Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture

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"Habemus Papam!"

Pope Francis I

‘Habemus Papam!’ The Church has a new pope – Francis I, the Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, whom the cardinals elected on the fifth ballot on Wednesday evening, Rome time. Although a surprise in many ways though some tipped him, he may be seen by many as a caretaker Pope given his age but the last time there was a definite caretaker-pope chosen it was John XXIII who shocked the world by calling the second Vatican Council. Media outlets in Spanish are already asking if Francis will be ‘the new Roncalli’ after Pope John XXIII (whose name was Angelo Roncalli). The whole world watches to see if this turns out to be true.

What do we know about the new pope? He is truly humble, concerned for the poor, studied in Germany (as well as in Argentina) and is a theologian who is also very pastorally oriented. He has published numerous books of spiritual reflections. He knows the Vatican well and, above all else, the choice of his name is hugely significant – Francis, after Saint Francis of Assisi signals humility, dedication to the poor, to the church getting back to the gospel principles in all aspects of its life (and moving away from power and prestige toward simplicity). Saint Francis had a vision from God to rebuild the church. The choice of name also signals dialogue - within and without the church and concern for all creation. It will be a demanding name and vision for the church to live up to.

Pope Francis greeted the waiting crowds before taking the papal stole and began with prayers as well as asking for the blessing of the people. He made clear first and foremost he is the bishop of Rome and one among other bishops - Vatican II’s collegiality coming to the fore in his earliest words as pope. Choosing the name of Francis, points to the aspiration that he will be a listener and a 'channel of peace' and so, as the pope is supposed to be, that true bridge builder, as the title ‘pontiff’ (Latin pontifex) literally means. It is also hugely significant that he is the first Jesuit pope. He’s also the child of migrants so will speak from further experience there. It goes without saying that it is hugely significant that he comes from Latin America.

The new pope is known for his simplicity of life, and dedication to the poor in practice. Social justice will be at the very top of his agenda as he seeks to help the Catholic faith be truly transformative throughout the 21st century world – a hope he also expressed in his prayers shortly after appearing on the balcony of St Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

Contrary to TV reports, he is not the first non-European since St Peter – there have been a number of non-European popes previously although none since the Syrian, Gregory III, who was Pope from 731 to 741. The church and world awaits the vision and spiritual leadership of Francis I!

On Wednesday, March 20 as we brought together an expert panel to consider and discuss Priorities for the New Pope.

Registration now open for "Religion, Authority and the State: From Constantine to the Secular and Beyond"

Serbia- Belgrade

The 2013 International Gathering of the Ecclesiological Investigations Network will take place in the city of Belgrade, Serbia.  Conference Registration is now open – register early to ensure you receive the best accommodation discount. See for more details.

Visit our Events page to see all our Spring 2013 events.

Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture Events - University of San Diego

Publication of the proceedings of the 2010 INTAMS conference on Domestic Church

The proceedings of the 2010 INTAMS conference "The Household of God and Local Households Revisiting the Domestic Church" have been published by Peeters Publishers, Leuven, in the series Bibliotheca Ephemeridum Theologicarum Lovaniensium (BETL). Thomas Knieps-Port le Roi has edited the volume with the co-organizers of the conference, Professor Gerard Mannion and Professor Peter De Mey.

Click here for more information: The Household of God and Local Households.pdf

CCTC Director Participates in International Conference


To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the opening of the Second Ecumenical Vatican Council, the Association of Italian Women Theologians (Coordinamento Teologhe Italiane) organized a conference of women (and men) working in theological research in Europe. Rome, October 4-6, 2012 at the Pontificio Ateneo S. Anselmo

For more information and to see the full program please click here.

The CCTC will host several events this semester which tie into this theme. Including talks by Ursula King. Additionally, Massimo Faggioli will be on campus in Spring 2013 with a lecture about Vatican II @ 50.

Celtic Christianity in the Land of Saints and Scholars

Cliffs of Moher, Ireland

A reflection was written by Gerard Mannion, CCTC Director and THRS Professor for Inside USD. Each year the center takes a small group of inter-disciplinary USD faculty to a place connected with the Catholic intellectual and/or cultural and social traditions. Click here for the full article!

Faculty Paper Presentations

Aran Islands, Ireland

The nine members who partici­pated in this year’s seminar to Ireland will present papers generated by the immersion experience in two sessions.

Session 1:

Thursday, October 11, 2012, 6 p.m., in Salomon Lecture Hall

Julia Cantzler, PhD, JD-Sociology

"We Are Who We Were: Irish Cultural Nationalism and the Battle over Tara"

Kimberly Eherenman, PhD -Languages and Literatures

"Ireland Amidst the Silence: The Poetry of Seán Dunne"

Bahar Davary, PhD-Theology and Religious Studies

"Ecocriticism and Poetry in Ireland"

Jonathan Bowman, PhD-Communication Studies

"Bua Na Cainte: Connection and Community in Irish Contexts"

Session 2:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012, 5:30 p.m., in the Degheri Board Room (with a reception to follow)

Louis Komjathy, 康思奇, PhD-Theology and Religious Studies

"Understanding Celtic Christianity, Understanding Religion"

Jane Georges, PhD, RN-Nursing and Health Sciences

"The Celtic Holy Well: Implications for Catholic Universities"

Jessica Patterson, PhD-Art, Architecture and Art History

"The 'Primitive Budhist Temples' of Ireland"

Susan Bonnell, PhD, APRN, CPNP-Nursing and Health Sciences

“Women and Light: St Brigid, Altagracia, and Florence Nightingale”

Noelle Norton, PhD-Political Science & International Relations

“Traditions and Transitions: Bringing Ireland into the Classroom and Boardroom”

**Both events are free and open to the public. Please RSVP to or call (619)260-7936. Visit our Travel Seminar Page for more information.

Portman Lecture: 'Greening' of Catholicism

Ann Clifford

The theme of the 12th annual John R. Portman Lecture is “The Greening of Catholicism, Eco-Justice for the Sake of the Common Good” and the message is a timely one, according to this year’s speaker, Anne Clifford, CSJ, PhD. Read more from Ann Clifford's interview.

Ann Clifford also attended an informal meet and greet with students, faculty and staff in the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture on Friday, September 21, 2012. This was an opportunity to ask follow-up questions to Professor Clifford’s public lecture, “The Greening of Catholicism, Eco-Justice for the Sake of the Common Good” and find out more about her current research.

The God Particle: Higgs Boson and the Intelligibility of the Universe

Neil Ormerod

It’s called “the God particle” but what, exactly, does this groundbreaking discovery in physics have to do with religion? Read the Inside USD Article to find out.

Professor Ormerod, PhD, DTheol, was a CCTC Visiting Fellow for Fall 2012. He is a systematic theologian from Australian Catholic University. While on campus he gave several lectures including "The God Particle: Higgs Boson and the Intelligibility of the Universe."

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