The Church and the World: Secular Morality and the Challenge of Gender
The Second Vatican Council (1962-65) marked an historic turn in the Catholic Church's relationship with the secular world. The Church unequivocally embraced the idea of universal human rights, including the right to religious freedom, and embraced dialogue with wider currents in society.
Fifty years later, as the Church continues to engage in this dialogue, it faces mounting questions on gender issues. In this lecture José Casanova, professor of sociology and senior fellow in the Berkley Center, critiqued the Church's response to demands for women's equality both within its ranks and within the wider society. In this area and others, he argued, constructive engagement with positive trends in secular morality can help bolster the Church's moral authority on both sides of the Atlantic.
José Casanova is one of the world's top scholars in the sociology of religion. He is a professor at the Department of Sociology at Georgetown University, and heads the Berkley Center's Program on Globalization, Religion and the Secular. He has published works in a broad range of subjects, including religion and globalization, migration and religious pluralism, transnational religions, and sociological theory. His best-known work, Public Religions in the Modern World (1994), has become a modern classic in the field and has been translated into five languages, including Arabic and Indonesian. In 2012, Casanova was awarded the Theology Prize from the Salzburger Hochschulwochen in recognition of life-long achievement in the field of theology.