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Dr. Fáinche Ryan
Associate Professor, School of Religion

Fáinche Ryan is the current Director of the Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin. She has lectured in theology at Trinity since 2013. Before taking up her post at Trinity she lectured for five years at Mater Dei Institute, Dublin City University, and prior to this was Tutor in Theology at the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, Cambridge, and an affiliated lecturer at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge.

Her research and teaching interests include:

  • New thinking in the theology of leadership and ordination
  • The role of Church in a pluralist society
  • Eucharistic theology
  • Medieval theology and the theology of Thomas Aquinas
She is currently working on the virtue of truth telling, with particular focus on how the theology of Thomas Aquinas might be brought to engage in current debate in what might be termed about the concept of 'post-truth'. Since joining the staff at Trinity her research interests have expanded to include an interest in the early Irish church, and in particular the theology of the Book of Kells.


In 2007 I was awarded my doctorate in theology from the Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas in Rome. The research focused on the concept and method of theology in the work of Thomas Aquinas. This was subsequently published in the prestigious series of the Thomas Instituut te Utrecht with Peeters at Louvain (Belgium). In 2006 I took up the position of Director of Teaching and Learning at the Margaret Beaufort Institute, a member of the Cambridge Theological Federation. From 2006-2008 I was an Affiliated Lecturer at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge. In 2008 I was appointed Lecturer in Theology at the Mater Dei Institute, Dublin City University. In 2013 I was appointed Assistant Professor in Systematic Theology at the Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin, promoted to Associate Professor in 2021. From July 2016 to August 2020 I was Director of the Loyola Institute. At the Annual General Meeting of the European Society of Catholic Theology, held in Pecs, Hungary, I was elected Vice-President of the Association. I serve in this role for two years, and then succeed as President.

Publications and Further Research Outputs

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Fainche Ryan, Theology and the University, Routledge: Taylor and Francis Group, 2024 Book, 2024 DOI

Fainche Ryan, Ideology of perfectionism abounds but legislation alone cannot eliminate violence against women, 1826, 2022, - Miscellaneous, 2022

Fainche Ryan, Conscience Working within Prudentia. Instructed by Thomas Deman's Reading of Aquinas, Religions , 13, (9), 2022, p12 Journal Article, 2022 TARA - Full Text DOI

Special Issue of Religions: "Decision-Making in an Uncertain Time. Should You Always Obey Your Conscience?", (2022), Fainche Ryan Journal, 2022

Fainche Ryan, The Role of Intelligence in Good Human Living. , Aquinas Seminar Series: De Magistro: Aquinas and the Education of the Whole Person, Aquinas Institute, Blackfriars, Oxford, 6th May, 2021, Aquinas Institute Invited Talk, 2021

Fainche Ryan, The Network of Agape: Who is my neighbour? , Dignity, Justice, & Law Meet Catholic Social Tradition Conference , University of Notre Dame Kylemore Abbey Global Center, Nov. 21st-23rd, 2021 Invited Talk, 2021

Fainche Ryan, . On Restoring the Centrality of Prudentia (Phronēsis) for Living Well: Pathways and Contemporary Relevance , Religions , 12, (10), 2021, p1 - 19 Journal Article, 2021 DOI TARA - Full Text

Fáinche Ryan, The Complexity of Truth-telling: Augustine, Aquinas, and some contemporary considerations, Aquinas-Lecture 2020, Unversity of Innsbruck, 29th January, 2020, Department of Christian Philosophy Invited Talk, 2020

Fánche Ryan, Consumerism replaces Christianity? The case of Ireland, Svensk Teologisk Kvartalskrift, 96, (3), 2020, p219 - 233 Journal Article, 2020

Fáinche Ryan, Truth Matters: Living in Dangerous Times - Aquinas on the Virtue of Truth-Telling , European Journal for the Study of Thomas Aquinas , 37, 2019, p35 - 48 Journal Article, 2019 URL

2016 On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine in, editor(s)Cornelius J.Casey, Fáinche Ryan , The Church in Pluralist Society: Social and Political Roles, USA, Notre Dame University Press, 2019, [Fáinche Ryan] Book Chapter, 2019

Cornelius J.Casey, Fáinche Ryan eds, The Church in Pluralist Society: Social and Political Roles, USA, Notre Dame University Press, 2019, 1 - 178pp Book, 2019

Fáinche Ryan, Reflections at the Burning Bush: Doing Theology Practically with Thomas Aquinas, Practical Theology, 10, (1), 2017 Journal Article, 2017 URL

Fáinche Ryan, Thomas Aquinas and the Priesthood of All the Believers: Aquinas' Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews, Biblica et Patristica Thoruniesia, 9, (3), 2016, p133 - 148 Journal Article, 2016 DOI

Fáinche Ryan, Holiness as Priesthood, New Blackfriars, 97 , 2016, p173 - 186 Journal Article, 2016

Vatican II and the Question of Ministry in, editor(s)Dermot Lane. , Vatican II in Ireland, Fifty Years On: Essays in Honour of Padraic Conway, Oxford, Peter Lang, 2015, pp331 - 349, [Fáinche Ryan] Book Chapter, 2015

Fáinche Ryan, Why do we still need Aquinas?, New Blackfriars, 95, (1056), 2014, p160 - 176 Journal Article, 2014

From the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful in, editor(s)Enda McDonagh. , Performing the Word: Festschrift for Ronan Drury, Dublin, Columba Press, 2014, pp87 - 92, [Fáinche Ryan] Book Chapter, 2014

