Franciscan University to Host Conference on the Body as a Gift

April 16, 2024

STEUBENVILLE, OHIO—The fourth annual Truth of Love Conference will tackle some of today’s most pressing ethical issues with a focus on the Eucharistic paradigm of the human body as a gift, not a matter of “choice.” Cosponsored by Franciscan University of Steubenville and the Veritas Amoris Project, the event will be held at Franciscan University June 21-23, 2024.

The conference theme, My Body Given for You (Luke 22:19): The Eucharist and the Logic of the Gift, will address the logic behind the pro-abortion slogan, “My body, my choice.” This so-called “right to choose” is also relevant to questions of gender identity and euthanasia. The conference will offer a Catholic perspective that understands the meaning of the human body not as a matter of choice but as a gift. Special emphasis will be given to the body’s significance as revealed in the Eucharist, the Body of Christ given for our salvation.

Conference speakers will explore this topic from three perspectives: the body as gift in relation to vocation, how the body as gift transforms our moral life, and how the body as gift is also a social body, embedded in the Church and in society, and therefore in history and tradition.

“We live in a world that has given up on the body, that wants to be saved from the body,” said Franciscan’s Dr. Jacob Wood, conference organizer, associate professor of theology, and director of the new PhD program in sacred theology. “Only in Christ’s body do we find the salvific hope that the world is hungering for: the redemption of the body through the Cross, its renewal through the Eucharist, and the restoration of the body in the Resurrection.”

“As we prepare for the Eucharistic Congress in July, I’m grateful to our bishops for calling us all to reflect more deeply on the Eucharist as the central mystery of our faith,” said Dr. Stephen Hildebrand, Franciscan University vice president for Academic Affairs. “The Truth of Love academic conference honors the Eucharistic Lord as both the center of our intellectual life as well as of our spiritual life—the Eucharist demands our minds as well as our hearts.”

The keynote address will be offered by Bishop Earl K. Fernandes of Columbus, Ohio. The conference will also feature many distinguished theologians, including Rev. Dr. José Granados, a member of the Veritas Amoris Project, Madrid; Dr. Scott Hahn, professor of theology at Franciscan University; Dr. Stephan Kampowski, professor of philosophical anthropology at the Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute, Rome; Dr. Katharina Westerhorstmann, professor of theology and medical ethics at Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Austrian study abroad program; Dr. Nicholas Healy, associate professor of philosophy and culture at the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, Washington, D.C., and many others.

For more information and to register, visit

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