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Professor Eamonn Conway

Professor Eamonn Conway

BA (NUI), BD, STL, DD (Pontifical University Maynooth)
Head of Department, Theology & Religious Studies

Research interests

Father Eamonn Conway is a priest of the archdiocese of Tuam who has served as Head of Theology & Religious Studies at Mary Immaculate College since 1999. His research interests include the works of Karl Rahner and Hans Urs Von Balthasar; faith and culture, especially the interface between culture, technology and religion, and the profile and status of theology at third and fourth levels. In recent years he has been at the forefront of protecting and promoting the distinctiveness of Catholic Education especially in Ireland and is a co-founder with Drs Eugene Duffy and Daniel O'Connell of the international Global Researchers Advancing Catholic Education G.R.A.C.E. Project that has attracted close to €1 million in external funding. 

Professor Conway supervises advanced degrees by research in diverse topics including, recently, the physicality of pilgrimage, religious faith and its significance for principals in Catholic schools, mindfulness and its compatibility with Catholic ethos. He regularly guest lectures on the propadeutic programme for seminarians at the Scots College Salamanca and the Institute of Anthropology at the Gregorian University in Rome. He is also a volunteer member of the pastoral team at St Patrick's Pilgrimage Sanctuary, Lough Derg.

A past president of the European Society for Catholic Theology, Professor Conway is Chair of the Peter Hünermann Foundation for the advancement of Catholic Theology in Europe.

Recent Publications:



More information


You can follow Professor Conway on Twitter here

Public Lectures/Talks online 

The Future of Priesthood and Ministry - Perth, WA 2017

Daring to be different: charting a path for faith-based education

My little introduction to Ireland's most unique pilgrimage



Reviews of recent publications

"Clericalismo y violencia sexual: Explorando las implicaciones para la formacíon sacerdotal". In: Portillo Trevizo, Daniel, (Ed), Teología y prevención, Estudio sobre los abusos sexuales en la iglesia. Prólogo del Papa Francisco. Cantabria: Editorial Sal Terras, 2020, 145 - 172.


‘Of particular interest here is the piece by the theologian Eamonn Conway, with its perceptive observations about the temptation to a kind of ‘inner secularisation’ within Catholic schools and colleges’. 

Gerard O’Hanlon SJ, THE WAY, a review of Christian spirituality published by the British Jesuits July 2016, Volume 55, Number 3, 124


‘In a collection with so many sparkling contributions it seems invidious to select only a few for special comment, but needs must within the confines of a review. Eamonn Conway offers a hard-hitting diagnosis of the state of the Church and education in Ireland. He points up the need for a more counter-cultural stance, for example, in education, where more attention needs to be given to ‘creativity, imagination, the ability to take on responsibilities, to love the world, to cherish justice and compassion’ (259, echoing Pope Benedict XVI here). According to Conway, there are likely to be dangers for mission integrity (in church and school) when the relationship with society and the state becomes too close and accommodating: ‘given what we have seen of the contemporary educational landscape, one would not expect, or wish for, a comfortable modus vivendibetween Catholic educational institutions and the prevailing culture’  (264). In a particularly striking paragraph, Conway exposes as vulnerable a claim often made recently about faith-based schools and colleges: that they enhance diversity of provision in a pluralist society. He points out that ‘in order to enhance diversity, they would need to act differently from their secular counterparts… they would need to show leadership in articulating uncomfortable truths in regard to the prevailing educational policy’  (265)’.

John Sullivan (2017) Ireland & Vatican II, International Studies in Catholic Education, 9:2, 241-244,


‘In one of the strongest chapters in the collection, Eamonn Conway skillfully traces the educational vision proposed by Gravissimum Educationis(1965) and the current reality of creeping managerialism and utilitarianism in education. He suggests that Catholic schools and colleges ‘should be more confident in the distinctiveness of what they have to offer’ and more resilient ‘in insisting upon their unique place in the educational landscape, as an essential part of the church’s service to the world’ (p. 270)’.

