Catholic Educators

Picture of Kieran Scott

Kieran Scott (b. 1942) currently serves as Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Education in the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education at Fordham University. A Roman Catholic, Professor Scott is a formidable scholar and teacher in the areas of systematic theology, curriculum and teaching, and the interface of religion and education in contemporary culture and public life. Dr. Scott is passionate about studying the polyvocality of religious experience – the many voices explored and wrestled with in discovering what it means to be religious – as well as re-fashioning the rich and diverse wisdom traditions of yesterday through the power of language. For Scott, words do matter, and they become the vehicle through which our lives coalesce as both metaphysical and concrete religious human beings. That is, a “digging deep” into the hermeneutics of a religious people rooted incarnationally remains Dr. Scott’s academic, personal, and spiritual telos

Biography

A. Kieran Scott was born in rural Coote Hill County, Caven, Ireland on August 28, 1942. The youngest of seven children (five boys, two girls), Kieran attended elementary school at St. Michael’s School and St. Patrick’s College Caven, a preparatory boarding school, for his secondary education. He then studied philosophy and theology at St. Patrick’s College in Carlow and earned the Bachelor of Arts (1962) and Master of Divinity (1967) degrees. It was at this point that Kieran realized the profound impact philosophical theology was making on his academic and personal life, an interlaced union that he continues to explore today with great passion, insight, and humility. Next, after traveling to the United States, Kieran earned an academic certificate of studies at the Ecumenical Institute in Chicago, Illinois (1972), diploma in pastoral counseling at the Post Graduate Center for Mental Health in New York (1974), Master in Sacred Theology degree from the New York Theological Seminary (1974), as well as pursued doctoral studies in religion (in conjunction with Teachers College, Columbia University) at the Union Theological Seminary in New York (1975-1978). In 1978, Scott was awarded the doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University specializing in curriculum and teaching, and religion and education. The title of his dissertation was “Public Religious Education: The Encounter of Religion and Education in Contemporary Culture,” mentored by the well-known and respected Professor Dwayne Huebner, a groundbreaking educational theorist at Columbia and seminal figure in the academy. Kieran’s next major accomplishment, to borrow his words, was marrying Mary Ellen O’Rourke, his committed spouse for more than twenty years, who continues to enrich his life and what it means to be a grounded religious person. Knowing both of them well, Ellen is a perfect ying to Kieran’s yang. Laughter and love abound.

It is significant to mention the professed religious order formation that Kieran discerned and received while a young man. Given his scholastic aptitude in the classroom, sharp insights about the faith on the ground level, and marked ease with the public pulpit, Scott entered seminary and was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in the Cathedral in Carlow, Ireland in 1967 during the early (and tumultuous) years of a post-Vatican II church. His first ministerial assignment (1967-1971) was associate pastor at St. Vincent’s Church in Madison, NJ where a coordinate grammar school was part of the daily pulse of this parish community. In 1971, Kieran became associate pastor at St. Paul’s Church in Clifton, NJ focusing on his role as director of religious education (DRE). It was at this time that Scott became more and more interested in pursuing graduate studies in religion. Soon after, in 1973, he was assigned to Our Lady of the Lake Church in Mt. Arlington, NJ where he continued his work by incorporating lessons from his academic studies to his everyday ministry. As the years progressed, Kieran further discerned that a re-patterned ministerial design as a married teaching academician was his vocation.

Noteworthy is Dr. Scott’s extensive academic experience, breadth of courses taught, and administrative activities and responsibilities. In reverse chronological order, he served in the following posts: Associate Professor, Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education, Fordham University, NY (1999-present); Professor of Religion and Religious Education (Clinical Appointment) Fordham University, NY (1998-1999); Visiting Professor, Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education, Fordham University, NY (1997-1998); Professor of Theology and Religious Education, St. Bonaventure University, NY (1988-1994); Associate Professor of Theology and Religious Education, St. Bonaventure University, NY (1985-1988); Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Education, St. Bonaventure University, NY (1978-1985); Adjunct Professor, Villanova University, PA (1978,1983); Adjunct Professor, LaSalle University (1983-1997); Adjunct Professor, Unification Seminary, Barrytown, NY (1983-1997); Adjunct Professor, Fordham University, NY (1994-1996); Faculty Mentor, Thomas Edison State College, Trenton, NJ (1995-2000); Teacher of Religion, Bergen Catholic, Oradell, NJ (1994-1997).

Scott’s breadth of courses taught at both the graduate and undergraduate levels is quite extensive. The graduate courses include the following: The Church in the 21st Century; Research Methods in Religious Education; Doctoral Seminar in Religious Education; Religious Education Dissertation Mentoring Seminar; Special Issues in Religious Education: Youth and Young Adults; Parish Ministry: Theology and Pastoral Practice; Church Mission and Ministry; Special Questions: Youth Ministry; Adult Learning and Development; Foundations in Theology; Theology After Vatican II; Foundations of Religious Education; Curriculum and Religious Education; Re-Imaging the Church; Profession, Power and Praxis in Church Ministry; Imagination: Ministry and Religious Education; Images of the Divine: Exploring the Familiar, Recovering the Ancient, Visioning the New; Fashioning a People: The Faith Community as a Learning Community; Leadership: Empowering a Ministerial Community; Models of Religious Education; Catholic Theology and Education: An Introduction; Historical, Philosophical and Social Foundations of Education; The Catechumenate and Liturgical Catechesis; Theology of Marriage and Family.

The undergraduate courses include the following: The Nature of Religious Experience; Towards a Theology of Christian Marriage; Revisioning the Church; Educational Ministry in the Congregation; Religion and Human Development; Contemporary Curriculum Issues in Religious Education; The Family as Religious Educator; Education toward Christian Maturity; Ethics and Modern Professionalism; Educational Ministry in the Community; Marriage: A Developmental Journey; The Nature of Religious Experience. Like a skilled craftsman, Dr. Scott’s courses work delicately to bridge the meaningful tensions between faith, reason, interior and exterior religiosity with creativity and depth meaning, to borrow a term from Ludwig Wittgenstein’s hermeneutical philosophy.

Professor Scott’s administrative activities and responsibilities are plentiful. At Fordham University’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education, he served in the following roles: co-director of the Adult Family and Community Core Curriculum (1999-present); Ph.D. Committee (1999-present); Acting Director of MA in Religious Education (Fall 2007); General Advisory Board (2005-2006); and Co-Director of Youth and Young Adult Core Curriculum (1999-2003). Scott also served in the following roles at St. Bonaventure University: Faculty Salary Inequity Committee (1993-1994); Chair of Professional Development Search Committee, Academic Affairs (1992); Director of Graduate Theology Program (1992-1993, 1981-1983); Representative to Graduate Council (1992-1993, 1981-1983); Chair of Theology Department (1983-1987); Member of Faculty Senate (1982-1983); designed the Master’s Program in Religious Education (1982). He also was named Secretary to the Executive Board of the American Professors and Researchers in Religious Education (1981-1983) and designed the M.A. curriculum in Religious Education for LaSalle University (1985).

Life of a Scholar-Teacher: Influences & Educational Pedagogy

For Dr. Scott, language is the conduit to intelligibility, for it helps to make sense of the world and our place in it as engaged thinkers and believers. His greatest intellectual influences and teachers remain three figures: Professor Dwayne Huebner, Professor Gabriel Moran, and Ludwig Wittgenstein. All three are concerned with the linguistic search for “depth” meaning, a digging deep and re-appropriating of the power of language as a way of life and not merely for academic clarification alone. Scott pursues this working methodology to explore richer and deeper meanings of what it means to be religious. The central link is an attention to language not simply as a tool of description, but as a tool of life. As such, pointed questions of phenomenology, re-conceptualization, and critical theory all bear significantly on this religious quest for Scott. Words break open embedded meaning, metaphorical ways of knowing, doing, and being in the world with others and our God. This cross-fertilization of and wrestling with ideas serve as the storehouse from which Scott’s educational philosophy and vitality emerge. Consider Raphael’s exquisite painting The School of Athens. At its center, Aristotle stands with extended finger pointing to the ground in contrast to Plato’s pointing to the unchanging theory above. Both Aristotle and Scott want to get to the concrete particulars of the matter. While not discounting the important value of metaphysical distinctions, they want to ascertain that they do not sidestep everyday reality. For Scott, as investigators of things religious, we conceptualize, abstract, and theorize, not to remain in the metaphysical clouds alone, but in order to return to the concrete self that much more clarified. This is the working methodology that ushers forth subtle, yet transforming, meaning with self, others, and our God. Scott argues for a creative, not berating or destructive, wrestling with the tensions present in religion and education. To ignore them would be detrimental because it would sidestep the real and concrete ways in which we grow and learn as a religious people. 

