Five Years of Francis' Papacy: Prospects for Peace, the Poor, and the Planet


Location: McKenna Hall Auditorium

4:00–5:15 p.m. | Lecture by Bishop Robert McElroy, Diocese of San Diego, McKenna Hall Auditorium

7:00–8:30 p.m. | Panel addressing Geopolitical, Ecumenical, and Cultural Perspectives featuring Anne Thompson, NBC News Correspondent, Julie Hanlon Rubio, Professor of Christian Ethics, Saint Louis University, Anantanand Rambachan, Professor of Religion, Philosophy, and Asian Studies, St. Olaf College, and Bishop McElroy; moderated by Fr. Kevin Sandberg, C.S.C., Acting Executive Director, Center for Social Concerns, McKenna Hall Auditorium

8:30–9:00 p.m. | Reception, McKenna Hall Atrium

Sponsored by the Center for Social Concerns; cosponsored by the Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, Institute for Latino Studies, and Keough School of Global Affairs.

Symposium Panel:

Robert W. McElroy was born in San Francisco on February 5, 1954. He received his undergraduate education at Harvard, and received a master’s degree in American history from Stanford in 1976. Entering the seminary for the Archdiocese of San Francisco, was ordained a priest in 1980 and was assigned to the parish where both his parents had been raised.

In 1985 Archbishop Quinn asked him to pursue studies in the field of Catholic social teaching. He received a doctorate in moral theology from the Gregorian University in Rome and a doctorate in political science from Stanford in 1989. In the following years he served the Archdiocese of San Francisco as vicar general and as a pastor, and in 2010 Pope Benedict appointed him auxiliary bishop of San Francisco. In 2015 Pope Francis appointed him bishop of San Diego.

Bishop McElroy has written two books: The Search for an American Public Theology and Morality and American Foreign Policy. In addition he has written a series of articles on theology and public policy for a variety of journals. Bishop McElroy currently serves the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the committees on domestic justice, international justice, ecumenism, Africa, and Latin America. 

Ann Thompson is currently NBC News’ chief environmental affairs correspondent, and notably has covered Pope Francis’ papal tour, the United States-China climate deal, and the BP oil spill. Her reports appear across all platforms of NBC News, including NBC Nightly News, TODAY, and MSNBC. Thompson first joined NBC News in 1997 as a national correspondent, reporting on a variety stories including Daimler Benz’ takeover of Chrysler, the death of John F. Kennedy Jr., and the execution of Timothy McVeigh.

Thompson served as chief financial correspondent reporting on financial and economic news for NBC News. Thompson has reported on the economic impact of Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, the increased cost of health care and its impact on the economy, alternative fuel vehicles, identity theft, and the politics of the credit card industry. 

In 2006, Thompson received the prestigious Gerald Loeb Award, and she was part of the Nightly News team that won the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia Journalism Award and the Emmy Award for coverage of Hurricane Katrina. 

Julie Hanlon Rubio holds the Steber Chair in the Department of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University and has a secondary appointment in the department of Women’s and Gender Studies. She has published over 30 academic essays and five books, including A Christian Theology of Marriage and FamilyFamily Ethics: Practices for Christians, and Hope for Common Ground: Mediating the Personal and the Political in a Divided Church.

Dr. Rubio speaks in a wide variety of public forums and writes for popular venues such as America magazine, National Catholic Reporter, the Washington Post, and US Catholic. Her current book project is titled Catholicism, Gender, and the Family.

Anantanand Rambachan is Professor of Religion, Philosophy and Asian Studies at St. Olaf College, Minnesota, where he has been teaching since 1985. He is also Visiting Professor at the Academy for the Study of World Religions, University of Hamburg, Germany. He received his Ph.D and M.A. degrees from the University of Leeds in the United Kingdom.  Prof. Rambachan is the author of several books, including  Accomplishing the Accomplished, The Limits of Scripture, and The Advaita Worldview,  and A Hindu Theology of Liberation. He has also written several book chapters, articles, and a series of commentaries on the Ramayana. 

Prof. Rambachan has been involved in interreligious relations and dialogue for over twenty-five years as a Hindu participant and analyst. He has contributed to numerous consultations and discussions convened by national and international organizations concerned with interreligious issues such as the World Council of Churches and the Pontifical council for Interreligious Dialogue. He has served on the boards of many organizations and received awards for his service and work, including the honor of giving the 2008 Lambeth Interfaith Lecture at Lambeth Palace, London.  

 Prof. Rambachan has traveled and lectured in many parts of the world and teaches regularly at several Hindu temples in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area. He resides with his family in Apple Valley, Minnesota.