Theologian, New York Times columnist, to debate Pope Francis legacy (SOLD OUT)

NEW YORK – Two prominent Catholics, Massimo Faggioli, Professor of Theology at Villanova University, and Ross Douthat, a New York Times op-ed columnist, will debate the legacy of Pope Francis and his controversial pontificate on Wednesday evening, January 31, 2018.

The discussion, which comes as Francis is set to mark the fifth anniversary of his election in March, will take place from 6:00 p.m.-7:30 p.m. at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus in New York City.

Titled “Fr[email protected]: Assessing the Legacy of Pope Francis Five Years After His Election,” the discussion will be moderated by David Gibson, Director of the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University. The CRC is co-sponsoring the event along with the Religion News Foundation and Religion News Service. Toronto-based Salt + Light Television is the media partner for the event.

“Massimo and Ross offer two important and distinct perspectives on Pope Francis and his impact on the church universal, and especially the pope’s impact on the U.S.,” said Tom Gallagher, President and CEO, Religion News Foundation, and CEO and Publisher of the foundation’s subsidiary, Religion News Service (RNS). “We are very excited to have a lively debate on such an important figure in the church and in the world,” said Gallagher.

Gibson, a former national reporter for RNS who has covered the Vatican and the Catholic Church for years, added that it was fitting that a Jesuit university should host a discussion about the first Jesuit pope in history.

“Francis has called for open and honest debate about pressing issues facing the Catholic Church and the world,” Gibson said. “His own pontificate has raised the profile of many of those issues, so part of our mission is hosting a discussion like this.”

The event will take place in the 12th Floor Lounge at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus at 113 W. 60th Street at Columbus Avenue, New York, NY. It begins at 6:00 p.m. and will finish at 7:30 p.m.


Religion News Foundation  
Religion News Foundation, a secular educational and charitable foundation that advances religious literacy through our websites, resources, networks, training seminars and events. It was founded in 1999 and has three primary goals: (1) to promote mainstream religious literacy through national and regional convenings, educational programs and other initiatives; (2) to advance the work of the Religion News Association, a membership organization of 450 professional journalists who cover faith and values; and (3) to advance the work of Religion News Service, a wire service that produces articles, commentary and multimedia content about religion, spirituality, ethics and culture news and trends.  For more information, go to

Religion News Service
Religion News Service (RNS) is an independent, nonprofit and award-winning source of global news on religion, spirituality, culture and ethics, reported by a staff of professional journalists. Founded in 1934, RNS seeks to inform readers with objective reporting and insightful commentary, and is relied upon by commercial and faith-based news organizations in a number of countries. RNS is affiliated with the Missouri School of Journalism at the University of Missouri.  For more information, go to

Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University
Located at Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus, the Center on Religion and Culture (CRC) confronts the questions arising at the intersection of religious traditions and contemporary culture. Drawing on New York’s leading role in intellectual and literary life, the visual and performing arts, politics, media, diplomacy and humanitarian activities, CRC programs aim to promote intellectual enrichment and affirm Fordham’s leadership role as a shaping force in the public discourse. For more information, click the link here.

Salt + Light Television
Salt + Light Television is an award-winning digital network that offers a variety of programs, event coverage, documentaries and other hope-filled content of relevance to Catholic viewers. Salt + Light Television is produced and operated by Salt and Light Catholic Media Foundation, a charitable organization devoted to spreading the flavour of the Gospel to the world through television, documentaries, radio, Internet and other forms of digital communication. Founded in 2002, Salt + Light is available throughout Canada on leading national and regional carriers and around the world via live streaming and video on demand.  For more information, visit


Media Contacts

Tom Gallagher, CEO
Religion News Foundation & Religion News Service
(203) 561-3585 Mobile (New York City Metro area)
[email protected]

David Gibson, Director
Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University
(212) 903-2045
[email protected]