Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture

Current Conversations

The Catholic Imagination: Co-presented with Image 

Shouts or Whispers?: The Catholic Literary Imagination Then & Now

Please join us May 26, 2016 as we welcome Gregory Wolfe, Editor of Image, to his new role as Senior Fellow in the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture, beginning in Academic Year 2016-2017. Building off his prior work as a consultant for the ICTC, Wolfe's position will enable faculty, staff and students to further explore the richness of the Catholic Imagination and the Catholic Literary Tradition.

4:00 PM | Appetizer and wine reception in Student Center 160, LeRoux

4:30 PM | "Shouts or Whispers? The Catholic Literary Imagination Then and Now" by Gregory Wolfe

5:15 PM | Q & A with Wolfe

Please RSVP to

"Shouts and Whispers"

Amidst the growing secularism of twentieth century culture, a sudden flowering of world-class Catholic literature took the world by surprise, from British writers like Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh to the Americans Flannery O’Connor and Walker Percy to France’s Georges Bernanos and Japan’s Shusaku Endo. 

Looking at the contemporary scene, some critics have argued that there is a dearth of Catholic authors today or that such writers as can be found lack the theological depth of their predecessors.

In his presentation, Gregory Wolfe will beg to differ. As editor of Image journal for the past quarter century, he has had a front row seat on the literary scene. Wolfe believes that the Catholic imagination has persisted, but that it has taken on different forms as the surrounding culture has changed. Whereas Flannery O’Connor believed that the Catholic writer needed to “shout” to be heard, Wolfe contends that contemporary Catholic authors such as Alice McDermott, Oscar Hijuelos, and Mary Gordon prefer to “whisper.” He will illustrate his talk with examples from a number of recent, award-winning books.

Writer, editor, publisher and teacher, Gregory Wolfe founded Image journal in 1989 and since 2000 has served as Writer in Residence at Seattle Pacific University where he teaches English literature and creative writing. He is also the founder and director of the Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing at SPU, the first program of its kind to integrate a studio writing degree with intensive reflection upon the aesthetic riches of the Judeo-Christian tradition. Wolfe is the author of the recent collection The Operation of Grace and has published over 200 essays, reviews and articles in numerous journals, including the Wall Street Journal and Commonweal.


Teaching Together, Learning Together: The Encylical Comes to Life

In a new, team-taught course, THRS/STM 3910-02 Earth Spirituality & Justice, students discuss Laudato Si’, On Care for Our Common Home, Pope Francis’ new encyclical, and its implications for our world today. To engage with scholarship and discussions beyond the classroom, students also attend the ICTC’s Catholic Heritage Lectures, tying the letter to questions of water access, indigenous peoples’ rights, cosmology, ecological sin, and globalism.

Co-taught by ICTC Director Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos, Psychology Professor and Chair of Catholic Studies Le Xuan Hy, Associate Drean of Academic Affairs in the School of Theology and Ministry Faustino Cruz, and Campus Ministry for Liturgy Bob Stephan, S.J., the course has become a place for students to weigh diverse perspectives and some of today’s most pressing concerns.

"The course inspired me to change not only the way I approach religious dialogue, but also renewed my sense of oneness between all humans and the earth. I now confidently approach environmental and political differences with an open heart, and have begun to create ways we can heal the planet by healing ourselves."
—Ashley Haynes-Gibson, Class of 2016, Psychology

"This course has meant that I would have the ability to come together with a group of people diverse in age, area of study, and standpoint in life to speak of issues mentioned in the encyclical Laudato Si’, which not only addresses but affects every person in the planet. The opportunity to come together with such a diverse group […] has inspired me to seek this kind of dialogue with others so we may be more interconnected as the encyclical calls for."
—Tiffany Leal 

"This course has inspired me to change my life in big ways, illustrating the tangible and concrete ways in which all things are profoundly connected, the ways individual small actions interact with the world, and the ways technology can interfere with that interaction. As a result, I've made a move to being more conscious of the ways that I use digital technology, with an aim of lessening my dependence upon it and perhaps inspiring others to desire the same."
—Fred Seymour, Class of 2018, Interdisciplinary Arts, Music Emphasis


Sr. Ilia Delio & Climate Change

Miss our Oct. 15 Catholic Heritage Lecture? Or want to learn more about Sr. Ilia Delio's perspectives on Laudato Si' and current conversations on ecological justice? Visit The Commons to read more.


Fr. Pat Howell's Reflection on Pope Francis' U.S. Visit

"Pope Francis Meets the American Catholic Church," by Fr. Pat Howell, S.J., ICTC Distinguished Professor in Residence, in America magazine, part of their issue dedicated to the visit.


Fr. Pat Kelly, S.J., Editor of New Book on Sport & Spirituality

In this innovative look at the issues and opportunities facing young athletes and families, Fr. Pat Kelly brings together diverse Catholic perspectives and invites us to consider the developmental and spiritual dimensions of sport. Check out The Commons to read more.