Noted Catholic theologian to address women's equality


 Noted Catholic moral theologian Lisa Sowle Cahill, Ph.D., will visit Mercyhurst University in October to deliver a lecture on “Aquinas and Natural Law: Resources for Women’s Equality.”

Her presentation, sponsored by Mercyhurst’s Center for Mercy and Catholic Studies, is set for Wednesday, Oct. 2, at 7:30 p.m. in the school’s Walker Recital Hall. It is free and open to the public.

Cahill is a specialist in the ethics of St. Thomas Aquinas and natural law theory and holds the J. Donald Monan, S. J. Endowed Chair in Theology at Boston College. She has written widely about sexuality, family structure, genetics/AIDS and gender, as well as social and global ethics.

Firmly situated within the Catholic tradition, Cahill is often referred to as a “bridgebuilder,” who deeply affirms the compatibility of faith and reason so characteristic of the natural law tradition. She is known for initiating conversations between different theological traditions, perspectives and methods of doing theology in order to shape meaningful dialogue about faith and ethics.

Cahill believes that Aquinas’ approach to justice, human dignity and the common good offers support for the cause of women’s equality. “To deny women’s personal and social equality is a violation of human dignity and the common good and is a sin, which implies that we can and ought to change it,” she told a recent audience.

Cahill, who earned her doctorate from the University of Chicago Divinity School, has taught at Boston College since 1976. She is a past president of both the Catholic Theological Society of America and the Society of Christian Ethics. In 2008 she received the John Courtney Murray Award, a professional achievement award, from the Catholic Theological Society of America.

She is a member of the Catholic Common Ground Initiative; the Advisory Board of the Public Religion Research Institute; the Board of Directors of the international journal Concilium; and the Catholic Peacebuilding Network, sponsored by the University of Notre Dame and Catholic Relief Services.

Her most recent book is Global Justice, Christology and Christian Ethics, published this year. Earlier titles include Theological Bioethics:  Participation, Justice and Change (2005); Bioethics and the Common Good (2004); Sex, Gender and Christian Ethics (1996); and Love Your Enemies:  Discipleship, Pacifism and Just War Theory (1994), which is being revised for a new edition.

Cahill and her husband, Larry, are the parents of five adult children. 

Mary Hembrow Snyder, Ph.D., who directs the Center for Mercy and Catholic Studies, says, “Dr. Cahill will illuminate the richness of the Catholic intellectual tradition for all with ‘ears to hear.’”

For more information, contact Snyder at 814-824-3015 or at

PHOTO: Lisa Sowle Cahill


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