Fairfield University presents annual Commonweal Lecture featuring Commonweal editor Paul Baumann discussing Religious Identity in a Pluralistic Age


Image: P BaumnannPaul Baumann, editor of "Commonweal," the review of religion, politics and culture, will deliver the 2nd Annual Commonweal Lecture at Fairfield University on Thursday, March 26 at 8 p.m., in the Dolan School of Business Dining Room. Baumann, a Fairfield resident, will deliver a talk, entitled, "Conservative, Liberal, or Just Catholic? Religious Identity in a Pluralistic Age," exploring how the tension today between the Catholic Church and culture is necessary.

The event is open to the public and admission is free. The annual lecture is sponsored by Fairfield University's Center for Catholic Studies in partnership with "Commonweal," an independent journal of opinion edited and managed by lay Catholics that is based in New York City.

"As Catholics we are confronted again and again with situations in which our allegiance is torn between the obvious benefits of contemporary secular culture and the often countercultural truths of Catholicism," Baumann said. "You cannot write as many anti-abortion editorials as I have and not become pretty alienated from the liberal consensus. On the other hand, you cannot write as many editorials about sexual abuse in the church or about the history of Catholic anti-Semitism as I have without becoming alienated from certain Catholic claims to authority and virtue. Who doesn't feel profound ambivalence about both the culture and the church? On the whole, however, I do not think the tension between church and culture is a bad thing. Frankly, I think it is a good and necessary thing."

Baumann worked as an editorial writer for The Day in New London, Conn., before joining the Commonweal staff in 1990. He became editor in 2003. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Columbia Journalism Review, and other publications. He earned a B.A. from Wesleyan University, and a master's degree in Religion from Yale University.

For more information on the Center for Catholic Studies and other events it sponsors, visit fairfield.edu/cs.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 3, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 232

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