Legal Scholar, Theologian to Weigh Truth and Civility in Prophetic Speech

February 4th, 2014 by Danielle Kane

This event has been postponed due to an incoming snowstorm. It will now be held on Tuesday, April 8 at 4:30 p.m. in Rehm Library.

Legal scholar and moral theologian M. Cathleen Kaveny, the newly named Darald and Juliet Libby Professor at Boston College, will give a lecture titled “Prophetic Rhetoric in the Public Square” at the College of the Holy Cross on Thursday, Feb. 13 at 4:30 p.m. in Rehm Library. The lecture, presented by the Rev. Michael C. McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture, is free and open to the public.

In her talk, Kaveny will discuss how Catholics in a pluralistic society should frame their public discussion of controversial issues.

“Committed Christians often feel caught between two obligations,” Kaveny explains. “On the one hand, we experience a call to speak prophetically, calling attention to moral scandals in our society. On the other hand is the conflicting demand to speak politely and respectfully, taking into account the concerns and needs of those who disagree.”

She will analyze both effective and divisive forms of prophetic speech and suggest various ways in which the tension between truth and civility can be identified and managed.

Kaveny focuses her academic work on the intersection of religion, law, and morality. She is author of the forthcoming “Prophesy without Contempt: An Ethics of Religious Discourse in the Public Square” and “Law’s Virtues: Fostering Autonomy and Solidarity in American Society” (Geogetown University Press, 2012.) Until her recent appointment at Boston College, she was the John P. Murphy Foundation Professor of Law and professor of theology at Notre Dame University and a visiting professor at Yale University.

Kaveny’s talk is one of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity. To learn more about McFarland Center events and to find lectures online, visit www.holycross.edu/mcfarlandcenter.

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 McFarland 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 McFarland 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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