Cardinal Reinhard Marx delivered this year’s Roger W. Heyns Lecture in Religion and Society Thursday evening. Cardinal Marx, the Catholic Archbishop of Munich and Freising, centered his remarks on religion’s role in a pluralistic society.
Marx started his remarks by referencing Stanford’s motto, “Die Luft der Freiheit Weht,” in his native German.
“We want a free society, an open society…and to accept free decisions and diversity,” Cardinal Marx continued. “We have to enable people to live with the other…to think with the other.”
Students and community members filled Cemex Auditorium to hear the lecture.
“I most appreciated his tone on the future of the church moving forward. The church’s role might look different in society, but it will be prominent in a different way and that’s not negative,” said Megan McAndrews ’17.
Father Xavier Lavagetto, pastor of the Catholic Community at Stanford, also appreciated the Cardinal’s remarks.
“At times we can have a stilted view of the Catholic Church,” Lavagetto said. “I think he gave a view that it’s much more inherently dynamic.”
Cardinal Marx has gained an increasingly high-profile role within Church leadership in recent years. In addition to writing extensively on social justice, Cardinal Marx leads the Vatican’s Council on Economic Affairs and advises Pope Francis on efforts to reform the Church’s curia, or central administration.
Cardinal Marx also spoke of his concern for the economy and the poor.
“We must organize a society linked with the common good,” he said. “The role of the church is to bring these subjects to society.”
The Heyns Lecture was organized by the Office of Religious Life. Previous years’ speakers have included the Dalai Lama and Rev. Katharine Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church.
Reverend Jane Shaw, Dean of Religious Life, was excited to have Cardinal Marx deliver this year’s lecture.
“It’s great that he’s here,” Shaw said. “It’s a huge honor and delight for us.”
Although the talk is only an annual event, Lavagetto hoped that the lecture would spark ongoing conversation.
“It’s a catalyst for discussion,” he said. “He used the phrase ‘engaging the other, listening to the other.’ I think that’s terribly, terribly important.”
Contact Michael Gioia at mgioia2 ‘at’ stanford.edu.