Cross-Cultural, Urban, Reformed, Ecumenical

Robert Cathey to Retire from McCormick Faculty After 22 Years of Service


Dr. Robert A. Cathey, Professor of Theology at McCormick Theological Seminary has announced he will retire on June 30, 2020.

Cathey joined the McCormick Seminary faculty in 1998 and was named Professor of Theology in 2008. He has taught at The Near East School of Theology (Beirut, Lebanon), Elmhurst College (Elmhurst, IL), Monmouth College (Monmouth, IL), Davidson College, and William Paterson University (NJ). Ordained in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), he served one year as Chaplain of Monmouth College and was Chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies (1993-1997).

“We are deeply appreciative of Bob’s contributions to theological education, his global efforts to build interfaith understanding, and his commitment to the PC(USA) and ministerial formation. We wish him all the best as he transitions to a new phase of his career,” says Dean of the Faculty and Vice President of Academic Affairs Steed Vernyl Davidson.

Dr. Cathey shares, "Joining the McCormick family has shaped me as a person of faith, a scholar and a teacher. I would not have become who I am today without McCormick and the wonderful colleagues and students with whom I have served over the years.” 

“Bob Cathey has been a long-time leader in building local and global interfaith understanding and cooperation. We are grateful for his service and will seek to continue his example of building and sustaining interfaith relationships based on rigorous study, respectful engagement, and thoughtful listening,” adds President David Crawford.

Dr. Cathey is a member of the Christian Leadership Initiative of the American Jewish Committee and the Shalom Hartman Institute that included intensive study in Jerusalem in July 2010 and 2011. He is also a member of the Christian Scholars Group for Christian-Jewish Relations (2008-2019). He served in the Ecumenical and Inter-Religious Work Group of the Presbytery of Chicago, and attended the fourth and fifth Parliaments of the World’s Religions in Barcelona, Spain (July, 2004), and Melbourne, Australia (December, 2009).

He is past president of the American Theological Society (Midwest), a regional professional society of scholars in theological and religious studies. McCormick has hosted many meetings of ATS-Midwest on its campus over the years. Dr. Cathey is a member of The Center of Theological Inquiry (Princeton, NJ), and was the first convener of the Society for Scriptural Reasoning (1996-99), an organization that engages Jewish, Christian, and Islamic scholars in philosophic and theological interpretation of scriptural texts.

He is co-author with Rev. Dirk Ficca, Rev. Nannette Sawyer, Rev. Dr. Jay Moses, and Presbytery of Chicago of “Metro Chicago Presbyterian-Jewish Relations… In Our Time,” (November 2015), a public statement affirming the ongoing significance of Presbyterian and Jewish dialogue and partnership recognizing the 50th anniversary of In Our Time, “Nostrae Aetate”, the Vatican II promulgation affirming the relationship of the Roman Catholic Church with the global Jewish community, seeking to right relations after centuries of contempt for the Jewish people and the horrors of the Holocaust.

Cathey is co-editor and author with Elena Procario-Foley of Righting Relations after the Holocaust and Vatican II: Essays in Honor of John T. Pawlikowski, OSM (Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2018). He is the author of God in Postliberal Perspective: Between Realism and Non-Realism (Burlington, VT: Ashgate, 2009). He has written or co-authored essays, articles, or reviews in Modern Theology, The Review of Metaphysics, Interpretation, Ars Disputandi, Currents in Theology and Mission, Ecumenical Trends, McCormick Notes, Theological Education, Pro Ecclesia, Princeton Seminary Bulletin, Union Seminary Quarterly Review, and Theological Students Fellowship Bulletin. He contributed chapters or articles to Feasting on the Word: Lectionary Commentary Series Westminster John Knox Press); Shaping Beloved Community: Multicultural Theological Education(Westminster John Knox Press, 2006); Ecumenical Theology in Worship, Doctrine, and Life (Oxford University Press, 1999); Festschrift in Honor of Charles Speel (Monmouth College, 1996); Dictionary of Christianity in America (InterVarsity Press, 1990).

About McCormick Theological Seminary

McCormick is a member of the Association of Chicago Theological Schools (ACTS) and an integral part of one of the world’s great centers of theological education and research. Accredited by both the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), McCormick seeks to embody and create a more just and compassionate world through rigorous academic study, practical experience, spiritual formation and an active, engaged learning community. Founded in 1829 and a leader in the Chicago faith community since 1860, it is a seminary with a long history of high academic standards and a commitment to social justice.

McCormick is one of twelve theological institutions associated with the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Part of the Reformed tradition is an ecumenical commitment and openness to dialogue with different perspectives within the larger church. McCormick’s student body represents a wide variety of Christian traditions including Baptist, UCC, AME, Pentecostal, non-denominational students, and more. Common to all our students is a desire to live in a racially, ethnically, linguistically, and theologically diverse community rooted in our faith and in a shared commitment to service for the common good.