In The Educational Imagination: On the Design and Evaluation of School Programs (Merrill Prentice Hall, 2002), Elliot Eisner explains that curriculum refers to a course of studies run for a desired telos (an “achievement of certain desired end-states”). In that vein, he investigates three items: (1) what should be taught; (2) for what ends; (3) and for what reasons. Noteworthy is that Eisner does not assert that only one ideology permeates an educational direction. Rather, he holds that multiple forms of educational expression underlie schooling, curriculum, teaching, and evaluation. Ideologies often operate in a latent fashion, for Eisner, through both implicative and explicative language. Such an underlining, subtle presence establishes embedded criteria for holding such ideologies. As a result, not only what we include in school curriculum is important to investigate, but also the how and why we maintain certain pedagogical positions is to be critically investigated and meaningfully challenged.

Likewise, Kieran Scott privileges this type of creative wrestling with ideas, in order to help meaningfully fashion a people, to borrow Maria Harris’ words. Privileging multiple voices of reason and dialogue, Scott proposes that a richer educational model is one that skates cautiously on the borders of theory and practice. That is, when I enter my church, I do not want to check my mind at the door. I want to fully absorb and soak myself in both content and controversy, structure and periphery, the sacred and profane as sacredly profane religious living with others through, with, and in our competing concepts of God. Scott’s methodology reminds one of Gabriel Moran’s vision when he discusses two important educational metaphors: (1) linear image; (2) growing down, back, and out model. For Moran and Scott, the linear model is simply that, a unilateral, restrictive and therefore deficient perspective on the human condition. The second model of growing down, back, and out hallmarks the need for the Hegelian tri-alectic of thesis, antithesis, and synthesis. Scott presents the need for “perpetual adolescence” for adults, since we never fully complete this journey of maturation and creative wrestling with tension. We increasingly become aware of and search for ultimate meaning as metaphor. For Scott, thus emerges the integration of the mythical, critical, human being taking root once a rich digging deep occurs. As such, religious life becomes trinitarian: revelatory, empowering, and transforming. We wrestle with language, in order to break it open, to speak plainly, and to better name our concrete reality as a religious people.

Consider a memorable quotation from Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations: “We have got on to slippery ice, where there is no friction, and so in a certain sense the conditions are ideal: but also, just because of that, we are unable to walk. We want to walk: so we need friction. Back to the rough ground!” For Kieran Scott, engaging the friction creatively becomes an education of revelation. It is the rhythmic dance of the already and not yet dialectic. This is the domain of ethical dilemma, intervals, struggle, and tension – and how our place in the world and how our salvation history become manifest amid the strife.

For John Dewey, the workshop for education is the laboratory of life. For Kieran Scott, linking this learning by doing model with the hermeneutic approach associated with French philosopher Paul Ricoeur and German philosopher Hans-George Gadamer is a profitable methodology. A specialized branch of philosophical inquiry, hermeneutics refers to the unpacking of the nature and role of interpretation and language. With roots in psychoanalysis, hermeneutics also explores the nature of metaphor. Originally employed as an art of interpreting sacred scripture, Wilhem Dilthey extended this investigative method to the areas of history and other modes of human life. As part of its rich influential stock is Martin Heidegger’s classic tome, Being and Time (1927), that presents a unique interpretation of the human being as a being that, itself, understands and interprets. Within the overall heading of humanistic scholarship, and set within the framework of qualitative research, philosophical hermeneutics works to peel away the intricate layers of a fully engaged human experience. In a word, it is a certain way of proceeding.

In “Interest in Philosophy: Three Themes for Religious Education” (1986), Gabriel Moran also promotes the use of hermeneutics for the purpose of shedding new insights on the philosophically rooted questions inherent in an worthwhile teaching and practice of good religious education. His questions include: (1) What do we mean when we say religious education? (2) How do we do what we call religious education? (3) What is it that constitutes religious education?  Such are questions of exploration rather than definitive ones requiring a neat and tidy answer. They are questions that intentionally run the risk of getting critiqued amid interlaced meanings. For Moran, Wittgenstein, and Scott, good hermeneutics is a serious game, an intentional playing with end and without end. It is a question and procedure that privileges and demands a revisionary core time and time again. It proceeds, in order to uncover and experience emergent insights and richer interpretations along the way, rather than produce an unyielding, definitive conclusion or monopoly on experience.

To better understand Scott’s privileging of this creative tension approach, one is reminded of Vincent van Gogh’s famous line that “fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.” A good map and compass are important tools for travelers embarking on a challenging and oftentimes unknown journey. These tools help to clarify not only one’s intended arrival site, but more importantly, one’s numerous points of continued departure. In his Physics, Aristotle was correct: the fundamental principle of continued causality underscores resultant movements. We learn that certain destinations are neither possible nor meaningful unless certain departures are carefully reevaluated en route. An understandable temptation is to focus on the journey’s endpoint alone. While a course of action that permits one to remain safe and sound ashore, it is also one that prevents growth.  Instead, the challenge is to step rhythmically into the sea and grapple delicately with the turbulence while refashioning a series of insightful beginnings along the way – ones that respond better to practical contours of contemporary experience. Let us not forget that when the realistic currents change direction, the course map, compass, pilot, and crew must respond together, not necessarily unilaterally conform or diverge alone. That is not sustainable for anyone. Otherwise, they get blown off course and no longer recognize themselves or their unified mission.

As evidenced throughout history, generations of lived ideologies have suffered experiential and moral atrophy by succumbing to this seductive, triumphalist temptation. Many painstaking human journeys, often with the best intentions, have been taken in vain, often leading to inconsolable isolation, bitterness, and stifled spirits – like the unparalleled strength of a storm to an unsuspecting tiny sailboat. Scott’s philosophy of thinking through religion reminds us that attitudes of unyielding absolutism, rationalism, and impetuousness have too often eclipsed the need to continually reexamine the map course while strategically sailing through necessarily tumultuous waters. In addition, a worthwhile journey needs to recalibrate its responsive compass. For Scott, this is not a deplorable and defeating relativism, but rather a much needed reality check and overall system maintenance. As pilots of our journey, we are charged to respond fairly and faithfully to the unavoidable friction and turbulence along the way, for such is a reality of life and an opportunity for growth with others. Recalibrating the compass bearings does not offer immunity from dissonance. Rather, it allows one to better steer a meaningful course through it with insight, purpose, and direction for all.

For John Dewey, “perhaps the greatest of all pedagogical fallacies is the notion that a person learns only the particular thing he is studying at the time.” Likewise, Scott is keenly aware that the origins and limits of true education are a difficult thing to pinpoint.  Though one might be able to determine whether or not a body of empirical content is grasped by a student (by rote memorization, testing, etc.), one cannot ascertain (or even underestimate) the breadth and transforming power of genuine education. We learn and teach with our entire beings. The mind, heart, and hands speak to different people at different times, and with different intensities, and for different reasons, holds Moran, Harris, and Scott. We do not merely learn what we are taught. Consciously and unconsciously, we also learn how the process of learning speaks to us and, in turn, invites a counter-response. It is a three-way street, so to speak. We learn how to better choreograph and challenge this triadic process of interplay itself, in order to create a more hospitable environment for reciprocal teaching and learning.

Like cartographers, good academic teachers map out the terrain and clarify environmental contours. It is done by a process of disciplined inquiry. The aim is to carefully break open relevant themes with critical constructive scrutiny, and then offer discursive sustainable feedback within a dialectical discussion. In this way, we learn how to better appropriate the tools of our cognitive intelligence by a process of interplay, rather than a static unilateral route alone. It is a profound resistance to idolatry for Scott. No viewpoint is arrogantly claimed absolute above all others. Boundaries are carefully and thoughtfully challenged, not hastily ignored or forced. By engaging in this educational process ourselves, we cognitively teach how to tackle fairly and faithfully the rich content of contemporary experience viewed through multiple lenses combined with a life-giving restlessness about ideas. Pedagogy restricted to the what is a stifled endeavor. Pedagogy that challenges the how can liberate and transform life. We enter into a circle, an interplay of ideas. We temporarily abstract from ourselves in order to return to the concrete self more clarified, for Scott.

Helping to create a more hospitable environment that assertively, yet patiently, works to un-pack the how as theory-in-action is our noble and pragmatic goal. The need for an updated workable pedagogical paradigm is visible for those who wish to engage the “writing on the wall.” Following Moran’s understanding that all genuine teaching is about showing how to do something in corporal and mindful ways, Scott applies this theory in action as a workable paradigm. To fairly, faithfully, assertively, patiently, and cognitively “teach the conversation” is essential for all religious investigators today, in order to remain relevant while being challenged to mature. According to Scott’s philosophical pedagogy, the need for an emergent interlocutor, in the form of a critical though sustainable teacher, is needed. This is the teacher smack in the middle of the discussion, one who models a dialogue of respect and dignity while facilitating intellectual and moral rigor. There is no substitute for open critical pathways if our genuine intention is to benefit from collected narratives of human wisdom, according to Scott.

