College Theology SocietyServing Church and Academy Since 1954


2024 Call for Papers


John Barnes, Fordham University (NY),

Byron Wratee, Boston College (MA),


This conference theme centers experiences of vulnerability, abuse, protection, healing, resilience, and flourishing in various religious, cultural, and political contexts. This conference seeks to unravel the complexities surrounding these themes and foster a deeper understanding of their relevance within the context of the Christian faith. To this end, the conference theme invites theological reflection on various vulnerable communities, including but not limited to the following:

  •        Children,
  •        Women,
  •        Elderly,
  •        Migrants,
  •        Refugees
  •        People of Color, especially Indigenous and Black folk,
  •        Non-human creatures,
  •        And the Earth.


The Ecclesiology section will explore the interplay between vulnerability, flourishing, Christianity, and ecclesiology. We welcome papers from Christians and non-Christian scholars interested in churches and ecclesial communities in the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant traditions. We invite submissions from systematic theologians, moral theologians, comparative theologians, theological ethicists, historical theologians, historians of theology, bible scholars, practical theologians, and practitioners.


Key Questions:


  • How does vulnerability manifest within global Christianity, and how can the Church respond effectively to the vulnerabilities of its members?
  • What theological and ethical foundations can guide the understanding of human flourishing within Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant traditions, and how do these foundations relate to concepts of vulnerability?
  • In what ways can the ecclesiological structure of various Churches contribute to or hinder the flourishing of individuals and communities, particularly those in vulnerable positions?
  • How can the Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Church’s teachings and practices serve as a source of resilience and empowerment for vulnerable individuals while fostering a culture of inclusivity and care?


Topics of Interest:


We welcome submissions that explore, but are not limited to, the following topics:


  •  Vulnerability and the theology of suffering.
  •  Ecclesiological models that promote the protection, empowerment, and flourishing of vulnerable populations.
  • The intersection of Catholic social teachings, ethics, and vulnerability.
  • How are sacraments, liturgy, and spirituality important in nurturing resilience and promoting flourishing?
  • Case studies examining vulnerable communities within Catholicism and strategies for their holistic development.
  • American religious histories or historical perspectives on vulnerability, resilience, and flourishing within the Church.
  • Constructive ecclesiologies and ethics of vulnerability and/or flourishing concerning the following contemporary issues in the universal Church in the United States:
  • The Roman Catholic Church and the Global Sex Abuse Crisis
  • The Southern Baptist Convention and the FBI Investigation of Sex Abuse
  • The United Methodist Church and the Boy Scouts of America Settlement
  • Hillsong Church and Hillsong: A Megachurch Exposed (Netflix documentary)
  • Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and the Domestic Abuse and Sexual Assault (DASA) Report
  • Presbyterian Church USA (PCUSA), Church Synods, and Sexual Abuse
  • Pope Francis, Synodality, Vulnerability, and Ecclesial Communion.
  • Laudato Si, Vulnerability, Flourishing, and Integral Ecology.
  • Eucharistic or Communion Ecclesiologies of vulnerability and flourishing.
  • Vatican II Studies and Lumen Gentium: A Scandalous Church as Sacrament?
  • Histories of Sexuality and Sex Scandals in the Medieval Church.
  • The History of Various Church Polities and Accountability.
  • Trauma, Vulnerability, Embodiment, and Ecclesial Flourishing:  Feminist and Womanist Theology and Ethics.
  • Comparative theologies of community, vulnerability, and flourishing.
  • Ecclesial Vulnerability and Flourishing through Music and Liturgy.
  • The Church, State, Crimes, and Christian Ethics.
  • Law and Religion: The First Amendment’s Freedom of Religion and Anti-Disestablishment Clause.


We offer these topics as broad suggestions and not requirements.


Submission Guidelines:


  • Abstract Submission Deadline: Please submit your proposal on or before December 15, 2023.
  • Length: Proposals should be 250 to 500 words in length and must include your full name, email address, current institutional affiliation, current position, and CTS membership status.
  • Format: Please submit your proposals as a Microsoft Word document (docx) or Portable Document Format (PDF) file.
  •  Email: Please submit your proposal to Byron Wratee ( and John E. Barnes, II (
  •  Notification of Acceptance: We will notify you of the status of your proposal by January 15, 2024.
  •  Membership: Scholars 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, 2024, to appear in the program.
  •  Multiple Submissions: No person may submit more than one proposal for consideration. The CTS will not consider submissions to multiple sections. Failure to observe these policies may result in the scholars’ disqualification to present a paper at the Annual Convention.

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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