Daithí Ó Corráin, British Catholic History, Volume 33, Issue 3,  May 2017


‘A high level is guaranteed by chapters provided by Eamonn Conway (“Vatican II on Christian Education: A Guide through Today’s ‘Educational Emergency’?”), Colin Harvey (“Encouraging Dialogue? Human Rights and Vatican II”), Baroness Nuala O’Loan (“Vatican II: Liberation and Authenticity”), and Oliver Rafferty (“The Catholic Church in Ireland and Vatican II in Historical Perspective”)’.

Gerald O’Collins SJ, Theological Studies 78 (1) 2017



For links to publications related to Catholic Education please go here

For publications without links below please visit the College Repository

Books (Author/Co-author)





  • 1993. Conway, E., The Anonymous Christian - A Relativised Christianity?Frankfurt: Peter Lang Verlag.



Edited Volumes (Editor/Co-Editor)


  • 2011. Conway E., with Kruip, G., ET Studies, Journal of the European Society for Catholic Theology, 02/2011. 


  • 2008. Conway, E. and Breen, M, Culture, Technology & Values: Ethical Dimensions of European Identity. Rotherstorte: Paragon Press.


  • 2004. Conway, E., The Courage to Risk Everything. Essays Marking the Centenary of Karl Rahner’s Birth. Louvain (double special edition of Louvain Studies).


  • 2003. Conway, E., Breen, M, McMillan, B, Technology & Transcendence.Dublin: Columba Press.


  • 1999. Conway, E., with Duffy, E, and Shields, A,Child Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church – Towards a Pastoral Response.Dublin: Columba Press. 


  • 1998.Conway, E.,with Kilcoyne,C,The Splintered Heart: Conversations with a Church in Crisis. Dublin: Veritas.


  • 1997Conway, E., with Kilcoyne,C,Twin Pulpits: Church & Media in Modern Ireland.Dublin: Veritas.



Book Chapters

  • 2021. Conway, E., with King, J.,  Piesza wędrówka Drogą św. Jakuba — czy pielgrzymi ewoluują? In: P. Roszak, F. Mróz, W. Rozynkowski (eks), Camino Polaco: teologia-sztuka-historia-teraźniejszość, t. 5, Wydawnictwo Naukowe UMK, Toruń




  • 2017. Conway E., “Putting the Father’s Mercy into Practice”. In: McCaughey, M., (Ed) Merciful like the Father, Dublin: Veritas, 83 - 92.


  • 2015. Conway, E., "Vatican II on Christian Education: Can it guide us through today's 'educational emergency’?” In: Coll, N., (Ed), Vatican II and Ireland: Its History and Its Prospects, Dublin: Columba Press, 253 -273.




  • 2013. Conway, E., “Hope and Salvation History Rhyme – A response to Terrence Tilley”. In: Lieven Boeve and Terrence Merrigan (Eds), Tradition and the Normativity of History, Leuven: Peeters, 123-130.


  • 2013. Conway, E., ‘With Reverence and Love’: Being a Priest in a Detraditionalised Cultural Context, In: 50thInternational Eucharistic Congress: Proceedings of the International Symposium of Theology. Dublin: Veritas, 382 – 398.


  • 2013. Conway, E., “Peter in Prayerful Solidarity”, In: Ryan, S. and Leahy, B., (Eds),Treasures of Irish Christianity Vol 2: A People of the Word, Dublin: Veritas, 298 - 300. 


  • 2012. Conway, E., “Saint Patrick’s Purgatory, Lough Derg: Keeping ‘An Ancient Vow’”, In: Leahy, B. and Ryan, S.  (Eds), Treasures of Irish Christianity, Dublin: Veritas, 202-24. 


  • 2011. Conway, E., “The Service of a Different Kingdom: Child Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church”. In:  McDonagh, E., and MacNamara, V.,(Eds), An Irish Reader in Moral Theology, Volume II, Sex and Marriage, Dublin: Columba Press.


  • 2011. Conway, E., ‘Die katholische Kirche Irlands und sexuelle Gewalt gegen minderjaehrige – Beschreibung der Krise und Entwurf einer theologischen Agenda’. In: Albus, M. and Brueggeman, L.,Haende Weg! Sexuelle Gewalt in der Kirche, Kevelaer: Butzon & Bercker, 2011, 161 – 188.


