Introduction to Christianity at 50

Organized to mark the 50th anniversary of Joseph Ratzinger's Introduction to Christianity, ​this conference celebrates a seminal work of the Church's preeminent theologian in the public sphere. With an eye to continuing the task begun in the Introduction, the conference invites us to consider the book’s historical context and theological strategy as we reimagine the work of articulating the Christian mysteries in an increasingly post-Christian age. The conference is for anyone involved in the task of communicating the faith, especially those whose work lies at the intersection of the academy and the Church.

November 4-6, 2018 at the University of Notre Dame

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Introduction to Christianity

Why It Still Matters

Introduction to Christianity grew out of lectures Joseph Ratzinger gave before the student body of the University of Tübingen. The book’s publication in 1968, not long after the close of the Second Vatican Council, marks a milestone in the Church’s engagement with the modern world and in the career of the Church’s preeminent theologian in the public sphere. The Introduction, as an articulation of the abiding significance and urgency of the Christian mysteries, models a form of Catholic apologetic ever more necessary in a world that is increasingly post-Christian.


Agenda (for download)  

Sunday, November 4
(All events take place in the McKenna Hall Auditorium, unless otherwise noted)

1:00 - 4:30pm            Graduate Student papers, 100-104 McKenna Hall

7:30 pm                     Keynote by Fr. Richard Schenk, O.P.
                                  The Grammar of Articulate Faith between Memory and Recollection

Monday, November 5

8:30 – 8:50am          Anthony Pagliarini                     
                                 The Place of Scripture in the Introduction

8:50 – 9:10am          Catherine Cavadini
                                 The Place of Tradition in the Introduction

9:10 – 9:30am          Q&A
9:45 – 10:05 am       Fr. Aaron Pidel, S.J
                                 Crossing Lessing's 'Ugly Broad Ditch’

10:05 – 10:25 am     Jennifer Newsome Martin:
                                 The Proportional Radiance of the Whole: Beauty in Ratzinger's Introduction to Christianity

10:25 – 10:45 am     Q&A
11:00 – 12:15 pm     Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer 
                                 Integral Faith Formation in the Spirit of the Second Vatican Council

2:00 – 3:00 pm         Cyril O’Regan
                                 Reading the Introduction to Christianity in Light of Benedict's Fundamental Theology                     
3:15 – 4:15 pm         Undergraduate Panel: Introductions to Christianity
                                 Moderator: Cyril O’Regan 

4:30 – 5:30 pm          Tracey Rowland
                                  The Reception of Einführung in das Christentum Among the Reviewers     

Tuesday, November 6    

8:30 – 8:50 am          Leonard DeLorenzo
                                  As Seen from the End: Eschatology in the Introduction to Christianity     

8:50 – 9:10 am           Timothy O’Malley
                                   The Liturgical Metaphysics of Gift: Introduction to Christianity and the Liturgical Thought of Josef Ratzinger

9:10 – 9:30 am            Q & A
9:45 -10:05 am           Patrick Gardner
                                   Against A Homeless Pneumatology: Ratzinger on the Spirit and the Church in the Modern World
10:05 – 10:25 am       Donald Wallenfang
                                   Nein und doch: Ratzinger’s Philosophy of Renunciation in an Augustinian Key

10:25 – 10:45 am        Q & A                

11:00 -12:00 pm         Fr. Robert Imbelli
                                   Joseph Ratzinger’s ‘Spiritual Christology’
1:30 – 1:50 pm           Anthony Sciglitano
                                   Benedict XVI and Charles Taylor: "Being-for" in a post-Durkheimian age

1:50 – 2:10 pm           John Cavadini
                                   The Pedagogy of Introducing

2:10 – 2:30 pm            Q & A

2:45 – 3:45 pm           Clemens Sedmak
                                   On Christian Structures        

4:00 – 5:00 pm           Francesca Murphy
                                   Touching the Void: Ratzinger’s Soteriology

5:00 pm                      Closing Remarks



Conference Details


The conference is free but we ask you to register here.

For further information, please email or call 574.631.9195


All events will be held in the Notre Dame Conference Center's McKenna Hall on the University of Notre Dame campus. The campus is about a ten minute ride from the South Bend Regional Airport, and taxis are generally waiting outside the airport to transport passengers.

South Bend is accessible by air, the South Shore train from Chicago, and buses from both O'Hare and Midway airports in Chicago.

A campus map is available at: .  Please check the website for available parking.


Attendees are responsible for booking their own lodging for the conference.

·    The Inn at Saint Mary's  

·    Fairfield Inn and Suites

·    Hilton Garden Inn

·    The Morris Inn  

·    Ivy Court Inn & Suites

Opportunities for Mass on Campus

Please see here for Mass opportunities.


Please see here for places to eat on campus.

Parking information

Please check the website for available parking.