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Seattle University


Vatican II at 50

Written by Mike Thee
January 14, 2013

Sister Mary Ann Hinsdale, an important voice in American Catholic theology, is coming to Seattle University to speak on "Vatican II at 50: Toward a Dynamic Understanding of Conciliar Reception." Part of Seattle University's Catholic Heritage Lecture Series, her talk takes place 7 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 24 in Pigott Auditorium.

This year's series is on the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council. Father Joseph Komonchak of the Catholic University of America got the series going in October by providing an overview of Vatican II. Hinsdale will take the conversation a step further by examining Vatican II, 50 years later.

While five decades may have passed since this watershed event, Vatican II is as compelling a topic of discussion as ever, with conservatives continuing to press for a more traditional Church and progressives worrying that the council's reforms-particularly the emphasis on inclusivity and active engagement of the world-are being threatened or eroded.

Sr. Hinsdale steps into the fray with a rich and informed perspective. A member of the Servants of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and associate professor of theology at Boston College, she is part of a pioneering generation of women theologians who entered what had previously been a male-dominated field. Having served as president of the Catholic Theological Society of America from 2010 to 2011, Hinsdale has focused much of her scholarship on voices that typically have not been included in the Catholic theological discourse in America, such as the feminist perspective.

The Catholic Heritage Lecture Series is part of the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture, which is being launched this quarter under the direction of Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos, associate professor of theology and religious studies.

"Given many of the challenges facing the Church today, particularly the Catholic Church in the United States, it is exciting to have the opportunity to hear from Mary Ann Hinsdale who can speak about the reception of Vatican II today from her experience as an American Catholic, a woman, a woman religious and a theologian," says Punsalan-Manlimos. "Each of these aspects of her social location promise to provide some penetrating and important insights into the Church fifty years after Vatican II."

This year's lecture series will conclude April 18 with Peter Phan, the Ellacuria Chair of Catholic Social Thought at Georgetown University, who will spin the discussion forward with "What Will The Catholic Church Look Like in 2050? A Prognostication From Asia."