Ireland’s Former President, Mary McAleese, to Discuss Future of Church Governance

October 8th, 2013 by Bridget Cass

Mary McAleese, former president of Ireland, will visit the College of the Holy Cross to discuss “Shared Responsibility: Re-imagining the Future of Governance in the Church” in the Hogan Campus Center Ballroom on Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 at 7:30 p.m. The event, sponsored by the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture, is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a book sale and signing.

McAleese will bring her experience in civil law and governance and her study of canon (church) law to a discussion of how authority might be more effectively shared in the church for the sake of realizing the vision of Vatican II. Her recent book, “Quo Vadis? Collegiality in the Code of Canon Law” (Columba Press, 2013), is a “…study of how Vatican II’s teachings on collegiality, or how power and responsibility were to be shared between the Pope and the college of bishops within the Catholic Church, have either been sidetracked or not yet come to fruition.” (Columba Press)

“One of things that it seems to me could happen, and should happen, and was designed to happen according to Vatican II, is that if the college of bishops are more involved, actively involved, in the governance of the universal church, they would have to in turn be much more in touch with their own people. They’d have to be bringing to the issues of governance the views, the attitudes, the expectations of their people,” said McAleese in a recent interview.

The first Northern Irish native to be elected president, McAleese  took office in 1997, a role which she would hold for two terms through 2011 and would define as a “bridge-building” presidency. She successfully brokered the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, a three part agreement that addressed institutional changes in the government structure of Northern Ireland, the relationship between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, and the relationship of the Republic of Ireland with the United Kingdom.  She further solidified the bridge-building of the agreement when she hosted Queen Elizabeth II in 2011, the first official state visit of a British monarch to the Republic of Ireland. Most recently, McAleese has been invited to join Boston College as the Burns Library Visiting Scholar in Irish Studies for the 2013-2014 academic year. She is currently pursuing a licentiate in canon law at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.

Media Coverage

About the Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J. Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture:

Established in 2001 and housed in Smith Hall, the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture provides resources for faculty and course development, sponsors conferences and college-wide teaching events, hosts visiting fellows, and coordinates a number of campus lecture series. Rooted in the College’s commitment to invite conversation about basic human questions, the Center welcomes persons of all faiths and seeks to foster dialogue that acknowledges and respects differences, providing a forum for intellectual exchange that is interreligious, interdisciplinary, intercultural, and international in scope.  The Center also brings members of the Holy Cross community into conversation with the Greater Worcester community, the academic community, and the wider world to examine the role of faith and inquiry in higher education and in the larger culture.

For additional information, please contact Bridget Cass at 508-793-2419.

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