Catholic Theological
Society of America

CTSA Blog Policy

The CTSA blog is accessible to all through the internet.  Only CTSA active members may post on the CTSA blog.  CTSA active members are invited to submit blog proposals for posting to the CTSA Blog Committee for its consideration.  Blog proposals (1000 - 2000 words) should be submitted to the committee’s Chair, Steve Okey at stephen.okey@saintleo.edu. The committee’s decision on the proposed submission is final.

 All discourse on the CTSA blog, whether in blog postings or in comments posted by CTSA members, must abide by the standards of professional conduct and constructive criticism expressed in the "CTSA Statement on Professional Behavior" approved by the Board of Directors on June 7, 2018.  The CTSA Blog Committee reserves the right to edit or delete any language proposed for posting or posted on the CTSA blog website.  All postings by CTSA members must be germane to the blog discussion.  Comments submitted as alternate blog discussions will be removed, as will spam, links to websites, petitions, and advertising.



Lisa Fullam
2019 - 2022 


Mary Doak
2018 - 2021


Stephen Okey, Chair
2018 - 2020

*Mary Jane Ponyik,
   ex officio

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  • 09/04/2019 9:25 AM | Anonymous

    The CTSA recently added a link to the National Institute for Newman Studies (NINS) Digital Collection on its Links of Interest page found at https://ctsa-online.org/LinksOfInterest/.  The NINS’ collection offers the largest and most comprehensive digital archive of Newman-related works in the world.  The digital collections provides access to more than 200,000+ digitalized images of Newman’s handwritten papers and over 5,000 books and article published by or about him.

    Other links available on this website page are links to ACHTUS, the ARR, The Black Catholic Theological Symposium, CTEWC, the European Society of Catholic Theology, the International Network of Societies for Catholic Theology, the Institute for Black Catholic Studies, the Jesuit Online Bibliography, the Karl Rahner Society, the PANAAWTM, the PSR, and the SCE.


  • 08/28/2019 8:45 AM | Anonymous

    Commonweal is offering free bulk copies of our October Theology Issue. It's in Commonweal's new, redesigned monthly format and will have more articles, reviews, and opinions than ever.

    • David Tracy of the University of Chicago (in an exclusive interview with Ken Woodward) reflects on his work and the current state of Catholic theology
    • Editor at large Mollie Wilson O'Reilly reviews Kathleen Sprows Cummings's A Saint of Our Own: How the Quest for a Holy Hero Helped Catholics Become American
    • Contributing writer and Villanova theologian Massimo Faggioli recalls Italian priest and politician Luigi Sturzo, and his continuing relevance to how Catholics see democracy
    • Meghan J. Clark of St. John's University reviews Kathryn Tanner's Christianity and the New Spirit of Capitalism
    • Gregory K. Hillis of Bellarmine University writes about Fr. August Thompson, an African American priest who was one of the church's most important civil-rights leaders
    • Catholic University's David Cloutier on what Catholic social teaching implies for policies on paid family leave
    • Eileen Markey on the changing relationship between church and state in Daniel Ortega's Nicaragua
    • An exclusive excerpt from Austin Ivereigh's new Wounded Shepherd: Pope Francis and His Struggle to Convert the Catholic Church
    • All Commonweal's other regular features and columns

    Educators can request up to 250 free copies of this issue at: http://cwlmag.org/bulkcopiesThe deadline for requests is Thursday, September 12.

    - and –

    Commonweal also continues to offer free one-year Commonweal subscriptions to students (undergraduate or graduate) as well as to anyone who has finished a degree program in the past three years. We encourage professors to circulate this link to all their students: http://cwlmag.org/freestudent.


  • 08/26/2019 11:51 AM | Anonymous

    In an email today, Rev. Msgr. Daniel S. Hamilton's former secretary emailed the CTSA to let us know that he died in February of 2019. May he rest in peace!  We share this news for your prayers and request you take a moment to reflect and comment on how his life and work influenced you.

    Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
    and let perpetual light shine upon him. 
    May he rest in peace.

    “'It’s our obligation as citizens and certainly as Catholics even more so to contribute to the common good of society,' [Rev. Msgr. Daniel S. Hamilton] said, 'to support those measures, policies and laws which enhance our society, which defend and uphold the dignity of the human person, and to oppose those things which we are convinced are harmful to ourselves and to the future of our society.'

    Msgr. Hamilton said he has always encouraged his parishioners and Catholics everywhere to be active in the political process.

    'Not simply through Letters to the Editor, but through belonging to organizations, political parties, above all by voting,' he said. 'Not to be a slouch in that regard but to do our best for the common good.'" [Rev. Msgr. Daniel S. Hamilton as reported by Mary Farrow, Catholic News Agency, Mar. 1, 2015,  https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/why-this-priest-has-spent-50-years-fighting-with-the-new-york-times-55876].

