Symposium - Speakers

2020 Keynote Speakers

Ross Douthat

Ross Douthat

New York Times

Talk Title: “The Decadent Society: How We Became the Victims of Our Own Success”

Ross Douthat joined The New York Times as an Op-Ed columnist in April 2009. His column appears every Tuesday and Sunday, and he co-hosts the Times Op-Ed podcast, “The Argument.” Previously, he was a senior editor at The Atlantic and a blogger on its website.

He is the author of “The Decadent Society,” forthcoming in March 2020. His other books include “To Change the Church: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism,” published in 2018, “Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics” (2012), “Privilege: Harvard and the Education of the Ruling Class” (2005), and a co-author, with Reihan Salam, of “Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream” (2008). He is the film critic for National Review.

He lives with his wife and three children in New Haven.

Mary Rice Hasson

Mary Rice Hasson

Ethics & Public Policy Center

Talk Title: “Modern Idolatry: The Barren Self-Creator”

Mary Rice Hasson is the Kate O’Beirne Fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. She also directs the Catholic Women’s Forum, a network of Catholic professional women and scholars seeking to amplify the voice of Catholic women in support of human dignity, authentic freedom, and Catholic social teaching. Mary is an expert on topics related to women, faith, culture, family, sexual morality, and gender ideology. She has been a keynote speaker for the Holy See during the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women for the past three years (2019: “Gender Ideology: Ideological Aggression Against Women and Girls” and “Valuing Unpaid Caregiving: The Human Dimension”; 2018: “The Integral Education of Rural Women and Girls” and 2017: “The Distinctiveness of Women’s Work and Women’s Empowerment”). She speaks frequently at national, regional, and diocesan conferences and conducts workshops for Catholic parishes and dioceses on sexuality, gender identity, and pastoral care. Mary’s writing has appeared in a variety of websites, policy journals, and scholarly publications; she has been interviewed by a wide range of national media and is a frequent commentator on EWTN and Catholic radio. Mary is the co-author, with Theresa Farnan, PhD, of Get Out Now: Why You Should Pull Your Child From Public School Before It’s Too Late (Regnery: 2018), the editor of Promise and Challenge: Catholic Women Reflect on Feminism, Complementarity, and the Church (Our Sunday Visitor: 2015), and the co-author with Kimberly Hahn of Catholic Education: Homeward Bound (Ignatius Press: 1996). She is also the co-author of the report, What Catholic Women Think About Faith, Conscience, and Contraception (EPPC 2012), co-author of a study on parents’ use of media ratings, published in the medical journal Pediatrics (2011), and the author of a chapter (“What About Sex: Habits of Heart for a Fulfilling Sexual Relationship and a Happy Marriage”) in the recent book, Venus and Virtue: Celebrating Sex and Seeking Sanctification (2018). Before joining EPPC, Mary worked as an attorney and writer and served the Church for over twenty years in leadership positions in Catholic marriage preparation programs, diocesan education efforts, and Catholic ministries to women and families. She is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Notre Dame Law School. Mary was the recipient of the 2019 Humanitarian Award from the Siena Symposium of the University of St. Thomas, and in 2015, Mary and her husband, Kevin J. “Seamus” Hasson, the parents of seven, were the recipients of the 2015 Saint John Paul II Award for the New Evangelization. A note about the Catholic Women’s Forum: Taking its inspiration from Pope St. John Paul II, who wrote that women have “the task of assuring the moral dimension of culture…a culture worthy of the person,” (Christifideles Laici, 51) and Pope Francis, who wrote of the need for “a more incisive female presence in the Church,” (Evangelii Gaudium, 103), the Catholic Women’s Forum shapes the culture and serves the Church through its members’ expertise, an annual scholars’ symposium, media work, and periodic networking events. CWF also offers timely articles and resources through its website, newsletter and social media. To learn more, please visit catholicwomensforum.org.

