Oct. 28, 2002



Noted Theologian to Deliver Inaugural Lecture at CUA


Gösta O. Hallonsten, the Carl J. Peter Professor of Systematic Theology and Ecumenism at CUA’s School of Religious Studies, will deliver his inaugural lecture, “Vision of God – Vision of Unity: The Legacy of Carl J. Peter and the Future of Ecumenism,” in the Herzfeld Auditorium at Hannan Hall on Tuesday, Nov. 12 at 5:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. A reception will follow the lecture.


Professor Hallonsten, who joined CUA’s faculty last year, is an international scholar in the field of historical and systematic theology. He most recently taught theology at Lund University in Sweden.


Currently he serves on the International Theological Commission, an advisory council for the Vatican’s doctrinal policy setting body, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. CUA now has three representatives on the 30-member commission – including the Rev. Christopher Begg, professor of Old Testament, and the Rev. Francis Moloney, S.D.B., professor of New Testament — more than any other academic institution in the world.


The Rev. Stephen Happel, dean of the School of Religious Studies, says Professor Hallonsten’s involvement in the Vatican committee “demonstrates the Holy Father’s trust in our professors of Old and New Testament  – Professors Begg and Moloney – and now our newest professor of systematic theology and ecumenism. In addition, our ability to contribute to the development of theology throughout the world has been recognized.”


Professor Hallonsten had been an ordinary professor of theology at Lund University for the past two years. He joined the Swedish university in 1973 as graduate student, and became an assistant professor there in 1985. In 1996, he also was a visiting professor at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.


Professor Hallonsten is a specialist in the ancient writers of the Church, such as Tertullian, and has studied the key ecumenical issues of grace, free will and sin. He is concerned with bridging the traditions: Lutheran and Catholic, Catholic and Orthodox. His academic work already has contributed to better understanding among the churches of Eastern and Western Europe, Dean Happel says.


He has been a member of six Catholic Church-related committees, including the aforementioned International Theological Commission and the Historical-Theological Commission of the Great Jubilee.


“As a Swedish Catholic, Professor Hallonsten brings to our faculty not only a unique northern European viewpoint, but a sense of what it means to teach theology from within a minority community evangelizing a highly independent, secularized culture,” says Father Happel. “We are honored to have him as a colleague.”


Professor Hallonsten was born in Sweden and is married with four children. He speaks 10 languages: Swedish, Danish, Norwegian, English, German, French, Italian, Latin, Greek and Hebrew.


MEDIA: Those interested in covering Professor Hallonsten’s inaugural lecture must contact Chris Harrison or Victor Nakas, at 202-319-5600.