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In 1994, through the generosity of the Bannan Institute of the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education and the Department of Religious Studies, Santa Clara University inaugurated the Santa Clara Lectures.

This series brings to campus leading scholars in theology, offering the University community and the general public an ongoing exposure to debate on the most significant issues of our times. Santa Clara University publishes these lectures and distributes them throughout the United States and internationally.

  • The Pope, the Poor, and the Planet: Overcoming Insularity in an Integral Ecology

    Fr. Jose Ramon "Jett" Villarin, S.J., 6 April 2016

    Given the ecological risks that face us and the uneven distribution of responsibilities, how can we overcome a sense of fragmentation and insularity? Reflecting on how Pope Francis’ call for an integral ecology resonates with those of us who live in more vulnerable parts of the world, we can discern pathways of hope, inspiring us all to care for our common home.

  • Looking at Vatican II with Pope Francis' Eyes

    Leadership and Spirituality

    John O'Malley, S.J., 5 Feb 2015

    From the moment Pope Francis appeared on the balcony of St. Peter's after his election, he caught the attention of the world and soon became acknowledged as one of the great leaders of our times. However, unlike his immediate predecessors he rarely speaks about Vatican II. Why? How, if at all, do his sometimes dramatic gestures relate to the council?

  • Grace in Shakespeare

    Marilynne Robinson, 26 Feb 2014

    Marilynne Robinson, author Gilead, which won the 2005 Pulitzer Prize for fiction and the 2004 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, shares on the depth of experience present in Shakespeare's work that sheds light on Grace.

  • To Recognize and Develop the Spiritual Bonds that Unite Us

    A Reflection on Christian-Muslim Relations Since Vatican II

    Archbishop Michael L. Fitzgerald, 25 Apr 2013

    This Santa Clara Lecture wishes to assess the progress of this dialogue since Vatican II in four areas: harmonious living, cooperation in the service of others, theoretical foundations, and sharing of religious experience.

  • Multiple Religious Belonging and Christian Identity

    Catherine Cornille, 15 Feb 2012

    In this lecture, we discuss the different types of multiple religious belonging, while also attempting to understand the logic of single and exclusive religious belonging which remains the ideal for most religious traditions.

  • Cross-Racial Solidarity

    Insights from and Challenges to Catholic Social Thought

    Bryan N. Massingale, 11 Nov 2010

    In the 2010-2011 Santa Clara Lecture, Professor Bryan Massingale will seek to address these questions and reflect on the the kind of virtues and spirituality needed for cross-racial solidarity today.

  • Evangelization and Inter-religious Dialogue

    Compatible Parts of Christian Mission?

    Peter C. Phan, 23 Feb 2010

    The lecture addressed the theme of Christian mission (evangelization as part of Christian calling) in the context of religious pluralism.

  • Prophetic Discourse in the Public Square

    M. Cathleen Kaveny, 11 Nov 2008

    This lecture will examine the ethics of using prophetic discourse with respect to morally and politically controversial issues in a pluralistic society.

  • Church Leadership, Ethics and the Future

    James Keenan, S.J., 7 Mar 2006

    Most Roman Catholic clergy and bishops receive little if any professional ethical training. While they are taught how to govern and make ethically accountable the members of their congregations, they are not taught by what reasoning, insights, or norms, they should govern themselves ethically.

  • On Being a Catholic Feminist

    Lisa Sowle Cahill, 27 April 2003

    U.S. Catholic women growing up at the time of the Second Vatican Council have a different experience of Catholicism and society than that of young adults today. While Vatican II women have strong roots in a cohesive Church, they also came of age in a more repressive society and in a religious community with separate, hierarchical gender roles. While these two groups of women have different experiences of sexuality, gender, and the home-work conflict, they can share a feminism based on Catholicism’s strong traditional commitment to social justice and to a sacramental understanding of faith, reappropriated for a newly global and participatory Church.

