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15 November 2021 - 16 November 2021

2:00PM - 7:00PM


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What are the paradoxes of Lived Catholicism and how can it be authentically prophetic? An online conference

Introducing Lived Catholicism

In autumn 2020 scholars from a range of disciplines came together from around the world to explore a distinctive new field of study which we termed ‘Lived Catholicism’.

With papers from Australia to Latin America via inter-faith marriages in Mumbai, residual Catholicism among student teachers in Ireland, and women leaders in Ghana, we explored Catholicism as lived across time and space.

Through this breadth of scholarship it became clear that Lived Catholicism is more than a subset of Lived Religion, posing many generative questions about the nature of Catholicism itself, for example the tensions between institution and individual experience; the manifold ways in which power is held and used; and the relationship between theology and the lived.


Second Online Conference on Lived Catholicism

We invite you to join us to us for the second online conference, on 15-16 November 2021. The conference will consider: what are the paradoxes of Lived Catholicism and how can it be authentically prophetic?


All times are GMT (UK time)

Monday 15 November

Session 1 (2pm-3.20pm):

Welcome and introduction by Avril Baigent (Chair of Conference organising team) and Dr Mathew Guest (Durham University )

Presentation 1: By Professor Massimo Faggioli, author of Joe Biden and Catholicism in the United States, chaired by Dr Marcus Pound (Durham University), with concluding words by Professor Paul D. Murray (Durham University)

Session 2 (3.35-4.45pm):

Sites of Paradox and Prophecy: Short Papers Part One (parallel streams)

Session 3 (5pm-6pm):

Presentation 2: By Dr Michele Dillon, author of Post-Secular Catholicism (University of New Hampshire), chaired by Dr Pat Jones (Durham University)

Session 4 (6.30-7.30pm):

Pop-Up Podium: Several streams of poster presentations lasting 5 minutes

Tuesday 16 November

Session 5 (11am-12.30pm):

Presentation 3: By Dr Clare Watkins, author of Disclosing Church: An Ecclesiology Learned from Conversations in Practice (Univeristy of Roehampton), chaired by Gaël Pardoen (Durham University), followed by breakout groups

Session 6 (1.15-2.30pm):

Sites of Paradox and Prophecy: Short Papers Part Two (parallel streams)

Session 7 (2.50-4.10pm):

Presentation 4: By Professor Valentina Napolitana, author of Migrant Hearts and the Atlantic Return: Transnationalism and the Roman Catholic Church (University of Toronto), chaired by Dr Anna Rowlands (Durham University)

Session 8 (4.30-5.40pm):

Workshop: details to be confirmed later.

Session 9 (6pm-7pm):

Plenary: Where do we need to go next in building the field of study and research into Lived Catholicism? Panel of speakers, chaired by Avril Baigent (Durham University)


Please register at Eventbrite. The fees are as follows:

£25: Standard registration fee

£10: Registration fee for students and anyone from the global south

Free: Durham University staff and students


We aim to make this online conference as accessible as possible. If there’s anything you can think of that would help you attend or participate more fully, please email and we will do our best to help.

About Us

This conference is organised by the Centre for Catholic Studies at Durham University in conjunction with the Department of Catholic Studies at Duquesne University, and in association with The Tablet.

Call for Papers

At the first Lived Catholicism conference, we included short papers and poster presentations from diverse disciplinary viewpoints including sociology, anthropology, human geography, contemporary history and literary studies. For the second conference we hope to repeat and expand the range of voices and include more theological engagement. We particularly welcome new and emerging scholars to participate.
For the 2021 Conference, we invite papers which address the conference theme: Paradox and Prophecy: Why the Study of Lived Catholicism Matters. From your disciplinary perspective and drawing from your research experience:
  • Why is the study of Lived Catholicism important?
  • To whom should it matter, and why?
  • Is the essential purpose of studying Lived Catholicism to observe and understand the lived reality of Catholic faith in all its diversity and complexity, or to offer resources for transformative work?
  • Is the study of Lived Catholicism a subversive or constructive activity?

We are also particularly interested in how and whether the study of Lived Catholicism can help both academics and practitioners navigate the current social and ecclesial reality in which Catholicism is lived. What is needed in the academy and the Church as we take account of the events of the last years in which the pandemic has fractured so many of our modes of ecclesial life and yet paradoxically offers glimpses of renewed social engagement and concern?


These categories should not deter other proposals. This is an emerging field with immense potential and resonance in many places and with indeterminate boundaries and protocols. If you have a conceptual angle or proposal which would expand the horizon or help shape its contours, please offer a paper.


There will be two kinds of presentation:


Sites of Paradox and Prophecy: 15-minute papers

We aim to have several streams of short papers, of no more than 15 minutes, most of which will be given live (presenters can choose to pre-record their presentations if they wish). Each session will have a moderator and, where possible, time will be allowed for discussion either with pre-arranged respondents or by inviting questions submitted online.

This year we are interested in developing streams dedicated to particular themes. One stream of papers (15 mins) will relate to aspects of aspects related to child sexual abuse within the Catholic context. What does abuse in the Catholic context reveal about Catholicism? What does it expose about the everyday practices of the lay people, priests or religious, ecclesial self-understanding, or theology? How does the institutional response raise questions? What needs to transform, and how do we transform the field of Catholicism in the light of abuse? Why is the study of Lived Catholicism of relevance in researching this field?


Pop-Up Podium: 5-minute poster presentations, pre-recorded on video

Participants are invited to present 5-minute snapshots of research or potential research which you see as concerned with study of lived Catholicism. There will be a moderator and questions and other responses will be invited via text chat.


Pop-up podium speakers do not have to present completed or fully conceptualised work. It is envisaged as an exploratory session in which we gather diverse perspectives from ground level research.


Submit a proposal

If you wish to propose a 15-minute paper or a 5-minute poster presentation, please submit your details, the paper/poster title, and a 80- to 150-word abstract using this online form by 1 October. We will confirm the programme by mid-October.



Various prices