Michael M. Canaris, PhD, Loyola University Chicago, is a Lay Centre alumnus, who just earned his postdoctoral licentiate in sacred theology, specializing in ecumenism, from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas, more commonly referred to as the Angelicum.
His tesina (a lengthy required research project) was focused on ecumenical responses to human trafficking and contemporary forms of slavery. The research drew on elements from three dynamic communities around Rome (Centro Pro Unione, Anglican Centre, Comunità di Sant’Egidio) that have longstanding associations with The Lay Centre, where he resided as he worked on his degree. His research strove to uncover the collaborative initiatives these institutions, along with others, support in combating the “scourge and open wound” of human trafficking across denominational boundaries, to cite Pope Francis’ diagnosis of the problem.
The tesina offers practical recommendations for how theologies of reception, hospitality, and the Argentinian teologia del pueblo could inform the groundbreaking work already underway in addressing a “globalization of indifference.” It also recognizes the unique role that women (lay and religious) play in serving on the front lines of prevention, protection and prosecution regarding these issues.
The canonical licentiate is a historic pontifical degree accredited by the Holy See that enables one to serve the Church and academy in a variety of specialized functions, including teaching in a major seminary, representing Catholic positions in official ecumenical dialogues, and serving as a theological resource for a number of diocesan roles and offices. It presupposes a substantial background (usually at least 10 undergraduate courses) in ancient, scholastic and contemporary philosophy, as well as a “first cycle” degree in theology or religious studies.
Canaris also holds degrees from the University of Scranton (PA), Boston College and Fordham University. He currently teaches systematic theology and ecclesiology at Loyola University Chicago’s Institute of Pastoral Studies. He is the author of Francis A. Sullivan, S.J. and Ecclesiological Hermeneutics: An Exercise in Faithful Creativity (Brill: 2016), and he is currently working on two new book projects: the first exploring Christian notions of joy with Prof. Donna Orsuto, and the second on the intersection of ecclesiology with global migration issues. He chairs the IPS’s Global Engagement Committee and helps to coordinate its summer programs in Rome, always making a point to immerse his graduate students in the unique, international community of The Lay Centre when visiting the Eternal City.