This year’s lecturer is Lisa Sowle Cahill, a central figure in contemporary Roman Catholic moral theology, and indeed a central figure in the broader field of Christian Ethics. Dr. Cahill received her BA in Theology from Santa Clara University in 1970, followed by MA and PhD degrees from the University of Chicago Divinity School, where she wrote her dissertation under the supervision of James Gustafson (1976). She is J. Donald Monan, S.J., Professor in the Department of Theology at Boston College, where she has taught since 1976, and has been a Visiting Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University (1986) and Visiting Professor of Catholic Theology at Yale University (l997).
Dr. Cahill is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and has held office in the American Academy of Religion. She has served as an editor, or on the editorial boards, of Concilium, Journal of Religious Ethics, Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology, Religious Studies Review, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Horizons, Journal of Law and Religion, Second Opinion, and the Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal. In addition, she has been a member of the Catholic Health Association Theology and Ethics Advisory Committee, the National Advisory Board for Ethics in Reproduction, and serves on the March of Dimes National Bioethics Committee. She has given testimony to the National Bioethics Advisory Commission on fetal tissue research and on cloning. For five years she convened a small international study group on genetics, theology, and social ethics.
Special areas of interest from among her many areas of expertise areas are fundamental theological ethics, the use of Scripture in ethics, the ethics of sex and gender, bioethics, just war theory and pacifism, and history of Christian ethics. A current research focus is genetics and social ethics, including cloning, stem cell research, and the international development and marketing of genomics-based tests and therapies. Another interest is challenges to, applications of, and alternatives to, Christian just war theory today.
These areas of specialization are represented in her many publications. She has written or edited eight books, with a ninth in progress: Family: A Christian Social Perspective (Fortress, 2000); Sex, Gender, and Christian Ethics (Cambridge University Press, 1996); “Love Your Enemies”: Discipleship, Pacifism, and Just War Theory (Fortress, 1994); Between the Sexes: Toward a Christian Ethics of Sexuality (Fortress and Paulist Presses, 1985); Women and Sexuality (Paulist, l992); and, with Thomas A. Shannon, Religion and Artificial Reproduction: An Inquiry into the Vatican Instruction on Human Life (Crossroad Press, l988); Embodiment, Morality and Medicine with Margaret A. Farley (Kluwer Publishers, 1995), and, with James Childress, Christian Ethics: Problems and Prospects, a collection in honor of James M. Gustafson (Pilgrim Press, l996). Currently she is preparing for publication an edited volume called Genetics, Theology, Ethics: An Interdisciplinary Conversation (Crossroad). She is the author of approximately 150 essays that have appeared in books or in journals such as Theological Studies, Journal of Religion, Journal of Religious Ethics, Hastings Center Report, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, Journal of Law and Religion, Law, Medicine, and Health Care, Hofstra Law Review, Loyola Law Review, Horizons, Interpretation, Thought, and Concilium.
On its own it is a great honor for Marquette’s Department of Theology to have a lecturer of the accomplishment and esteem of Lisa Sowle Cahill. But her lecturing in our series has a fittingness that goes beyond the appropriateness of having so central an individual in contemporary Catholic moral theology address us on a topic of great importance; for, as it happens, in giving the Père Marquette Lecture this year Dr. Cahill will be following in the footsteps of two previous lecturers in this series, from whom she is an intellectual descendent: James M. Gustafson (1975), who directed her dissertation, and Richard A. McCormick, S.J., (1973), who figured prominently in her dissertation, and in her work thereafter.