Robert Louis Wilken

Robert Louis Wilken

University of Virginia

Talk Title: “The Law of Nature and the Laws of Cities”

Robert Louis Wilken is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Emeritus Professor of the History of Christianity at the University of Virginia. He is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, past president of the American Academy of Religion, the North American Patristics Society, and the Academy of Catholic Theology. He is chairman of the board of the Institute on Religion and Public Life, the publisher of First Things. His most recent book is Liberty in the Things of God: The Christian Origins of Religious Freedom (Yale). Among his other books are The First Thousand Years. A Global History of Christianity (Yale). The Spirit of Early Christian Thought. Seeking the Face of God (Yale), The Land Called Holy: Palestine in Christian History and Thought (Yale), The Christians as the Romans Saw Them, John Chrysostom and the Jews (University of California Press), and Remembering the Christian Past (Eerdmans). He has taught at the Lutheran Theological Seminary (Gettysburg, PA), Fordham University, the University of Notre Dame, the Institutum Patristicum (Augustinianum) in Rome, the Gregorian University also in Rome, and Providence College. He and his wife Carol live in Washington, D.C.

Also Featuring

Fr. Robert Imbelli

Fr. Robert Imbelli

Boston College

Talk Title: “Idolatrous Formation and Christic Transformation: God's New Creation in Christ”

Father Robert Imbelli, a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, studied in Rome during the Scond Vatican Council. He is Associate Professor of Theology Emeritus of Boston College. He is the author of “Rekindling the Christic Imagination” and the editor of "Handing on the Faith: the Church's Mission and Responsibility. In addition,his numerous articles and reviews have appeared in “Communio,” “Theological Studies,” “America,” and “Commonweal.”

Fr. Antonio López

Fr. Antonio López

John Paul II Institute

Talk Title: “Without Beginning: Human Freedom and Divine Omnipotence”

Rev. López is Provost/Dean and Associate Professor of Theology at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute. He teaches and writes in the areas of Trinitarian theology, metaphysics, theological anthropology, and marriage. He is the author of Spirit’s Gift: The Metaphysical Insight of Claude Bruaire (CUA Press, 2006), Gift and the Unity of Being (Wipf & Stock, 2013), and Rinascere: La memoria di Dio in una cultura tecnologica (Lindau, 2015). He has edited Retrieving Origins and the Claim of Multiculturalism (Eerdmans, 2015) and Enlightening the Mystery of Man: Gaudium et spes Fifty Years Later (Humanum Academic Press, 2018). He serves as editor of Humanum Academic Press and of the English Critical Edition of the Works of Karol Wojtyła / John Paul II, forthcoming from CUA Press.

Deborah Savage

Dr. Deborah Savage

University of St. Thomas

Talk Title: “Redeeming Woman: Secular Feminism and Fall of Man”

Mary FioRito

Mary FioRito

Ethics & Public Policy Center

Talk Title: “Love in the Ruins: The Prophetic Examples of Dorothy Day and Caryll Houselander”

Mary Hallan FioRito is the Cardinal Francis George Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and the deNicola Center for Ethics and Culture at the University of Notre Dame. She is an attorney, public speaker, and commentator on issues involving women’s leadership in the Catholic Church, work/life balance for mothers, and Catholic Church administration. Her interests also include human life issues, primarily abortion, post-abortion aftermath, and contraception. After she received her Juris Doctor degree from Loyola University School of Law in 1993, the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin selected her as Director of Pro-life Activities for the Archdiocese of Chicago, the third largest Catholic diocese in the United States, home to more than 2.5 million Catholics. She was responsible for all activities related to abortion, post-abortion counseling, assisted suicide and euthanasia. Ms. FioRito worked in various capacities for the Catholic Church for more than 28 years, including serving as the Archdiocese of Chicago’s first female Vice-Chancellor. In 2003, she was promoted to the position of Executive Assistant to the late Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., a role she held until the time of the Cardinal’s death in April 2015.

Ms. FioRito’s professional experiences give her a wealth of knowledge and insight into issues affecting the Catholic faith and its impact on women and the family. She is the contributor to two books: Breaking Through: Catholic Women Speak for Themselves, edited by Helen M. Alvare, and Promise and Challenge: Catholic Women Reflect on Complementarity, Feminism, and the Church, a selection of essays by Catholic women scholars called together by the Ethics and Public Policy Center. She is a regular contributor to A Closer Look With Sheila Liaugminas, a national Catholic radio program. In 2000, Newsweek magazine selected her as one of the “Women of the New Century,” highlighting her contribution to the nation’s conversation about abortion law and policy.

Ms. FioRito serves on the Board of Directors of numerous pro-life and charitable organizations, including Aid for Women, a pregnancy resource center and maternity home, and the National Office for Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing. She and her husband are the parents of three daughters.

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