William Collins Donahue
Director, Nanovic Institute for European Studies
Cavanaugh Professor of the Humanities
Terry Keeley, the generous 1981 graduate of Notre Dame who endows this lecture series, says its purpose is “to deepen Notre Dame’s connection to the Holy See,” by bringing in distinguished visitors to help strengthen and explore our Catholic mission. It surely is that. But it is also much more.
It is always a great honor to host our Vatican friends at the University of Notre Dame, and to deepen our relationship; this goes without saying.
The focus of the Keeley Vatican Lecture Series, however, is not ultimately on our relationship and ourselves so much as it is upon our shared obligation to the larger world. Our 2018 Keeley Vatican Lecturer, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, made this very point when he addressed the United Nations a week before this lecture.
He reminded us that we live in a time of migration crises—mass movements of peoples the likes of which we have not seen since the Second World War. And once again, Europe is where this is all occurring.
Pope Francis has pithily summarized our obligation to these migrants in just four simple verbs: Our task is “to welcome, to protect, to promote, and to integrate.” How, and whether, governments will come together to do this—that is, to commit to and live the so-called Marrakech accords—is yet to be seen and will, in any case, require the dedication and courage of great diplomats like Archbishop Gallagher.
At Notre Dame, we talk a lot about the Catholic mission of this University, and rightly so. For when we allow central tenets of Catholic spirituality and social teaching to animate our thinking, our teaching, and research, we thrive. Guided by the doctrine of the Incarnation, which teaches us to see God in all things and all people, we are reminded of our obligation not just to Christians or Catholics, but to everyone on this increasingly imperiled planet. Our Catholic mission is not parochial or inward-looking; rather, it sponsors a capacious and compassionate world vision.
The Catholic mission is a world vision: To me, this is the briefest way of stating the mission of the Keough School of Global Affairs, the home of the Nanovic Institute, and it handily epitomizes the core value of the Keeley Vatican Lectures. Joining forces with the Vatican, even in this small way, reminds us of our larger obligations beyond South Bend, beyond the lucky few who fill our classrooms, to all of humankind.
Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, courtesy of UN Photo/Kim Haughton/Flickr
Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, courtesy of UK in the Holy See/Flickr