There are three guiding principles that the emergent interlocutor vigilantly keeps in a healthy creative tension: (1) Teach clearly and faithfully multiple viewpoints, origins and strands of wisdom of a given religious issue, and the historical genesis and contemporary developments of the respective positions; (2) Facilitate a creative dialectical and sustainable interplay, a tension amongst all sides; (3) Repeat. The aim is that both student and teacher will emerge with deeper, richer understandings of the whole conversation, while, in the end, being better able to choose one’s own convictions intelligently. In turn, this process hopes to show the thinker how to think more clearly in a mature religious way. It will endorse ownership and vulnerability interlaced. It will endorse a meaningful Hegelian tri-alectic of thesis and antithesis for the purpose of enriched synthesis. The aim of the interlocutor is to disrupt, break into, speak among, and intentionally rupture the intellectual environment, in order to make room for growth and the possibility of transformation. This will welcome the meeting point of a triadic creative tension dialogue. Thus, the scholar-teacher model by doing demonstrated by Kieran Scott emerges.

In this vein, the prominent religious education metaphor that Professor Scott privileges is alternating currents. To engage the tensions creatively is his academic, personal, and spiritual mission as a scholar-teacher. Etymologically, this educational model is educare – to lead out – for the purpose of critical examination, careful experimentation, and re-integrated transformation of ideas and being in the world with others in God. For Scott, religious education is so much more than catechetical instruction alone. It is working to form a new lens of increasing clarity on what is occurring as we live. As a way to better name, own, and challenge our lived religious experiences. And this type of pedagogy calls us to probe linguistically the deeper meanings of current everyday religious language. We engage pluralistic forms in multiple settings and within and even beyond religious communities. As such, Kieran Scott views the vocation of the scholar-teacher as one who reads, thinks, challenges, and writes her lived religious self into greater clarity with others.

 

Resistance for Reconstructive Transformation

Dr. Scott’s scholarship is best understood as an academic commitment to resistance. The intention is not political uproar, but rather to combat reductionist tendencies when exploring the plurality of what it means to be religious today. The goal is to “dig deep” and surface fuller understanding for the work of critical scrutiny (reconstruction) and living religiously (transformation). This resistance is evident in Scott’s published corpus categorized into four main areas: (1) Religious Identity; (2) Teaching Religion in Schools; (3) Professional Identity; (4) Sexuality and Marriage.

(1)  Religious Identity

Professor Scott’s publications in this area combat a reductionist meaning to the field of religious education, namely the church model alone under which it is often labeled and understood. Instead, Scott argues for a critical examination of the intersection between religion and education in the great arenas of family, public life, and culture. As such, religious education has a unique set of perspectives to its self-identity – an exploration of content, contexts, and methodologies – ones not necessarily contained within or reduced to ecclesial borders alone.

The salient publications include:

1994. “Three traditions of religious education,” in Jeff Astley and Leslie J. Francis (eds). Critical perspectives on Christian education. Fowler Wright.

1993. Perspectives on marriage: a reader. Kieran Scott and Michael Warren (eds)., Oxford University Press.

1993. “The new man and male identity,” in Kieran Scott and Michael Warren (eds)., Perspectives on marriage: a reader. Oxford University Press.

1992. “Conflicting professional and institutional demands and expectations on faculty,” Discoveries: Essays on Teaching and Learning, 1(1).

1992. “Religion in the curriculum of U.S. public schools,” Explorations: Journal for Adventurous Thought, 10(4).

1988. “Religion courses in a university,” The Alternative, 15(2).

1984. “Three traditions of religious education,” Religious Education, 79(3).

1981. “The local church as an ecology of human development,” Religious Education, 76(2).

1981. “Collapsing the tensions,” The Living Light: An Interdisciplinary Review of Christian Education, 18(2).

1980. “Communicative competence and religious education,” Lumen Vitae: International Review of Religious Education, 35(1).

(2) Teaching Religion in Schools

Scholarship in this area resists the labeling of teaching religion in schools to a catechetical church instruction model presuming a context of shared faith alone. For Scott, religious education is and should not be equated to catechetical instruction since both offer their own distinct and important perspectives. For him, the aim of catechesis is to transmit the faith and Gospel message while fostering commitment to its rich traditions, whereas religious education in schools concerns itself with “teaching the conversation” – one that consists of secular principles of academic discourse for the purpose of teaching towards understanding, not necessarily one particular faith tradition or any at all.

The salient publications include:

2005. “The schoolteacher's dilemma: to teach religion or not to teach religion?,” in Oliver Brennan (ed). Critical issues in religious education. Veritas Publications.

2005. “Continuity and change in religious education: building on the past, re-imagining the future,” in Oliver Brennan (ed). Critical issues in religious education. Veritas Publications.

2005. “Practicing the trinity in the local church: the symbol as icon and lure,” in Oliver Brennan (ed). Critical issues in religious education. Veritas Publications.

2002. “Is adult education unique? Probing some premises and possibilities,” The Living Light: An Interdisciplinary Review of Christian Education, 39(1).

2001. "To teach religion or not to teach religion: is that the dilemma?" in Bert Roebben and Michael Warren (eds), Religious education as practical theology. Peeters Press and Louvain University Press.

2001. “A middle way: the road not traveled,” The Living Light: An Interdisciplinary Review of Christian Education, 37(4).

(3) Professional Identity

Scott argues that an important occupational distinction be made between the professions of religious education and church ministry. The two are not interchangeable synonyms, and neither one should be subordinated under the other’s domain since each has its own distinct occupational, teaching, and learning perspectives and aims. That is, the professor of religious education is not a professor of theology and not a director of religious education (DRE) in the parish, or any interchanging of these roles. These occupations are three different things in terminology (word) and practice (deed). Scott advocates the need for clarity of terms because terminology opens up an understanding and the potentiality for growth uniting all.

The salient publications include:

1983. “Director of religious education and professionalization,” Professional Approaches for Christian Educators, 14.

1982. “Balancing the competing claims of the self and the social,” Professional Approaches for Christian Educators, 12.

1982. “Some problems raised by the National Catechetical Directory,” Professional Approaches for Christian Educators, 12.

1982. “Catechesis and religious education: uncovering the nature of our work,” Professional Approaches for Christian Educators, 12.

1982. “Revelation: the search for a common starting point,” Professional Approaches for Christian Educators, 12.

1982. “Youth education as problematizing political forms,” Religious Education, 75(2).

1982. “The house as a religious symbol,” The Alternative, 8(2).

1982. “From theory to practice: curriculum,” Religious Education, 75(16).

1982. “Religious education and professional religious education: a conflict of interest?,” Religious Education, 75(6).

(4) Sexuality and Marriage

Kieran Scott’s highly acclaimed three-volume anthology Perspectives on marriage: a reader, co-edited by Michael Warren, is a standard primer used extensively in many religious and secular undergraduate schools throughout the United States, Canada, Europe, and elsewhere. Under its progressive framework of resistance, the text carefully tackles and endorses a resistance to the topics of consumer culture, cohabitation, and the relationship between marriage and feminism.

The salient publications include:

2007. Human sexuality in the Catholic tradition. Kieran Scott and Harold Daley Horell (eds). Rowman and Littlefield.

2007. “Moving beyond the sound of silence,” in Kieran Scott and Harold Daley Horell (eds). Human sexuality in the Catholic tradition. Rowman and Littlefield.

2007. “Cohabitation: a reassessment,” in Kieran Scott and Harold Daley Horell (eds). Human sexuality in the Catholic tradition. Rowman and Littlefield.

2000. Perspectives on marriage: a reader. 2nd edition. Kieran Scott and Michael Warren (eds)., Oxford University Press.

2000. “A spirituality of resistance for marriage,” in Kieran Scott and Michael Warren (eds)., Perspectives on marriage: a reader. 2nd edition. Oxford University Press.

1980. “The family, feminism and religious education,” Religious Education, 75(3).


Contributions to Christian Education

Testimonials

Through his courses, presentations, and writings, Prof. Kieran Scott has made three significant contributions, or at least these are the ones that come immediately to mind for me.

First, Kieran has been tenacious in insisting that religious education is its own integral and scholarly field of study. So, it is not a sub-discipline within theology (e.g. a shade of practical, pastoral, applied, etc.), nor is it simply another instance of education. Instead, while it draws on a great variety of disciplines, yet it is and deserves to be treated as its own field of study. Of course there can be specifically Christian, or Jewish, or Muslin, etc. religious education, yet their common bond is to work at the interface of religion and education. Further, such work is so important to the life of the world that it must be well grounded in scholarly foundations. Kieran has been deeply committed to this scholarly field agenda, evidenced, among other things, by his faithful attendance and many presentations across the years at the annual meeting of APRRE, now REA/APPRRE.

