Schedule of Presentations

March 3 (Friday-Evening)
  • Session 1: Murray Watson
March 4 (Saturday-Morning)
  • Session 2: Michael Attridge & Darren Dias
  • Session 3: Cristina Vanin
  • Session 4 : Allyson Larkin
March 4 (Saturday-Afternoon)
  • Session 5 : Mark Yenson
  • Session 6: Carolyn Chau
  • Session 7: John Dool

Download the Schedule

Friday, March 3rd starting at 4:00 pm (with a dinner after the first presentation) 
and Saturday, March 4th, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, at the Vitali Lounge, 
King’s University College, 266 Epworth Street, London, Ontario

To attend please RSVP to

Glocal Theology in the Pope Francis Era: A Sampling

Presentations and Presenters
(in alphabetical order)
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This ongoing research project studies the different ways in which Catholicism in Quebec and in Ontario have evolved in the period 1965-1985. It poses the hypothesis that the reception of Vatican II in the Canadian context has favoured the emergence of diverse models of Catholicism, rather than just the continuation of the project of homogenization encouraged by Rome in an earlier age. One can argue that the effects of the “Silent Revolution” have shaped Catholicism in Quebec as much as Vatican II itself. In like manner, one can also make a case that the adoption of multiculturalism in an Ontario that is continually being transformed by the effects of immigration, is as crucial a factor to consider as Vatican II itself in order to grasp how postconciliar Catholicism has evolved there.

Michael Attridge is Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto. His teaching areas include Ecclesiology, Christology and the Second Vatican Council. His research is on the reception and hermeneutics of Vatican II and more recently on the influence and impact of Vatican II in Canada. 

Darren Dias, OP is Associate Professor of Theology at St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto. He is a member of the Canadian province of Dominican Friars and serves as the Director of the Dominican Institute of Toronto. His research areas include Trinitarian theology, pneumatology, religious pluralism, and Lonergan studies.

The lead-up to the release of Pope Francis’ Amoris Laetitia was filled in North America with conversation about what might be expressed about the situation of divorced and remarried couples and their full participation in the sacramental life of the Church.  Less attention was given to the way in which the Church in other parts of the world might find the document both hopeful and challenging.  This paper will consider the reception of Amoris Laetitia by the Church in Asia, and will include a discussion of the particular realities that families in Asia experience, and the pastoral needs that this part of the Global South faces.

Carolyn Chau is Assistant Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at King’s University College and Associate Director of the Centre for Advanced Research in Catholic Thought.  Her research interests include Catholic mission and moral formation in contemporary secular societies, and the Church in Asia.

Dei Verbum represents a key renewal of the Catholic understanding of revelation and tradition.  It moves beyond neo-scholasticism by emphasizing a scriptural, personalist, christocentric, Trinitarian, and historical understanding of revelation.  The corresponding notion of tradition reflects a more hermeneutical sense of how tradition develops.  This hermeneutical vision is dialogical, focussed on discovery and on the involvement of the whole church, local and universal, in this process.
Pope Francis does not directly address the topic of tradition and is superficially labelled “less traditional” than his immediate predecessors. His operative theology of tradition, however, flows out of Dei Verbum and develops it further.  Tradition is looked at through the lens of mission and evangelization.  It reflects key themes of embracing newness and openness to surprise, listening and discernment, and conversion.  The presentation will explore this operative theology and some of its implications.

John Dool did his theological studies at the University of St. Michael's College.  He has taught systematic theology at St. Peter's Seminary for twenty years and has served as the dean of studies for what seems like an eternity.

The past three years of Pope Francis’s papal leadership have marked a new era of what some would call radical rethinking of the call for Catholics to act to care for and respond to the poor, vulnerable and excluded whether in society at large or in the context of the Catholic community.  His now iconic statement:  “Who am I to judge?” made in reference to the marginalization of homosexuals, was a dramatic public moment that has framed the numerous other positions the Pope has taken on social issues.  Whether it is in welcoming refugees into the Vatican, calling on states to respect the rights of indigenous people, reforming financial and other practices within the Vatican, rethinking the role of women in the church, or challenging the principles of global capitalism and warning against the growing inequalities that concentrate so much of the world’s wealth into fewer and fewer hands, Pope Francis is  a remarkable leader for the commitment he has made to protecting the poor and vulnerable.  This presentation considers the impact and implications for Pope Francis’s words and actions for social justice educators in times of global crisis.

