Pope Francis and the Future of the Church: Prospects and Challenges for Renewal

Conference: May 4-6, 2023

St. Mark's College

Vancouver, Canada

Conference details will be released in Fall 2022.

Call for Papers

Pope Francis’ election in 2013 marked a new stage of post-conciliar reflection on the nature of the church and its mediation of God’s love for the world. Informed by his programmatic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium (The Joy of the Gospel), Francis has set in motion a reform that challenges Catholics to rethink what it means to be church in the 21st century. The broad contours of this renewal are significant, and they require theological analysis and assessment.


We are excited to confirm that the following four speakers will be presenting plenary addresses:

Catherine Clifford, Saint Paul University

Emilce Cuda, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, Loyola University Chicago

Massimo Faggioli, Villanova University

Peter Phan, Georgetown University


The Centre for Christian Engagement at St. Mark’s College invites proposals for academic papers that evaluate the ‘Franciscan agenda’ for the church, Christian spiritual life, cultural renewal, and theological doctrine, including the following themes:

  • the reception of Vatican II
  • synodality
  • aggiornamento and ressourcement
  • ‘theology of the people’
  • the clerical sexual abuse crisis
  • women’s role in the church
  • the future of ministry
  • Ignatian spirituality and discernment
  • Christ and mercy
  • the ‘culture of encounter’
  • integral ecology
  • evangelization and mission
  • reconciliation with Indigenous peoples
  • migration and the refugee crisis
  • inter-faith relations and dialogue
  • populism and global solidarity
  • economic justice
  • ecumenism
  • poverty and holiness
  • sin, social sin, and temptation
  • the Holy Spirit and discipleship

We encourage graduate students and established scholars to submit proposals for 20-minute presentations that engage these or other themes pertaining to Francis’ theology and papacy.

For consideration, paper proposals must be submitted to [email protected] no later than October 1, 2022, and should include the following information:

• title of paper
• an abstract no longer than 250 words

• institutional affiliation (if relevant)
• email address

Presenters will be notified of acceptance by October 15, 2022. Accommodation and additional logistical details will follow in late Fall 2022.

Call for Papers - PDF Document


Contact Dr. John Martens

[email protected]

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