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Events at the McFarland Center

Spring 2022

Events will be held in person unless specified. At this time, attendance is limited to current Holy Cross students, faculty and staff. Most events will be recorded and made available for public viewing on our Listen and Learn page.

Revealing the Truth About the World’s Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Tuesday, February 1, 2022
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library

Chris Mooney

Chris Mooney, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist with the Washington Post and a lecturer at Yale School of the Environment, describes his months-long investigation into the world’s climate-warming emissions, which found that countries are dramatically under-reporting their climate impact—by as much as 13 billion tons of greenhouse gases annually. In his talk, hear how the gap in data was discovered, what accounts for the discrepancies, and about the data set built to hold the entire world accountable for what it is truly emitting. Co-sponsored with Environmental Studies.

Untidy, Eclectic, and Diverse: Lived Religion in Latin America Today

Wednesday, February 9, 2022
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library

Gustavo Morello, S.J.

Gustavo Morello, S.J., associate professor of sociology at Boston College, reports on an extensive three-year study of religion as practiced by Latin Americans in their daily lives. By choosing not to focus strictly on attendance, adherence and affiliation, his research team noted how religious influences have been pluralized, and religious practices are diverse and occur everywhere. There are no “exclusive” secular or religious spaces, objects or times, and religious practices are not circumscribed to “the religious.” His talk is one of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity and part of the McFarland Center’s global initiative on Catholics & Cultures.

How Should We Elect Presidents?

Thursday, February 17, 2022
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library

Eric Maskin

Nobel Prize Laureate Eric S. Maskin, Adams University Professor and professor of economics and mathematics at Harvard University, considers the ethics of voting systems to replace our flawed plurality rule—where voters vote once, and the candidate with the most votes wins, even if that candidate earns a minority share of votes. Countering Kenneth Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem, he challenges that there is a particular voting system that can satisfy our ethical principles and elect a president with a majority rule. Co-sponsored with the Economics Department.

On the Trail of an Antisemitic Myth: Or How Lies Are Turned into "Facts"

Wednesday, February 23, 2022
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library

Magda Teter

Since the Middle Ages, the death of a Christian child often resulted in violence against Jews, who were frequently blamed for the child's death. While other anti-Jewish libels waned, this one endures. Magda Teter, professor of history and the Shvidler Chair in Judaic Studies at Fordham University, unpacks the enduring power of this lie, and explains how and why it came to be rooted in Christian imagination, reaching beyond medieval Europe to contemporary America and the Middle East. Teter is author of Blood Libel: On the Trail of an Antisemitic Myth (Harvard University Press, 2020), winner of the 2020 National Jewish Book Award. Her talk is supported by the Kraft-Hiatt Fund for Jewish-Christian Understanding.

Tell Me How I Conquered You: Clues from the Second Century BCE Mediterranean

Monday, February 28, 2022
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library

Dan-El Padilla Peralta

Faced with rapidly expanding and highly destructive empires in the third and second centuries BCE, communities all around the Mediterranean were forced into harrowing choices about how best to defend (and reimagine) their cultural traditions. In this talk, Dan-el Padilla Peralta, associate professor of classics at Princeton University, will examine some of the strategies for negotiating this collision of worlds that crystallize in the Book of Daniel. He'll also identify and discuss several other places in the literatures of the eastern and central Mediterranean where we can detect theories of cultural survival being developed through narratives of resistance.  Padilla is an expert in ancient Roman history and known for his activism to reshape the classics discipline. One of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity.

Fragments of Friendship: Spiritual Undercurrents of the Global Catholic Resistance to Fascism

Wednesday, March 16, 2022
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library

Brenna Moore

In the early to mid-twentieth century, a remarkable network of Catholic historians, theologians, poets, and activists pushed against both the far-right surge in interwar Europe and the secularizing tendencies of leftist movements. In this talk, Brenna Moore, professor of theology at Fordham University and author of Kindred Spirits (University of Chicago Press, 2021), explores how this group sought a middle way anchored in “spiritual friendship”— religiously meaningful relationships understood as uniquely capable of facing social and political challenges. For this group, spiritual friendship was inseparable from resistance to the global spread of fascism. One of the Deitchman Family Lectures on Religion and Modernity.

Fraternity, Martyrdom and Peace in Burundi: The Forty Servants of God of Buta

Thursday, March 24, 2022
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library

Jodi Mikalachki

During Burundi's 1993-2005 civil war, students at Buta Minor Seminary were ordered at gunpoint to separate by ethnicity—Hutus over here; Tutsis over there! They chose instead to join hands and affirm their common identity as children of God. The 40 students killed were quickly proclaimed martyrs of fraternity. Drawing on interviews with survivors, parents, neighbors, religious leaders and other Burundian intellectuals, Jodi Mikalachki, associate professor of English at the University of Burundi and a visiting fellow at DePaul University’s Center for World Catholicism and Intercultural Theology, examines how Burundian Catholics understand the significance of the Buta martyrdom to their country and the world. Part of the McFarland Center’s global initiative on Catholics & Cultures.

The Role of Empathy in Understanding Our Human Past

Wednesday, March 30, 2022
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library

Thomas Kohut

German historian Thomas Kohut is the Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III Professor of History at Williams College and author of Empathy and the Historical Understanding of the Human Past (Abingdon and New York: Routledge, 2020). Drawing on examples from 20th-century German and Holocaust history, Kohut argues that the deliberate, self-reflective use of empathy is a legitimate and important mode of historical inquiry. Part of the Colloquia on Philosophy with support from the Rehm Family Fund.

