That We May Be One: Racial Justice and the Catholic Church

The annual Catholic Heritage Lectures, launched in 2010, engage the intellectual and religious communities of the Seattle area and the Seattle University community to explore aspects of the Catholic Intellectual Tradition and the intersection of Catholicism and culture. Seattle University has had the privilege of welcoming scholars from diverse fields since the inception of the lecture series. Our distinguished scholars have included scientists, philosophers, historians, sociologists and theologians.

In addition to the public lectures, we offer multiple opportunities to engage with the speakers and the subject of their presentations, including reading groups and lunch conversations. 

Spring 2017

Catholic Attitudes on Islam: The Racialization of Islam and Media

May 3, 2018 | 7:00 pm | Pigott Auditorium
Panelists: Jordan Denari Duffner, Nazir Harb Michel, Ph.D., Michael Perez, Ph.D., and Sonora Jha, Ph.D.

Our final lecture this spring will gather a distinguished panel to examine “Catholic Attitudes on Islam: The Racialization of Islam and Media. The engagement with the topic is informed by a Georgetown University study that showed the negative impact of certain forms of Catholic media on Catholic attitudes towards Muslims.

The panelists are:

  • Jordan Denari Duffner is an emerging Catholic voice on Muslim-Christian relations and Islamophobia and the author of Finding Jesus among Muslims: How Loving Islam Makes Me a Better Catholic. Jordan, a lead author of the Georgetown study, Dangers and Dialogue, will share the findings and her personal experience on how engagement with Islam has influenced her Catholic identity.
  • Sonora Jha, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Communication at Seattle University. She is the author of the novel, "Foreign," and is a political essayist. She has recently co-edited an anthology of essays on the resurgence of feminism in South Asian film, literature and social media. Sonora will moderate the evening’s conversation.
  • Nazir Harb Michel, PhD, is an SU alum and received his doctorate degree from Georgetown in Arab Studies and political interactional sociolinguistics. Nazir writes on political sociolinguistics in English and Arabic, Muslims in the West, and studies Islamophobia.
  • Michael Vicente Perez, PhD, is Senior Lecturer in Socio-Cultural Anthropology at the University of Washington. His research focuses on displacement and the human rights of stateless refugees. He is also beginning work on Islam in Latin America. Michael's teaching areas cover refugees, the Middle East, memory and violence, Islam, and popular culture.  

Winter 2018

American Catholicism, Xenophobia and Immigration

February 22, 2018 | 7:00 pm | Pigott Auditorium

Panelists: Arturo Chavez, Ph.D., Laurie Cassidy, Ph.D.,
and Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos, Ph.D.

The topic of the panel opens up conversation about the xenophobia and the history of Catholic immigration to the United States. The panelists will explore both the complicity of the Catholic Church as institution and community in xenophobia as well as its rich theological and spiritual teachings to welcome the stranger.

  • Dr. Laurie Cassidy is a theologian and spiritual director who recently co-authored the book The Scandal of White Complicity in U.S. Hyper-Incarceration: A Non-Violent Spirituality of White Resistance. Her teaching and research explore how Christian mysticism can be a resource for personal and social transformation.
  • Dr. Arturo Chávez is the President of MACC, the Mexican American Catholic College in San Antonio, Texas. Nationally recognized for his efforts to combat racism and poverty, President Obama appointed Chávez to the White House Council on Faith-based partnerships.
  • Dr. Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos is the Director of Seattle University’s Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture and is Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Studies and The Malcolm and Mari Stamper Endowed Chair in Catholic Intellectual and Cultural Traditions. She specializes in liberation theology, Christian anthropology and the intersection of science and religion.

Fall 2017

The Most Rev. Edward K. Braxton, Bishop of Belleville, Illinois, visited SU in October. While his visit was short, it was impactful – he met with students, faculty and staff, along with giving the keynote address and participating in dialogue with the audience long after the event ended. Thank you to everyone who attended the lecture and participated in the events around campus! Watch the video here: “The Catholic Church and the Racial Divide in the United States” Pt. 1 and “The Catholic Church and the Racial Divide in the United States” Pt. 2

Pictured: Tyrone Brown from the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion Natasha Martin; Bishop Braxton, and Catherine Punsalan-Manlimos from the Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture.

Read Bishop Braxton's pastoral letters here

Bishop Braxton’s presentation outline

 The series began Tuesday, October 17, 2017 with "The Catholic Church and the Racial Divide in the United States" with a keynote by the Most Rev. Edward K. Braxton, Bishop of Belville, Illinois, followed by a conversation with Tyrone Brown, Assistant Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) at Seattle University.

Bishop Edward K. Braxton of the Diocese of Belleville has a long-standing reputation as a scholar whose writings on a wide range of theological and pastoral topics spark meaningful dialogues among the Catholic faithful.

Bishop Braxton studied and taught at a variety of institutions, including the Catholic University of Louvain in Belgium, the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, Harvard University Divinity School, the University of Notre Dame and the North American College in Rome.

A sought-after speaker focusing in the past few years on racial tension in the U.S. and Black Lives Matter movement, Bishop Braxton has been invited to preach in major Catholic and Protestant pulpits, such as the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, St. Mary’s Cathedral in San Francisco, the Sage Memorial Chapel at Cornell University, the Memorial Church at Harvard University, and the Rockefeller Chapel at The University of Chicago. 

Previously, Tyrone spent five plus years as the administrative coordinator for the Office of the President, Vice President for Student Development, and Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS). He is a Seattle University alumni, having received his MFA in Arts Leadership in 2010 and is the founder of MORAL MONDAYS at SU, the #BlackLivesMatter initiative on campus. Brown is the 2016 Spirit of Community Award (Staff) for exceptional commitment to service with a nonprofit agency or to coordinating or sustaining projects that make a positive difference in the community.Tyrone Brown is assistant director for the Office of Multicultural Affairs (OMA) at Seattle University. As an Assistant Director, Tyrone is responsible for the Diversity, Equity, and Education Program (DEEP), advising OMA Alliance (student clubs and organizations), focusing on Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Queer students (LGTBQ), military veterans, and social justice development.

Tyrone is a Seattle native, First Gulf War veteran, and a theatre director / producer.