June 28, 2017 – By Joyce Rothermel

This year’s Fall Speakers’ Series of the Association of Pittsburgh Priests will address several contemporary issues, from restorative justice, evolution and the environment, faith and violence, and finally, to the relevance of nonviolence. We encourage you to check them out, mark your calendars, and help spread the word to others who may share these interests. All talks will be presented at the Kearns Spirituality Center, 9000 Babcock Blvd. in Allison Park at 7 PM. Donations of $20 are requested for each talk in the series. Reservations are not necessary.

Here is the list of speakers:

Thursday September 22nd: Ending the Death Penalty; Promoting Restorative Justice. Karen Clifton, the Executive Director of the Catholic Mobilizing Network, will update us on efforts to end the death penalty in Pennsylvania. She will also address the concept of restorative justice, an approach that views crime as a violation of people who are the victims of criminal acts, rather than a simple violation of the law. Ms. Clifton’s perspectives are enhanced by a wide breadth of experience: advocacy for the Catholic Worker, Campaign for Human Development, and AIDS ministry, as well as by coordinating the Ignatian Spirituality Project. A mother of five and grandmother of seven, she received the Servitor Pacis Award from the 4 Paths to Freedom Foundation, a peace -promoting Mission of the Vatican to the UN.

Thursday October 27th: Evolution and Faith: What is at Stake? by John Haught. A Georgetown University Distinguished Professor, John Haught ‘s extensive research in theology and science provides a platform from which he views various scientific theories from a faith perspective. He laments the “modern project of desacralizing the natural world,” as well as biblical fundamentalists who remain closed to scientific truths. Haught’s research has also involved aspects of cosmology, evolution, and ecology, leading to the publication of 20 books, hailed for bridging the divide between faith and science. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the “Friend of Darwin Award” from the National Center for Scientific Education.

Monday November 7th: Faith and Violence: Is Religion Killing Us? by Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer. A nationally recognized teacher, writer, speaker and activist committed to nonviolent social change, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, a Lutheran, will examine the “violence of God” traditions in the Bible and the Quran, often embraced by ancient writers and some modern ones who emphasize “divinely sanctioned violence.” A peace and justice studies professor at St. Thomas University, Nelson-Pallmeyer notes that both ISIS and U.S. foreign policy rooted in American Exceptionalism share the dynamic of using religion to justify violence. The author of 13 books, he will also describe constructive pathways forward, and visions of a more just, peaceful society, encouraging us to be “people willing to seek out and embody authentic hope.”

Monday December 5th: Nonviolence or Nonexistence: Christian Moral Relevance Today by Bishop John Michael Botean. “Has the church lost its voice by ignoring Jesus’ teaching on nonviolent, active love of friend and enemy? “asks Bishop Botean of the Romanian Catholic Diocese in Canton, Ohio. His talk will explore how, in the pastoral activity of the church, the salvation of souls must take precedence over preserving and promoting a political order. In 2003, Bishop Botean forthrightly condemned the U.S. war with Iraq, terming it “an objectively grave evil, a matter of mortal sin.” The most outspoken critic of the war among his brethren, Bishop Botean previously worked at the Pax Christi USA Center on Conscience and War, headquartered in Cambridge, Mass.

For more information, contact Fr. John Oesterle at 412-232-7512 or a johnoesterle2@gmail.com.


Joyce Rothermel is Chair of the Church Renewal Committee of the Association of Pittsburgh Priests.