Second, and a follow on contribution, Kieran Scott has constantly insisted that religious educators be attentive to our language and the words we use. He knows well that words are the primary symbol system, and that symbols tend to effect what they symbolize. As educators, words are our stock-in-trade, and, as Gertz insists, God-language is the most effective of all - positively or negatively. Kieran is deeply convinced of this power of words, the imperative to be care-full with them, and has constantly called colleagues to account for their language, beginning with what to name our field.

Third, Kieran Scott's work has constantly reflected a deep sense of the social responsibilities of religious faith and of God-talk. He is thoroughly convinced that what we do as religious educators should enhance the lives of people, of communities, and of society at large - be for the common good of all. He is ferocious in his opposition to and critique of anything less than this social commitment of religious educators. Thank you, Kieran.

   – Dr. Thomas H. Groome, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, MA

Among his students and colleagues Kieran Scott is known as a scholar with wide ranging educational interests and a superb teacher. First, from his earliest writing onward Kieran has explored foundational issues in religious education with a specific interest in how religious educators can build upon the insights of the past as they re-envision religious education for the present and future. Building upon his foundational interests, Kieran has analyzed critical issues in church and society from a religious educational perspective; most notably, he has explored sexuality education, educating youth for critical consciousness, and the development of lay ministry. Second, Kieran has had a profound impact on the theory and practice of religious education through his teaching and mentoring of students. Kieran’s students, many of whom now serve in parish, diocesan, and university positions both in the United States and abroad, continue to look to him as a guide in addressing foundational questions about the meaning and purpose of religious education. They also continue to be inspired by the memory of his engaging and challenging presence in the classroom. On a personal note, Kieran is a trusted friend from whom I have learned a great deal. My understanding of religious education has been shaped significantly by conversations involving Kieran Scott, Tom Groome, and Gabriel Moran, and I think of them as being three of the most significant contemporary religious educators.

                                                      – Dr. Harold (Bud) Horell, Fordham University, Bronx, NY

I have known Kieran Scott for over 40 years, first as a student, and since then as a loyal friend and respected colleague. I do not know anyone more dedicated to the development of the field of religious education than Kieran. He has a quick mind and lively interest in a wide range of subjects. I am certain that any of his former students would testify to his skill and dedication as a teacher and an adviser. Kieran has shepherded through a long list of doctoral candidates in religious education during his years at Fordham University. He has been especially concerned with the educational integrity of religious educational work without giving up his strong passion for the religious dimension of life. From very early on in his career, Kieran has been committed to working for gender equality, peace and the environment. He has also been consistent in the advocacy of justice in these areas.  

                                                                         – Dr. Gabriel Moran, New York University, NY

I first met my mentor, Dr. Kieran Scott, during what I thought was going to be a casual, polite, and, above all, brief conversation about the pedagogical importance of using a sense of intellectual and ethical friction in the academic classroom with college students. Unbeknownst to me at the time, this little talk would be the beginning of an ongoing dialogue that would not only help clarify my academic pursuits and scholarship, but also deeply develop and enrich my life in profound personal and faith-filled ways. 

On a daily basis, Dr. Scott continues to model, for me, a truly integrated human being who embraces life as committed scholar teacher-learner. Holding my thoughts under critical scrutiny in and out of the classroom and in my academic writing, Professor Scott teaches by example. While encouraging an open and powerful exchange of ideas, he models the importance of intelligent and grounded living. His tireless energy, patience, and sharp insights teach me to fairly and faithfully wrestle with multiple perspectives of thinking, and to do so with clarity, precision, patience, and hope. He continues to be my trusted and respected Socratic interlocutor, a genuine friend who helps me abstract, in order to return to the concrete self more clarified, grounded, and, above all, transformed. What a real, humble, great teacher and human being Kieran is. I will always remember his concentric circles metaphor, Venn diagram drawings on the board, and how passionate he is when teaching. For his genuine human model of concrete religious living, I am eternally grateful.

                                                              – Dr. Robert J. Parmach, Fordham University, Bronx, NY

 

Anyone who has been privileged to share a classroom with him knows that no one has a passion for religious education quite like Dr. Kieran Scott. For the past ten years, Kieran has shared his scholarship and wisdom with me as a renowned professor, a respected mentor, and a true friend. I met Kieran in my first graduate course at Fordham University in 2003, and he soon became my trusted advisor. His support, encouragement, and patience were indispensable for not only the completion of my doctoral studies, but most importantly for enriching my vocation as a young religious educator. With humor and grace, he consistently challenged me to explore questions in all of their depth and breadth, and his scholarly influence upon my academic work is unparalleled.

Over the years, Kieran always modeled the critical distancing of the academic classroom necessary for our engagement with the central questions at the intersection of religion and education. Kieran once wrote, “No opinion or viewpoint is uncritically accepted as truth … every viewpoint can be improved upon.” His courses invited us to explore the fundamental concerns of religious education in a plurality of ways that disrupted previously held biases and reshaped meanings that spoke to emerging postmodern sensibilities. The space he created for us in the classroom was one of eclectic play befitting a rigorous dialectic among contemporary scholars, one that, in his words, offers “resistance to certitude, resistance to cognitive and imaginative closure.” With great enthusiasm and a radical disposition, Kieran encourages his students to continually dig deeper in all that they say and do. As an inspirational influence for emerging ecclesial and scholarly leaders, Kieran offers a prophetic vision for the renewal of today’s church that seeks justice rooted in love for all in the community. On a shared journey that seeks wisdom and grace, I am profoundly grateful to have been and continue to be companioned by Kieran Scott.

                                                        – Dr. Joseph Petriello, Xavier High School, New York, NY

 

As I write my dissertation, Professor Kieran Scott comes to mind in the words of Parker Palmer. Palmer has a theory of what makes a great teacher. He writes that good teaching cannot be reduced to technique. Good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher – we teach who we are. Kieran Scott has the gift of a great intellect, coupled with a dynamic personality. The life of the mind is the mainstay of his vocation. For me, he has been one of few who have served as exemplars of the intellectual life. True to his calling is also his passion for the subject he teaches. His passion is evident in his connectedness and engagement with his students and subject. He delivers his lectures with such passion and precision, that his classes take on the quality of an art-form. Great teachers also evoke the highest potential in their students. I've been fortunate in that respect. Dr. Scott led me to discover a dormant dimension of my own identity - that the gift of thought is mine as well. I am both grateful and fortunate to have had him as a teacher and mentor.

                                         – Ms. Elena Soto, Ph.D. Cand., Fordham University, Bronx, NY


Bibliography

2011. “Swimming against the tide: language and political design in lay ecclesial ministry,” in Harold Daly Horell and Donna Eschenauer (eds). Reflections on renewal: lay ecclesial ministry and the church. Liturgical Press.

2010. “Illness and the paradox of power: a spirituality of mortality,” in Beverly Musgrave and Neil J. McGettigan, OSA (eds). Spiritual and Psychology Aspects of Illness. Paulist Press.

2008. “Remembering Mary Magdalene,” The Furrow, 59.

2007. Human sexuality in the Catholic tradition. Kieran Scott and Harold Daley Horell (eds). Rowman and Littlefield.

2007. “Moving beyond the sound of silence,” in Kieran Scott and Harold Daley Horell (eds). Human sexuality in the Catholic tradition. Rowman and Littlefield.

2007. “Cohabitation: a reassessment,” in Kieran Scott and Harold Daley Horell (eds). Human sexuality in the Catholic tradition. Rowman and Littlefield.

2007. “Communion in the dark: the cinema as cathedral,” The Furrow, 58.

2006. Perspectives on marriage: a reader. 3rd edition. Kieran Scott and Michael Warren (eds)., Oxford University Press.

2006. “Cohabitation and marriage as a life-process,” in Perspectives on marriage: a reader. 3rd edition. Kieran Scott and Michael Warren (eds)., Oxford University Press.

2005. “The schoolteacher's dilemma: to teach religion or not to teach religion?,” in Oliver Brennan (ed). Critical issues in religious education. Veritas Publications.

2005. “Continuity and change in religious education: building on the past, re-imagining the future,” in Oliver Brennan (ed). Critical issues in religious education. Veritas Publications.

2005. “Practicing the trinity in the local church: the symbol as icon and lure,” in Oliver Brennan (ed). Critical issues in religious education. Veritas Publications.

2002. “Is adult education unique? Probing some premises and possibilities,” The Living Light: An Interdisciplinary Review of Christian Education, 39(1).

2001. “A middle way: the road not traveled,” The Living Light: An Interdisciplinary Review of Christian Education, 37(4).

2001. "To teach religion or not to teach religion: is that the dilemma?" in Bert Roebben and Michael Warren (eds), Religious education as practical theology. Peeters Press and Louvain University Press.

2000. Perspectives on marriage: a reader. 2nd edition. Kieran Scott and Michael Warren (eds)., Oxford University Press.

2000. “A spirituality of resistance for marriage,” in Kieran Scott and Michael Warren (eds)., Perspectives on marriage: a reader. 2nd edition. Oxford University Press.

