2019 Symposium Speakers

Man and Woman in Dialogue

on Identity, Complementarity, and Mission

June 26-27, 2019

Washington, DC


Participant Registration   |   Topic   |   Venue   |   Schedule



Mary Rice Hasson is the Kate O’Beirne Fellow in Catholic Studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. She also directs the Catholic Women’s Forum, a network of Catholic professional women and scholars seeking to amplify the voice of Catholic women in support of human dignity, authentic freedom, and Catholic social teaching. Mary is an expert on topics related to women, faith, culture, family, sexual morality, and gender ideology.  She was the keynote speaker for the Holy See during the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in 2017, 2018, 2019. She speaks frequently at national conferences, as well as regional family conferences, and diocesan women’s conferences. Mary also conducts workshops for Catholic parishes and dioceses on sexuality, gender identity, and pastoral care.

Mary’s writing has appeared in a variety of websites, policy journals, and scholarly publications, including The Federalist, the Washington ExaminerOur Sunday VisitorThe National Catholic Register, and First Things. She is the editor of Promise and Challenge: Catholic Women Reflect on Feminism, Complementarity, and the Church (Our Sunday Visitor: 2015).

Before joining EPPC, Mary worked as an attorney and writer and served the Church for over twenty years in leadership positions in Catholic marriage preparation programs, diocesan education efforts, and Catholic ministries to women and families. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Notre Dame Law School, Mary and her husband, Kevin J. “Seamus” Hasson are the parents of seven, and were the recipients of the 2015 Saint John Paul II Award for the New Evangelization.


Mary Hallan FioRito is the Cardinal Francis George Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, where she specializes in human life issues, especially abortion and contraception. She is also the Assistant Director of the Catholic Women’s Forum. She previously served as the Executive Assistant to the late Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago, and was the Archdiocese of Chicago’s first female Vice-Chancellor. A graduate of Loyola University of Chicago’s School of Law, she also hosts a weekly radio show in the greater Chicago area, Winds of Change, where she explores issues important to women and the Church and, with Mary Rice Hasson, co-hosts the Catholic Women’s Forum podcast. She has been married to Kevin FioRito for twenty years and has three daughters. She resides in the Chicago area.




Rev. Paul Check was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Bridgeport in 1997, and he currently serves as the rector of St. John Fisher, a college seminary and pre-theology program in Stamford, CT. He is an alumnus of the North American College and holds an STB from the Gregorian University and an STL in moral theology from the University of the Holy Cross.  Fr. Check is also the director of seminarians for his diocese, and the chairman of the ongoing priestly formation committee. Fr. Check teaches fundamental moral theology and a course in sexual ethics and medical ethics. From 2008-2016, Fr Check was assigned as the executive director of Courage International. For twelve years, Fr. Check taught a two-week course in moral theology in the “Gift of Faith” syllabus for Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta. Fr. Check graduated from Rice University in 1981 with a BA in History.  He served as an officer in the US Marine Corps for nine years, prior to entering the seminary.


Dr. John Finley is Professor of Philosophy at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Dallas and taught for several years at Thomas Aquinas College in California. He is a member of the Aquinas Institute at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford. Dr. Finley has published articles on Thomistic approaches to human personhood and the metaphysics of gender. In 2016 he was awarded a grant from the John Templeton Foundation to oversee an interdisciplinary research project on human gender and sexuality.


Dr. Timothy Fortin holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome and an M.S. in clinical psychology from the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Arlington, VA. He is currently Assistant Professor of Philosophical Theology at Immaculate Conception Seminary at Seton Hall University in South Orange, NJ. His areas of research include the philosophy of sexual difference and the philosophy of fatherhood.


Angela Franks, Ph.D., has a doctorate in theology from Boston College and an M.A. in philosophy from the Catholic University of America. She is a full-time professor of theology at St. John’s Seminary. Angela is in demand as a speaker, author, and teacher. She is the author of Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Legacy: The Control of Female Fertility (2005) and contributed a chapter to Women, Sex, and the Church (2010). Her latest book is Contraception and Catholicism (2013). An experienced speaker, she has spoken at numerous conferences, including the International Theology of the Body Congress, and on EWTN, FOX News, and many other outlets. She has been published in America Magazine, First Things, Public Discourse, ChurchLife, The Plough, and academic journals. Her research interests include John Paul II, Hans Urs von Balthasar, Trinitarian theology, the theology of the body, and the New Evangelization. A mother of six, she lives with her family in Boston.