    Obituary: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/newsday/obituary.aspx?n=daniel-s-hamilton&pid=191612954


  • 08/23/2019 7:05 AM | Anonymous

    The CTSA's 75th annual convention's call for papers ends on 9/1/19, with the exception of Selected Sessions.  Selected Sessions proposals are accepted until October 1.  

    For members who are not familiar with Selected Sessions, these sessions provide the opportunity for a member to develop and submit a proposal for the CTSA Program Committee's consideration.  The due date is set for October 1, to provide time for a member, whose paper was not accepted by a consultation or topic session to develop a proposed session.  It  also provides the opportunity for a member to develop and submit a proposal on a particular topic that may not have a home in the current convention structure or theme.

    Further information about submitting a proposal for a selected session is available at:

    https://ctsa-online.org/SelectSessions

    https://ctsa-online.org/SupportVideos

    If you have any questions about a selected session, please place your question in the comment section of this blog post.  (Log in with your member # and email address to post.)  

    Career opportunity postings from this week:

    President, The Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies
    University of South California

    Assistant Professor of Hebrew Bible / Old Testament
    Department of Religious Studies, Santa Clara University

    See https://ctsa-online.org/CareerOpportunities

    Congratulations to Kevin Brown, the CTSA Proceedings Editor, for his work on the 2019 e-Proceedings (Vol. 74), which is now available online at  https://ejournals.bc.edu/index.php/ctsa/issue/archive.




  • 08/12/2019 9:40 AM | Anonymous

    Reflecting back on last week website posts, I wish to bring to your attention the following highlights in case you missed the postings.

    The CTSA's own Call for Papers will close on September 1.  If you have not submitted a proposal, please consider doing so.  See https://ctsa-online.org/CFP


  • 07/25/2019 4:18 PM | Anonymous

     Fr. Michael Buckley, SJ, died at 6:10 this morning, July 25, 2019. May he rest in peace!  We share this news for your prayers and request you take a moment to reflect and comment on how his life and work influenced you.

    Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,
    and let perpetual light shine upon him. 
    May he rest in peace.


  • 07/17/2019 7:50 AM | Anonymous

    Conrad Gromada was admitted to the CTSA in 1989 as an Active Member.  He earned his Ph.D. in Sacraments & Ecclesiology in 1988 at Duquesne University.  Doctoral thesis:  The Theology of Ministry in the "Lima Document": A Roman Catholic Critique.  Conrad taught at both Duquesne University and Ursuline College.   Conrad was a CTSA member when he died on July 3, 2019.  

    Eternal rest grant unto Conrad, O Lord,
    and let perpetual light shine upon him. 
    May he rest in peace.


    Conrad Thomas Gromada (Kindrich-McHugh Steinbauer Funeral Home Obituary Online Posting [July 2019]) follows:

    CONRAD THOMAS GROMADA, of Twinsburg. Professor of Theology at Ursuline College; former diocesan priest of the Youngstown Diocese. Beloved husband of Annette (nee Novicky) since 1987; son of the late Jean (nee Puskarcik) and Joseph; dear brother of Joseph and Henry; cherished uncle of many. Mass of Christian Burial Saturday July 6, 11:30AM at Church of the Resurrection, 32001 Cannon Rd., Solon, where family will visit with friends FROM 10AM until time of Mass Saturday. Interment All Saints Cemetery.

    How did a man that we came to know as a representative of Jesus Christ come to be, – to walk among us? Those who were privileged to encounter him and get to know him were aware that he was “just a man – a human being – like the rest of us.” But, somehow, he found ways to inspire many of us to become better than we thought we ever could be – to transcend barriers that might otherwise limit or even intimidate many of us.

    His life’s story began on January 18, 1939, in a small, rented apartment on the Southside of Youngstown, OH. His birth was unexpected in that he was premature. The only ones present at his birth were his mother, Jean [nee Puskarcik], and his father Joseph. They were surprised and overwhelmed by his arrival as a dangerously (for that time) underweight “preemie”. But, somehow they found a way to welcome him into the world, to protect and nurture him; and, his survival came to benefit the world beyond their wildest expectations.

    Conrad was joined less than two years later, in 1940, by his brother Henry; and then “Little Joe” in 1948. Starting first grade at St. Patrick’s Parochial School at age 5, Conrad was always the youngest in his class. He graduated from Ursuline High School in the class of 1956 at the age of 16. Among his accomplishments were the school records in the mile run and half-mile run. These records stood for 25 years.

