Report from Notre Dame

NCR publisher Tom Fox and I had the privilege to attend April 27 an incredible symposium at the University of Notre Dame, South Bend, Ind. “The Reception of Vatican II: The Contribution of Richard P. McBrien” was held to honor McBrien’s five decades of contributions to theology as he begins a sabbatical year and then retirement.

I felt like I was at an induction ceremony at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. Attending and speaking was an all-star lineup of American Catholic theologians: Fr. Charles E. Curran, Dominican Sr. M. Catherine Hilkert, Dominican Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez, and McBrien, of course. Holy Cross Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, Notre Dame’s legendary president emeritus who turns 95 this month, joined the fete.

The day was not just a remembrance of times past. In a fitting tribute to McBrien, a panel of young theologians, all students of McBrien, spoke about how he had engaged and inspired them. They spoke, and spoke well, of the promising future of theology in America.

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