Msgr. Mahon to lead religion institute

Seton Hall recently announced the launch of a new Institute for Communications and Religion, which is within the College of Communication and Arts. This Institute will primarily focus on providing a curriculum where ethical religious concepts can be discussed from a viewpoint within modern and digital society.

Msgr. Dr. Dennis Mahon, an associate professor in communications, will be leading the program.

The Institute for Communications and Religion will be a transformative interdisciplinary program.
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Mahon wrote in an email that he and other professors, originally conceived the idea of an Institute for Religion and Communications. Mahon is pleased the initiative is advancing quickly and hopes the institute will effectively mix religion and communications.

This program aims “to bring attention to the simultaneous constitutional, First Amendment freedoms, of speech and of religion. Right now, it seems religion believes more in freedom of the press than the press believes in freedom of religion.” Mahon said. He also said that associate professors of communications, Catherine Zizik and Jon Radwan are currently working on the curriculum for undergraduate courses that will be provided starting the following semester.

The Institute is an interdisciplinary effort between the College of Communication and the Arts, Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology, School of Diplomacy and International Relations, and the College of Arts and Sciences, according to the university.

Deirdre Yates, dean of the College of Communications and the Arts, said that she is thrilled with this interdisciplinary initiative and is looking forward to its beginning.

“A collaboration between colleges/schools serves to enhance the overall contribution of the initiative to the university, the community and particularly to the students,” Yates wrote. “By working with other units we are able to share wisdom, expertise and knowledge which ultimately strengthens the educational experience.”

Dr. Peter Shoemaker, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, also commented on his School’s efforts with the new Institute. He discussed what he hopes students in his college will gain from the program.

“One of the strengths of our Religion department is the focus on the dialogue between religious traditions: for example, we have a distinguished, nationally recognized graduate program is Jewish-Christian Studies,” Shoemaker said. “It is my hope that the new institute will help faculty and students to think about inter-religious dialogue in new and original ways.”

William McGurn, a member of the Wall Street editorial board, who writes the weekly “Main Street” column, and served as a chief editorial writer. He will be attending the Institute’s inaugural event and will be giving a presentation ‘Speaking Truth: Religion in the News Media.”

The inaugural event will be held on Nov. 2 in the Jubilee Atrium at 6:30 p.m. and will be open to all faculty and students.

Hannah Sakha can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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