Professor Anne M. Clifford, C.S.J.
2007-2008 Tuohy Chair Holder

Anne M. Clifford is a Sister of St. Joseph and theologian with an overarching interest in the relations of religion to many facets of American culture, including to the natural sciences, gender as a social construct, and the environment in this time of global climate change. A graduate of Carlow University (B.A.), the Catholic Theological Union of Chicago (M.A.), and The Catholic University of America (Ph.D.), Dr. Clifford is an Associate Professor of Theology and the Director of the University Core Curriculum at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa. She is currently the President of the College Theology Society (2006-2007) and has served as the Convener for the Theological Anthropology Section of the annual Catholic Theological Society of America conferences (1996-1998 and 2003-2006).

Among her publications are articles on theology and science and ecological theology in monographs, encyclopedias, and journals. She is the author of Introducing Feminist Theology (2001, a winner of a Catholic Press Association award). She is co-editor of Christology: Memory, Inquiry, Practice (2003) and a contributing editor of the revised New Catholic Encyclopedia (2003). Her current major project is Man, Woman, Earth: Christian Anthropology (in the Orbis Books’ “Theology in Global Perspectives” series, forthcoming). She has been an invited participant to numerous conferences on theology and science and on ecological theology, including ecumenical conferences of international scholars held in Castel Gandolfo and Warsaw, co-sponsored by the Vatican Observatory and the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences.

“Made in God’s Image: A Theology of Creatureliness for our Time”

March 11, 2008
“Does Biological Evolution Put Humans as ‘Imago De’ at Risk?”

Controversy has swirled around Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection since On the Origin of Species was first published one hundred and forty-nine years ago. Many Christians in America, especially “Young Earth Creation Scientists” and “Intelligent Design” theorists, have treated Darwinian evolution as a dangerous idea because it brings into question the veracity of the Bible and belief in a Creator God. Both groups are concerned not only with these questions but also with the challenge that Darwinian evolution poses to the Christian belief that humans uniquely image God and are more than “mere animals.” The question begging for a response is: “Are their concerns justified.”

March 18, 2008
“Why Do Gender and Embodiment Matter to Religious Faith?”

Controversy has swirled around Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection since On the Origin of Species was first published one hundred and forty-nine years ago. Many Christians in America, especially “Young Earth Creation Scientists” and “Intelligent Design” theorists, have treated Darwinian evolution as a dangerous idea because it brings into question the veracity of the Bible and belief in a Creator God. Both groups are concerned not only with these questions but also with the challenge that Darwinian evolution poses to the Christian belief that humans uniquely image God and are more than “mere animals.” The question begging for a response is: “Are their concerns justified.”

March 25, 2008
“How Is Jesus Christ a Model of a ‘Godly-Humanity’ Today?”

The New Testament letter to the Colossians begins with a hymn that proclaims that Jesus Christ is the perfect image of the invisible God and the first born of all creation. This passage provides the basis for an understanding of the human person, not only as created in the image of God but also as called to embody Imago Christi, to be, so to speak, a living Icon of Christ in our time. Imago Christi is a symbol rooted in the rich Wisdom tradition of the biblical First Testament. It provides a lens for interpreting the life and mission of Jesus, and what we, two thousand years after Jesus’ earthly existence, can learn from him and his relationships with and his responses to the people he encountered.

 April 1, 2008
“What Is The Role of Spiritual Discernment in our Life of Grace?”

Great masters of spiritual theology point out that desire for God is a gift of grace that lies at the heart of what it means to be human. Receptivity to God’s invitation for relationship – to receive freely the love of God poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5) – requires us to give focus to our desires and to discern between them so that we can discover which are truly of God. For guidance in spiritual discernment, insights from Ignatius of Loyola and Catherine of Siena will be explored. Ignatius and Catherine have been chosen because each, in different yet complementary ways, provides us with guidance about how we can listen deeply to the Spirit of God in our daily lives.

April 8, 2008
“Globalization Is an Economic Reality, but Is It Also a Religious Issue?”

Globalization is primarily an economic reality. Scholars trace its origins to different points in history – some as early as the sixteenth century and the age of European discovery and colonization. For the purposes of this lecture, “globalization” refers to the new world order emerging since the collapse of the Berlin wall in 1989 and the end of the bipolar world of democracy versus communism and of capitalism versus socialism. Positive and negative aspects of globalization will be addressed in relationship to basic principles of Catholic teachings on the human person, such as the fundamental dignity of each person and of the right of humans to freely author their own lives.

April 15, 2008
“All Creation Is Groaning: Is a New Theological Understanding of Ourselves as Earth Creatures Needed?”

This question must be addressed because humans can ill-afford to ignore examining themselves and the condition of the Earth, given the reality of global climate change and its effects on Earth’s species. A positive response to the question of a new understanding of ourselves is posed in the form of a “theology of creaturely kinship” that is rooted in biblical creation texts, mindful of ecological science, and responsive to an environment undergoing changes that promise to continue the pattern of accelerated species extinction.