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World Catholicism Week 2024

​​​​​​World Catholicism Week 2024 April 12-13

View conference videos here.​

​Is Idolatry Dead? Disenchantment and Misenchantment in the Contemporary World

​The 2024 conference explored the question: How is the language of idolatry and enchantment used—and misused—in today's world? We often hear of the contrast between an "enchanted" global South and an increasingly secular and "disenchanted" North. At the same time, however, Pope Francis has revived idolatry critique, focused especially on the false gods of the supposedly secular political economies dominated by the global North. But idolatry critique can be dangerous; colonial powers frequently denigrated indigenous people as idolaters in need of conversion. Speakers came together to address the following topics:

  • ​Colonialism and idolatry critique
  • Enchantment, disenchantment, and misenchantment in the global North and global South
  • Scriptural and theological reflection on idolatry
  • Naming today's idols

Victor Carmona (Associate Professor, Director of Core Curriculum, University of San Diego — San Diego, CA, USA)

William T. Cavanaugh (Professor; Director, Center for World Catholicism & Intercultural Theology (CWCIT), DePaul University — Chicago, IL, USA)

Emilce Cuda (Secretary, Pontifical Comission for Latin America — Buenos Aires; Rome)

Paul Gifford (Emeritus Professor of World Christianity, SOAS University of London —London, UK)

Rev. Patrick Gilger, SJ (Assistant Professor of Sociology, Loyola University Chicago — Chicago, IL, USA)

Stan Chu Ilo (Associate Professor of Catholic Studies; Research Professor, CWICT, DePaul University — Chicago, IL, USA)

Bungishabaku Katho (Professor of Old Testament Studies, Shalom University of Bunia — Bunia, DR Congo)

David Lantigua (Associate Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame — Notre Dame, IN, USA)

Eugene McCarraher (Professor of Humanities & History, Villanova University — Villanova, PA, USA)

David Ngong (Professor of Religion & Theology, Stillman College — Tuscaloosa, AL, USA) 

Andrew Redden (Senior Lecturer in Latin American History, University of Liverpool — Liverpool, UK)

Jung Mo Sung (Professor of Religious Studies, Methodist University of São Paulo — São Paulo, Brazil)

Stephanie Wong (Assistant Professor, Villanova University — Villanova, PA, USA) 

Friday, April 12

Undergraduate Research Poster Presentation


Stephanie Wong

David Ngong

Emilce Cuda

Undergrad Research Posters 

Alan Cruz

"The Struggle over Idolatry and Identity in Colonial Mexico"


Tim Filipiuk

"Pope Fracis' View of the Modern Economy: Idolatry and Injustice"


Brittany Garcia-Saucedo

"Tara Isabella Burton's Examination of New Religious Practices in the West"


Oliver King

"Idolatry around the Globe: how Witchcraft and Consumer Culture Both Bring about Idolatry in the World"


Keaton Moore

"Baseball and Witchcraft"


Madalyn Moscinski

"Nationalism and Religion in Brazil"


Tyler Pronobis

"Consumerism as Idolatry"


Gelse Tecalero

"Pope Francis' Criticisms of the Modern Economic System as Idolatrous"



William T. Cavanaugh — CWCIT Director and Professor of Catholic Studies; DePaul University

ROUNDTABLE: Enchantment, Disenchantment, and Misenchantment

  • Paul Gifford—Disenchantment and its Significance
  • Patrick Gilger, SJ—Disambiguating Disenchantment, or Secularity and the Social Sciences
  • Eugene McCarraher—Sunshine of the Idols, or How American Christianity Perfected the Art of Capitalism Misenchantment

(Moderator: Mark Franzen — Director, St. Gregory's Hall, Chicago)

Saturday, April 13

ROUNDTABLE: Scriptural & Theological Reflections on Idolatry

  • Victor Carmona—Bordering on Temptation: Idolatry, Polarization, and the Reign of God at the U.S.-Mexico Border
  • Stan Chu Ilo—"Don’t Bow Down and Worship Idols: I Am the Lord Your God”: Biblical Theological Critique of Idolatry (Exodus 20:5)
  • Bungishabaku Katho—Idolatry, Dysfunctional Communities, and Failed States in the Book of Jeremiah: Interpreting Idolatry in Jeremiah from an African Perspective

(Moderator: M. Therese Lysaught — Professor, Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics & Healthcare Leadership, Loyola University of Chicago's Stricht School of Medicine)

ROUNDTABLE: Colonialism & Idolatry Critique

  • David Lantigua—Being Possessed by Mammon: Idolatry, True Worship, and New World Catholicism
  • Andrew Redden—Seeing Idolatry: Devotion, Divergence, and Dogma in the Latin American Colonial and Postcolonial Experience
  • Emilce Cuda—Ideology v. Theology: Pope Francis' Call to Cultivate Hope

(Moderator: Rafael Vizcaino — Assistant Professor & Director of Teaching Practicum, Philosophy Department, DePaul University)

ROUNDTABLE: Naming Today's Idols

  • Stephanie Wong—And You Will Be Protected (Job 11:18): A Chinese Critique of Security
  • David Ngong—Did God Create Cameroon? Providence, Colonialism, and the Nation-State in Africa
  • Jung Mo Sung—Is Idolatry Dead? The Discernment between the Idol and True God

(Moderator: Abdul-Malik Ryan — Assistant Director, Religious Diversity & Pastoral Care, DePaul University)