Notre Dame University Theology Department Chair to discuss Pope Francis’ vision for the church

Dr. Matthew Ashley, chair of the Theology Department at Notre Dame University, will present “A Pope on the Margins: Pope Francis’ Vision for the Church” at Mount Mercy University Thursday, March 30, at 7 p.m., in the Chapel of Mercy.

Ashley’s talk is co-sponsored by the Mount Mercy University Aquinas Lecture Series and Notre Dame Club of Cedar Rapids/Iowa City. The event is free and open to the public; seating may be limited.

“Pope Francis is someone to whom many people, both Catholics and others, turn for leadership and inspiration,” said Dr. Mary Ducey, Mount Mercy professor of philosophy. “He also has had a somewhat different background than the last few popes and Dr. Ashley's talk will focus on that. Learning more about the Pope could be a special Lenten practice this year as well."

Ashley’s presentation will explore Francis’ pontificate by looking at how his experience as a Jesuit and as Archbishop in Argentina has shaped his vision of the Church as a principal sign and instrument of God’s mercy in the world.

Ashley is an associate professor of systematic theology and the chair of the Department of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. He holds a B.S. in philosophy and physics from St. Louis University, a master’s of theological studies degree from the Weston Jesuit School of Theology, and a Ph.D. in theology from the University of Chicago.

Having authored, edited or translated six books and numerous articles, Ashley’s research focuses on theology and science and on the history of Christian spirituality. His most recent book is “Take Lord and Receive, All My Memory: Toward an Anamnestic Mysticism.”

Mount Mercy University’s Aquinas Lecture Series, named for Saint Thomas Aquinas, was established nearly 60 years ago by the Sisters of Mercy. Each year, the series brings philosophers and theologians to campus to speak on topics ranging from violence and love, to social justice and the role of the church in contemporary society.

For more information on this event, contact Dr. Mary Ducey at 319-363-1323 ext.1202 or

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