Professor Paul F. Lakeland, Ph.D.: Expert on the laity in the Catholic Church

Media Advisory

Image: Paul LakelandPaul F. Lakeland, Ph.D., professor of religious studies at Fairfield University, is an expert on the laity in the catholic church. He is putting the final touches on his latest book (number six), "The Liberation of the Laity: In Search of an Accountable Church." It will be published by one of the leading Catholic publishers, Continuum Books of New York and London, especiallly appropriate since he is originally from England.

He has said that the way the U.S. bishops deal with the crisis of sexual abuse could be a "real coming of age" for them. He noted the issue is a matter of political and social life for American Catholics and one where the bishops could respond to the laity's call for zero tolerance.

On Rome: Michale Valpy in Toronto's Globe and Mail wrote:

"Paul Lakeland, professor of religious studies at Connecticut's Fairfield University and an expert on the role of the laity in the U.S. Catholic Church, described the charter as a careful balance between the demands of an angry laity and the views of the Vatican...Prof. Lakeland said the Vatican is edgy about a requirement to report all allegations to civil authorities because it wants to protect the rights of the priests. However, it has said in the past that the church must compy with civil law."

On U.S. Bishops:

David O'Reilly of the Philadelphia Inquirer wrote: "The more liberal bishops will likely welcome a policy that prescribes how each diocesan bishop or archbishop must respond in certain situations, Lakeland said, but traditionalist bishops may balk at any usurpation of their authority."

On the Laity:

The LA Times reported: "If the bishops don't handle this moment very well, they're going to find an increasingly vociferous demand for wider involvement (by the laity)," said Paul Lakeland, a professor of religious studies at Fairfield University, a Jesuit institution in Connecticut, who is an expert on the role of the laity. "What's become apparent is, the structure is in some serious way dysfunctional."

Dr. Lakeland's other books include:

1997: Postmodernity: Christian Identity in a Fragmented Age
1990: Theology and Critical Theory: The Discourse of the Church
1984: Free in Christ: The Challenge of Political Theology
1984: The Politics of Salvation: The Hegelian Idea of the State
1975: Can Women Be Priests?


Oxford University: B.A. and M.A., English Lit
London University: Bachelor of divinity degree
Heythrop Pontifical: Licentiate in philosophy
Vanderbilt University: Ph.D. in religion

Also in Religious Studies:

Nancy Dallavalle, Ph.D.
(Ph.D. awarded from University of Notre Dame)
Dr. Dallavalle, associate professor of religious studies, spent the 1999-2000 academic year working on a manuscript titled "Rethinking Catholicism." In it, she treats the challenge of feminism as part of the larger challenge of the modern world to Roman Catholicism. "The Roman Catholic Church brings many gifts to the table," she says, "and my stance is that Catholic thought and practice have much to offer feminist Christian reflection. And vice-versa, of course." Dr. Dallavalle just presented her work at the annual meeting of the Catholic Theological Society of America in New Orleans this past weekend.

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Media Contact: Nancy Habetz, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2647,

Posted on June 13, 2002

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