1994. “Three traditions of religious education,” in Jeff Astley and Leslie J. Francis (eds). Critical perspectives on Christian education. Fowler Wright.

1993. Perspectives on marriage: a reader. Kieran Scott and Michael Warren (eds)., Oxford University Press.

1993. “The new man and male identity,” in Kieran Scott and Michael Warren (eds)., Perspectives on marriage: a reader. Oxford University Press.

1992. “Conflicting professional and institutional demands and expectations on faculty,” Discoveries: Essays on Teaching and Learning, 1(1).

1992. “Religion in the curriculum of U.S. public schools,” Explorations: Journal for Adventurous Thought, 10(4).

1988. “Religion courses in a university,” The Alternative, 15(2).

1984. “Three traditions of religious education,” Religious Education, 79(3).

1984. “For the feminization of patriotism,” The Alternative, 10(4).

1983. “Director of religious education and professionalization,” Professional Approaches for Christian Educators, 14.

1982. “Balancing the competing claims of the self and the social,” Professional Approaches for Christian Educators, 12.

1982. “Some problems raised by the National Catechetical Directory,” Professional Approaches for Christian Educators, 12.

1982. “Catechesis and religious education: uncovering the nature of our work,” Professional Approaches for Christian Educators, 12.

1982. “Revelation: the search for a common starting point,” Professional Approaches for Christian Educators, 12.

1982. “Youth education as problematizing political forms,” Religious Education, 75(2).

1982. “The house as a religious symbol,” The Alternative, 8(2).

1982. “From theory to practice: curriculum,” Religious Education, 75(16).

1982. “Religious education and professional religious education: a conflict of interest?,” Religious Education, 75(6).

1981. “The local church as an ecology of human development,” Religious Education, 76(2).

1981. “Collapsing the tensions,” The Living Light: An Interdisciplinary Review of Christian Education, 18(2).

1980. “Communicative competence and religious education,” Lumen Vitae: International Review of Religious Education, 35(1).

1980. “The family, feminism and religious education,” Religious Education, 75(3).

 

Published Book Reviews

2009. Finding God again: spirituality for adults. Journal of Adult Theological Education, 6(1).

2009. Water is thicker than blood: an Augustinian theology of marriage and singleness. Theology Today, 63(3).

2009. Black religious experience. Horizons, 36(1).

2006. The religious education of adults. Journal of Adult Theological Education, 3(1).

2002. The geography of faith: underground conversations on religious, political and social change. The Living Light, 39(2).

2000. Forging a better religious education in the third millennium. The Living Light: An Interdisciplinary Review of Christian Education, 36.

1998. Theologies of religious education. Religious Education, 93(3).

1993. Educating religiously in the multi-faith school. Religious Education, 88(1).

1992. Religious education as a second language. Religious Education, 87(4).

1991. How faith matures. Horizons, 18(1).

1990. Fashion me a people: curriculum in the church. Horizons, 17(1).

1986. Adolescent spirituality: pastoral ministry for high school and college youth. Religious Education, 81.

1986. Sourcebook for modern catechetics. Horizons, 13(1).

1983. Contemporary approaches to Christian education. Horizons, 10(2).

1982. Interplay: a theory of religion and education. Religious Education, 77(2).

1981. Ministry and education in conversation. The Living Light, 18(3).

1981. The art of Thomas Merton. Cithara, 20(2).

1980. Paradoxes of education in a republic. Religious Education, 75(4).

1980. Christian religious education. New Catholic World, 223(6).

1979. Myths in education. Religious Education, 74(3).

 

Scholarly Presentations

 

The Roman Catholic Dilemma: Teaching or Commanding Sexual Embodiment? Plenary address, AAR SBL Annual Regional Meeting, New Brunswick, NJ, March 17, 2011.

 

Swimming Against the Flow: Language and Political Design in Lay Ecclesial Ministry, REA Conference Presentation, Denver, CO, November 8, 2010.

 

The Language of lay Ecclesial Ministry, Presentation at Co-Workers in the Vineyard Conference, Fordham University, Sept. 25, 2009.

 

Human Sexuality in Roman Catholicism: A Tradition in Transformation. Invited Lecture in Religious Studies at Misericordia University, Dallas, PA. March 28, 2008.

 

Illness and the Paradox of Power: A Spirituality of Morality. Presentation at a Conference sponsored by Partners in Healing, Inc. on Loss, Illness and Death in Dialogue with Theology and Psychology departments at Fordham University, September 22, 2007.

 

Communion in The Dark: Cinema as ‘Cathedral’ to Tell the Sacred Tale. Paper presented at the Religious Education Association: An Association of Professors, Practitioners and Researchers in Religious Education (APPRRE), annual meeting, Atlanta, GA. November 4, 2006.

 

The Role of the Bishop: Vatican II and Beyond.  Presentation to Voice of the Faithful group, Norwalk, CT. December 4, 2005.

 

How the Church Orders its Life: Power and Authority, Presentation to Voice of the Faithful group, Norwalk, CT. January 8, 2004.

 

New Directions: The Inter-Religious, presentation at Fordham University’s Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education 40th, Anniversary. May 1, 2004.

 

A Crisis of Power and Authority?  Presentation to Voice of the Faithful, Pompton Lakes, NJ. June 16, 2004.

 

Respondent to papers of Drs. John Cecero, SJ and Sydney Callahan at Pastoral Conference: Human Sexuality in the Roman Catholic Tradition, Fordham University. October 28-29, 2004.

 

The Moribund Field of Religious Education: Its Wake and Our Work. Paper presented at APPRRE, annual meeting, Chicago, IL. November 8, 2003.

 

Calling All Adults: The Dilemma of Parish Religious Education.  Paper presented at APPRRE, annual meeting, Philadelphia, PA. November 2, 2002.

 

Is Adult Education Unique? Probing Some Premises and Possibilities. Paper presented at APPRRE, annual meeting, Minneapolis, MN. November 3, 2001.

                                                                       

The Schoolteacher's Dilemma: To Teach Religion or Not To Teach Religion? Paper presented at Mater Dei Institute of Education, Dublin City University, Ireland. October 5, 2001.

 

Continuity and Change in Religious Education: Building on the Past, Reimagining the Future.  Paper presented at Mater Dei Institute of Education, Dublin City University, Ireland. October 6, 2001.

                                                                                                                                               

Practicing the Trinity in the Local Church: The Symbol as Icon and Lure. Paper presentation at APPRRE annual meeting, Atlanta, GA. November 4, 2000.

 

Metaphors for Interreligious Teaching-Learning: Therapeutic and Political. Paper presented at APPRRE, Toronto, Canada. October 15-17, 1999.

 

Education Towards Spiritual Meaning and Commitment: Master Story, Spirituality and Language. Paper presented at APPRRE, Orlando, FL. November 22, 1998.

 

No Poetry, No Prophesy but Powerful Guys. Paper presented at APPRRE, Oakland, CA.

Nov. 25, 1997.

 

Religion in the Curriculum of Schools in the United States (1991). Paper presented at the American Academy of Religion, Eastern International Region, Toronto, Canada.

                                                                                                                                               

Family Functions and Social Harmony through Creative Education: Toward a Critical Revisioning (1991). Paper presented at Eighteenth International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, Seoul, Korea.

 

Family Life and Family Values in Modern Society (1991). Response presentation to paper by Dr. Harold Fallding at the Eighteen International Conference on the Unity of the Sciences, Seoul, Korea.

 

Becoming a Man: Diverse Cultural Concepts of Masculinity (1991). Paper presented at the meeting of American Professors and Researchers in Religious Education, Chicago, IL.

 

Teaching Toward Symbolic Re-shaping of Religious Traditions (1987). Paper presented at meeting of APPRRE, annual meeting, Toronto, Canada.

 

The Unification Church and its Challenge to Contemporary Christian Educators. (1985). Paper presented at APPRRE, annual meeting, Chicago, IL.

 

Educating the Imagination of Youth (1984). Paper presented at meeting of APPRRE, annual meeting, Chicago, IL.

                                                                                                                                               

Traditions of Religious Education (1983). Paper presented at meeting of College Theology Society, Radnor, PA.

 

Three Traditions of Religious Education (1983). Paper presented at meeting of

APPRRE, annual meeting, Anaheim, CA.

 

Religious Education and Professional Religious Education: A Conflict of Interest? (1982). Paper presented at American Professors and Researchers in Religious Education, Providence, RI.

 

Youth Education as Problematizing Political Forms (1981). Paper presented at APPRRE, annual meeting, East Lansing, MI.

 

Two Border Models of Religious Education: Checkpoints and Crossingpoints (1981). Paper presented at International Conference of Religious Education, East Lansing, MI.

