A journal of academic theology

Welcome to Theological Studies

Founded and sponsored by the Society of Jesus, Theological Studies is a Catholic scholarly journal that serves the Church and its mission by promoting a deeper understanding of the Christian faith through the publication of research in the theological disciplines and through reviews of noteworthy books. The journal has been in continuous publication since 1940.

About This Website

In keeping with the Society of Jesus’s commitments to serve the global Church, the journal is pleased to provide this site as a resource for scholars who do not have ready access to our journal. It contains articles and book reviews from 1940 up to the last five years, which can be accessed here free of charge. Articles or reviews published in the last five years are available by subscription, or a per article charge, at SAGE Journals. Article submissions by authors must be made via SAGE, where you will also find the latest formatting and style guides. For your convenience, they are also available on this website.

In the Current Issue

From the Editor’s Desk – March 2023

The news of Pope Emeritus Benedict’s passing arrived as I was completing the editor’s note for this issue. Benedict was a man of the church, known for his life of contemplative prayer, liturgical piety, and scholarly faith. In a different ecclesial context, the 2005 election of this scholar hierarch might have been welcomed widely in the academic community, as Catholic theologians have long hoped for a return to the fruitful collaboration between Magisterium and academy that had marked the conciliar period. However, Benedict’s long tenure as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, punctuated as it was by disciplinary action against purportedly errant theologians, had soured his relationship with many in our guild.

The Holy Spirit as the Protagonist of the Synod: Pope Francis’s Creative Reception of the Second Vatican Council

This article argues that Pope Francis’s conviction that the Holy Spirit guides the synodal journey represents a creative reception of the Second Vatican Council. By highlighting the Spirit’s agency, Francis offers an alternative to Lumen Gentium’s often ornamental pneumatology. While thus confirming the council’s theological rather than institutional understanding of the church, he complements its christocentric focus. Moreover, by imagining synodality as a journey of dialogical listening and discerning, the pope emphasizes the practical dimension of ecclesiology, something that recalls the council’s pastoral spirit.

Synodality and the Francis Pontificate: A Fresh Reception of Vatican II

The ten-year Francis pontificate represents a fresh reception of the Second Vatican Council. The full dimensions of this reception can be apprehended through the lens of synodality, the leitmotif of the Francis papacy. This article will consider four features of synodality exhibited in the papal magisterium of Pope Francis that help us appreciate the ways in which Francis has creatively received conciliar teaching and advanced the conciliar agenda.

Pope Francis’s Contribution to Catholic Thinking and Acting on War and Peace

In modern times, the papacy has consistently advocated peace, disarmament, and peaceful resolution of conflicts, limiting the scope of traditional just war theory, particularly in the era of weapons of mass destruction. However, no pope has gone as far as Pope Francis, who has stated that there is no such thing as just war and that “Only Peace is Just.” This contribution examines how Francis expressed and developed his thought in the context of his humanitarian diplomacy and theological thinking during the first ten years of his pontificate. In the last part, I argue that the Ukraine war is a test for Pope Francis, who has repeatedly called for peace negotiations and condemned arms supply, while recognizing the moral right for Ukrainian self-defense. While this may seem contradictory, his policy shows Francis’s deeper conviction that “war is always a defeat for humanity.” More interested in peace-making and assisting victims than in doctrinal issues, Francis has not jettisoned the just war concept in theory, but has done so in his witness and actions.

Synodality and the New Media

During his pontificate, Pope Francis has both broadened and enhanced the concept of synodality and the synodal process to involve “especially those on the periphery who are often excluded and forgotten” (Vademecum) and even those who have left the church. This thrust toward maximum participation and inclusion will necessarily give rise to divergences and conflicts regarding theological issues. This article explores how the use of new media, following the vTaiwan model, can be a means to go beyond an impasse and discern the consensus fidelium. vTaiwan is an online-offline discussion platform established by the government and activists in Taiwan to promote participatory governance.

Reconfiguring Ignacio Ellacuría’s Symbolic Conception of “the Crucified People”: Jesus, the Suffering Servant, and Abel

This article offers an appreciative but critical appraisal of Ignacio Ellacuría’s concept of “the crucified people,” which identifies the oppressed peoples of history with both Jesus and the Suffering Servant. In formulating his concept, Ellacuría does not sufficiently delineate the potential volitional differences between Jesus, the Servant, and the crucified peoples of history. As a result, the symbol of the crucified people can present potentially distorted understandings of the relationship between suffering and redemption, distortions that Ellacuría himself would disavow. After surfacing these concerns, I argue that broadening the symbolic framework of the symbol of the crucified people to include not only Jesus and the Servant but also the figure of Abel can protect against these potential distortions.


Commemorating the 10th Anniversary of Pope Francis’s Election

The March and June issues of Theological Studies will include articles that commemorate the tenth anniversary of Pope Francis’s election.

Revised 2023 Journal Guide for Authors

Beginning next year, 2023, Horizons and Theological Studies will follow the same journal style in dealing with matters related to citation, punctuation, spelling, and so forth. In collaboration, the …

Website Redesign

The journal’s new website was redesigned by Keybridge Web of Washington, DC in September of 2022.  The website is important to the Society of Jesus as it allows us to serve scholars who might otherwise not have ready access to the journal.  It contains articles and book reviews from 1940 up to the last five years.

Announcing New Associate Editors

The journal announces two new associate editors as part of its editorial team.  Annie Selak (PhD, Boston College) is the Associate Director of the Women’s Center at Georgetown University.  Her areas of research include ecclesiology, feminist and liberationist theologies, Ignatian spirituality and pedagogy, and racism and sexism in the Catholic Church. Eugene R. Schlesinger (PhD, Marquette University) is lecturer at Santa Clara University where he specializes in twentieth-century Catholic thought with a particular focus on developments in liturgical and sacramental theology and their impact on the Christian church. He has contributed several articles to the journal.  His latest book Salvation in Henri de Lubac: Divine Grace, Human Nature, and the Mystery of the Cross will be published by the University of Notre Dame Press in 2023.