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Q & A: Professor Charles Camosy

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We finish our two week Q & A with young theologians from the Fordham Conversation Project where we started, with some reflections by Professor Charles Camosy, one of the organizers of the FCP and an assistant Professor of Theology at Fordham. I asked him to reflect upon the submissions of his colleagues.

Professor Camosy: Let’s see if I can identify some trends or themes in the blog entries from the Fordham Conversation Project participants during the last couple of weeks:


  • Caution and humility.
    Aware that a blog entry cannot do justice to the complexity of the very large questions we are addressing, coupled with the fact that we are just starting our careers, we were generally hesitant to make broad, sweeping claims. But our experience, both of our students and of our fellow younger theologians, is not easily dismissed. Something different seems to be coming down the pike.

  • The inadequacy of our late 20th Century American political categories.

Labor Day & The Church

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Monday is Labor Day. It was once a day when the vast majority of Roman Catholics would take part in some kind of special Mass or parade or both to mark the occasion. Here in Washington, D.C. there will be a special Mass led by Archbishop Donald Wuerl, but the Mass is next weekend, not this. It will take place at the Cathedral, not as it traditionally did at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart, where after the Mass, the entire congregation would process outside to lay a wreathe at the statue of Cardinal Gibbons, the man who championed the rights of labor and won the hearts of the workingman at the turn of the century.

Q & A: Aaron Canty

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Our second contribution at Q & A today comes from Aaron Canty, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at St. Xavier University in Chicago. See below for the contribution from Professor Candida Moss of Notre Dame. Both participate in the Fordham Conversation Project.

The question: From your perspective as a young theologian teaching in a Catholic university, how do you view the divisions in the American Catholic Church? Do you see things differently than the previous generation? Are there any signs of hope for healing our divisions?

Professor Canty: I am not sure if I can generalize about divisions within “the previous generation,” because the generation that accompanied and came after Vatican II has within it sub-groups that often disagree about weighty topics; what is obvious is that the next generation of Catholics in America will not be shaped by the same challenges.

Q & A: Candida Moss

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Apologies, again, for the absence of Q & A the last two days. It is back today with two entries, both from participants in the Fordham Conversation Project which brought together young theologians from around the country.

First, we have this submission from Candida Moss, Assistant Professor of Theology at Notre Dame.

The question: From your perspective as a young theologian teaching in a Catholic university, how do you view the divisions in the American Catholic Church? Do you see things differently than the previous generation? Are there any signs of hope for healing our divisions?

Professor Moss: In many ways I find myself unable to answer this question. Not being American, I am learning about these divisions—if there are divisions—inductively and attempting, as I go, to be wary of rhetorical postures, caricatures, and bad manners. I cannot presume, therefore, to venture an opinion on what divides Americans Catholics from one another nor on how to heal such divisions (We British have a bad habit of attempting to solve other people’s problems and I don’t want to fall into old habits).

Good Guy Randy Edsall

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College football season is about to begin. This, like the start of college basketball season, brings a smile to my face. I am not such a fan of professional sports where the egos seem to get in the way of a good game with more than a little regularity. But, college football is a great game, especially when you can attend in person but kicking back and watching it on television is not a bad way to spend a Saturday either.

A few years ago, heading into the gym at Catholic University, I ran into Athletic Director Mike Allen. He was walking with Randy Edsall, the coach of the University of Connecticut football team, and he introduced and we passed a few moments in conversation. I grew up about twenty minutes from the UConn campus so I know it well and a friend of mine played football for Edsall a few years back. He seemed like a great guy.

Blast From the Past: John Carroll

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The first census showed that America had almost 4 million souls of whom only about 35,000 were Catholics, that is a little less than one percent.

If the French Alliance and the wide diversity of faiths had both helped take the anti-RC edge off the new republic, a third factor, the patriotism of the leading Catholic families in Maryland not only helped during the Revolution but made Maryland the natural focal point of the young Church.

Fr. John Carroll, the cousin of Charles Carroll of Carrollton -- the only Catholic to sign the Declaration of Independence -- had been named superior of the American missions in 1784. In this capacity he wrote to the Holy See requesting a new bishop and, as well, that in this first instance -- and cognizant of American sensibilities -- that the first bishop be nominated by a free vote of the clergy. The Holy See gave its assent and, gathering in a chapel at White Marsh in Maryland, the priests of America selected John Carroll to be their first bishop.

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October 24-November 6, 2014

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