Series addresses whether women will continue to make strides in the church
August 20, 2007
Phil Brozynski, Media Relations Manager
Pope John Paul II addressed the role of women in the church more closely than any other pope in modern history.
During his pontificate, women took over pastoral and administrative duties in priestless parishes, they were appointed chancellors of dioceses around the world, and they began swelling the ranks of “experts” at Vatican synods and symposiums.
Although he reaffirmed the Church’s stance on denying women access to the priesthood, a letter written by Pope John Paul II more than a decade ago thanked women for all they have done, apologized for the church’s failure to recognize their contributions and condemned the “long and degrading history” of sexual violence against women.
However, Pope John Paul’s death and the ascension of Pope Benedict XVI, an acknowledged conservative, have many in the Catholic Church wondering if the gains women have made during the past few years will be set aside.
“Catholic Perspectives on Women” is the topic of Benedictine University’s “Visiting Scholar in Catholic Thought” series October 17-18 featuring Melani M. Morey, Ed.D., Senior Director for Research and Consulting at NarrowGate Consulting, a division of the Catholic Education Institute in Bronx, N.Y.
Morey will present a public lecture, “Women Religious and American Catholic Culture: Leadership and Legacy,” at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 17 in Scholl Hall Room 101.
She will also give another lecture, “Women Religious and Cultural Change: A Cautionary Tale,” at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday, October 18 in Scholl Hall Room 101.
Morey has worked in education and administration for 35 years. During the past 10 years, she has become a recognized and sought-after researcher and consultant to Catholic institutions of all kinds with an emphasis on institutions of higher education. Her areas of expertise comprise Catholic culture, leadership, institutional identity and governance.
Morey’s most recent publication, “Catholic Higher Education: A Culture in Crisis (2006),” written in collaboration with John J. Piderit, S.J., has been praised as a major contribution to Catholic higher education. Reviewers describe it as a welcome resource at a time when many institutions are struggling to maintain and define their Catholic identity.
Morey is a graduate of Smith College. She earned a Master of Education from Boston College as well as a Doctorate and a Master of Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She is the co-founder and co-director of “Substantially Catholic Summer Seminar,” a discipline-based faculty seminar integrating the Catholic intellectual tradition.
She is also a regular facilitator for the Council of Independent Colleges’ “Summer Seminar for Presidents and Potential Presidents on the Intersection of Personal Vocation and the Office of the Presidency.”
The “Visiting Scholar in Catholic Thought” series features distinguished scholars who work within the Catholic intellectual tradition. The scholars are selected from a variety of disciplines representing the major academic areas including the arts, humanities and social science.
The lectures are free and open to the public. For more information about the series, contact
Maria de la Camara, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, at (630) 829-6247.
Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ben.edu.