    Even as he completed his seminary training, Conrad was selected to be ordained a year ahead of his ordination class by then Bishop James Malone. His ordination in August of 1963 made it possible for him to perform the marriage ceremony for his brother Henry and Ruth Estok in September of 1963 as his first wedding ceremony as a priest. Henry and Ruth will celebrate their 56th anniversary in September.

    Throughout his career as a priest in the Diocese of Youngstown, Conrad spent time as an assistant pastor and as pastor of a number of churches (e.g., St. Christine’s, Sacred Heart, and Our Lady of Peace). Over the course of his career, he furthered his studies, earning a couple of master’s degrees and eventually a PhD in theological studies at Duquesne University. While he as a priest, he taught in the seminary in Cincinnati (Mount St. Mary’s).

    After 24 years as a priest, Conrad made the difficult and courageous decision to step aside from his career in the priesthood. As was his practice in life, he took this step through the proper channels and was officially laicized. In 1987, Conrad entered into marriage with Annette Novicky; a partnership that was founded on love, mutual respect, and an abiding relationship with the church.

    Conrad was a gifted speaker and teacher, and he soon found a position at Ursuline College, where he served over time as an instructor, department leader, and dean. In that setting Conrad found ways to continue sharing his knowledge and insights in the fields he loved: theology and ministry.

    The prematurely born child, born into humble circumstances, became a person who found a way to share his knowledge and compassion that are the foundations of our religious beliefs. He helped us to experience and come to understand that such love and compassion is not just about him, – it is about us.

    Amen! Alleluia!


  • 04/01/2019 8:25 AM | Anonymous

    The following CTSA members will be remembered at the 2019 Annual Convention in Pittsburgh for their theological contributions, ministry, mentorship, and friendship.  Take a moment to remember and share with the membership how these members impacted you.

    Rev. Charles Dautremont - Died August 28, 2018
    access memorial

    John E. "Jack" Dister, S.J. - Died December 12, 2018
    access memorial

    Monsignor Denis Edwards, OAM - Died March 4, 2019
    access memorial

    Most Rev. Walter Edyvean - Died February 2, 2019
    access memorial

    Rev. William "Bill" Frazier, M.M. - Died March 23, 2019

    Gerald J. Grace - Died August 10, 2018
    access memorial

    Ronald Modras - Died October 17, 2018
    access memorial

    Marie-Therese Nadeau, CND - Died November 1, 2018
    access memorial

    Kenan Osborne, OFM - Died April 19, 2019
    access memorial

    Michael J. Scanlon, O.S.A. (Former CTSA President 1987-1988)  - Died Aug. 26, 2018
    access memorial

  • 01/15/2019 7:24 PM | Anonymous

    Author: Paul Lakeland, Fairfield University

    In Commonweal of November 1, 2018, James J. Heaney wrote an excellent piece, “Our Myth, Their Lie: Clericalism, Not Heresy, Caused the Crisis.” Writing from the perspective of the Diocese of Minneapolis, Heaney argued forcefully if not particularly originally that the true foundational problem revealed by the scandal of sexual abuse is that of church structures that enable the abuse. As he sees it, clergy in general and bishops in particular have been engaged for decades in a systematic effort to pull the wool over the eyes of the laity, pretending to address the problem while doing everything they could to minimize or even ignore it.

    Whether Heaney is right or wrong in calling foul, he is certainly correct that some of the structures of clericalism have seemed to exacerbate the problem. And so he calls for structural change, really for the wholesale rethinking of many ecclesial structures. But here is where my question arises. In making this case Heaney comments that “portions of the church’s structure are divinely instituted, so their reform is neither possible nor desirable. But most of the details were dreamed up by humans. Those can change.” But is it really the case that there are any church structures that are divinely instituted? Sure we have ministry and ministerial leadership, but the form has changed over the centuries. Sure we have the Eucharist, but that isn’t exactly a structure. Nor are the sacraments in general, though they of course have structures, but the structures themselves aren’t divinely instituted.

    If my assumption here is correct that there are in fact no divinely instituted structures, though there are obviously structures, most of which have changed over time, then the right question to be asking about church structures is not which can or should be changed, but: given that gospel, sacrament and church are the foundational realities of the Catholic tradition, what structures do we need at this moment in history to help proclaim the gospel, celebrate the sacraments and live a fulfilled life in the faith community? What kind of ecclesial community do we need to imagine into being that will do for our age what different structural instantiations of gospel, sacrament and church have done in previous ages? If we ask this kind of question, then defending the vitality of gospel, sacrament and church cannot be accomplished by asserting the unchangeable character of the structures that have surrounded them in the past. Structures are of their nature quite changeable.