Allyson Larkin is assistant professor at the Social Justice and Peace Studies program at King’s University College. She is actively engaged in research with communities in East Africa, specifically Tanzania and Kenya, on issues related to higher education partnerships and local development.  Her research considers the impact of partnerships on local community development agendas.  She has engaged in research as well as taught and led experiential learning courses with communities in Guatemala, El Salvador, Tanzania and Kenya.

The term ecological conversion has now entered into the lexicon of Catholic Social Teaching. Coined in Catholic circles at least by Pope John Paul II, the phrase refers to a significantly changed relationship to our natural environment. However, the precise scope of this change, its implications and ramifications, remain unclear. Faced with such a lack of precision, the danger is that the term could become a cipher into which various contents can be filled, content which will not adequately allow humanity to avoid “the catastrophe toward which it [is] moving.” 
That danger has to some extent been alleviated with the publication of Laudato Si’. The whole of this remarkable document can be read as a call for, and a laying out of, some of the meanings of ecological conversion, touching as it does on a range of issues that impinge on our relationship to the natural world. However, the pope’s own direct handling of the term is fairly circumscribed to what we might call the religious, indeed Christian, dimension of conversion. What is needed is a more explanatory and analytic account of the full implications of ecological conversion, one that spells out in greater detail all that such a conversion requires and identifies the foundations on which such a conversion stands. 
In order to achieve this I shall place the notion of ecological conversion within the general framework of the conversions identified by Bernard Lonergan and extended by Robert Doran. In his major work, Method in Theology, Lonergan identifies three distinct aspects of conversion as religious, moral and intellectual. In various works Doran has introduced the notion of psychic conversion as a distinct process from those identified by Lonergan The major focus of this presentation will be to interrogate the notion of ecological conversion through the lens of these four conversions in order to provide an explanatory context for this newly identified concern. I shall give a brief account of the four conversions found in the work of Lonergan and Doran and then move on to the interrogation of the notion of ecological conversion. In doing this I shall actively dialogue with Laudato Si’.

Cristina Vanin received her BA from St. Jerome’s University, her MDiv from the University of St. Michael’s College, and her PhD in theology from Boston College.
She is an associate professor of theology and ethics, associate dean, and director of the Master of Catholic Thought theology program, at St. Jerome’s University in Waterloo, Ontario.
Her research is focused on examining the role that theology can have in helping us respond adequately to the ecological crisis. 
In this research, she has been deeply influenced by the thought of Passionist priest, Thomas Berry, and Canadian Jesuit, Bernard Lonergan.

Although they are today largely forgotten in Church history, the French twin brothers Joseph and Augustin Lémann played a major role in the events surrounding the First Vatican Council. Converts from Judaism to Catholicism (and later ordained as Catholic priests), they were prominent figures in the late-nineteenth-century Church, and were responsible for drafting the Postulatum pro Hebraeis (“Proposal to the Jews”), a document inviting the world’s Jews to convert en masse to Catholicism—and a document that was among the most widely-supported items on the agenda of Vatican I. In the end, the document was never discussed by the Council but it raises the interesting question: if it had been discussed—and had been adopted—how would the trajectory of Catholic interreligious dialogue had been dramatically different? Would Nostra Aetate ever have happened? And how would the pontificate of a man like Pope Francis—for whom interreligious dialogue is a longstanding priority—have been different … if it occurred at all? An intriguing venture into counter-factual religious history, and how those events could have shaped today’s Church very differently.

Murray Watson (SSL [Biblicum, Rome]. Ph.D. [Trinity College, Dublin]) is a Catholic Biblical scholar who has worked and taught extensively in the field of Jewish-Christian relations, locally, nationally and internationally. He is an adjunct professor in the Faculty of Theology at Huron University College, has directed Biblical study programmes in Jerusalem, and has served as a staff member of the International Council of Christians and Jews (ICCJ). Murray is a consultant to the Canadian Catholic bishops on Biblical and interreligious matters.

A trend among several recent works in Christology has been to place greater emphasis on the unity of the person of Jesus Christ, against a suspected “neo-Nestorianism” in contemporary theology. This trend has entailed renewed criticism of the Belgian Jesuit theologian Jacques Dupuis (d. 2004) and his work on Trinitarian Christology and religious pluralism. This presentation revisits a key contribution of Jacques Dupuis, the distinction of the incarnate and non-incarnate action of the Word of God, in light of recent critiques and readings of the Council of Chalcedon.

Mark Yenson is Associate Professor of Religious Studies/Catholic Studies at King’s University College. His current research examines the reception of the Council of Chalcedon in modern systematic Christologies.