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Thomas Merton Black History Month Lecture Explores Racism and Justice

Feb 02, 2010

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Feb. 2, 2010) -- Guest lecturer Rev. Bryan Massingale will contrast Thomas Merton's approach to racial justice with that of the church in the fourth annual Thomas Merton Black History Month Lecture on Feb. 22. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will begin at 7 p.m. in Frazier Hall on the Bellarmine campus.

Massingale will examine the divergent approaches of racial justice from Merton, the church of Merton's time and the church today. Then, he will examine the lessons one might glean from Merton as society searches for full racial justice in a post-Obama America.

Massingale specializes in social ethics with a focus on Catholic social teaching, liberation theologies, African-American religious ethics and racial justice. His recent work applies Catholic social thought to the issues of affirmative action, racial reconciliation, environmental justice, HIV/AIDS stigma and the challenge of peacemaking in an age of terrorism.

Massingale's most recent book, "Racial Justice and the Catholic Church," is available beginning this month.

He is associate professor at Marquette University in Milwaukee, as well as a professor in the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University in New Orleans. Massingale is a leader in U.S. Catholic theology. He is president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and convener of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium. He has served as a consultant to the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops, providing theological assistance on issues such as criminal justice, capital punishment, environmental justice and affirmative action. Massingale also has been a theological consultant to the National Black Catholic Congress, Catholic Charities USA, the Catholic Health Association and the National Catholic AIDS Network.

Massingale addressed a crowd of more than 10,000 as the keynote speaker at the Christian Religious Education Conference in Los Angeles in 2007. The Catholic Press Association has recognized him for an award-winning opinion column examining contemporary social issues from a faith perspective.

Bellarmine University is an independent Catholic university offering more than 50 majors, as well as graduate degree programs, a doctor of nursing practice and a doctor of physical therapy. and the Princeton Review rank Bellarmine among America’s best institutions for higher education, and U.S. News and World Report consistently ranks Bellarmine as a top tier university.