Keynote Address: Courage for an Interim Time that Does Not Yet Know Its Name (Bryan Massingale)

Courage for an Interim Time that Does Not Yet Know Its Name

In a recent address to an Italian youth gathering, Pope Francis declared that we are not living in an “era of change,” but rather “a change of eras.” This period of deep and through-going change carries with it dangers of fragmentation and instability, as witnessed by the rise of demagogic nationalisms and intolerant populisms around our globe. Profound unease, unrest, and dislocations mark our engagements with racial justice, sexuality, the environment – and with the church and religious life itself. Ours is an age of anxiety and fragility, experienced on every level: personally, interpersonally, socially, and culturally. For we do not yet know how to name ourselves. The faith tradition offers us understandings of courage, that virtue that enables us to live in authentic hope as we dwell in the midst of what cannot yet be fully named.

Father Bryan Massingale is a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. He completed his formal education in Rome at the pontifical institute for moral theology, earning the degree, Doctor of Moral Theology, “summa cum laude.” His current writing projects explore the contributions of Black radicalism to Catholic theology and the intersections of race, sexuality, and faith.

He currently is the James and Nancy Buckman Professor of Theological and Social Ethics at Fordham University and Senior Fellow in its Center for Ethics Education. Prior to his recent appointment at Fordham, he was Professor of Theology at Marquette University (Milwaukee), where in 2009 he received that institution’s highest award for excellence in teaching. A leader in Catholic theology, he is a former president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and a past Convener of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium.

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