Pope Francis has moved hearts and minds across the globe in the first year of his papacy. Now, a three-part speaker series will explore how he’s challenging the cultural divide.
The “Pope Francis Speaker Series on the Church and Society” kicks off at 7 p.m., Jan. 29, at Xavier College Preparatory’s Performing Arts Center, 4710 N. Fifth St. in Phoenix. All evening talks are ticketed events, with separate pricing for students and adults, and include a reception.
William T. Cavanaugh opens the series. The author and research professor at the Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology at DePaul University in Chicago will deliver his talk, “Being Consumed: The Eucharist and Consumer Culture.”
Pope Francis Speaker Series
When: 7 p.m., Jan. 29
Where: Xavier College Preparatory, 4710 N. Fifth St., Phoenix
Also Upcoming: Feb. 28 and March 28
Tickets: $10 adults, $5 students, includes dessert and coffee
More: PopeFrancisSpeakers@diocesephoenix.org or diocesephoenix.org/popefrancisspeakers.php
He will examine consumerism in light of Gospel values and virtues. Cavanaugh said he’s urging Catholics as he does in his book to think of consumerism not as being too attached to things, but rather being detached from the people who make the products
“It’s looking at concepts and ideas that the Church puts a lot of emphasis on, but society doesn’t,” said Kathy Luger, local director of Catholic Campaign for Human Development, as well as Catholic Relief Services Office.
Hers is one of several diocesan departments coordinating the speaker series aimed at helping average Catholics in the pew understand and address societal issues through the eyes of the Church. Leaders at the Diocesan Pastoral Center are also partnering with CatholicPhoenix.com, a website managed by local Catholics to foster thought, research and dialogue from a Catholic viewpoint.
Pope Francis has done a solid job of connecting the faith life with everyday life, Cavanaugh said. He sees the speaker series as an exploration of what that means for Catholics.
“It’s not just about what we do in church and liturgy,” Cavanaugh said, “He’s always trying to make connections, especially with the most marginalized among us.”
On Feb. 28, Paige Hochschild, a professor of theology at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary, will speak. Hochschild is also a contributor to First Things, a magazine that advances a religiously informed public philosophy, and the author of a book that explores the theme of “memory” in Augustine’s works.
Michael Matheson Miller wraps up the series March 28. He is a research fellow and director of Acton Media at the Acton Institute, a think-tank dedicated to the study of free-market economics informed by religious faith and moral absolutes. His leadership of “PovertyCure” led to a six-episode DVD on human flourishing. It presents entrepreneurial solutions to poverty in the developing world.
“He’s just phenomenal when it comes to weaving together the intellectual tradition of the Church, JPII’s understanding of the human person as well as economic factors and what affectseffects the human person,” Luger said.
She hopes the speaker series brings together Catholics who hunger for an outlet to learn about and discuss Church teaching in an accessible and engaging forum.