The Paul Wattson Lectures

The Paul Wattson Lectures honour the memory of the Rev. Paul James Francis Wattson, S.A. (1863-1940), founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement and pioneer for the cause of Christian Unity. Begun in 1974 at the Catholic University of America in Washington, DC, the lectures were expanded to the University of San Francisco in 1980, in 1995 to Atlantic School of Theology in Halifax, and in 1996 to the Toronto School of Theology. Ever since their founding the Paul Wattson Lectures have annually invited an international leader in the field of ecumenism to speak on a current ecumenical topic. At present the Society of the Atonement has plans to establish the lectures in London, England within the next two or three years.

Born Lewis T. Wattson on the eastern shore of Maryland, Fr. Paul was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1866. A few years later, Wattson felt a call to create a new religious community within the Episcopal Church that would follow the Franciscan rule of life. In collaboration with an Episcopalian sister, Lurana White, the Society of the Atonement was founded in 1898 at Graymoor, Garrison, New York. Wattson then took as his name in religious life Paul James Francis. After years of advocating corporate reunion between the churches, Father Paul and Mother Lurana decided to enter the Roman Catholic Church. In 1909 the Society of the Atonement became the first religious community to be received corporately into the Roman Church since the Reformation.

One year later, Father Paul began the Church Unity Octave, a period of prayer in January which is now known as the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. Up until his death in 1940 he worked tirelessly to further the at-one-ment of all peoples through many social projects like St. Christopher’s Inn for homeless and needy men.

The Society of the Atonement is now established throughout the world in North and South America, Europe and Asia, with friars and sisters working and praying for the realization of Jesus’ prayer: “That all may be one.”

The Texts

Below is a list of all Paul Wattson Lectures delivered to date. Information on the Lecturers can be had by clicking on their highlighted names.

Some of the texts of Paul Wattson Lectures are available by electronic file transfer. Those highlighted below are available for immediate downloading to your browser. Those marked with an asterisk are available, but only by e-mail. Please specify word processor format and e-mail address when requesting a text. It is hoped that all the Lectures will be prepared for electronic transfer in the near future. Please be advised that the copyright for all Paul Wattson Lectures is held by the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, and permission must be obtained from the copyright holder for any publication of the texts, in whole or in part, with the exception of short citations in scholarly works, with proper credit indicated.

The Lectures

Washington, DC - Catholic University of America

1974 Jan Cardinal Willibrands
The Ecumenical Dialogue: Problems and Progress

1975 Jarislav Pelican
Brother Martin, Pope Martin, Saint Martin: On the Conditions of Christian Reconciliation

1976 Ernest Kasemann
Compromise or Sacrifice

1977 Raymond Brown

1978 David Tracy

1979 Lukas Vischer

1980 Martin E. Marty

1981 James F. Gustafson
Ecumenism and Ethical Methodology: The Theological Choice

1982 William A. Purdy
The ARCIC Report: Context and Challenge for Anglican/Roman Catholic Unity

1983 William H. Lazareth
Ecumenical Consensus on Eucharist, Baptism and Ministry


1985 Avery Dulles
Doctrinal Agreement: A Condition for Christian Reunion?

1986 Anna Marie Aagaard
Facing Unity -- For What?

1987 E. Glenn Hinson
The INfluence of Fundamentalism on Ecumenical Dialogues

1988 Joseph A. Burgess
The New Testament Canon as an Ecumenical Issue

1989 J. Robert Nelson
Ethical Contradictions Within Christian Unity: Are There Limits to Diversity

San Francisco - University of San Francisco

1980 Bernard Cooke
Christian Ministry - Sacrament of the Kingdom of God

1981 Martin Marty (Cancelled)

1982 Cynthia C. Wedel
Looking toward the Year - 2000

1983 Jose Miguez Bonino
Freedom Through Unity -- Liberation Through Ecumenism

1984 Joseph Cardinal Bernardin
The Challence of Peace: Ecumenical Roots and Relationships

1985 Martin Marty
New Alignments in Religion and Politics: American Ecumenical Shifts

1986 Nikos Nissiotis
Toward Restoring Church Communion by the Year 2000: An Orthodox Viewpoint

1987 Letty Russell
Unity and Renewal in Feminist Perspective

1988 Monika K. Hellwig
What Can the Laity Do About Ecumenism?

1989 Stanley M. Hauerwas
The Importance of Being Catholic: Unsolicited Advice from a Protestant Bystander

1990 Joseph Vercruysse
On the Road to Emmaus...Prostpects for Christian Unity

1991 W. Stanley Mooneyham
Journeying Together Towards Social Justice

1992 Paul A. Crow
Ecumenism and Spirituality: A Theme for the 90's

1993 Michael von Bruck

1994 Luther E. Smith, Jr.
Ecumenism at the Crossroads with Faith and Culture

1995 Seyyed Hossein Nasr
Understanding Islamic Peace

Halifax, Nova Scotia - Atlantic School of Theology

1995 Susannah Heschel
Original Shame and Naive Optimism: The Politics of Jewish-Christian Relations

1996 Kosuke Koyama
"I Desire Mercy and not Sacrifice": An Ecumenical Interpretation

1997 Jean Zaru
The Demands of Peace and Reconciliation

1998 Konrad Raiser

Toronto, Ontario - The Toronto School of Theology

1996 Gillian R. Evans
Peace and Justice: An Ecumenical Reflection

1997 Brian A. Gerrish
The Future for Christology: An Ecumenical Question

Your feedback and questions are most welcome.