Todd WalatkaAbout this Episode:

Interviewed by Kellogg Doctoral Student Affiliate Joachim Ozonze, theologian Todd Walatka introduces his work in progress on the thinking and witness of Salvadoran Archbishop St. Oscar Romero, who illustrates a way in which Catholic social teaching has been received and developed in Latin America.

Show Notes:

Welcome to Global Stage, a podcast highlighting academic and policy-oriented international research on democracy and human development! Global Stage is brought to you by the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, part of the Keough School of Global Affairs at the University of Notre Dame. Your host is Joachim Ozonze, a peace studies and theology PhD student at the Kellogg Institute.

In today’s episode, Joachim welcomes guest Todd Walatka, associate teaching professor and assistant chair for graduate studies in the Department of Theology, where he specializes in contemporary systematic Catholic theology. His research focuses on influential Latin American thinkers. His ongoing book project explores the Archbishop Oscar Romero.

To begin, Todd shares that he discovered Archbishop Oscar Romero through his exploration of other Latin American thinkers. Much of his work had centered around Latin American theologians emerging from the Vatican II. He tends to sneak Romero into nearly every course he teaches, which is quite easy thanks to the large number of homilies the Archbishop gave. One of Todd’s main goals as a professor is to help as many people encounter Romero as possible. His witness really speaks to our contemporary moment, what it means to live a Christian life in a polarized society, unity grounded in justice, and more. He also challenges every student in a particular and productive way to see something more.

In some ways, we may approach Romero in terms of his writings, teaching and ideas. He was responsible for developing a Latin American tradition of Catholic Social Teaching in many powerful ways. For example, he represents the traditional regard for the agency of the people. He also opens up a space for our moral imaginations in a world marked by suffering and structures of sin. What would it look like to respond to a structure of sin without entirely alienating the other side? How might we love our enemies?

Next, Todd highlights his current book project collaboration with some of the top scholars in the world on Romero’s thought. The basis is Romero’s contributions to social catholic teaching as we know it today. In closing, he shares his hope that the book brings people together and contributes to the study of Romero.

Learn more about Todd Walatka.
Learn more about the Kellogg Institution for International Studies


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