Paul Gondreau completed his graduate studies in theology at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, writing his dissertation under the renowned Thomist scholar Jean-Pierre Torrell, OP. He specializes in the thought of Thomas Aquinas, and has published widely in the area of Christology, anthropology, and moral theology. His manuscript The Passions of Christ’s Soul in the Theology of St. Thomas Aquinas has received much acclaim. He is currently completing a manuscript on a Thomistic account of the meaning and purpose of human sexuality, as well as a manuscript on a theological commentary on J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings. He has served as a consultant for the U.S.C.C.B.’s committee on laity, marriage, family, and youth, and currently holds the rank of professor of theology at Providence College.


Carrie Gress has a doctorate in philosophy from The Catholic University of America. She is a regular guest on Catholic television and radio, and a frequent contributor to The National Catholic Register and numerous other print publications. She is the author of several books, including The Marian Option (TAN Books, 2017), The Anti-Mary Exposed (TAN Books, 2019), and the forthcoming Theology of Home (TAN Books, Fall 2019). She is also the editor and at the online Catholic women’s magazine Theology of Home.


Ricardo Luzondo, M.D. is a pediatric neurologist and co-founder with his wife Lucia Baez Luzondo of Family Renewal Ministries, Inc., (Renovación Familiar) a ministry dedicated to proclaiming and defending God’s plan for marriage and family, where he has presented extensively in the United States, Latin America and Europe. Ricardo co-host with Lucia a weekly television series (Creados para Amar) and a weekly live radio program (En el día a día con Ricardo y Lucia) aired on EWTN Global Catholic Television and Radio’s Spanish worldwide signals. He is a presenter, consultant, writer and contributor on issues regarding marriage, parenting, family, the authentic masculinity, addictions (alcohol, drugs, pornography) from the medical perspective to different entities in the Catholic Church. He has several published scientific articles in indexed journals. Currently, he works as Director of the Office for Parish Life under the Department of Pastoral Ministries of the Archdiocese of San Antonio, TX.


Lucia Luzondo, J.D. is an immigration attorney and co-founder of Family Renewal Ministries, Inc., (Renovación Familiar) a ministry dedicated to proclaiming and defending God’s plan for marriage and family, where she has presented extensively in the United States, Latin America and Europe. Along with her husband, Ricardo Luzondo, M.D., Lucia co-hosts a weekly television series (Creados para amar) and a weekly live radio program (“En el día a día con Ricardo y Lucia”) aired on EWTN Global Catholic Television and Radio’s Spanish worldwide signals. She is a presenter, consultant writer and contributor on issues regarding marriage, family life, Gender Ideology, the New Evangelization, the Culture of Life, multiculturality, sex and sexuality, authentic femininity, and public policy issues in light of the Catholic faith for several publishers, dioceses, faith-based entities and the USCCB. She has produced resources and materials for marriage preparation and marriage and family enrichment. She previously served as director of the Secretariat for Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth at the Archdiocese of San Antonio, and as Director of Family Life Ministry at the Archdiocese of Miami. She was a presenter at the World Meeting of Families-Philadelphia 2015, the Catholic Leaders Conference- Orlando 2017 and on-air commentator for EWTN broadcast of the World Meeting of Families -Ireland 2018. She earned a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Central Florida, a J.D. from Stetson University College of Law, and completed her Practical Theology and Ministry studies at Barry University. She is the mother of one child.


Cajun by birth, Dr. Jennifer Miller completed graduate degrees at the Pontifical Universities of the Angelicum and the Gregorian, studying as well at the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Rome. In 2013, she obtained her doctorate from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome. Her thesis on Catholic social doctrine combined her love of the family with a strong desire to better address poverty. Former coordinator of studies at the Markets, Culture and Ethics Research Centre, she has taught and published in English and in Italian. Dr. Miller is currently a professor of moral theology at Notre Dame Seminary, Graduate School of Theology in New Orleans, helping to form young men for the priesthood. Alongside her work at the seminary, Dr. Miller also teaches courses at local universities on Catholic Feminism and Gender Identity and works to raise awareness on sex trafficking in New Orleans and to help educate young women in Nicaragua. In collaboration with the recently-founded International Institute of Culture and Gender Studies, she is presently engaged in pioneering Scriptural and cultural research for a book on “a theology of masculinity and femininity.”


