Ave Maria University’s Michael Breidenbach, Visiting Assistant Professor of History, will be presenting at the American Political Science Association Annual Meeting and Exhibition this weekend, August 28-31, 2014.
Breidenbach’s first paper, “Anti-Papist Catholics in Early America,” will be delivered on Saturday morning as part of the panel: “Catholics in American Politics.” Breidenbach will be joined by James M. Patterson of Hampden-Sydney College, Joseph S. Devaney of University of Wisconsin – Green Bay, and Ryan McIlhenny of Providence Christian College.
On Sunday morning, Breidenbach will present his paper “Catholic Conscience and Papal Authority in American History.” The panel, “Religious Liberty and the HHS Mandate,” also includes speakers Matthew J. Franck of the Witherspoon Institute, Carson L. Holloway from the University of Nebraska, Omaha, and R. R. Reno of First Things.
Michael Breidenbach explains that, for the second panel, he will be presenting the problem of how American Catholics, if they deny the indirect temporal power of the pope, understand any papal teaching. “What papal teaching doesn’t affect temporal affairs?” he points out. “We have to think about this problem, because if we deny the pope’s papal teaching goes beyond the Church, then I think we are in the territory of the HHS mandate. I’m interested in how we got to the point where, as Catholics, papal teaching is something to be rejected or accepted based on your individual conscience. I’m interested the link between that and what I’ve explained as the American Conciliarist tradition.” Breidenbach wrote his doctoral thesis on the consolation of ideas about church governance and papal power in relation to civil rulers which American Catholic leaders, like the Carrolls in Maryland, inherited.
Breidenbach understands his role in the APSA’s 2014 conference as helping to provide the historical context for the political discussions that will take place. The full schedule for the APSA weekend can be viewed here.
Michael Breidenbach graduated magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa with honors in History and American Studies from Northwestern University. He received his M.Phil. in Political Thought and Intellectual History from Wolfson College, and was visiting scholar there for one year. Breidenbach received his Ph.D. from King’s College, Cambridge. He was 2013-2014 Thomas W. Smith Postdoctoral Research Associate at the James Madison Program at Princeton University. He is currently Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Ave Maria University.