The Catholic University of America

June 18, 2015

Experts Available to Comment on Pope’s Encyclical on the Environment

The following experts from The Catholic University of America are available to comment on the Pope’s encyclical on the environment, which is expected June 18. For more information on these experts and links to more recent media appearances, click on their hyperlinked names to view their pages in the Experts Guide.

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

  • Patricia Andrasik, assistant professor and head of sustainability outreach for the School of Architecture and Planning, can comment on topics related to the environment and building design, analytics, and performance.

    Contact Andrasik at or 202-319-6682.

  • Rev. Regis Armstrong, O.F.M. Cap., John C. and Gertrude P. Hubbard Professor of Religious Studies, is an expert on St. Francis of Assisi and can speak about the saint whose name Pope Francis took and Franciscan spirituality. He was recently quoted in the Huffington Post on the name of the encyclical.

    Contact Father Regis at or 202-319-1652.

  • William Dinges, professor and area director of religion and culture, can comment on topics related to the Church and the environment, Catholicism in American culture, and trends in the American Church. He was recently interviewed for the National Catholic Reporter about Catholics’ views of climate change, and by National Journal on the history of the Church on climate change.

    Contact Dinges at or 202-319-6890.
  • Kevin Forbes, associate professor of economics, can comment on the link between economics and the environment.

    Contact Forbes at or 202-319-4794.
  • Monsignor Kevin Irwin, Monsignor Walter J. Schmitz, S.S., Chair of Liturgical Studies, can comment on topics related to the Church and the environment and liturgy. He co-edited Preserving the Creation: Environmental Theology and Ethics (Georgetown University Press, 1994).

    In the 1990’s, Monsignor Irwin was an invited participant at the annual scholars’ conferences on the environment sponsored by the Environmental Justice Committee of the United States Catholic Conference of Bishops. He has worked with the Ecumenical Patriarchate (Istanbul) on the theology of ecology at the invitation of Patriarch Bartholomew.

    His most recent research interests concern the intersection of a theology of ecology with the church’s celebration of the sacred liturgy and the sacraments. Monsignor Irwin served as a frequent commentator during the previous two papal transitions.

    Contact Monsignor Irwin at or 202-255-4189.
  • Chad Pecknold, associate professor of systematic theology, recently commented in The Washington Post that he believes the Pope will address the topic of the environment from Biblical terms — that man’s disconnect from the Earth began with Adam and Eve. He also appeared on EWTN News Nightly discussing the encyclical.

    Contact Pecknold at or 202-319-6899.
  • Jay Richards, assistant research professor of business, can comment on the environment from the perspective of political philosophy and theology. He is the author of The Privileged Planet (Regnery Publishing, 2004) and accompanying documentary of the same name, and Environmental Stewardship in the Judeo-Christian Tradition (Acton Press, 2007).

    Contact Richards at
  • Lucia Silecchia, professor of law and director of the International Human Rights Summer Law Program in Rome, can comment on the impact of the encyclical on law and public policy. She has recently commented on climate change in the Tribune Review, for Catholic News Agency, and appeared on EWTN to discuss environmental ethics.

    Contact Silecchia at
  • Andreas Widmer, director of entrepreneurship programs, can comment on topics of third world development and the connection between business, economic development, and the environment.

    Contact Widmer at or 617-331-3071.
  • Robin Darling Young, associate professor of spirituality, recently published an article in Commonweal magazine on Catholics and climate change.

    Contact Young at or 202-319-6896.
  • Ernest Zampelli, professor of economics, can speak broadly about environmental economic issues.

    Contact Zampelli at or 202-319-6683.

To search for other CUA faculty who serve as experts for the media, visit the online Experts Guide or contact the Office of Public Affairs for more assistance at or 202-319-5600.