    If this is correct then the requirement for church reform in any age, and certainly in our own, is a spirit-filled imagination, full of excitement and devoid of fear. The wrong approach to reform is to ask what minimal changes we need to make to address what we take to be the principal problems of the present day. Unfortunately, when the ills are structural, it is imprudent to leave reform to those who live within the dysfunctional structures. Here, indeed, is a moment for the sensus fidelium.

    So, are there any “divinely instituted” structures, and if not, what next?


  • 12/17/2018 8:20 AM | Anonymous

    Author: Ramon Luzarraga, Benedictine University at Mesa

                Last May of 2018, I completed a term as chair of undergraduate studies for the Mesa campus of Benedictine University. I took office the second year of our existence as a campus and worked with the provost, vice-provost, and our faculty, to construct a collaborative culture of governance of the campus by the faculty. And, I lobbied to have a dean installed for the long term. When those tasks got completed, I stepped away from that office and continued the teaching I maintained during my term as chair. My last act as chair was to persuade the dean to eliminate that administrative position. It served its purpose. She did.

    The timing of when I received my office was not typical for a university professor. I was an assistant professor on the second year of a three-year probationary period. My teaching was reduced to a 3-3 load, and I continued publishing. My experience as an administrator, and the circumstances under which I received and practiced the duties of the position have given me insight into how we theologians approach any administrative position or task.

                For the most part, I enjoyed those years of administration. There is something fulfilling about helping colleagues do their work through one’s own work, and together continue with the pioneering work of founding a new campus. On the other hand, that administrative experience clashed with memories of how many of my colleagues in theology negatively perceive administration. It is viewed as a distraction from teaching and, especially, scholarship. Employing euphemisms such as “the dark side,” “the other side,” speaking of the office of chair as a burden over which one ticks off the days until it ends, are some of the many examples used to describe administration as a thankless task which contribute empty calories to one’s academic career.

                The theological academy takes an Augustinian view of administration. It is considered a necessary evil designed to keep order, make sure our respective departments and universities function, enable our students to study and learn, and advance our vocation as theologians. This attitude is confirmed, in part, by the fact that administrative tasks are often given to faculty who have achieved a degree of seniority. Tenure, or a multi-year contract, and/or possessing the rank of associate professor or above, are traditional prerequisites for a department or division chair, an academic dean, or a provost. Administrative work, we advise our junior pre-tenure colleagues, must be kept to a level which is enough for tenure and promotion, but not distract from the core tasks of teaching and publishing.

                Ignored in this vision are those colleagues of ours who discover that they have the gifts and skills for administration and enjoy that work. They may discern administration to be a path on which they could fulfill their overall vocation as theologians. For example, they could administer and publish. Unfortunately, those gifts and abilities are not rewarded by a parallel track toward tenure and promotion which could place administration on a par with teaching and publishing. The paucity of jobs in the Academy alone warrants a reexamination of our attitudes towards the policies and the structures by which we advance in our respective colleges and universities. More important perhaps is the administrative vacuum caused by too few of us theologians entering the ranks of the administration of our respective institutions. We leave space open in our Catholic and other Christian-sponsored colleges and universities to business people from outside the Academy, and colleagues from fields of study governed by a utilitarian ethic, too many of whom view the value of a college and its programs solely by their utility to contribute to the bottom line and their ability to fulfill market needs. We find ourselves protesting why our voices are not heard enough as mission-critical programs get downsized or eliminated in theology and across the humanities.

    Our formation as theologians is not just intellectual, but spiritual too. We are educated to see more deeply into the world God gave us. While budgets need to be balanced, we can also envision programs which could fulfill more than market needs, they could fulfill human needs too, and answer God’s call to see that those needs are satisfied. Amongst our number are colleagues who can do more than balance books, they can fulfill the mission of Catholic higher education. They can find creative, and innovative ways to fulfill mission critical tasks while satisfying economic demands. The two need not be mutually exclusive.

                We should examine ways to expand the culture of the Catholic and theological Academy where those colleagues who have the gift for administration and enjoy the work are offered a clear path to advance one’s career and fulfill one’s vocation as theologians. For example, the University of West Indies, Mona Campus, Jamaica, has administrative positions which carry tenure and the opportunity for sabbaticals. While I am not holding up UWI’s entire structure as an idea for our Academy to adopt, I am using it as an example of an academic culture which nurtures and rewards scholars who take the path of administration as a means of service to their colleagues, the advancement of their own academic careers, all in the fulfillment of a mission larger than themselves. If we want to be governed by our own, by people who understand Catholic and Christian higher education fully, and not as a utilitarian means to a profitable end, we must nurture more of our own for college and university leadership.


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