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Annual Convention 2019

Holy Cross College at Notre Dame
(South Bend, Indiana)

Thursday May 30-Sunday June 2

The College Theology Society holds its Sixty-Fifth Annual Convention from Thursday evening, May 30 through Sunday noon, June 2, 2019, at Holy Cross College at Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. (Sectional Calls For Papers available here.)

“All the Ends of the Earth:
Challenge and Celebration of Global Catholicism"

Jane Linahan (Madonna University, Michigan)
Cyril Orji (University of Dayton, Ohio)
Convention Chairs/Volume Editors

What is “global Catholicism”?  What are the possibilities and promises of a faith that is truly global?  The early decades of the 3rd millennium have witnessed breathtaking change, change that will continue to unfold exponentially, in ways that we have barely begun to imagine.   One of the most significant transformations is in the nature of our relations with one another across the entire globe.  As Christians, how have we negotiated the task of examining and absorbing the implications of being a global church?  What mistakes have been made?  What has been learned?  What needs to be learned?  And what horizons have begun to open up, as harbingers of all that we have yet to learn?

For Catholic Christians, the challenges of being global are not really new, although the degree and character of their contemporary manifestations are arguably unprecedented.  Jesus himself laid down the foundational challenge in a ministry that called traditional boundaries into question with its inclusive outreach.  The first generation of his followers struggled to understand what that inclusiveness meant as the Holy Spirit empowered them to proclaim their faith to all whom they encountered and discipleship began to cross cultural and ethnic borders.  From its beginnings, then, Christianity has had a “global” orientation, even though the understanding of all that that implies has evolved and expanded dramatically over time.  In attempting to follow the promptings of the Spirit, Christians have indeed gone forth to the myriad places, cultures, and peoples of our richly and beautifully diverse planet.  The history of that venture has been one of sin and of grace, fraught with miracles and missteps, with triumphs and tragedies, from which we all need to learn, so as to work out a more hopeful future together.

The sins of imperialism, colonialism, and oppression must be acknowledged honestly.  But sin never has the final word, for grace abounds all the more.  A beautiful, indispensable, and priceless gift to the Church is the richness of the cultures of the entire world, a richness that bespeaks the vibrant love of the creating and incarnate God.  What gifts, questions, and insights do all peoples bring to the Church?  How does their experience enhance “traditional” understandings of doctrine, of the human person, of human relationships, of social justice, of worship, of family and community life, of international relations, of our relation to the natural world?  What manifestations of the Catholic faith are to be perceived in diverse cultural expressions?  How can the entire Catholic family acknowledge and celebrate its truly global identity?

What are the challenges for Catholicism at this moment of history?  How is our faith called to engage the crises facing the global community?  Globalization has brought new opportunities to some, but not without steep human and environmental costs.  What insights and resources does a truly global faith bring to the urgent need to safeguard human rights in the face of inhuman forces?  How can the tradition of Catholic Social Teaching bear witness to the gospel call to justice in all corners of the world?  How can the Church ensure that all voices are included in the needed conversations and are truly listened to?  What do we need to learn from Catholicism’s encounters with other faiths, particularly in those parts of the world characterized by significant and long-standing religious diversity?

The very word catholic insists upon the essentially global orientation of our faith.  Catholic implies a responsibility before God toward the whole world.  What is the nature of that responsibility?  Where are we in the task of fulfilling it?  How are we challenged by the call to realize, manifest, and celebrate before the world the full implications of our global faith?  For, perhaps the imperative response to the utter gratuitousness of God at this moment in our history lies precisely in proclaiming and living out our true catholicism!

Contributors to the 2019 Convention are encouraged to reflect upon these questions and others that are evoked by the theme of Global Catholicism.  The very diversity of the Catholic traditions draws us to contemplate with new lenses the depth dimensions of our faith as well as the breadth dimensions of its reach.  We invite a richly diverse use of theological imaginations, to set our minds and hearts on fire for our task of witnessing to a truly global faith.


The section-specific Call for Papers is available here.  Proposals should be 250-500 words in length and include one’s current institutional affiliation and position.  Proposals should be submitted to the appropriate conveners no later than Monday, December 17, 2018.  Scholars will be notified of the status of their proposals by Monday, January 14, 2019.

Scholars who are invited to present their work at a national convention of the College Theology Society must be current members of the CTS no later than April 1, 2019 in order to appear in the program.  No person may submit more than one proposal for consideration and nor will submissions to multiple sections be considered.  Failure to observe these policies may result in the scholar's disqualification to present a paper at the Annual Convention.

The first draft of the Convention Program will be available on or about March 15, 2019, and online registration will also open at that time.

The National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion will once again be joining us this year.

Further questions about our 2019 Annual Convention at Holy Cross College can be directed to Father Dave Gentry-Akin, Executive Director of National Conventions, at

The College Theology Society is a registered, non-profit professional society and a Related Scholarly Organization of the American Academy of Religion.


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