2015 St. Marcellin Champagnat Lecture


St. Marcellin Champagnat Lecture
Fr. Thomas J. Reese, S.J.
"Pope Francis and Church Reform"
Tuesday, April 21
7:00 p.m.
Nelly Goletti Theatre
Free and open to the public

Since a papal enclave elected Jorge Bergoglio to succeed Pope Benedict XVI and he chose Francis as his papal name, Catholics who considered themselves marginalized have said that they are very hopeful about their prospects under the papacy of Francis. Others have pointed to the strong traditionalist positions Bergoglio had taken in Argentina, both as archbishop and when he was head of the Society of Jesus there. What has become clear is that Pope Francis intends to reform the Church. Less clear is just what kind of reformer he will be and how successful he will be at it. Father Thomas Reese, S.J., is extraordinarily well positioned to help sort through these issues and better understand the Pope’s reform agenda.

Fr. Thomas J. Reese is senior analyst for the National Catholic Reporter. He was formerly an associate editor (1978-85), and then editor-in-chief (1998-2005), of America magazine, where he wrote on politics, economics and the Catholic Church. He has also been a senior fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center, where he wrote the trilogy on the organization and politics of the church: Archbishop: Inside the Power Structure of the American Catholic Church (1989), A Flock of Shepherds: The National Conference of Catholic Bishops (1992), and Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organization of the Catholic Church (1996). On May 14, 2014, Father Reese was appointed by President Obama to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission that reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations and makes policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State, and Congress.

The Champagnat Lecture is named for St. Marcellin Champagnat, founder of the Marist Brothers and namesake of Marist College. St. Marcellin Champagnat (1789-1840) was a young French priest who founded the order in 1817 to combat the illiteracy and spiritual poverty in post-Revolutionary France. Marcellin believed God called him to help young people, especially those in need. He responded by forming a religious community of Brothers dedicated to educating youth and conveying the love of Jesus Christ through Mary.

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