 

The Local Church as Ecology of Human Development (1980). Paper presented at APPRRE annual meeting, Cincinnati, OH.

                                                                                                                                               

Communicative Competence and Religious Education (1979). Paper presented at APPRRE, annual meeting, Toronto, Canada.

 

The Family, Feminism and Religious Education (1978). Paper presented at APPRRE, annual meeting, Hartford, CT.

 

The Family and Religious Education (1978). Paper presented at International Conference of Religious Education, Chicago, IL.

 

 

Professional Activities

 

Executive Board Member, Religious Education Association/Association of Professors, Practitioners and Researchers in Religious Education (REA/APPRRE), 2003-2005, 2007-2010.

 

Governing Board Member, Institute of Irish Studies, Fordham University, Bronx, NY, 2000-2005.

                                                                                                                       

Visiting Scholar, St. Bonaventure University: designed and taught graduate course “Catholic Education: An Introduction” as part of Teacher Training to Canadian students, 1993-1994.

 

Book and Journal Article Reviewer and Referee: Twenty-Third Publications; Rowman and Littlefield; Liturgical Press; Religious Education; Horizons; Journal of Adult Theological Education.

 

Academic Consultant, University Committee on Pontifical Document on Catholic Universities.

                                                                                                                                               

 

Honors

 

Academic Research Grant Recipient, 1.2 million dollar three-year initiative titled “The Youth Discipleship Project” funded by the Lilly Endowment, 1998-2001.

 

Merit Increment Award, Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education, Fordham University, 1999, 2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008.

 

St. Bonaventure Faculty Research Grant Award, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993.

 

Appointed Representative, Annual Conference Planning Committee, Religious Education Association: Association of Professors, Practitioners and Researchers in Religious Education (REA:APPRRE), 1983.

 

Executive Board Member, REA:APPRRE, 1981-1983 , 2003-2005, 2007-2010.

 

 

 

Professional Development Participation

 

Quest for the Living God, Lecture by Elizabeth Johnson, Drew University, January 14, 2009.

 

The Uniqueness of Jesus, Lecture by Roger Haight SJ, Drew University, Sept. 22, 2009.

 

Intercultural Communication: Symposium on Communicative Theology, Fordham University, February 28 – March 1, 2008.

 

Fiction as Truth, REA:APPRRE Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL, November 7-9, 2008.

 

Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord, Pastoral Convocation, Fordham University, April 4, 2008.

 

Confronting Power and Sex in the Catholic Church, lecture by Bishop Geoffrey Robinson, Morristown, NJ, May 21, 2008.

 

Speaking the Truth Frankly in Ministry, presentation by Dr. Thomas Beaudoin, Doctoral Colloquium, GSRRE, Fordham, October 24, 2008.

 

Evolution and Faith: What Is At Stake? Lecture by John Haught sponsored by Fordham Center on Religion and Culture. Nov. 5, 2007.

 

REA:APPRRE Annual Meeting, Boston, November 2-4, 2007.

 

REA: APPRRE Annual Meeting, Atlanta, GA. November 3-5, 2006.

 

“The Teaching Ministry of the Congregations”, presentation by Richard Osmer, Doctoral Colloquium, Oct. 27, 2006.

 

“Irish American Men of the Cloth,” Institute of Irish Studies, Fordham University,  March 6, 2004.

 

“Shall the Laity Be Liberated”? Scott Appleby, Sapientia et Doctrina, Fordham University March 25, 2004.

 

“The Word of the Wise: Faith and Poetic Imagination”, Wendy Wright, Sapientia et Doctrina, Fordham University, March 30, 2004.

 

“Justice in a Globalizing World: The Jesuit Perspective”, Sapientia et Doctrina, Paul Locatelli, SJ  May 3, 2004.

 

“Pastoral Conference: Human Sexuality in the Roman Catholic Tradition”, Fordham University, October 28-29, 2004.

 

“Teaching Peace in Times of War” with Fr. Daniel Berrigan SJ., March 5, 2003.

 

“Changing Challenges for the Ethic of War” by Bryan Hehir, Fordham University, February 6, 2002.

 

“The Church and Irish America”, conference, Fordham University, March 9, 2002.

 

“Sacred Territoriality: Prospects for Jewish, Christian and Muslim Trialogue Since September 11”, by Rev. Patrick Ryan, SJ, Fordham University, April 29, 2002.

 

“The Population of Hell” by Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ, Fordham University, McGinley Lecture, November 20, 2002.

 

“The Church in Present Day Ireland”, conferences with presentations by Dr. Dermot Keogh, Rev. Seamus Murphy, SJ, Dr. Patricia Casey, and Rev. Vincent Toomey, Fordham University, March 10, 2001.                                                     

 

“Are There Some Things Money Can't Buy?: Markets, Moral, and Civil Life”, The Gannon Lecture by Dr. Michael Sandel, Professor of Government at Harvard University, Fordham University, February 13, 2001.

                                                                                                                                               

“The Roots of the African American Religious Experience”, lecture by Dr. Albert Raboteau, Professor, Religion Department, Princeton University, Fordham University, February 7, 2001.

 

“Islam's Challenge to Christianity”, lecture by Fr. Gerhard Bowering, S.J., Professor of Islamic Studies, Yale University, Fordham University, September 26, 2000.

 

“Zen's Gift to the West”, lecture by Rev. Robert Kennedy, S.J., Professor of Theology, St. Peter's College, Jersey City, NJ, Fordham University, April 5, 2000.

 

“The Papacy for a Global Church: Questions at Issue”, McGinley Lecture by Rev. Avery Dulles, S.J., The Laurence J. McGinley Professor, Fordham University, March 22, 2000.

 

“Goddess in the Classroom: The Promotion of Religious Diversity on the Jesuit Campus”, lecture by Rev. Francis Clooney, S.J. Professor of Theology, Boston College, Fordham University, March 9, 2000.

 

“The North American Intellectual Tradition”, lecture by Camille Paglia, Professor of Humanities, Philadelphia College of Performing Arts, Fordham University, February 17, 2000.

 

“The Scapegoat Generation: America's War on Adolescence,” lecture by Dr. Mike Males, Professor at University of California at Irvine, at Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, CA. January 29, 1999.

 

“Body , Eating and Identity: Multiple Perspectives,” Fordham University, February 17, 1999.

 

“Problems of a World Ethic,” lecture by Hans Kung, professor Emeritus at Tubingen University, Fordham University, February 18, 1999.

                                                                                                                                               

Fordham Faculty Seminar with Hans Kung, Fordham University, February 18, 1999.

 

Symposium on the encyclical of Pope John Paul ll, Fides et Ratio, with guest speaker Kenneth L. Woodward, senior writer for Newsweek magazine, and responses by Rev. Joseph Koterski, SJ and Professor Susan Simmonaitis, Fordham University, March 2, 1999.

                                                                                                                                               

“The Vocation of Teaching: The Ignatian Spirit and the Soul Pedagogy,” presented by Rev. Gerald Blaszczak, SJ, University Chaplin and Rector, Fordham Jesuit Community, at Louis Calder Center, Fordham University, Armonk, NY., April 17, 1999.

 

“Christian Jewish Relations: Controversies and Challenges for the Future,” presentation by Dr. Eugene Fisher, John Courtney Murray Forum, Fordham University, May 4, 1999.

 

Partners in Healing Conference, keynote presentation by Dr. James Forbes, Senior Minister Riverside Church. NY and a series of workshops by guest lecturers, Fordham University, September 25, 1999.

 

“Particularity, Universalism and Religious Pluralism,”  American Professors and Researchers in Religious Education  Conference, in Toronto, Canada, October 15-17, 1999.

           

“Aliens and Others: A Crisis of Discernment, I and II,” Quentin Lauer Memorial lectures by Dr. Richard Kearney, University College, Dublin, Ireland, Fordham University, November 17-18, 1999.

 

“Sailing Beyond the Horizon: Challenges for the Third Millennium,” Conference at Louis Calder Center, Armonk, NY., Fordham University, April 4, 1998.                       

 

“Megatrends in Twentieth Century American Catholicism,” Conference at St. Elizabeth's College, Convent Station, NJ, September 19, 1998.

 

“Catholic Education: Recovering the Past,” presenter Dr. James Davidson at St. Elizabeth's College, Convent Station, NJ, September.19, 1998.

 

“Personality Types: Jung,” presented by Dr. Barry Childers at Public Library Fairlawn, NJ, September 12, 1998.

 

“Catholic Identity: Religion and Education-Past, Present and Future,” conference at Fordham University, October 31, 1998.

                                                                                                                                               

“Differing Journeys: Masculine and Feminine Spirituality,” presenters Drs. John

Shea and Janet Ruffing, Fordham University, March 24 and March 31, 1998.

 

Seminar on Postmodernism, presenter Dr. Karen Barnhardt, Fordham University (Lincoln Center), April 3, 1998.

