Rest in Peace: Gerard Mannion

The Berkley Center and Georgetown University mourn the loss of Gerard Mannion who passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, September 21. 

Mannion was a senior research fellow at the Berkley Center and the Joseph and Winifred Amaturo Chair in Catholic Studies in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Georgetown University. His work was dedicated to investigating the role of the church in the world and promoting ecumenical and interreligious dialogue.

Mannion came to Georgetown and the center in January 2014.

Mannion’s career is marked by his commitment to being a public scholar in every sense of the word. Much of his effort was put toward forming networks and communities of scholars in order to amplify their voices.

In 2007, Mannion was instrumental in forming the Ecclesiological Investigations International Research Network (EI), a hub for international collaboration in ecclesiology. The network was founded upon the principle that the church must be inclusive if it is to be relevant and fulfill its mission, and as such has supported a large number of conferences around the globe on a diverse range of themes. 

Mannion was himself deeply committed to honoring this call to engage beyond the confines of conferences and academic gatherings, appearing in a number of public media outlets, and often pushing the Catholic Church to face and critically address its problematic past.

In 2015, Mannion appeared on NPR’s Diane Rehm Show to discuss badly needed reform efforts of the Vatican Bank. And after the Pennsylvania grand jury report documenting clerical sexual abuse was released in summer 2018, Mannion took to TIME Magazine to offer a blistering criticism of U.S. bishops and a call for accountability.

Department of Theology Chair and Berkley Center Senior Research Fellow William Werpehowski said of Mannion, “Gerard was a remarkably active and significant presence here in the department and in the university at large. He was also an astute and lively public theologian who wrote with clarity and insight.”

Mannion’s many scholarly pursuits and public engagements did not prevent him from following personal passions, and beginning about four years ago, he found a way to bring the personal and professional together in the Global Irish Studies Initiative at Georgetown University. An Irish citizen himself, Mannion teamed up with colleagues Irene Jillson and Cóilín Parsons to build off of Georgetown’s many current and historical Irish ties in order to form an ambitious initiative designed to pioneer new research and teaching efforts focused on Irish studies. The initiative also serves to raise the profile of global Irish studies, including high-level events, such as “A Generation of Peace: Northern Ireland, Then and Now,” which focused on the legacy and durability of the Good Friday Agreement and included reflections from agreement negotiator George Mitchell.

Reflecting on Mannion’s passing and his role in the center, Berkley Center Director Shaun Casesy added, “We are deeply saddened and shocked by the news of the untimely death of our friend and beloved colleague Gerard Mannion. Gerard was a widely published, internationally renowned scholar who was a stalwart member of the Berkley Center faculty. We extend our condolences to his family, and we rejoice in his memory.”

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