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2014 D'Angelo Chair

Peter Steinfels

Author, educator, and journalist, Peter Steinfels was a founding co-director of the Center on Religion and Culture at Fordham University, where he is a University Professor Emeritus.  He has been a visiting professor at Georgetown University, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Dayton.  From 1988 to 1997 he was senior religion correspondent at The New York Times and created its “Beliefs” column on religion and ethics, which he wrote for twenty years. 

Dr. Steinfels co-directed a three-year research program on American Catholics in the Public Square, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts.  In addition to his work at the intersection of religion and contemporary culture, his interests include political theory, international politics, modern American and European religious history, bioethics, and health care.  An editor of Commonweal before going to The Times, Dr. Steinfels is the author of A People Adrift: The Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America (1993) and The Neoconservatives (1979), a pioneering study reissued last year with a new Foreword. 

In 2003, he and his wife, Margaret O’Brien Steinfels, who served for fifteen years as editor of Commonweal and co-directs the Fordham Center, were the recipients of the Laetare Medal for service to the church and society from the University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Steinfels earned his bachelor’s degree from Loyola University in Chicago and his Ph.D. in European history from Columbia University.


As the third person to hold the Peter and Margaret D’Angelo Endowed Chair for the Humanities at St. John’s, Peter Steinfels will teach a graduate theology course, Religion and Public Culture and deliver public lectures during the Spring 2014 semester.

“Secularization and its Discontents: Is ‘Secular” a Four-Letter Word?”
Thursday, February 27
1:50 p.m. (Common Hour)
D’Angelo Center, Room 206
Queens Campus

“Secularization and its Discontents: Is ‘Secular” a Four-Letter Word?”
Monday, April 7
1:50 p.m. (Common Hour)
Kelleher Center, Kiernan Suite
Staten Island Campus

For additional information, please contact Ms. Patricia Marchia at 718-990-6272 or

Established in 2007, the Peter P. and Margaret A. D’Angelo Chair in the Humanities promotes excellence in teaching and scholarly exchange.