 

Participant in Educational Conferences at the Renewal Center Kirkridge, PA, 1985, 1987, 1992.

 

Regular participation at regional conferences of APPRRE and The College Theology Society.                                                                                                                   

Educational Leadership Course Participant, Graduate Department of Educational Administration, Supervision and Curriculum, St. Bonaventure University, 1986.

 

 

Lecture and Workshop Invitations

 

Human Sexuality in Roman Catholicism: A Tradition in Transformation, Invited Lecture in Religious Studies at Misericordia University, Dallas, PA. March 28, 2008.

 

Marrying Well: A Theology of Christian Marriage. A four part lecture series sponsored by the Northern NJ Association of Churches, Jan./Feb. 2007.

 

Paths to the Sacred: The Religious Journey.  A four part lecture series sponsored by the Northern NJ Association of Churches, Jan./Feb. 2006.

 

Film as Religious Experience: Screening the 10 Commandments.  A four part lecture series sponsored by the Northern NJ Association of Churches, Jan./Feb. 2005.

 

Tradition and Transformation: The Catholic Story.  A four part lecture series sponsored by Northern NJ Association of Churches, Jan./Feb. 2003.

 

Mission and Ministry in the Church Today.  Presentation in Scripture Lecture Series at Sacred Heart Church, Suffern, NY, June 5, 2001.

 

Meeting God in the Seasons of Our Lives.  Presentation at New Rochelle Church of God, New Rochelle, NY, June 24, 2001.

 

Re-imagining Catholicism.  A series of four presentations in a collaborative adult religious education program (Growing in Faith and Theology) sponsored by a cluster of area churches in Bergen County, NJ, January 17, 24 and 31, and February 7, 2002 at St. Elizabeth's, Wyckoff, NJ.

 

Aging and the Spiritual Journey. Presentation, St. Mary's Greenwich, CT., February 7, 1999.

 

RCIA and Models of Religious Education. Presentation as part of the Living Church Program for St. Margaret's Institute, Diocese of Dunkeld, Scotland, at Fordham University March 24, 1999. 

 

Imagination and Religious Education; Winter seminar presentation, Fordham University, Jan. 20, 1996.

 

Thanksgiving: The Gift of Religious Traditions. Presentation at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church, Pompton Plains, N.J. Nov. 22, 1995.

 

Re-Imagining Parish Ministry: Resources for an Emerging Future.  Two workshop presentations, Sept.1989, at Western New York Conference on Catholic Education. Education: Friend or Foe to Congregational Life. Presentation, Oct. 1987, at First Presbyterian Church, Olean, NY.

 

Religious Education as Symbolic Re-shaping of the Christian Community. Series of lectures to Diocesan Directors of New England, Richfield, CT., June 1986.

 

Profession and Professionalizing Religious Educators. Lecture to Directors of Religious Education Archdiocese of Hartford, CT. Feb. 1986.

 

Spiritual Formation: A Catholic Perspective. Lecture at Houghton College, May 1986.

 

Religious Education as Disclosure, Disruption, Discernment. Lecture at Unification Theological Seminary, Barrytown, NY., May 1985.

 

Leadership Training Program. Workshops for Churches of Southern Tier, Communiversity Program, St. Bonaventure University, 1985-1986.

 

Presented a series of 5 Lectures on The Educator's Role in Inviting Youth into the Public Sphere at the Tenth Annual Workshop on Youth Ministry, St. John's University, NY., June 17-22, 1984.

 

Adolescence and Conversion: Toward Religious Maturity. Presentation at Third Annual Evangelization Conference, Chicago, IL., Oct. 1983.

 

Catechesis and Priestly Formation. Lecture, Christ the King Seminary, East Aurora, NY., Nov. 1982.

 

 

Major Professional Affiliations

 

Religious Education Association: An Association of Professors, Practitioners and Researchers in Religious Education (APPRRE)

College Theology Society      


Excerpts from Publications

Scott, K. (2011). “Swimming against the tide: language and political design in lay ecclesial ministry,” in Harold Daly Horell and Donna Eschenauer (eds). Reflections on renewal: lay ecclesial ministry and the church. Liturgical Press, 53, 55.

This essay explores the mutually reinforcing relation between language, the ministerial practices of participants, and the institutional order that houses and embodies both. It is a study of how language both embodies and reinforces patterns of power in an institution…A change of language is inextricably tied to institutional change…The nomenclature “lay ecclesial ministry” is an obstacle to ministerial renewal and Roman Catholic Church reform and needs problematizing. The term masks and perpetuates a medieval form of Roman Catholic institutional life. Constructively, what is required is a reshaped ministerial language that correlates with a re-patterned ministerial design. This reshaping is vital to alleviate the dissonance experienced in the practice of church ministry today and the requisite reordering and interplay between diverse ministerial forms…The first step in institutional reform, then, is linguistic resistance to the prevailing operating terms and categories. This is easier said than done! Nothing is harder than getting human beings to alter the way they speak when these factors exist: 1. The present is somewhat still tolerable. 2. The cost of change seems exceedingly high. 3. The worst has not happened yet – it is still in the future…Ministerial development and reform are inherently tied to institutional development and reform. And both, as Wittgenstein noted above, function within a context, a language-game, and its set of related practices.

 

Scott, K. (2010). “Illness and the paradox of power: a spirituality of mortality,” in Beverly Musgrave and Neil J. McGettigan, OSA (eds). Spiritual and Psychology Aspects of Illness. Paulist Press, 101, 103, 105-106.

We need an approach to loss, illness, and death that is both religious and educational…Such an approach, I propose, has to come to grips with the dynamics of human power. Power, then, is the hermeneutical lens through which I will view the issues of loss, illness, and death…James Baldwin wrote that Americans are not very good at paradox. They tend to categorize, simplify, and separate reality into polar opposites: black/white, straight/gay, life/death, us/them, and so forth. Paradox is, on the other hand, an apparent contradiction. It is one of the hallmarks of human maturity, and, according to John Shea, where we may find God again. Religious traditions, with their sacred texts and representative iconic figures, disclose for us the paradox of human power. Power for many of us in a dirty word…Power is ubiquitous. It is as ubiquitous as persuasion or friendship. It is an inescapable dimension of human relations. It is fluid, flowing through the entire network of group life. It is what Daniel Finn calls “the software of daily life.” Its reality must be attended to if it is to play a part in the transformation of the world…The real paradox of human power is that power can be almost the exact opposite of force or control. Power can also mean receptiveness. It is an invitation to cooperation. People hanker for an expression of power that is mutual and communal. Etymologically, the word has the same root meaning as possible, passive, or potential – “the capacity for action”…The paradox of power is that power begins in vulnerability or passivity. But, ironically, it is our human receptiveness or passivity that is our strength. We are able to exercise control of our surroundings by ideas and language. St Paul writes, “for power is made perfect in weakness…for whenever I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor 12:9-10). The paradox at the heart of human existence is that receptivity, and our responding to it, is more powerful than simple coercion…to paraphrase Lord Acton’s statement: power, in this form, tends to heal and reveal, and absolute power, in this form, heals and reveals absolutely.

 

Scott, K. (2009). Book Review of Jana Marguerite Bennett’s Water is thicker than blood: an Augustinian theology of marriage and singleness. In Theology Today, 63(3), 403-405.

This sparkling, stimulating, and challenging book can be read on three levels. First, it can be viewed as a form of countercultural ecclesiology. Second, it can be seen as a prophetic protest against the idolatry of contemporary marriage and family. Third, it can be interpreted as an exercise in Christian social, sexual, and political ethics for everyday life. At whatever level the reader approaches the book, it interrupts our normal assumptions and calls for a conversion in our thinking…she surfaces in different areas of the pool than most of her colleagues. Bennett is suspicious of two overarching cultural ideals: the idealization of marriage and family and the vapid individualization running through contemporary U.S. lifestyles…For Bennett, immersion in the life of the church reforms people’s identities and their sense of what makes for a “household.” In this way, the meaning of household and what constitutes membership in it is transformed. The reason why? Water is thicker than blood. Households, in turn, in their multiple forms, are one of the primary places where virtues are learned and practiced toward achieving the end of dwelling in God…I came away from the book with a number of counterperspectives and questions. When Bennett takes the church as her starting point and center of gravity for seeing the world differently, does she not slip into a form of ecclesiolatry? Is all grace on the ecclesial side and all demons on the side of the individual’s needs and desires? Could romance, passion, and bodily pleasure also be a means of access to the divine…Yet if she logically follows the criteria she so vividly illustrates, Christian gay and lesbian households may also dwell in the household of God.

 

Scott, K. (2006). “Cohabitation and marriage as a life-process,” in Perspectives on marriage: a reader. 3rd edition. Kieran Scott and Michael Warren (eds)., Oxford University Press, 115, 120, 122.