  • 2010. Conway, E., ‘Die irische Kirche und sexuelle Gewalt gegen Minderjaehrige. Skizze der Krise – Entwurf einer theologischen Agenda’. In: Stephan Goertz and Herbert Ulonska (Eds), Sexuelle Gewalt. Fragen an Kirche und Theologie, Berlin: LIT Verlag, 2010, 176 – 192.


  • 2010. Conway, E., ‘Leadership and Management Skills in a Pastoral Context’. In: Duffy, E., (Ed)., Pastoral Leadership in a Time of Transition, Dublin: Columba Press, 220 – 238. 


  • 2010. Conway, E., ‘Broken Hearts and not Just Torn Garments — Beginning the Discussion about Forgiveness and Healing’ In: Littleton, J. & Maher, E., (Eds), The Dublin/Murphy Report: A Watershed for Irish Catholicism, Dublin: Columba Press. 


  • 2010. Conway, E., ‘Rahner’s ‘Tough Love’ for the Church – Structural Change in the Church as Task and Opportunity’. In: Conway, P. and Ryan, F., (Eds), Karl Rahner: Theologian for the Twenty-first Century, Bern: Peter Lang, 2010, 141 – 162. 


  • 2008.Conway, E., with Tuohy, B., ‘Managing Change in the Irish Civil Service and the Implications for Transformative Ecclesial Learning’. In: Murray, Paul, (Ed), Receptive Ecumenism and the Call to Catholic Learning, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 302 – 317. 


  • 2008.Conway, E.,   ‘Ministry’. In: Mannion, G. & Mudge, L (Eds) The Routledge Companion to the Christian Church.NY and London: Routledge, 550 – 559. 


  • 2007.Conway, E.,   ‚Die Einbeziehung der Theologien in die Universitäten - Irische und englische Erfahrungen’. In: Peter Hünermann & Joachim Schmiedl (Eds.), Der Weg Europas und die öffentliche Aufgabe der Theologien. Muenster: LIT Verlag, 31 – 44.


  • 2007.Conway, E., ‘A God ‘embarrassed at the prospect of possession’ - Exploring Divine Revelation’. In: Hession, A., & Kieran, P., (Eds), Exploring Theology: Making Sense of the Catholic Tradition. Dublin: Veritas 2007, 172 – 189. 


  • 2005. Conway, E., ‘The Crisis in Theology in Contemporary Ireland’. In:  Declan Marmion (Ed), Christian Identity in a Postmodern Age. Dublin: Veritas, 115-136.


  • 2004. Conway, E., ‘Service of a Different Kingdom: Child Sexual Abuse and the Response of the Church’In: John Morgan (Ed), Essays for Ministry Professionals. Indiana: Graduate Theological Foundation, 33-45.


  • 2003. Conway, E., ‘Christian Anthropology in a Technological Culture.’ In: Breen, Conway, McMillan, (Eds), Technology and Transcendence.Dublin: Columba Press, 217 – 232. 


  • 2001.Conway, E., ‘The Timeliness and Timelessness of Walter Kasper’s Theology of Communio.’ In: Russo, A.,  and Coffele, G. (Eds),  Divinarum Rerum Notitia: La teologia tra filosofia e storia. Studi in onore del Cardinale Walter Kasper.Roma: Edizioni Studium, 319-331.


  • 1999. Conway, E., ‘The Papacy in a Unified Church: A Response to John Macquarrie.’ In: Morgan, J., (Ed), John Macquarrie: On Being a Theologian. Reflections at Eighty.London: SCM Press. 


  • 1999.Conway, E., ‘The Service of a Different Kingdom: Child Sexual Abuse and the Response of the Church’. In: Conway, E., Duffy, E., and Shields A., (Eds),Child Sexual Abuse and the Catholic Church – Towards a Pastoral Response. Dublin: Columba Press, 76-90.  


  • 1998.Conway, E.,   ‘Post-modern Ireland - a Christian response.’ In: Conway E., and. Kilcoyne, C., (Eds), The Splintered Heart: Conversations with a Church in Crisis.Dublin: Veritas. 


  • 1997. Conway, E., ‘The Word that goes Forth’. In: E. Conway and C. Kilcoyne (Eds), Twin Pulpits: Church & Media in Modern Ireland.  Dublin: Veritas, 196 – 212. 


