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News : Catholic Experts

Catholic Experts

University of Dayton scholars are available for media interviews on theology; the U.S. Catholic experience; Catholic history; Christian traditions; the Vatican; religion and culture; religion and politics; and more. The world's media turned to many of them for insight on the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI and transition to Pope Francis. 

For interviews, contact Assistant Director of News and Communications Meagan Pant at, 937-229-3256 (office) or 937-212-2979 (cell), or email

The University offers a broadband studio for television interviews via Skype, Lifesize or FaceTime with high-quality broadcast capabilities at no cost to news outlets. It features a 4K UHD camera; upload/download speeds up to 100 mbps; LED lighting; lavalier mic; and IFB connection. More about our studio.

For satellite TV interviews, the University usually works through ThinkTV.

Latino Theology/Latina Theology

Neomi DeAnda, associate professor, religious studies
Profile | Media hits | Video | PR contact 

DeAnda's research interests include Latina and Latino theology; theology and breast milk; and the Intersection of race and migrations. She is developing a border theology in partnership with the Hope Border Institute. She is president of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States. She's author of the forthcoming book, A Theology of Breast Milk: A Latina Perspective, for which she received the Louisville Institute First Book Grant for Minority Scholars. She is fluent in Spanish. Media hits include Pope Francis Once Again Encourages Mothers To Breastfeed In The Sistine Chapel by NPR.

Theology, Church History, Vatican II, Pope and Papacy

Dennis Doyle, professor, religious studies
Profile | Media hits | Video | PR contact 

Doyle is an internationally respected Catholic theologian. He is frequently sought for his commentary on a wide range of Catholic issues. He's author of The Catholic Church in a Changing World: A Vatican-II Inspired Approach, which seeks to understand the Church, faith and religion within the context of people's lives. Media hits include Catholic Board Seeks Parishioner-Led Abuse Investigation by the Associated Press.

Catholic Social Teaching, Politics and Culture

Vincent Miller, Gudorf Chair in Catholic Theology and Culture
Profile | Media hits | Video | PR contact 

Miller is an expert on religion and politics; religion and consumer culture; the U.S. Catholic Church's involvement in politics and public policy; social justice and public policy; and the moral consequences of budgetary policies. He wrote Consuming Religion: Christian Faith and Practice in a Consumer Culture and edited The Theological and Ecological Vision of Laudato Si': Everything is Connected. Formerly of Georgetown University, Miller has been widely sought for his comments on the global financial crisis, Catholic social teaching and the federal budget's impact on the poor. Media hits include an interview with Bill O'Reilly.

Catholic History, Theology

William Portier, Mary Ann Spearin Chair of Catholic Theology
Profile | Media hits | Video | PR contact 

Portier, a widely respected theologian, is president of the College Theology Society. He is the author of books on U.S. Catholicism and theology and has contributed articles and reviews in the areas of theology, U.S. Catholic history, and Catholic higher education. He's interested in generational differences among Catholics in the United States and Pope Francis’s impact on the church, especially in the United States. In 2015, he received the American Catholic Historical Association’s Distinguished Scholar Award. Media hits include Living in Trump’s America by America.

Historical Perspective, Women in the Church, Sex Abuse Crisis

Sandra Yocum, associate professor, religious studies
Profile | Media hits | Video | PR contact 

Yocum, past-president of the College Theology Society, is a well-known writer and lecturer nationally on U.S. Catholic life and thought. Her research interests include U.S. Catholic history, women in the Church, and the Catholic sex abuse crisis. She has published articles in encyclopedias and several journals including Theological Studies, Horizons, Church History, U.S. Catholic Historian. She co-edited American Catholic Traditions: Resources for Renewal with William Portier. Media hits include Women Strive For Larger Roles in Male-Dominated Religions by the Associated Press.

Religion and Pop Culture

Joe Valenzano III, associate professor & chair, communication
Profile | Media hits | Video | PR contact 

Valenzano's research interests include religious communication and culture. His research articles include Pope John Paul II's death as a final homily, and Pope Benedict XVI's trip to Turkey. Media hits include With Immediacy Comes Responsibility in the 24/7 Social Media World by Catholic News Service.


Theology and Social Media

Jana Bennett, associate professor, religious studies
Profile | Media hits | Video | PR contact 

Bennett is a moral theologian with a wide range of research interests and well-regarded publications, including her latest book, Singleness and the Church: A New Theology of the Single Life. She gives public lectures on marriage and sexuality, Christian asceticism, technology use, war and peace, and environmental care. She's an editor of the blog Catholic Moral Theology. Media hits include Being Catholic Online — Problems and Possibilities with the Catholic News Service.

African-American Catholic History

Cecilia Moore, associate professor, religious studies
Profile | Media hits | Video | PR contact 

Moore also is the associate director of the degree program for the Institute for Black Catholic Studies at Xavier University of Louisiana. She is working on the history of black conversion to Roman Catholicism in the 20th century. Media hits include Pope Francis Inspires Black Catholics, Despite Complicated Church History On Race on NPR.

Catholic Identity

Daniel Thompson, associate professor and chair, religious studies
Profile | Media hits | Video | PR contact 

Thompson has written about Catholic identity and the Catholic intellectual tradition. His research and writings have focused on the challenge of dissent with church authority and how faith communities stay together in the face of change. Media hits include Donald Trump, Pope Francis Meet with KCBS-AM San Francisco.

Mary Apparitions, Nativities

The Rev. Johann Roten, S.M., instructor, International Marian Research Institute
Profile | Media hits | Video | PR contact 

Father Roten's expertise includes how faith and the Catholic Church intersect in different cultures, especially how cultures see the birth of Christ and express their perspectives in Nativities. He frequently serves as a resource on canonization and apparitions. A former student of Pope Benedict XVI, Roten served on a Vatican-appointed commission about Mary in the 1990s. Swiss by birth, Roten speaks English, French, German, Swiss-German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, Latin and Greek. He ministers in Polish, Hungarian and Lithuanian in the ethnic churches of Dayton. Media hits include Why Our Lady of Guadalupe is Celebrated Across the U.S. by NBC.

Afterlife, Christian Origins

Meghan Henning, assistant professor, religious studies
Profile | Media hits | Video | PR contact 

Henning specializes in New Testament and early Christianity. She's the author of Educating Early Christians through the Rhetoric of Hell, as well as numerous articles, essays and invited papers on Hell, the New Testament, apocalyptic literature, apocryphal literature, ancient rhetoric, disability studies, and pedagogy. She also is currently working on a book about the conceptualization of gender, disability and the body in the early Christian apocalypses. Media hits include The Disciples’ Argument for Why Jesus Wasn’t a Ghost or a Zombie in the Daily Beast.