Conference considers role of women, impact of abuse on Catholic imagination

National Catholic Reporter

September 27, 2019

by Zach Czaia

“There are as many ways to be a Catholic artist as there are Catholic artists.”

So said poet and professor of Catholic Studies Angela Alaimo O’Donnell in her remarks opening the Catholic Imagination Conference at Loyola University here Sept. 19. The statement was verified by the content of the conference, with presentations by more than 80 artists, including poets, novelists, filmmakers, playwrights, composers, journalists, biographers, editors, publishers and critics. The event was sponsored by Loyola’s Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage.

A recurring theme made itself felt in the addresses, workshops and breakout sessions: the desire to address and speak to the challenges and crises facing the Catholic Church — especially the abuse of minors and subsequent cover-up, and the role of women in the church.

In her plenary address on Saturday, novelist Alice McDermott said, “This is an existential moment for the church.”

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