Our openness to others, each of whom is a “thou” capable of knowing, loving and entering into dialogue, remains the source of our nobility as human persons. — Pope Francis, Laudato si’, 2015
Dialogue is a recurring theme in the writings of Pope Francis. In Laudato si’, Francis challenges the world to enter into dialogue on policies and practices that foster the common good. He invites dialogue among diverse religions and cultures, and between religion and science to address the ecological crisis and promote human fulfillment. Moreover, Francis presents the ability to enter into dialogue as a uniquely human characteristic– a quality that reveals our innate human dignity. As we enter into the final months of a contentious US presidential race and as violence continues to divide communities and displace people around the globe, the Pope’s words challenge all of us to embrace dialogue over intolerance and fear.
Fostering dialogue is an essential part of our work at the Lane Center as we engage diverse voices within the University and the San Francisco community. Dialogue is crucial as we explore the public significance of Catholicism in a way that respects religious pluralism and non-religious perspectives. This fall, the Lane Center invites dialogue on four important topics in Catholicism: gender, ecology, peace, and Catholic identity.
Amoris Laetitia reading group. After two synods on the family and a consultation process that involved the Catholic laity, Pope Francis issued his Apostolic Exhortation on the Family, Amoris Laetitia. The document has received mixed responses, with some criticizing it for not going far enough to promote gender equality and the rights of LGBTQ Catholics. At the same time, others have voiced concern over its ambiguity around certain teachings. This reading group will meet three times to engage in the key debates surrounding the document.
Revisiting Laudato si’: A walking discussion on ecology and spirituality. On Tuesday, October 4th the Lane Center and the Thacher Gallery will offer a guided walk through USF’s campus as we listen to reflections on the impact of Laudato si’. The event will create a conversation on the environment across multiple perspectives–art, science, religion, and ethics. We will gather at 3pm in the atrium of Kalmanovitz Hall.
Catholic Perspectives on Peace, Just War Theory and the Power of Nonviolence. In light of a recent conference at the Vatican between the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Pax Christi International, and other Catholic organizations, the Catholic church has been invited to reconsider the place of just war theory in Catholic social teaching. The Lane Center will host a conversation on peace on Friday, November 4th at 2:30pm in the Maraschi Room.
Exploring the “Francis Effect” on politics, culture and Catholic identity. John Gehring, author of The Francis Effect: A Radical Pope’s Challenge to the American Catholic Church will discuss his book on Thursday, October 27th at 4pm in the faculty/ staff lounge (UC 222).
Opportunities for faculty
Call for Papers: We invite contributions to the next issue of the Lane Center Series on the topic of Race and Incarceration. Research grants are available for authors to provide short and accessible background papers and participate in a roundtable discussion in the spring of 2017.
We invite students returning from immersion trips to apply for a non-credit seminar, Social Justice in the Jesuit Tradition. Participants will meet three times to learn about the Catholic social tradition modeled in the lives of exemplary Jesuits.