Vatican I: Loss and Gain with Papal Governance of the Catholic Church

Oct 13, 2018
Swift Hall, 3rd Floor Lecture
1025 E 58th St.
Chicago, IL 60637
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John O'Malley, SJGeorgetown University

Russell HittingerLumen Christi Institute

Joseph Mueller, SJMarquette University

  • Vatican I: Loss and Gain With Papal Governance of the Catholic Church

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To read O'Malley's contribution to this panel discussion in the Notre Dame McGrath Institute for Church Life's Church Life Journal, click here.

To view photos of the symposium, visit Lumen Christi's Facebook page.

Free and open to the public. Cosponsored by the Theology Club.

A symposium and reception on the occasion of the publication of Vatican I: The Council and the Making of the Ultramontane Church (Harvard University Press, 2018) by Fr. John O’Malley, SJ. Copies of the book will be available for sale by the Seminary Co-op.

Vatican Council I (1869-1870) lasted barely eight months and produced only two documents.  The document Pastor Aeternus deeply reconfigured the government of the Church on the basis of the universal jurisdiction of the pope.  As we are now approaching the 150th anniversary of that event we can ask:  How has the papal-centered government fared over the centuries?  Did Vatican II initiate significant changes in the ecclesiastical government?  In light of these councils, how should we evaluate the scandals and the fragmentation of episcopal governance in the Church?

Fr. O'Malley also gave a lecture on October 11 and taught a master class on October 12.


John W. O’Malley, S.J. is University Professor Emeritus of Theology at Georgetown University. A member of the Midwest Jesuit Province, he received his PhD in History from Harvard University in 1965. He has received many academic honors, including twenty honorary degrees, eight best-book prizes, and in 2016 the Centennial Medal from the Graduate School of Harvard University, “the school’s highest honor.”  From 1979 until 2006, John O’Malley was Distinguished Professor of Church History at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology and since then has been at Georgetown University.  In 1995, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Science and in 1997 to the American Philosophical Society. His best-known book is The First Jesuits, Harvard University Press, 1993, now in twelve languages. His most recent books with Harvard Press are: What Happened at Vatican II, 2008; Trent: What Happened at the Council, 2013; Vatican I: The Council and the Making of the Ultramontane Church, 2018; and When Bishops Meet: An Essay Comparing Trent, Vatican I, and Vatican II, 2019.

Russell Hittinger is Senior Fellow at the Lumen Christi Institute, Research Professor Ordinarius in the School of Philosophy and Senior Fellow Institute for Human
Ecology at the Catholic University of America, and Professor Emeritus of Catholic Studies and Law at the University of Tulsa. He is also Ordinarius of the Pontifical Academy of the Social Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas. Hittinger is the author of many books, including A Critique of the New Natural Law Theory, The First Grace: Rediscovering Natural Law in a Post-Christian Age, Thomas Aquinas and the Rule of Law, and most recently Paper Wars: Catholic Social Doctrine and the Modern State (forthcoming).

Joseph G. Mueller, S.J. is Associate Professor of Theology at Marquette University, where he has taught since 1999. He holds an STD and STL from the Centre Sèvres in Paris and specializes in ecclesiology and early Christian theology, especially the Church order literature of the first five centuries and its Old Testament exegesis. Fr. Mueller's book, L'Ancien Testament dans l'ecclésiologie des Pères: Une lecture des Constitutions apostoliques, was published in 2005. He has published articles on priests and presbyters in antiquity and early Christianity, both for Reallexikon für Antike und Christentum, as well as an article on the Christology and fundamental theology in the first volume of Benedict XVI’s trilogy on Jesus, for Nova et Vetera, and is currently working on a book-length treatment of the ancient Church order tradition.