  • 1992. Conway, E., ‘The Price of Sparrows. Experiencing God today’. In: Murphy, JH.,  (Ed), New Beginnings in Ministry. Dublin: Columba Press,  17-32. 



International Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles



  • 2016. Conway, E., with Finegan,T, “Dignitatis Humanae: public funding and divesting of faith schools in a liberal state”, Melita TheologicaJournal of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Malta, 66/1 (2016) 47 – 68.


  • 2014. Conway, E., "From networking to research agenda-setting: the International Network of Societies for Catholic Theology", ET Studies: Journal of the European Society for Catholic Theology, 02/2014, (257-267).


  • 2011 Conway, E., with László Lukács, “Casta meretrix– the Church, sinful and holy”, ET Studies , Journal of the European Society for Catholic Theology,02/2011, 157 – 174.


  • 2011. Conway, E., “The future of Catholic Higher Education in Ireland”, International Studies in Catholic Education, Vol 3. No 2. October 2011, 158 – 169. 


  • 2010. Conway, E., “Seksueel geweld tegen minderjarigen – De crisis in de Ierse Kerk en een schets van de theologische agenda”, Tijdschrift voor Theologie, Nummer 2, Zomer 2010, 184 – 204.


  • 2006. Conway, E., “The Commodification of Religion and the Challenges for Theology: Reflections from the Irish Experience”. Bulletin ET Journal of the European Society for Catholic Theology, Vol.17 (2006/1) Special Issue, Consuming Religion in Europe? Christian Faith Challenged by Consumer Culture, L. Boeve & K. Justaert (Eds), Peeters: Leuven, 142 – 163.


  • 2006.Conway, E.,“‘A Constant Word in a Changing World’: Recognising and Resolving Tensions and Tendencies in a Postmodern Context”.  New Blackfriars, (Oxford) Vol 87, No 1008, March 2006, 110 – 120


  • 2004. Conway, E., ’So as not to Despise God's Grace: Re-assessing Rahner's Idea of the "Anonymous Christian"’. Louvain Studies, Vol 29 (1-2) Spring-Summer 2004, 107-130.  


  • 2004. Conway, E., ‘Operative Theologies of Priesthood: Have they played a part in Child Sexual Abuse?’ Concilium: International for Theology, 2003 (3), 72-86.


  • 1995.Conway, E., ‘Ireland: Theology at the Margins’. ET Bulletin of the European Society for Catholic Theology, Vol 6,  721-731.



Other Journal Articles

  • 2020. Conway, E., "The Key to Ecological Conversion", Intercom, April 2020, 12 -13.


  • 2017. Conway, E., “Why Faith Schools Matter and the Challenge of Divestment”, The Furrow, Vol 68 (6), June 2017, 350 – 361. 


  • 2016. Conway, E., “Pope Francis and Young People”, Religious Life Review, March/April, Dublin: Dominican Publications, 69 – 84.


  • 2016. Conway E., “Pope Francis and Young People”, The Furrow, Vol 67 (4), 201-217. 



  • 2012. Conway, E., “Erstaunliche Widerstandskraft: Die Kirche in Irland braucht vor allem eine neue Führung“. (Surprising resilience: the Church in Ireland needs above all new leadership)Herder Korrespondenz, Vol 66(6), 281 – 285 


  • 2012. Conway., E., “The Future of Catholic Schools – The Forum on Patronage and Pluralism: Cultural Marker and Wake-Up Call”, The Furrow, Vol 63 (6), 269 – 277.


  • 2012. Conway, E., “God in the Workplace – challenges for third-level chaplaincy”, The Furrow, Vol 63 (5), 274 – 281.


  • 2010. Conway, E., “Der Glaube steht auf dem Spiel. Die Kirche in Irland muss aus dem Missbrauchsskandal lernen”, Herder Korrespondenz, 64 Jahrgang Heft 7, Juli 2010, 348 – 353. 


  • 2010. Conway, E., ‘Was muss die Kirche tun? Mitgliederzeitungvon „Wir sind Kirche“-Österreich.


  • 2009. Conway, E., ‘Nicht nu rein Paar faule Aepfel. Die Kirche in Irland bleibt durch Kindesmissbrauch gezeichnet’, Herder Korrespondenz, Vol 63 (9), September 2009, 465 – 469.


