Commentators Douthat and Faggioli to debate Pope Francis

Catholic News Agency | 1/10/2018 | Staff
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New York City, N.Y., Jan 10, 2018 / 12:00 pm (CNA).- Two commentators on Pope Francis, New York Times columnist Ross Douthat and Villanova University theology professor Massimo Faggioli, will debate the Pope’s impact on the U.S. and the Church.

The debate, titled “Francis@Five: Assessing the Legacy of Pope Francis Five Years After His Election,” will be held in New York City Jan. 31 at 6 p.m. at the 12th Floor Lounge of Fordham University’s Lincoln Center Campus.

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The Center on Religion and Culture is co-sponsoring the event with the Religion News Foundation and Religion News Service. The Canada-based Salt + Light Television will be the event’s media partner, the Religion News Foundation said Jan. 8.

The two debate participants “offer two important and distinct perspectives on Pope Francis and his impact on the church universal, and especially the Pope’s impact on the U.S.,” said Tom Gallagher, president and CEO of the Religion News Foundation and publisher of RNS, the foundation’s subsidiary.

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David Gibson, Director of the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University and a past national reporter for RNS, will moderate the event.

In a Sept. 20 New York Times column, Douthat had advocated more “serious argument” and “respectful debate” amongst academics, theologians, and bishops, instead of “conflicting inquisitions, liberal and conservative,” .

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“There is no way forward save through controversy. Postpone the inquisitions; schedule arguments instead,” he wrote.

Douthat, who is Catholic, had noted the firings or speech cancellations affecting prominent Catholics. He mentioned Prof. Joseph Seifert, a Catholic philosopher dismissed from the University of Granada in Spain after raising questions about the Pope’s 2016 exhortation Amoris laetitia. Douthat also cited Catholic University of America’s cancellation of Father James Martin, S.J.’s appearance following controversy over his book on LGBT outreach.

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In his Sept. 20 column, the New York Times columnist cited an October 2015...
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