Fairfield University's Center for Catholic Studies to bring influential Catholic media professionals to campus for conference discussing the future of the Catholic Media


Fairfield University's Center for Catholic Studies will bring more than 30 influential Catholic media professionals to campus May 1-3 for an invitation-only conference entitled, "The Future of Catholic Media." The group of attendees, composed of editors, reporters, journalists, bloggers and publishers, will spend the three days discussing issues such as the shift from print to electronic media, the challenges of financing Catholic publications, and the lessons that have been learned from the coverage the Catholic media have given to the sex abuse scandal.

Plenary addresses will be given by John Wilkins, editor emeritus of the United Kingdom-based publication, "The Tablet," and Margaret O'Brien Steinfels, co-director of Fordham University's Center on Religion and Culture. The conference participants will also hear an after-dinner speech by E.J. Dionne, columnist with the "Washington Post," Brookings Institution fellow and a National Public Radio commentator. Conference participants report for some of the most prominent national magazines, journals, newspapers, news wire services and broadcast programs. Among them are representatives of the Catholic Press Association and Catholic News Service, editors from "America," "Commonweal," "U.S. Catholic," "CHURCH," Orbis Books, www.bustedhalo.com, and a variety of diocesan publications. Fairfield faculty and administrators will also take part.

Sponsored by the Center for Catholic Studies and aided by a generous grant from an anonymous foundation, the conference is the first venture in a projected biennial series of meetings to address issues of current concern in American Catholic life.

Paul Lakeland, Ph. D., the Aloysius P. Kelley S.J. Professor of Catholic Studies and director of the Center for Catholic Studies, said the Center is proud to be able to provide a venue in which influential Catholic professionals can debate issues of common concern in a relaxed and open format. "Catholic universities are primary places where the Church thinks, and it is my hope that our three days of thinking together will generate new ideas and new commitments that will benefit the entire community of faith."

Established in 2005, the Center for Catholic Studies is an inter-disciplinary inquiry into the intellectual tradition, history and culture, both "high" and popular, of the Catholic Christian tradition. The conference adds another dimension to the Center for Catholic Studies, one that is about establishing the Center as a primary place where visiting speakers and other invited guests can freely think aloud about the Church.

The Center was established in part to present programming for and outreach to the local community, especially but not exclusively the local Catholic community. The Center also works to promote an understanding and appreciation of the Catholic intellectual tradition on campus, and supports the academic component of "mission and identity" education and programming at Fairfield. The Center also administers a Fairfield undergraduate interdisciplinary academic minor program in Catholic Studies.

Dr. Lakeland, who is the Center's founding director, is a teacher and scholar with a national reputation. He has been called upon to speak at academic and religious conferences across the country, and is often quoted in national and international media. He has been teaching at Fairfield University since 1981. The author of six books, Dr. Lakeland is also the author of dozens of scholarly articles. He was awarded a Catholic Press Award in theology, for his ground-breaking book, "The Liberation of the Laity: In Search of an Accountable Church." The book was featured in the book, "One Hundred Great Catholic Books From the Early Centuries to the Present," by Don Brophy.

Bookmark and Share

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

Posted on April 28, 2009

Vol. 41, No. 324