Vatican II Conference image

We invite the public to attend a free panel discussion on Vatican II and Synodality:

"Report from the 2023 Synod in Rome"
Thursday, November 30
4:00 p.m. in the East Lounge (Dougherty Hall, main campus)
This event is ACS approved.

The event features Catherine Clifford (Saint Paul University, Ottawa), one of the women theologians who participated as a voting member to the Synod on synodality in Rome of October 2023, the first Synod to have lay and women members. Clifford’s remarks will be followed by the responses of three U.S. theologians taking part in a Vatican II conference on campus over the weekend (“The Legacy and Limits of Vatican II in an Age of Crisis. Gender, Race, Abuse, and the Living Catholic Tradition”). This panel discussion is a premiere of the theological and ecclesial reception of the Synod during the intersession phase, leading to the second assembly of the Synod (October 2024).

Welcome and opening remarks: Rev. Peter Donohue, President, Villanova University
Introduction: Kevin Hughes, Ph.D., Chair, Theology and Religious Studies, Villanova University
Respondents: Edward Hahnenberg, Ph.D., Chair, Theology and Religious Studies, John Carroll University; Jaisy Joseph, Ph.D., Assist. Professor of Theology and Religious Studies, Villanova University; Mary Kate Holman, Ph.D., Assist. Professor of Religious Studies, Fairfield University
Moderator: Massimo Faggioli, Ph.D., Villanova University, Professor of Theology and Religious Studies


The Legacy and Limits of Vatican II in an Age of Crisis: Gender, Race, Abuse, and the Living Catholic Tradition

December 1 – December 2, 2023 


Edward Hahnenberg (John Carroll University)
Mary Kate Holman (Benedictine University)
Jaisy Joseph (Villanova University)

For questions, you may contact the conference secretary at or the conference co-director at

The conference is sponsored by the Department of Theology and Religious Studies, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Office for Mission and Ministry at Villanova University.


Villanova University announces a call for papers for a conference on the Second Vatican Council (November 30 – December 2, 2023, Villanova University). In light of the serious challenges facing the Church today—many of which were not anticipated by the council—the conference will explore how the event of Vatican II, its agenda for renewal, and its reception (or lack thereof) can inform a faith-filled response to the new “signs of the times.” The legacy of the council’s teaching on topics ranging from the laity, ecclesiology, and ecumenism to the Church’s understanding of the modern state, culture, and the very nature of the human person risk becoming irrelevant if they cannot be retrieved and reimagined within the atmospheres of a polarized Church and world. This conference seeks to begin just such a conversation about Vatican II in the context of the current ecclesial crisis. 

Paper proposals, related to the theology and reception of Vatican II, are encouraged on the following topics: theology of the laity and clericalism; gender and the role of women in the Church; racism; the abuse crisis in the Church; post-colonial and de-colonial critique; the resurgence of anti-Semitism; the new “political ecumenism”; the Church and the internet/social media; evangelization and the youth; the rise of anti-Vatican II traditionalism/conservatism; the Church and the “culture wars”; Vatican II and the identity of Catholic institutions today (education, health care, charities, etc.).

The steering committee is composed of Catherine Clifford (Saint Paul University, Ottawa), Kristin Colberg (St. John’s University, Collegeville MN), Massimo Faggioli (Villanova University), and Edward Hahnenberg (John Carroll University, Cleveland).

Proposals of no more than 300 words should be submitted by April 30, 2023, to Massimo Faggioli ( and to the secretary of the steering committee, Theresa Gardner (

Liturgical Press is committed to publish an edited volume of the proceedings of the conference.

Department of Theology and Religious Studies
800 E. Lancaster Ave.
St. Augustine Center Room 203
Villanova, PA 19085


Recordings of Theology and Religious Studies sponsored lectures, making them accessible to the wider community, can be viewed on the TRS YouTube playlist.