Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Theology (ThD)

First Advisor

Bro. Michael J. McGinniss, FSC, Ph.D., La Salle University

Second Advisor

Bro. John Crawford, FSC, Ph.D., La Salle University

Third Advisor

Fr. Francis Berna, Ph.D., La Salle University


Catholic higher education has been the focus of discussion concerning institutional identity in the face of contemporary challenges. This discussion has been especially vibrant since the promulgation of Ex Corde Ecclesiae in 1990. Faculty hiring and invitations to guest speakers have been perceived as challenges to identity, despite a growing awareness that Catholic universities are called to practice a distinctive welcome to people of various backgrounds and worldviews. This dissertation will contend that hospitality is crucial to the successful orientation of a Catholic university, as well as to the integrity of the Catholic intellectual life. The nature of Catholic intellectual hospitality will be examined from biblical and historical (Chapter 2) perspectives. To practice hospitality requires openness to the other, but it also requires a home. The difficulties associated with practicing hospitality directly parallel the ongoing debates regarding the legitimate role of Catholic higher education and the Catholic intellectual life. Namely, Catholic individuals and communities seeking to practice hospitality have always struggled to strike a balance between remaining rooted in the Catholic tradition while being open to the needs of the other. The modern perspectives on intellectual hospitality will primarily come from three highly-regarded writers who exemplify that virtue, Thomas Merton, Bernard Lonergan, and John S. Dunne. All three of these thinkers were able to remain faithful to their Catholic grounding while engaging persons from outside Catholicism. Merton’s apostolate of friendship (Chapter 3), Lonergan’s theory of cognition (Chapter 4), and Dunne’s method of passing over (Chapter 5) will each be examined and surveyed for insights into the nature of intellectual hospitality that might be applicable to Catholic higher education. The dissertation will conclude with recommendations for how institutions might cultivate hospitality in the campus community. These recommendations will be modest in that they will align closely with regular university practices, but could prove effective strategies in helping a Catholic university remain grounded in its Catholic identity while also pursuing the critical engagement with all ideas that is proper to a university