  • 2007. Conway, E., ‘On University Education’. The Furrow, Vol 58 (4), 206-209. 


  • 2006.Conway, E., with Connolly, P., Duffy, E.  and Lyons, E., “Accused but Innocent – What Should a Priest Do?” The Furrow, Vol 57 (4), 207 – 220.


  • 2006. Conway, E., ‘Accidental Theologians’. The Furrow, Vol 57 (1) January 2006, 54-58.


  • 2005. Conway, E.,  ‘A Long Way to Go’. The Furrow, Vol 56 (12) December 2005, 643 -651.


  • 2004. Conway, E.,  ‘Gute und schlechte Nachrichten. Die katholische Kirche in Irland nach einem schwierigen Jahrzent‘. Herder KorrespondenzVol 58 2004 (1), 11-15. 


  • 2003. Conway, E., ‘Caring for Clergy Offenders’. The Furrow, Vol 54 (4), 218-224.


  • 2002. Conway, E., ‘The Value of Theology.’ The Furrow, Vol 53 (6), 323-339.


  • 2002. Conway, E., ‘Touching our Wounds.’The Furrow Vol 53 (5),  263-270.


  • 2002. Conway, E., ‘Gentle Descent into Self-Awareness.’SpiritualityVol 8 May-June 187-190.


  • 2001. Conway, E.,   ‘Theological Reflections on Death in the Context of Suicide.’ Céide Fall 2001, 172-181.


  • 2000.Conway, E., ‘Towards a Charter for Recovery in Child Sexual Abuse – The Way Forward.’ Dublin: NCPI 2000, 76-90.


  • 2000.Conway, E.,   ‘Irish Faith and Culture.’ The Furrow,Vol 51 (4), 250-256. 


  • 1998.Conway, E.,   ‘The Path to Self-Knowledge.’ The Furrow,Vol 49 (6), 347-349.


  • 1998.Conway, E.,   ‘With Reverence and Love.’ The Furrow,Vol 49 (6), 150-155.


  • 1996.Conway, E.,   ‘Earthing the Incarnation.’ The Furrow,Vol 47 (12), 891-912.


  • 1996.Conway, E.,   ‘A Europe without Priests?’ The Furrow,Vol 47, 350-360.


  • 1995.Conway, E.,   ‘The Non-Ordained in Ministry.’The Furrow,Vol 46 (3) 162-167.


  • 1995.Conway, E.,   ‘Midwives to the Mystery.’  The Furrow,Vol 46 (7)415-421.



Conference Papers, Presentations and Addresses (selected) from the past five years


  • "Evangelisation in the light of Pope Francis" - Module to the propadeutic seminary programme, Real Collegio Escoceces, Salamanca, Spain, May 2019


  • "The Commodification of Resilience: Towards a rediscovery of the Christian virtue of Hope", University of Malta, October 2018 (with Dr Kerry Greer). 


  • As Visiting Scholar to the University of Notre Dame, Perth, W Australia, July/August 2017, I addressed the university’s Senior Management Team, several Deans and university faculties as well as the directors and trustees of the Sisters of St John of God Hospital Trust. I also delivered three public lectures (see: Papers included:
    • “Management and Leadership in a Catholic Educational Context”
    • “Vatican II on Christian Education: a Guide for Today’s Educational Emergency”
    • “The Biblical Foundation and Current Practice of Servant Leadership”
    • “Catholic Education: What we Teach while we are Teaching”
    • “The Influence of Technology and Consumerism on Religion”
    • “Assessing Pastoral Priorities in light of The Joy of Love/Amoris Laetitia


  • “The Christian Anthropology of Laudato Si’”, Marianum College, Muntinlupa, Manila, July 21 2016. 


  •  “A Church Beyond Clericalism”, De La Salle University, Manila July 19 2016. 


  • “A Church Beyond Clericalism”. Paper to the joint ESCT/DaKaTeo Conference on Gender and Ecclesiology: An intercultural dialogue, Manila, The Philippines, July 14 – 17 2016.


  • Visiting Professor to The Church in the 21stCentury Center, Boston College, March 16 2017 where I lectured on “Opening the Horizons of Priesthood and Ministry”.


