WEBINAR: Cardinal Francis George, the American Contribution to Catholic Social Thought, and Our Current Moment

Apr 17, 2020
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Russell HittingerLumen Christi Institute

Stephen SchneckFranciscan Action Network

Theresa SmartArizona State University

Matt Malone, SJAmerica Media


Cosponsored by America Media, the Saint Benedict Institute, the Nova Forum, the Collegium Institute, the Beatrice Institute, the Calvert House Catholic Center, and Mundelein Seminary

You can read Thomas Levergood's essay on Cardinal George's legacy at America Magazine.

A Memorial on the 5th Anniversary of the Death of Cardinal Francis George, O.M.I.

On April 17—the 5th anniversary of the death of Cardinal Francis George O.M.I.—the Lumen Christi Institute will host a major web event that takes stock of the American contribution to Catholic Social Thought and how it applies in our current situation. 

After his appointment as archbishop of Chicago, Cardinal George emerged as an intellectual leader within the Church, nationally and world-wide, and served as president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. His thought on American culture and society—expressed in numerous lectures and in three major books—provides a challenging, critical view of the American experiment from the perspective of post-Vatican II Catholic thought. Revisiting his book on social questions and public life—God in Action: How Faith in God Can Address the Challenges of the World—allows us to reflect on the American contribution to Catholic Social Thought and to apply it to consider our situation today as we confront a great global crisis.

The panel will include Russell Hittinger, Senior Fellow of the Lumen Christi Institute and Visiting Professor at the University of Chicago Law School (Fall, 2020); Stephen Schneck, emeritus Professor at the Catholic University of America and Executive Director of the Franciscan Action Network; and Theresa Smart, assistant professor in the School of Civic and Economic Thought at Arizona State University. Each will draw from their own expertise and entertain the question of what distinctly American contributions have been made to Catholic Social Thought and how Cardinal George’s work fits within this tradition.


Russell Hittinger is Senior Fellow at the Lumen Christi Institute, Research Professor Ordinarius in the School of Philosophy and Senior Fellow Institute for Human
Ecology at the Catholic University of America, and Professor Emeritus of Catholic Studies and Law at the University of Tulsa. He is also Ordinarius of the Pontifical Academy of the Social Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas. Hittinger is the author of many books, including A Critique of the New Natural Law Theory, The First Grace: Rediscovering Natural Law in a Post-Christian Age, Thomas Aquinas and the Rule of Law, and most recently Paper Wars: Catholic Social Doctrine and the Modern State (forthcoming).

Stephen Schneck is retired Associate Professor of Politics at the Catholic University of America, where he was also Director of CUA's Institute for Policy Research and Catholic Studies. He received his BA from Rockhurst University and his MA and PhD in Government from the University of Notre Dame.  He is the author of several books and articles in the field of political philosophy, including Person & Polis: Max Scheler's Personalism as Political Theory (SUNY Press), and a recent edited volume, Letting Be: Fred Dallmayr’s Cosmopolitical Vision (University of Notre Dame Press). He was a founding board member of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good and served on the board of Democrats for Life.  He is currently the Executive Director of Franciscan Action Network, in Washington, DC.

Theresa Smart is an assistant professor in the School of Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University, specializing in ancient and medieval political philosophy. Her curernt book project explores the ethics of citizenship in Thomas Aquinas, especially tensions between political and moral commitments. She engages in research on virtue ethics, natural law, jurisprudence, liberal education and Catholic social thought. Dr. Smart received her Ph.D from the University of Notre Dame and a postdoctoral fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University

Matt Malone, S.J., is the President and Editor in Chief of America Media. Fr. Malone began his tenure on October 1, 2012. Previously, he served for two years as an associate editor, from 2007-2009, when he covered foreign policy and domestic politics. Fr. Malone entered the Society of Jesus in 2002 and was ordained a priest on June 9, 2012 by Edward Cardinal Egan, late Archbishop of New York. From 1997-2002, he served as the founding deputy director of MassINC, an independent political think tank, and co-publisher of CommonWealth, its award-winning review of politics, ideas and civic life. He is the author of Catholiques Sans Etiquette, a book concerning the church and the political, which was published in 2014 by Salvator Press in Paris.