Cover of the Boston Globe from January 6, 2002 features headline "Church allowed abuse by priest for years."

Justice and Care: Reflections around Past and Current Abuse and Safeguarding in the Church

Thursday, March 31, 2022
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library

Rev. Hans Zollner, S.J.

Twenty years ago, the Boston Globe Spotlight team first published revelations of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, which became a nationwide scandal, then a global crisis, for the Roman Catholic Church. Unresolved questions around justice and care for all involved continue to undermine the Church's credibility. Rev. Hans Zollner, S.J., one of the leading figures in Rome working to address this issue worldwide, joins us to discuss what the Church has done and what still needs to be done. Fr. Zollner is president of the The Centre for Child Protection (CCP) of the Pontifical Gregorian University, a member of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors and as an advisor of the Congregation for Clergy. He is a psychologist and licensed psychotherapist, particularly interested in human formation in the training of seminarians and religious worldwide.

How To Read a Biblical Rape Story

Monday, April 4, 2022
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library

Rhiannon Graybill

The Hebrew Bible is filled with sexual violence. But how should we read biblical rape stories? Rhiannon Graybill, associate professor of religious studies at Rhodes College, argues that the framework of consent, which is often invoked to respond to sexual violence, is insufficient and insufficiently feminist. It also fails to attend to important features of sexual violence, whether ancient or contemporary. In response, she offers a  framework for understanding sexual violence that tends to the ambiguity and confusion that often surround these experiences. Her talk will analyze three biblical rape stories: Dinah (Gen. 34), Tamar (2 Sam. 13), and Lot’s Daughters (Gen. 19). Part of the Hebrew Bible Lecture Series, supported by the Kraft-Hiatt Fund for Jewish-Christian Understanding.

Green Worcester cover image features collage of scenes of city parks, developments and waterways.

Fishbowl Discussion: Greening Cities from Plan to Practice

Wednesday, April 6, 2022
4:30-6 p.m., Rehm Library

In April 2021, after many months of meetings, workshops and surveys among various stakeholders, the Worcester City Council voted to adopt the Green Worcester Plan to provide the city a roadmap to a climate-resilient and just future. But how now to turn the plan into action? Using Green Worcester as a springboard for conversation, this discussion will look at the environmental planning process and what happens when competing ethical interests come into play. Featuring: 

  • John Fernández, professor of architecture and director of the Environmental Solutions Initiative at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he is a member of the Climate Nucleus, charged with managing and implementing MIT’s new climate action plan;
  • Karin Valentine Goins, program director of Preventative and Behavioral Medicine at University of Massachusetts Medical School, and a public health activist who co-founded WalkBike Worcester and served as a member of the Green Worcester Working Group; and
  • John Odell, chief sustainability and resilience officer for the City of Worcester and a member of the Green Worcester Working Group.

Moderated by Thomas M. Landy, director of the McFarland Center for Religion, Ethics and Culture. Co-sponsored with the Office of Sustainability.


Rabbi Abraham Skorka with his arm around his friend Pope Francis, both smiling.

The Pope’s Rabbi on Meaningful Interfaith Dialogue

Monday, April 11, 2022
4:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Argentinian-born Rabbi Abraham Skorka, a longtime friend of Pope Francis, focuses on deepening Catholic-Jewish relationships—not to convince the other of their personal beliefs, but to open up a dialogue between their faiths to help address global issues and problems affecting members of both religions. With Francis, he co-authored “On Heaven and Earth” in 2010. Skorka, a biophysicist, was rabbi of the Benei Tikva synagogue for 42 years and the rector of the Rabbinical Seminary for 20 years. The talk is supported by the Kraft-Hiatt Fund for Jewish-Christian Understanding.

Vocation of the Writer Lecture: Rigoberto Gonzáles

Thursday, April 21, 2022
7:30 p.m., Rehm Library
Rigoberto González

Rigoberto González describes himself as a man of many identities: Chicano, gay, immigrant, artist. He brings them all to his role of professor in the creative writing program at Rutgers University. His 12 books show the breadth of his creative talents: two bilingual children's books, three collections of poetry, a novel, two young adult books, a memoir, a book of short stories, a 300-page anthology of Latino literature which he edited, Camino del Sol: 15 Years of Latino and Latina Writing (University of Arizona Press, 2010), and his latest, Retablos: Self-Portraits, Studies, Speeches (University of Arizona Press, 2012 ). González writes a monthly book column for the El Paso Times, and is a contributing editor to Poets and Writers Magazine. Co-sponsored with the Creative Writing Program's Working Writers Series.

Maria Ressa speaks at the World Economic Forum. Photo by Sikarin Thanachaiary.

2021 Nobel Peace Laureate Maria Ressa on Fighting for Truth, Democracy and a Free Press

Monday, April 25, 2022
4:30 p.m., St. Joseph Memorial Chapel

Maria Ressa was awarded the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize "for [her] efforts to safeguard freedom of expression, which is a precondition for democracy and lasting peace." The first Filipina Nobel Prize laureate, she is a journalist and author, and the co-founder and CEO of Rappler, the Philippines' leading digital media company. She previously spent nearly two decades working as a lead investigative reporter in Southeast Asia for CNN. She will address how we transcend an environment of mistrust in a world where gatekeeper media influence is diminished, where disinformation has become sophisticated and readily believed, and authoritarian impulses are remarkably ascendant.