  • Globalization, Public Theology, and New Means of Grace

    Max L. Stackhouse, 26 January 2003

    Globalization is, in some senses, a very old phenomenon. Its earliest roots are in the spread of humanity from a very local environment to the far reaches of the earth. Each of these developments increased the rapidity of the globalizing process, anticipating what is happening now. However, the current form of globalization is new, in part because of its magnitude and in part because of its character.

  • Wear It Like A Banner for the Proud: The Challenge of Achieving Genuine Diversity in America

    Gregory Chisholm, 10 February 2002

    If I had a dollar for every time that someone white has told me that she, usually she, doesn't notice the color of a person's skin, then I would have a hand- some nest egg indeed. How many times has someone tried to convince me that race doesn't matter? I've lost count of the times that someone has suggested that focusing my ministry primarily on African-Americans was too particular and too confining, if not racist. Within the last month it was intimated to me that black issues and concerns do not encourage the intellectual engagement with ideas of which I am capable.

  • University and Globalization: Yes, But

    Michael Czerny, S.J., 7 November 2002

    Both our title words "university" and "globalization" come from the Latin via Middle French, and they have similar pretensions. Globalization is not just about economics, business and marketing: the whole person is at stake. That's why the Holy Father keeps saying, "Yes, but!" The approach to take is an ethical one, faith linked with justice, solidarity nourished by prayer.

  • Imago Dei: Does the Symbol Have a Future?

    Mary Catherine Hilkert, O.P., 14 April 2002

    Not only the tragic events of September 11, but the rise in terrorism around the globe along with the corresponding "war on terrorism," the escalation of violence and suicide bombings in the Middle East, U.S. proposals to reconsider the development of "limited nuclear weapons," and the ongoing lack of attention to the consequences of our rate of consumption and lifestyle on the rest of the world and the Earth itself, have prompted me to reconsider the title for this lecture. It seems clear that the real question is not whether the religious symbol of human persons as "created in the image of God" has a future, but rather whether humankind and creation as we have known it have a future.

  • The Cost of Economic Discipleship: U.S. Christians and Global Capitalism

    Tom Beaudoin, Ph.D., 4 November 2001

    From inside the nearly unspeakable and complex mundanity of everyday life, how do we know God in freeing each other? This lecture takes an introductory approach to the economic shading of everyday life, focusing explicitly on the experiences of many in the younger generations who have grown up in an increasingly globalized, "postmodern" environment.

  • Who Owns Tradition? Religion and the Messiness of History

    Catherine Bell, 4 February 2001

    The question of "who owns a tradition" is not a new one, but it is being debated today more clearly and more widely than ever before. It asks who gets to define a tradition, who speaks for it, whose interpretation is authoritative and, quite practically, whose books to read about it. And with all these questions, are we asking whose definition is more correct, more legitimate or, perhaps, simply more dominant?

  • Life's Bread

    Br. Rick Curry, S.J., 8 April 2001

    Persons with disabilities are often thought of as unique or extraordinary. However, after you work with them long enough, their uniqueness and their extraordinariness disappear. What is left are talented or not so talented students who are waiting in the wings for the public to appreciate their theater skills. Those who understand our religious order realize that we are called to be men for others, and that would include persons with disabilities.

  • Zen's Gift to Christianity

    Robert E. Kennedy, S.J., 9 April 2000

    Our theme is the interfaith dialogue between Zen Buddhism and Christianity and focuses specifically on 10 particular gifts or awarenesses that Zen can bring to Christians. These gifts, really Zen practices, come alive in the Ox Herding pictures, which for centuries in the East have been used to portray the process of human development that occurs during Zen training. If we are to promote them, we must seek them with all our mind and heart.

  • The Service of Faith and the Promotion of Justice in American Jesuit Higher Education

    Rev. Peter-Hans Kolvenbach, S.J., 6 October 2000

    I would like to I.) reflect with you on what faith and justice has meant for Jesuits since 1975, and then II.) consider some concrete circumstances of today, III.) to suggest what justice rooted in faith could mean in American Jesuit higher education, and IV.) conclude with an agenda for the first decade of the new century.

  • Religion and Spirituality: Strangers, Rivals, or Partners?

