, and Herder & Herder.
United by Their Loves: Deciphering Augustine’s Understanding of a People
A webinar discussion with Jennifer Frey (University of South Carolina), Russell Hittinger (Lumen Christi Institute), and Fr. Michael Sherwin, OP
(University of Fribourg). Originally broadcast as a live webinar May 1, 2021
The president in his inaugural address quoted Augustine of Hippo’s definition of a people as “a multitude defined by the common objects of their love.” This surprising event offers us the occasion to consider Augustine’s definition and its implications for our understanding of life in society: what role do our loves play in fashioning us as people? Can disparate loves divide a people? What does Augustine think we should love in order to belong to the people who inhabit the City of God? Join us for a moderated conversation between Profs. Russell Hittinger, Michael Sherwin, O.P., and Jennifer Frey on Augustine and the loves that form a People.
This event is cosponsored by America Media.
Beauty and Justice in the City: the Restoration of St. Adalbert's, in Pilsen
A webinar conversation with Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado (University of Scranton), and Juan Soto (Gamaliel), moderated by Peter Casarella (Duke University). Originally delivered May 11, 2021. Part of a Lumen Christi Institute webinar series on Hispanic Theology.
Latinx Theology has always had a dual focus on the beauty of the symbols of Popular Catholicism and the cry of the poor in urban settings. In this session, one of the premier Latina voices on beauty and justice, Dr. Michelle Gonzalez Maldonado, will have a discussion with a long-time community activist in Chicago about the application of this dyad to the concrete setting of Latinx Catholic life in the city of Chicago. The ongoing discussion of the proposed restoration of St. Adalbert’s will serve as a case study for thinking about how “God lives in the city” (Pope Francis).
Claudia Herrera and Jose Matos Auffant - Latino Youth and Evangelization
A webinar conversation with Claudia Herrera (ACHTUS) and Jose Matos Auffant (St. Mary's University). Originally delivered May 4, 2021. Part of a Lumen Christi Institute webinar series on Hispanic Theology.
There are complex dynamics to account for when examining the intersectionality of religious identity, social context, and the lived experience of young Latinx in the U.S. Current research shows that almost half of Catholics in the United States self-identify as Hispanic, and that more than half of those Hispanic Catholics are young. To better understand the religious dynamics of young Latinx, we first must identify those who are affiliated as Catholics and examine how they understand their relationship with the faith. This requires a process of listening, reflection and participatory-action.
There is a large group of young Latinx who self-identify as Catholics and no longer affiliate nor participate in a local church or any form of pastoral activity. In some cases, their faith identity and daily practice as Catholics is a pilgrimage where the Church is the streets, their home, and other everyday spaces, and the practices of their everyday life represent Catholicism.
This conversation aims to provide both practical and theological insight emerging from the particularities of pastoral and research work with young Latinx and their familias/comunidades. There is a great need to open concrete spaces in which young Latinx are listened to and are affirmed as active agents in the sharing of the good news of the Gospel.
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