October 30, 2006
The inaugural speaker was Prof. Gustavo Gutiérrez, of the University of Notre Dame. Professor Gutiérrez is widely regarded as the founder of Latin American liberation theology. Author of over a dozen books and hundreds of articles (many of them groundbreaking in the theological disciplines), Gutiérrez has earned numerous awards and recognition from theological faculties and universities in every continent, and is considered one of the most important theologians in the world today. In his lecture Gutiérrez addressed U.S. Latino/a theology’s contributions to worldwide theology.
Prof. Virgilio Elizondo, also of the University of Notre Dame, and Prof. Justo González, of Columbia Theological Seminary (emeritus) presented major responses to Gutiérrez’s lecture. Elizondo and González are the founders of U.S. Latino/a theology (Catholic and Protestant, respectively).
Elizondo founded San Antonio’s Mexican American Cultural Center and has been recognized for his groundbreaking work on mestizaje as theological category, and for his several books on Catholicism and culture. González founded the Hispanic Theological Initiative and the Hispanic Summer Program (highly successful ecumenical programs for the theological education of U.S. Latinos/as), and has published numerous books and articles in theology and church history (his three-volume History of Christian Thought is a classic in the field). Both Elizondo and González have received numerous national and international awards and recognition for their scholarly contributions and for their promotion of U.S. Latino/a theologies and theologians.
As funding permits, the Center’s Public Lectures on Latino/a Religion will bring to the USD campus renowned scholars from across the nation and the world, and from various disciplines, to address important issues related with U.S. Latino/a theology and religion, and the latter’s place in Church and society.