The William H. Shannon Chair in Catholic Studies presents...

Embracing the Third Millennium, Empowering the People of God


In his last book, How to Become a Christian Even If You Already Are One, Fr. William Shannon affirmed his belief in a key teaching of the Second Vatican Council: that the Church is the people of God. Then, as we came to expect, Fr. Shannon posed a critical question: “How can we get the voice of God’s people heard in the Church?” Inspired by his inclusive theological vision and faithful witness, we have invited our lecturers to consider this question and to help us think about how the people of God might more fully exercise a responsibility that is theirs by virtue of baptism.

Our lecturers bring to this task a variety of perspectives and skills that reflect the study of and work in theology, law, political science, ministry, social action, and journalism. Their interests and concerns span the breadth of issues that face us today in our culture and Church: politics and economics, ethics and justice, sexuality and gender, authority and conscience, faith and citizenship. They share a readiness to ask hard questions, a commitment to analyze with integrity, and a determination to confront complex issues. Like Fr. Shannon, they do not hesitate, in theologian Richard Gaillardetz’s words, to “wrestle with the tradition,” to engage in constructive critique, and to envision a Church in which all God’s people have a voice.

Please join us in welcoming to the Shannon Chair podium our distinguished speakers: Thomas Reese, S.J.; Jamie L. Manson; M. Cathleen Kaveny; and Richard Gaillardetz.

Our Distinguished Speakers

Thomas Reese, S.J.
September 11-12, 2014

Jamie L. Manson
October 16-17, 2014

M. Cathleen Kaveny
March 19-20, 2015

Richard Gaillardetz
April 16-17, 2015

 “The Church of the First Millennium was the Church of the bishops. The Church of the Second Millennium was the Church of the popes. May we hope that the Third Millennium is becoming the Church of the people of God.”  —William H. Shannon