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Synodality Series Session 3 | Synodality and the Roots of Vatican II

Sep 19, 2022
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Shaun BlanchardNational Institute for Newman Studies

Kristin ColbergSt. John's School of Theology and Seminary

Kathleen Sprows CummingsUniversity of Notre Dame

Free and open to the public. This online symposium series is being organized by the American Cusanus SocietyNova Forum and the Lumen Christi Institute. Additional Cosponsors include CommonwealHarvard Catholic ForumAmerica Media, the St. Anselm Institute for Catholic Thought and the Collegium Institute.

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About the Series | In light of Pope Francis’ call for global Catholic communities to enter into a two-year process on synodality, this six-part series will examine both the history of synods and the current dialogue around the future of synodality in the Church. This series is an opportunity to learn more about the topic in advance of the October 2023 Rome summit, “For a Synodal Church.” Pope Francis is inviting the entire Church to reflect on “this path of synodality which God expects of the Church of the third millennium,” an important part of the Church’s own process to achieving participation and living out mission.

About Session 3 | A dialogue on the synodality models which emerged from Vatican II, featuring Shaun Blanchard (National Institute for Newman Studies) and Kristin Colberg (St. John’s School of Theology), moderated by Kathy Sprows Cummings (Notre Dame).

Shaun Blanchard is a senior research fellow at the National Institute for Newman Studies and Associate Editor of the Newman Studies Journal. He was previously Assistant Professor of Theology at Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady University in Baton Rouge, LA. A native of Chapel Hill, Shaun studied at the University of North Carolina, followed by a master’s at Oxford. After completing a doctorate at Marquette University, Shaun published his first monograph, The Synod of Pistoia and Vatican II (OUP, 2020). With Ulrich Lehner, he co-edited The Catholic Enlightenment: A Global Anthology (CUA, 2021). His next projects include, with Stephen Bullivant, Vatican II: A Very Short Introduction (OUP) and a monograph study of ecclesiology in the English-speaking world from the Cisalpines to Newman.


Kristin Colberg is Associate Professor of Theology at St. John's School of Theology and Seminary, where she teaches classes in ecclesiology, theological anthropology, and theological method. After earning her BA at Notre Dame, she spent two years in Belize City, Belize as a part of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps before pursuing a Master's of Divinity at Yale Divinity School.  Her doctoral work at Notre Dame focused on systematic theology with an emphasis in ecclesiology; her dissertation examined the relationship between Vatican I and Vatican II.  Kristin's theological work is rooted in a desire to demonstrate the church's ability to speak meaningfully in the modern context. She is the author of one book, one edited volume and numerous scholarly articles on Vatican II, ecumenism and major developments in Catholic thought.  She is a member of the official Reformed-Catholic dialogue in the United States.


Kathleen Sprows Cummings is the William W. and Anna Jean Cushwa Director of the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism at the University of Notre Dame, where she is also professor of American studies and history at Notre Dame. She is an accomplished scholar, having also written New Women of the Old Faith: Gender and American Catholicism in the Progressive Era (University of North Carolina Press, 2009) and published two edited volumes: Catholics in the American Century: Recasting Narratives of U.S. History (Cornell University Press in 2012) and Catholics in the Vatican II Era: Local Histories of a Global Event (Cambridge University Press, 2017). She is a public scholar, appearing on NBC’s live coverage of the conclave in March 2013, the canonization of Popes John Paul II and John XXIII in April 2014, and the papal visit to the United States in September 2015. She is frequently quoted in the New York Times and other media outlets on Catholic subjects.