    Sandra M. Schneiders, 6 February 2000

    The problem is the relationship between religion and spirituality. Although the majority of Americans claim some religious affiliation and religion is apparently a permanent feature of American culture, religion as a powerful influence in individual or societal life seems to be in serious trouble.

  • Of Kingfishers and Dragonflies: Faith and Justice at the Core of Jesuit Education

    Joseph Daoust, S.J., 15 October 1999

    Like kingfishers and dragonflies, to selve itself, Jesuit higher education must act out its faith and justice commitment as something at the very core of its mission as a university. Commitment to faith and justice can- not be something peripheral or added on, but has to be intrinsic to its central activities, part of its very essence, at the heart of its educational character. If not, then no matter how many service programs or politically correct speakers series are provided, or fair employment policies or prayer services, the Jesuit university is not being true to its inmost self, its identity.

  • The Common Good in a Divided Society

    David Hollenbach, S.J., 18 April 1999

    This essay will address an issue that is one of the crucial intellectual and social challenges facing the United States today, namely how the revitalization of the common good in our divided society entails special obligations toward the urban poor.

  • Clearing the Smoke

    Klaus J. Porzig, M.D., 7 February 1999

    The one topic that an oncologist would not pass up to talk about in the bully pulpit is smoking, and more importantly, smoking among children and teenagers. It is clear that this age group is critically important in the pathophysiology of the disease as well as to the tobacco industry, since without teenage smokers, there will be few adult smokers, given current trends.

  • Faith and Fiction

    Ron Hansen, 27 October 1996

    Writing with faith is a form of praying. And so it is in the writing of fiction, in which authors can adore God through their alertness to creation and to the Spirit that dwells in their talent; confess their own faults by faithfully recording the sins, failings, and tendencies of their characters; offer thanksgiving through the beauty of form, language, and thought in their creations.

  • What's Wrong With Being Right?

    Mary Jo Weaver, 15 April 1996

    Fundamentalists are religious believers who...are "cornered by secularism." Although they represent quite different religious and cultural contexts, they share a bellicose vocation: they fight back, against the world, in a reactive way; they fight for the victory of a particular world view, usually one where feminism and pluralism do not exist; they fight with a chosen repertoire of sources, usually located in the past and selectively interpreted; and they fight under God or some other transcendent referent.

  • Mysticism in World Religions

    Denise Lardner Carmody, 23 January 1995

    The world over, billions of human beings have sought the meaning of their lives through major religious traditions such as Hinduism and Buddhism, Confucianism and Taoism, Judaism and Christianity and Islam. We American Christians remain crippled in our estimates of both human variety and the graces of God if we do not know at least the rudiments of what these traditions have done for those who have adhered to them. Among all the adherents of the world religions, the mystics, those who appear to experience ultimate reality most directly, stand out for the depth of their penetration of the holy ground of the world and the ardor of their love of what is most fully real.

  • Issues in Contemporary Christian Ethics: The Choice of Death in a Medical Context

    Margaret A. Farley, 1 May 1995

    All religious and cultural traditions have incorporated moral assessments of choices regarding human death. These choices appear in contexts of individual self-defense, war, criminal sanctions, debility and old age, and a variety of other situations where life and death appear to conflict and the balance between them threatens to rile in the direction of death. Though clear norms have governed many of these contexts, ambivalence and ambiguity have not always been overcome.

  • Catholic Higher Education At the Crossroads: Prospects and Projects

    David O'Brien, 23 October 1995

    In its earliest stages, Catholic higher education in the United States helped the church survive by recruiting priests and religious and securing the loyalty of potentially successful laypeople. In its second, more dynamic stage, the schools assisted Catholics to move up the social and economic ladder. Today, in our work together, in church and on campus, we are defining a third stage in the history of Catholic higher education. Its outlines are far from clear.

  • The Miracles of Jesus

    John P. Meier, 31 October 1994

    It is a hopeless mistake to try to plunge into a treatment of individual miracle stories in the Gospels before three major questions of method have been faced. For convenience' sake, I call these three problems "miracles and the modern mind," "miracles and the ancient mind," and "the global question ofJesus' miracles."