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John Courtney Murray Award 2008
Lisa Sowle Cahill

The academic path taken by this year's recipient of the John Courtney Murray Award runs from west to east: undergraduate studies on the West Coast; graduate studies in the Midwest; and, now for more than three decades, a teaching position on the East Coast.

Our awardee has made outstanding and influential contributions in diverse areas of Christian ethics. In bioethics, invoking the tradition of Catholic social teaching about the common good, solidarity, human dignity, and the option for the poor in order to argue for an allocation of healthcare resources that is fair and just to all members of society. In sexual ethics, reflecting critically on the topics of gender, parenthood, and personal responsibility. In fundamental theological ethics, leading ecumenical deliberations on the relationship of Jesus Christ, the Scriptures, and the moral tradition.

This eminent reputation is underscored by a summary of our honoree's scholarly publications and academic honors. Author of eight books and editor of five others. Writer of more than 150 scholarly essays. Mentor of hundreds of students from around the world. Recipient of nine honorary degrees. Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. President of the Society of Christian Ethics. President of the Catholic Theological Society of America.

However, this person's labors as a theologian have not been confined to working with students and colleagues in the library, the office, and the classroom. Here are some of the tasks our awardee has taken on in direct service of the wider church and society. Consultant to the U.S. Bishops in their preparations for the 1987 Synod on the Laity, their 1987 pastoral document on AIDS, their 1992 project on "domestic church," and their implementation of the Vatican's
Apostolic Constitution on Catholic Universities. Presenter of a paper on "Women's Health Issues" at a conference of the Vatican's Pontifical Academy for Life in 1998. Member of the Catholic Common Ground Initiative. Advisor to Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. Advisor to the campaign of Barack Obama to become President of the United States.

Fellow members of the CTSA, please join me in congratulating a graduate of Santa Clara University, a student of James Gustafson at the University of Chicago Divinity School, the J. Donald Monan Professor of Theology at Boston College, the wife of Larry and the mother of their five children, our esteemed colleague and dear friend, LISA SOWLE CAHILL.

June 7, 2008
Margaret O’Gara, President, Catholic Theological Society of America

Award text for 2008: Lisa Cowle Cahill (pdf file)

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