Villanova professor to present lecture on Pope Francis’ challenge

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February 16, 2016

Mary Hirschfeld, assistant professor of economics and theology at Villanova University, will present the College of Saint Benedict Koch Chair in Catholic Thought and Culture lecture at 7:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 29, at room 204, Gorecki Center, CSB. 

Her lecture, "The Challenge of Laudato Si," is free and open to the public. 

Hirschfeld will discuss Pope Francis' challenge to respect the environment and attend to the needs of the poor. Many critics say that it is naïve to think it's possible to help the poor while also taking care of the environment, but Hirschfeld will give a possible solution, using an in-depth look at Laudato Si.  

According to the dominant view of our age, which Francis calls the "technocratic paradigm," environmental degradation is the unfortunate byproduct of a healthy economy. But in Laudato Si, Pope Francis suggests new ways of thinking about ourselves and creation entirely in sync with both justice for the poor and the sustainability of our planet. 

Hirschfeld has a doctorate in economics from Harvard University as well as a doctorate in moral theology from the University of Notre Dame. She is also a fellow of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology and serves on the Board for the Program of Catholic Social Thought at the Lumen Christi Institute. 

Hirschfeld is a member of the advisory panel for the Catholic Research Economists Discussion Organization. She is on the academic advisory board for the True Wealth Project of the Institute for Advanced Catholic Studies as well. 

Her articles have been published in the Review of Economics and Statistics, History of Political Economy, Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, Journal of Catholic Social Thought, Econ Journal Watch, Horizons and Faith and Economics.

She is currently working on a book, "Toward a Humane Economy: Aquinas and the Modern Economy," under contract with the Harvard University Press.

Hirschfeld is also a book review editor for The Journal of Catholic Social Thought and is on the editorial board for the Faith and Economics journal.

The Koch Chair in Catholic Thought and Culture at the College of Saint Benedict was established in 2002 with a gift from former CSB Board of Trustees member Barbara "Babs" Gray Koch and her husband, David Koch of Wayzata, Minnesota

The intention of the Koch Chair is to provide opportunities for faculty, staff and students at CSB and SJU, and the general public, to gain an enriched understanding of the heritage of Catholic thought that has shaped not only the faith tradition of CSB and SJU but also the pursuit of knowledge across disciplines.