Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture

Drop Shadow

Interfaith Dialogue, Encounter and Understanding

CCTC Events and Programs

Religion, Authority and the State: From Constantine to the Secular and Beyond

Serbia- Belgrade

Belgrade, Serbia

June 20 – 22, 2013

The 2013 International Gathering of the Ecclesiological Investigations Network took place in Belgrade, Serbia. See for more details.

Women’s Creative Ventures into Dialogue and Peace-Making: Some Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

Explorations in the Catholic Intellectual Tradition

Ursula King, PhD 
Monday, November 12, 2012 
12:30 – 2 p.m. 
Institute for Peace &Justice, AB 
*Free and open to the public

Assisi 2012

Where We Dwell in Common: Pathways for Dialogue in the 21st Century

Assisi Italy

April 17 – 20, 2012 in Assisi, Italy

In April 2012, the CCTC played a lead role in the organization of an international and ecumenical gathering exploring the theme of dialogue from the perspectives of the past, present and future. The overall aim is to discern new ways, means and methods of advancing the ecumenical cause in the wake of the ‘ecumenical winter’ and with renewed energy for a new century. It is intended to be not so much a conference, as the beginning of a process or series of ongoing processes. This gathering will seek to identify, share and shape, as well as to put into practice, productive pathways for dialogue in these times. It wishes to encourage ecumenical ‘thinking outside the box’ and to gather together a richly diverse array of voices from around the globe in order to help make this happen. CCTC Director, Gerard Mannion is chair of the Assisi 2012 Organizing Committee and a delegation of USD Faculty will be present and participating throughout.

"Crescent and Dove: Civil Unrest and Nonviolence in the Middle East Uprisings"

Qamar-ul Huda, Ph.D.

Qamar-ul Huda

Co-sponsored by the Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace & Justice and the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies.

The popular uprisings in North African and Middle Eastern countries have been attributed to socio-economic grievances, the lack of development, ineffective and corrupt rule of law institutions, very little political participation, and a burgeoning youth population with little employment opportunities. But how has religious civil society actors and organizations contributed to the nonviolent uprisings in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia, Syria and in neighboring countries? How has culture, tradition, and particular interpretations of Islam impacted the way civil society members demand a peaceful change to their nations? How are Islamic values of justice, freedom, and confrontation of aggression being utilized to call for the removal of authoritarian regimes? This talk highlighted various aspects of nonviolence Islamic thought and practice as effective conflict resolution practices in the Middle East.


John O’Brien, Ph.D., Spiritan Order, Pakistan and CCTC Visiting Fellow, Fall 2011

The CCTC was delighted to welcome Fr. John O’Brien to campus as the first Visiting Fellow at the Frances G. Harpst Center for Catholic Thought and Culture in Fall 2011. As a Spiritan priest and missionary, Father John O’Brien has worked in Pakistan, a country that’s become a focal point in the conflict between the West and militant factions of Islam. In Pakistan, which has a Christian minority, O’Brien has worked in housing cooperatives, education, and with some of the poorest in that society, those known as urban “sweepers.” In his talk, he discussed how ”dialogue with this world of Islam takes place in little bits and pieces of everyday and how joint struggles for justice, prayer, sharing the workplace and the interactions of daily life can be a more ‘real’ ambience for interfaith encounters than many ’structured’ meetings.” He wanted to illustrate how ”Pakistani Islam is not monolithic but has many different strands” and explored how “the Islam of the Mosque may not always be the Islam of people’s hearts which is more often Sufism (the mystical dimension of Islam) and how exploring this world can deepen one’s own experience of God.”

"Virtues for Global Flourishing"

Neil Ormerod, PhD

Neil Ormerod

Utilizing a Lonerganian-Robert Doran inspired theology of history, this lecture addressed the churches response to the impact of globalization on vital, social, cultural, personal and religious values. In particular it explored the notion of ‘virtue’ in a globalizing world, with globalization posing a new moral context. The lecture looked at social virtues, cultural virtues and personal virtues and ask whether religion, itself, can be understood as a virtue, before exploring emergent ‘global virtues which pose a challenge to all religions. Finally, it explored how global virtues relate to the mission of the Church today.

Luncheon Panel: Expanding our View of Inclusion

Sponsored by the Center for Educational Excellence

As USD continues to expand its efforts to achieve a more diverse community and proposed changes in the core curriculum open up new questions about USD’s Catholic identity, it is useful to ask just what we mean by diversity. Race and ethnicity are the main categories through which Americans have tended to imagine diversity and they are obviously central. How does thinking about religious diversity complicate the picture? How does supporting religious diversity fit with or form a tension with other diversity aims? How do the categories of "religion" and "race" help or harm our ability to think about diversity? How does USD’s Catholic identity fit together with the ideal of a religiously diverse campus?

This forum, aimed towards both faculty and students, explored these and related questions. Our panelists were Drs. Louis Komjathy and Karma Lekshe Tsomo from the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, Dr. Gerard Mannion, director of the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture, Dr. Alejandro Meter from the Department of Languages and Literatures, and visiting scholar, Dr. Qamar-ul Huda, senior program officer in the Religion and Peacemaking Program at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Each of these panelists represented a different religious tradition (Buddhist, Christian, Jewish, Daoist, and Muslim.) An open, moderated discussion followed. This program was facilitated by Aaron Gross, PhD, assistant professor of Theology and Religious Studies, and recent CEE Travel Grant Recipient.

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