The Catholic University of America

Experts on Pope Francis, Latin America, St. Francis, and the History of Jesuits

Faculty experts at The Catholic University of America are available to discuss topics related to the election and installation of Pope Francis, Latin America and the history of the Society of Jesus (Jesuit order), St. Francis of Assisi, and Catholic doctrine.

Faculty experts have participated in two media call-ins related to Pope Benedict's resignation and the conclave process. Click the hyperlinks to access those discussions. A list of clips in which these faculty experts have been quoted on the papal transition can be found by clicking here.

For assistance in reaching sources, contact Katie Lee or Mary McCarthy Hines in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600 or

Papal Installation

  • Kurt Martens, associate professor of canon law, is an expert on papal elections, the Roman Curia, hierarchical recourse and procedures, and the structures of the Church. He is a consultant to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Committee on Canonical Affairs.

    Contact Martens at 202-319-6415 or
  • Rev. Mark Morozowich, dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies, can address general questions about the Catholic Church and the papacy. In addition, he is an authority on early Christian liturgy and eastern Churches (Orthodox and Catholic). He can discuss Pope Francis' long history of affection for the Eastern Churches, which began in his seminary career as he frequented the liturgy of the Ukrainian Catholic Church. Father Morozowich can comment on the role of the Eastern Catholic Churches and the importance of the Pope as the guarantor of unity among Catholic rites.

    To arrange interviews with Father Morozowich, contact Victor Nakas in the Office of Public Affairs at 202-319-5600 or
  • Christopher Ruddy, associate professor of historical and systematic theology, is an expert on the theology of Pope Benedict XVI, the papacy and bishops’ conferences, ecclesiology, the Catholic Church’s role in public life, and ecumenism. He has served as adviser-consultant to several departments of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. This semester he is teaching a graduate course on Pope Benedict.

    Contact Ruddy at 202-319-6506 or
  • Monsignor Kevin Irwin, the Monsignor Walter J. Schmitz, S. S. Professor of Liturgical Studies, is an expert on the liturgy and Catholic ceremonies. He was a frequent commentator for the media on liturgical matters related to Pope John Paul II’s death and funeral and Pope Benedict XVI’s installation Mass. He is currently in Rome and available for phone interviews.

    Contact Monsignor Irwin at
  • Andreas Widmer, director of entrepreneurship programs in the School of Business and Economics, served as a Swiss Guard under Pope John Paul II from 1986 to 1988. He returns to the Vatican every year to serve during the swearing-in ceremony of new members of the guard.

    In addition to speaking about ceremonies and life inside the Vatican, Widmer can also comment on the New Evangelization, in particular how it can be applied in the business world, and economic development from a Catholic perspective.

    He is the author of The Pope and the CEO, John Paul II’s Leadership Lessons to a Young Swiss Guard (Emmaus Road Publishing 2011).

    Contact Widmer at

Latin America and Jesuits

  • Thomas Cohen, director of the Oliveira Lima Library and associate professor of history, researches the religious history of Latin America and the history of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits).

    Contact Cohen at 202-319-6442 or
  • Rev. John T. Ford, C.S.C., professor of theology and religious studies and coordinator of Hispanic/Latin Programs, can comment on 19th-century theology, especially the First Vatican Council and Newman, contemporary ecumenism, and Hispanic/Latino theology.

    He has served as president of the North American Academy of Ecumenists, a member of the United Methodist-Roman Catholic Dialogue, a participant in the Reformed-Roman Catholic International Dialogue, an observer-consultant for the Consultation on Church Union-Churches Uniting in Christ, and a member of the Faith and Order Commission of the National Council of Churches. He is currently chair of the Ecumenism Committee of the Washington Theological Consortium.

    Contact Father Ford at or 202-319-6501.
  • David Lantigua, assistant professor of moral theology, researched medieval and modern Catholic social thought with a focus on church autonomy, the ethics of evangelization, religious freedom, and human rights.

    Lantigua's specialization is 16th-century Spanish debates about war and conquest in the New World. He can speak broadly about theological and cultural matters pertaining to the New Evangelization in Latin America.

    Contact Lantigua at 202-319-5668 or
  • Mario Ortiz, associate professor of Spanish and director of CUA’s Latin American and Latino Studies program, can discuss topics of the Latin American Church and social justice issues; and Latinos in U.S. and the Church.

    Contact Ortiz at 202-319-5240 or
  • Enrique Pumar, chair and associate professor of sociology, is a member of the advisory board of the Smithsonian Institution’s Latino Center. He serves on the editorial board of the Delaware Review of Latin American Studies and is the consulting editor for sociology to the Library of Congress Handbook of Latin American Studies. He recently edited Hispanics Migration and Urban Development (Emerald Press, 2012).

    Contact Pumar at 202-319-5445 or
  • Julia Young, assistant professor of history, studies Latin American history since the 16th century, global migration, religion, and diaspora. She can discuss the history of Church-state relations in Latin America, and contemporary Catholicism in Latin America.

    Contact Young at 202-319-5484 or
  • Martha Cruz Zuniga, assistant professor of economics, is an expert on development economics and issues affecting developing countries (including poverty, education, and migration).

    Contact Cruz Zuniga at 202-319-5697 or

Life and Legacy of St. Francis

  • Rev. Regis J. Armstrong, O.F.M. Cap., John C. and Gertrude P. Hubbard Professor of Religious Studies, is an expert on St. Francis of Assisi.

    Contact Father Armstrong at 202-319-1652 or
  • Joshua Benson, assistant professor of Systematic Theology, is an expert on the history of Franciscan thought. He holds a master’s degree in Franciscan Studies from the Franciscan Institute at St. Bonaventure University.

    Contact Benson at 202-319-6887 or

Catholic Doctrine

  • John S. Grabowski, associate professor of theology and religious studies, is a professor of moral theology. He can discuss Church doctrine on marriage, the family, and sexuality.

    Contact Grabowski 202-319-6509 or
  • Chad C. Pecknold, assistant professor of theology, teaches fundamental theology and political theology. He is available to comment on topics of the Church’s social and political teachings, the New Evangelization, secularism, and Christian unity and political division.

    He is the author of Transforming Postliberal Theology (T&T Clark, 2005) and Christianity and Politics: A Brief Guide to the History (Cascade 2010).

    Contact Pecknold at 202-319-6899 or
  • Rev. Paul Sullins, associate professor of sociology, has written more than 100 journal articles and research reports on issues of faith and culture, religious institutions, clergy and social issues. He is the co-editor of the book Catholic Social Thought: American Reflections on the Compendium (Lexington: 2009) and author of the forthcoming book Married Catholic Priests.

    Father Sullins is the director of the Summer Institute of Catholic Social Thought, a board member of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists, a fellow of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute, and the Ignatius Loyola Fellow for Catholic Identity at the Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education.

    Contact Father Sullins at 202-319-5943 or