Fr. Christian Raab is a monk and priest of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in Southern Indiana. He holds a doctorate in sacred theology (‘15) from the Catholic University of America and teaches systematic and sacramental theology at Saint Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology. His primary area of research is in the area of the theology of vocations and states of life, and his dissertation concerns the ecclesial mission of religious order priests. Although his graduate work was in systematic theology, he is also interested in sacramental theology and spirituality. With Fr. Harry Hagan, OSB, he is the co-editor of The Tradition of Catholic Prayer (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2007). In addition to duties on the seminary faculty and formation staff, Fr. Christian is coordinator of the “One Bread, One Cup” College Ministry Internship Program.


Deborah Savage is a member of the faculty at the St. Paul Seminary School of Divinity at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota where she teaches philosophy and theology and also serves as the Director of the Masters in Pastoral Ministry Program. She received her Doctorate in Religious Studies from Marquette University in 2005; her degree is in both theology and philosophy.
Dr. Savage is a student of St. Thomas Aquinas with a particular interest in investigating his thought in light of contemporary questions. Her primary research interests are in philosophical and theological anthropology, especially as a foundation for grasping the personhood of men and women, for grounding the meaning of human action, and the metaphysics of creation. Dr. Savage is a recognized scholar of the work of Karol Wojtyla/John Paul II and has written and presented or published several papers on how his philosophical anthropology informs his body of work as Pope, his understanding of human work, the complementarity of man and woman, and of the dignity and vocation of women.
Dr. Savage is also the co-founder of the Siena Symposium for Women, Family, and Culture, an interdisciplinary think tank at UST, organized to respond to John Paul II’s call for a new and explicitly Christian feminism. She has published several papers on this and related topics and given talks internationally on the need for a reframing of woman’s role in the Church and in the world.


Michael Waldstein  is Professor of New Testament at Franciscan University (2019-). He holds a B.A. from Thomas Aquinas College (1977), a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Dallas (1981), an S.S.L. summa cum laude from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome (1984), and a Th.D. in New Testament and Christian Origins from Harvard University (1990). From 1988 to 1996 he was assistant professor of New Testament at the University of Notre Dame, where he received tenure in 1996. From 1996 to 2006 he served as the founding president of the International Theological Institute in Gaming, Austria, and as the St. Francis of Assisi Chair of New Testament (to 2008). From 2008 to 2017 he was Max Seckler Chair of Theology at Ave Maria University. He served as a member of the Pontifical Council for the Family (2003–2009), the Board of Trustees of the University of Eichstätt, Germany (2007–2011), and as an Ordinary Academician of the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas, Rome (2011-). His published works include a critical edition of the four Coptic manuscripts of Secret John, and a new translation of John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, and articles on the Gospel of John, Gnosticism, St. Thomas Aquinas, John Paul II, and Hans Urs von Balthasar in journals such as Journal of Early Christian Studies, Nova et Vetera, Modern Theology, Communio, Anthropotes, Forum Teologiczne, and Lateranum.


Dr. Paul Vitz is Senior Scholar and Professor of Psychology at the Institute for the Psychological Sciences , DMU in Arlington, VA. He received his Ph. D. from Stanford University and for many years he was Professor of Psychology at New York University where he is now Emeritus. At Divine Mercy University, he teaches graduate students in psychotherapy. IPS/DMU is devoted to training professional psychologists in a way that integrates Catholic Christian concepts and contemporary psychology, respecting the integrity of each domain. DMU also has two online programs, a Master’s degree in psychology and a new Master’s degree in counseling. His areas of special interest include the development of a Catholic/Christian psychological model of the person, the psychology of fatherhood and family, psychological origins of atheism, the virtues; hatred and forgiveness; and recently the psychology of male and female complementarity. He is the author of books and numerous articles. Books include Psychology as Religion: The cult of self worship. 2nd ed. 1994; Faith of the Fatherless: The Psychology of Atheism, rev. ed. 2013 Ignatius Press; Sigmund Freud’s Christian Unconscious. With S. Felch, The Self: Beyond the Post-Modern Crisis. (2006).

He is married to Evelyn Birge Vitz, known as Timmie, who is a retired Professor of French (A Medievalist) at NYU; they moved to Arlington, VA after living 44 years in downtown Manhattan. They have six grown children, one of whom is a priest who recently died and 22 grandchildren



Mary Hasson



Natalie Robertson




Presented by The Catholic Women’s Forum, a program of the Ethics and Public Policy Center
co-sponsored by the Siena Symposium