The Vocation of a Theologian: The Legacy of Pope Benedict XVI

May 7, 2023
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Russell HittingerLumen Christi Institute

Tracey RowlandUniversity of Notre Dame (Australia)

Fr. Thomas Esposito, O.Cist.University of Dallas


Copresented with The Collegium Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture, First Things, and The Portsmouth Institute for Faith and Culture.

This online-only event is free and open to the public. Registration is required. For more information, please contact

From his role as a key peritus at the Second Vatican Council, a professor in Germany, to his tenure as prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Ratzinger was a part of almost every Catholic theological conversation in the latter half of the 20th century. As pope, he brought his lifetime of learning to bear on his preaching, encyclicals, and continued publishing.

This webinar takes a look at Pope Benedict’s theological vocation and offers perspectives on his enduring legacy and witness.

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).

Tracey Rowland is John Paul II Chair of Theology at the University of Notre Dame (Australia). She earned her doctorate in philosophy from the Divinity School of Cambridge University and her pontifical STL and STD degrees from the Pontifical Lateran University.  From 2014-2019 she was a member of the 9th International Theological Commission. For her theological work, she is a 2020 recipient of the Ratzinger Prize. She is the author of Culture and the Thomist Tradition after Vatican II, Ratzinger's Faith: The Theology of Pope Benedict XVI, and Benedict XVI: A Guide for the Perplexed.


Fr. Thomas Esposito, O.Cist., is a monk of Our Lady of Dallas Cistercian Abbey in Texas, where he currently serves as Subprior and Junior Master. He is an Assistant Professor of Theology at the University of Dallas, where he teaches courses on biblical languages, Scriptural interpretation, and world religions. Fr. Esposito holds an SSD and SSL from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome and is author of Jesus's Meals with Pharisees and their Liturgical Roots (Analecta Biblica Dissertationes) and The Roots that Clutch: Letters on the Origins of Things.