Paul Crowley, S.J., Begins a New Chapter of the Prestigious Theological Studies Journal

On January 1, 2016, Santa Clara Jesuit Community Professor of religious studies and pastoral ministries,  Paul Crowley, S.J., takes the editorial helm of Theological Studies, the flagship journal of Catholic theology.  As the successor to David G. Schultenover, S.J., of Marquette University, who has been Editor-in-Chief since January 2006, Crowley inherits an international publication that has been sponsored by the Society of Jesus for more than 75 years.  A refereed journal of academic theology, it is one of the most highly-selective journals of its kind, as only a small fraction of all articles received is published.  And there is a reason for that: The Society considers this journal to be a major service to the Church and to the vitality of the Church’s mission, which requires a serious theological life.

“Fr. Crowley’s appointment as editor of this prestigious journal of theology is a great tribute to his abilities as a theologian, writer, and teacher,” says Santa Clara University President Michael Engh, S.J. “At a time when theology is being shaped more and more by the lived experiences of all people, Fr. Crowley will bring to this appointment a deep awareness and professional rigor.”

A magnet for internationally established theologians and very talented younger scholars vying for its publication real estate, the journal covers traditional topics in patristic, systematic, and historical theology.   But it also opens its pages to many constructive and contextual theologies that yield contemporary topics of interest to a wide range of readers, making it a go-to resource to keep up with theology and science, or with contemporary debates in theological ethics.

“We strive to strike a balance between studies in the tradition and pushing the envelope just a little to explore the intersections where faith meets contemporary problems and thinking,” says Crowley.   To illustrate his point, he offers a preview of the upcoming March issue which will feature a major article on interpretations of the Eucharist from the patristic to the modern era (authored in part by SCU professor of pastoral ministries Gary Macy).  But the same issue will also contain an article on Pope Francis’ “theology of the people,” written by an Argentinian theologian, which lands the debate squarely in the spheres of international politics and economics.

Crowley’s tenure, set to begin on the first day of the Year of Mercy as designated by Pope Francis, offers an irresistible question on the immediate influence of this development on the journal. “In fact, we have one article already lined up for publication on that, a discussion of mercy in the theology of Salvadoran theologian Jon Sobrino.  The annual meeting of the Catholic Theological Society of America this coming year has as its theme ‘Mercy and Justice,’ so I think we will see quite a bit of energy around this topic.  That meeting will be held in Puerto Rico, so I am hoping for some Latin American submissions.”  Along the same theme, if mercy is extended to mother earth, how would the journal’s message reconcile with Laudato Sí in the immediate future?  Again he confides:  “Look for our June 2016 issue, which will feature articles by theologians from around the globe on the subject.  I am inviting some ‘deep theological drilling’ into the encyclical.  It should be an exciting issue, and I hope a useful one, not only for theologians, but for a broader audience of people concerned about the implications of climate change for our relationship with the Earth, and for the destiny of the human race.”