Widespread cohabitation is a fairly recent phenomenon. It has become a major social phenomenon in the past 25 years. Its upsurge spans both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, and even most parts of the Western industrialized world. Churches seem perplexed, if not paralyzed in their response to the phenomenon. Pastoral ministers are still learning how to address the issue in marriage preparation…This chapter takes a fresh look at cohabitation. It makes some critical distinctions as a way of seeking a moral re-consideration of the issue. First, a framework is set for our proposal by offering a stage theory of marriage. Second, current social science research is presented on the topic. Third, some traditional pastoral solutions by the churches are described. Finally, a moral re-assessment of the issue is proposed in light of historical precedent and contemporary personal and pastoral needs…Contemporary theology (and religious studies) has to perform a double act of listening. It must listen to the voices of its traditions and the voices surrounding those traditions. It must be able to make connections between the Christian tradition and ordinary life – if the gospel is to be capable of touching and transforming people. In light of the topic at hand, a Christian theology of marriage must take seriously both the Christian traditions of marriage and the difficult challenges facing marriage today…The reclaiming of the notion – and ritual – of betrothal helps us to see marriage again not as a simple event, but as a “process.” This, in turn, would enable couples to begin to explore the sacred dimensions of their bond before they solidify their union for life. It would support them in the process of linking the various stages of their relationship. And, of vital importance, it would help couples to weave their relationship into the larger social fabric of family, community and church.

 

Scott, K. (2005). “The schoolteacher's dilemma: to teach religion or not to teach religion?” in Oliver Brennan (ed). Critical issues in religious education. Veritas Publications, 67-68.

I wish to make the case that the teaching of religion in our schools is one of the most universal, most urgent and most practical questions confronting our society today. The events of 11 September 2001 and its aftermath reveal that the main conflict in the world today is religious. Religion is not an innocent or a neutral force on the stage of history. The key question confronting us is: Will it be a life-giving force or will it turn deadly? A good starting point would be to seek to understand it. This is the unique contribution the teacher of religion can make to the current and the next generation. But, a prior and primary question, and the focus of our attention here is: What does it mean to teach religion? I will begin to decode this term by unveiling the meaning of the verb ‘to teach,’ in its various forms, and with a particular focus on classroom teaching(s) in schools.

 

Scott, K. (2005). “Continuity and change in religious education: building on the past, re-imagining the future,” in Oliver Brennan (ed). Critical issues in religious education. Veritas Publications, 79-80.

In spite of the case I attempted to make in the previous chapter for the teaching of religion, schools alone cannot carry the entire burden and challenge of religious education. To concentrate exclusively on the religious instruction of children and adolescents within school settings is equivalent to a bird attempting to fly on one wing. It simply won’t work. It is inadequate for a full, intelligent religious life. Although schooling in religion can have a short-term effect upon students (in terms of understanding), any lasting effect is discernible only when this schooling is reinforced by family ties, prayer ties, social outreach ties; that is, other diverse and complementary forms of religiously educative activities.

 

Scott, K. (2001). “A middle way: the road not traveled,” The Living Light: An Interdisciplinary Review of Christian Education, 37(4), 37, 42.

When old debates and controversies keep resurfacing, one can safely say that past attempts at resolution have been inadequate. When new attempts to address the problem repeat the standard formulation of the issue, one can safely say history has not taught its lesson. This seems to be the case in the “nurture versus conversion” debate in current Roman Catholic catechetical circles…There is a second face of religious education, however, that Groome and the catechumenate model do not attend to. This face (or form) of religious education is to provide an understanding of religion. Religion here is an academic category. Its object is multiple: the phenomena of religion. Its subject matter can be the content of one’s own religion and the religious life of the Other. This activity is mostly a matter of the mind. The focus is on understanding. But how does one understand religion? An indispensable starting point is one’s own religion. But to understand is to compare; to understand one’s own religion involves comparing it to some other religion. This is the study of religion. The teacher of religion in a classroom facilitates this conversation. He or she designs an environment to enable students (young and old) to step back from their immediate practice of religion and try to understand. The teacher of religion is a provocateur of the mind, one who searches for truth that may go beyond all institutions. This form of teaching is an alternative to imposition, inculcation, and absolute proclamations. The sole aim, however, is understanding. The student has to discover the link between the (new) understanding and external practice for him- or herself. 

 

Scott, K. (1993). “The new man and male identity,” in Kieran Scott and Michael Warren (eds)., Perspectives on marriage: a reader. Oxford University Press, 324, 333.

Men are awakening today to a crisis of their gender identity. If patriarchy is spent and if we have seen enough of Rambo and the Marlboro man, where does that leave us? What does it mean to be a man? What is required of mature men? What is distinctive in our humanness? These questions are percolating today as an increasing number of restless men face ontological and ultimate questions in their lives. Men are facing a profound vocational crisis, and many feel as if they are involved in a night battle in a jungle against an unseen foe. Exactly what we are supposed to become is not clear. At the root of the problem is a defective mythology of manhood, a kind of male mystique...To be fully male, then, does not mean embracing something of gender foreignness. The vision for men is not to develop “feminine” energies (or for women to develop “masculine” energies). Rather, the vision for men is the fullest development of our masculine energies. These are the only human energies we have, and the invitation is to develop them more richly.  

 

Scott, K. (1984). “Three traditions of religious education,” Religious Education, 79(3), 323-324, 328, 334, 339.

This essay is a proposal to satisfy a “blessed rage for order” in the current field of religious education. This order is necessary on the following accounts: 1. No clearly defined field of religious education exists today…2. No consensus exists on the usage of key terminology in religious education today…3. Consequently, no clearly defined purpose exists for religious education today…4. Finally, in spite of some recent promising efforts, adequate attention to the theory of religious education has been found wanting. The results have been: foundational principles go unquestioned, philosophical options blurred and professional identity confused. In effect, religious education as a field and profession remains notably undeveloped…In the revisionist tradition, I identify religious educators engaged in the work of critical hermeneutics, traditioning and transformation, and educational emancipation…Genuine intra- and inter-religious dialogue is sought through a process of self-reflection, sympathetic understanding, open encounter and mutual exchange…Proselytizing, evangelizing and dogmatizing are contrary to its spirit and purpose. Rather, the commitment is to uninhibited interaction and inquiry in which understanding is sought…In the short run, this form of religious education may be a threat to the church. In the long run, however, it will give the church credibility and legitimacy before the public world.


Recommended Readings

 

(listed in reverse chronological order)

Scott, K. (2011). “Swimming against the tide: language and political design in lay ecclesial ministry,” in Harold Daly Horell and Donna Eschenauer (eds). Reflections on renewal: lay ecclesial ministry and the church. Liturgical Press.

[This article stresses how philosophical analysis and language modification can aid our understanding of the institutional order of the church for the purpose of ministerial renewal.]

Scott, K. (2007). Human sexuality in the Catholic tradition. (eds) Kieran Scott and Harold Daley Horell. Rowman and Littlefield.

[This text examines the serious dissonance between official magisterial teaching about sex and the lived practice of today’s Catholics, as well as explores concrete ways in which the conversation can be improved as a sustainable dialectic among all voiced partners.]

Scott, K. and Michael Warren (eds) (2006). Perspectives on marriage: a reader. 3rd edition. Oxford University Press.

[Widely used in colleges and universities, this text is required reading for anyone serious about exploring and challenging the reality of committed human relationships and the legal, sociological, psychological, and spiritual nuances of marriage.]

Scott, K. (2005). “Continuity and change in religious education: building on the past, re-imagining the future” in Oliver Brennan (ed.). Critical issues in religious education. Veritas Publications.

[Scott investigates the need for an updated, practical, and lived experience of religious education in contemporary culture while working to harness the wisdom of the past in traditional Celtic, United States, and British educational forms and practices in concert with modern sensibilities.]

Scott, K. (2002). “Is adult education unique? Probing some premises and possibilities,” The Living Light: An Interdisciplinary Review of Christian Education, 39(1):74-86.

[This article addresses the philosophical and linguistic backdrop of contemporary adult education regarding its literature, presuppositions, teaching methods, and what is understood as the domain and uniqueness of the category adulthood today.]

Scott, K. (1984). “Three traditions of religious education,” Religious Education, 79(3).

[In this seminal article, Scott charges us to examine the reality – that the current field of religious education is in desperate need for a spring cleaning in terms of the field’s poorly defined domain, unclear and inconsistently applied terminology, and diffused purposes and goals – in order to bring forth clarity of concrete lived religious education and hope.]


Author Information

Robert Parmach

Robert J. Parmach (Ph.D., Fordham University) is academic dean of freshmen, director of the Manresa scholars program, and instructor of philosophy and theology at Fordham College at Rose Hill, Fordham University, Bronx, NY, USA.  His teaching and academic scholarship includes philosophical and religious hermeneutics, philosophical theology, ethics for young adults, and Jesuit pedagogy.

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