  •  “Current challenges to faith-based education: reflections from the Irish context.” Presentation to the Faculties of Theology and Education, University of Malta, Jan 15 2016. 


  • “Selfies and Spirituality: Transcendence through Social Networking and Social Networking Sites”, with Kerry Greer, 5thIFCU Psychology Congress, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles, April 2015. 


  • “What we teach while we are teaching” – Paper to Governors and Head teachers, Diocese of Westminster (UK), April 3 2014


  • “What does the New Evangelisation look like in the light of Pope Francis?” Keynote to Bishops of England and Wales Conference, UK, November 3-4  2013


  •  “The gift of Catholic Education in a detraditionalised cultural context”, Westminster Hall, London, Sept 24 2013


  • “A Nova Evangelização: Apresentar Deus numa sociedade pluralista”(“The new evangelization: presenting God in a pluralist society”). Keynote address to the SOTER (Brazilian Society for Theology and Religion) Annual Congress, Belo Horizonte, Brazil, July 2013.



National (Selected)

  • "Responding to our times" Address to the priests of the diocese of Dublin, February 8, 2019.


  • "Exercising Catholic Leadership" - International Seminar for Marist School Principals, Glendalough, September 2019. 


  • "Spreading the Good News - The Urgency of Adult Faith Formation" Tobar Mhuire Summer Institute, Belfast, June 2018.


  • “Daring to be different” – towards a Distinctive Future for Catholic schools among a Plurality of Educational Providers.”  Diocese of Elphin principals, teachers and chaplains, Feb 22, 2018. 


  • “Five cultural snapshots and their implications for Catholic educators”. Diocese of Killaloe teachers & principals, November 23 2017.


  • “Current cultural and political challenges facing Catholic Educators”. Diocese of Meath Boards of Management, Oct 5 2017. 


(I have addressed several dioceses, religious orders, trustees and boards of management, principals, teachers and clergy conferences on the above and related topics in the past five years.) 


  • “’Self knows that self is not enough’ – Priestly Formation for Collaboration and Co-Responsibility”. Invited paper to the International Congress on Priestly Formation, St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, November 17 2017. 


  • "Where now for Faith-based Education? Charting the Future Together", Conference at the Gresham Hotel, Dublin, October 26 2017.


  • “Christian Sacramentality in a Secularised World”, Glenstal Liturgical Congress, Oct 20 2017. 


  • “Reading and understanding Amoris Laetitia”. Study Day for the Archdiocese of Armagh, Oct 1 2016. 


  • “Why Faith Schools Matter”. Plenary paper to the AGM of the Catholic Primary School Managers’ Association, Dublin, March 3 2017


  • “Pope Francis and Young People”, National Catholic Education Congress, Cistercian College Roscrea, Nov 8 2015. 


  • “The Future of Denominational Education”, The Iona Institute, Dublin Oct 6 2015


  • Laudato Si’: Christian Ecology – Hope for the Future”, Irish Eucharistic Congress, Knock, 26thSeptember 2015. 


  • “Pope Francis and Evangelisation: continuity or discontinuity?” MIC, May 24 2014


  •  “Christianity and Consumerism: Do people buy religion?” MIC, Feb 25 2014


  • “Catholic Education: Gift and Challenge,” Paper to Knights of Columbanus, Knock,  Feb 2014


  • “Pope Francis and the New Evangelisation”, MIC CCTV Conference, January 18 2014


  • “Post-primary schools and the New Evangelisation”, RE Congress, Kilkenny, Oct 1 2014


  • “I don’t go to Mass – does it matter? Plenary to Spiritfest, Dundalk, May 11 2013


  • “Rediscovering the Dignity of Childhood, with Karl Rahner”, Plenary to Spiritfest, Dundalk, May 11 2013 


  • “The New Evangelisation: Challenges and Opportunities”, Knock, Sept 17 2013.


  • “The Fundamentals of Christian Faith” Keynote to Kildare & Leighlin Diocesan Congress, March 8 2013


  • “I Believe: Exploring the Creed”, Navan, March 6 2013, 


  • “Protecting Denominational Education”, Paper to the Iona Institute, January 21 2013