The Christian God and the Stark Reality of Evil in, editor(s)Moreno Bonca, Simon Bacon , Seductive Concepts. Perspectives on Sins, Vices and Virtues, Oxford, Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2014, pp3 - 15, [Fáinche Ryan] Book Chapter, 2014

Liturgical Roles for Women: The Latin Tradition in the Middle Ages in, editor(s)Au ra Vasiliauskienė , Lietuvos Did iosios Kunigaik tystės Moterų Vienuolijos: Tradicija Ir Paveldas. Mokslo Straipsnių Rinkinys., Vytauto Did iojo universitetas, 2014, pp13 - 21, [Fainche Ryan] Book Chapter, 2014 URL

Fáinche Ryan, Christian Anthropology: Theology for Today Volume Two, Dublin, The Priory Institute, 2012, 1 - 156pp Book, 2012

Fáinche Ryan, The Eucharist: What do we believe?, Dublin, Columba Press, 2012, 1 - 96pp Book, 2012

Fáinche Ryan, Christian Anthropology: Theology for Today, Dublin, The Priory Institute, 2012, 1 - 104pp Book, 2012

REA: A Journal of Religion, Theology and the Arts, 7, (2011), Fáinche Ryan, Mary Shanahan, [eds.] Journal, 2011

Fáinche Ryan, Review of Thomas Aquinas. The Academic Sermons., by Mark-Robin Hoogland , New Blackfriars, 92, 2011, p628-629 Review, 2011

Fáinche Ryan, Sign of Contradiction. Towards a Renewed Priesthood in the Wake of Scandal, Milltown Studies, 67, 2011, p16 - 33 Journal Article, 2011

Fáinche Ryan, Ian Leask, The Taylor Effect: Responding to a Secular Age, Newcastle, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010, 1 - 216pp Book, 2010

Fáinche Ryan, Why were we silent? The Role of the 'Simple Faithful' in Ecclesial Structures, Doctrine and Life, 60, 2010, p15 - 26 Journal Article, 2010

Fáinche Ryan, Padraic Conway, Karl Rahner: Theologian for the Twenty-First Century , Bern, Peter Lang, 2010, 1 - 251pp Book, 2010

"Code Fixation", Dilemmas and the Missing Virtue: Practical Wisdom in a Secular Age in, editor(s)Ian Leask, Eoin Cassidy, Alan Kearns, Fáinche Ryan, Mary Shanahan , The Taylor Effect: Responding to a Secular Age, Newcastle, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010, pp175 - 190, [Fáinche Ryan] Book Chapter, 2010

"Rahner and Aquinas: The Incomprehensibility of God" in, editor(s)Padraic Conway, Fáinche Ryan , Karl Rahner: Theologian for the Twenty-First Century, Bern, Peter Lang, 2010, pp41 - 60, [Fáinche Ryan] Book Chapter, 2010

Fáinche Ryan, 'Salvation is from the Jews' (Jn 4:22): Aquinas, God, and the People of God, Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations, 5, (1), 2010 Journal Article, 2010

Fáinche Ryan, Searching for Hope, Spirituality, 2010, p334 - 339 Journal Article, 2010

Teaching to Think: St Thomas as Pedagogue in, Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society, 2009, pp93 - 105, [Fáinche Ryan] Book Chapter, 2009

Fáinche Ryan, Theology, a road to sanctification?, Irish Theological Quarterly, 74, 2009, p75 - 88 Journal Article, 2009

Fáinche Ryan, Review of Exchanges of Grace: Essays in Honour of Ann Loades, by Natalie K. Watson, Stephen Burns , Irish Theological Quarterly, 74, 2009, p236-237 Review, 2009

Darwin and Aquinas. Descent with Modification in, editor(s)Louis Caruana , Darwinism and Catholicism. The Past and Present Dynamics of a Cultural Encounter, London/New York, T&T Clark, 2009, pp43 - 59, [Fáinche Ryan] Book Chapter, 2009

Fáinche Ryan, Formation in Holiness. Thomas Aquinas on Sacra doctrina. , Leuven, Thomas Instituut Utrecht - Peeters , 2007, 1 - 217pp Book, 2007

Fáinche Ryan, Auctoritas in the Theology of Thomas Aquinas, New Blackfriars, 88, 2007, p443 - 456 Journal Article, 2007

Fáinche Ryan, Sacra doctrina, discourse about God, is a formation in holiness, Rome, Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas, 2007, 1 - 139pp Book, 2007

Divine Transcendence and Immanence in the Thought of Thomas Aquinas in, editor(s)Henk Schoot , Jaarboek 2005 Thomas Instituut te Utrecht, 2005, pp75 - 100, [Fáinche Ryan] Book Chapter, 2005

Non-Peer-Reviewed Publications

The University: A Refuge of Truth and Truthfulness in, editor(s)Fainche Ryan, Dirk Ansorge, Joseph Quitterer , Theology and the University, London and New York, Routledge, 2024, pp24 - 38, [Fainche Ryan] Book Chapter, 2024

Fainche Ryan, The Book of Kells and Our Lady, Africa , 88, (4), 2023, p8 - 9 Journal Article, 2023

Fainche Ryan, Aquinas on Faith, Reason and Charity, Review of Aquinas on Faith, Reason, and Charity, by Roberto Di Ceglie , Faith and Philosophy, 2022 Review, 2022

Fainche Ryan, Book Review, Review of Truth and the Church in a Secular Age, by David Jasper and Jenny A. Wright, eds , Modern Believing, 63, (4), 2022, p436-437 Review, 2022

Cornelius Casey, Fainche Ryan, Soiscéal mór Colmcille, Comcille in Context: Theologians and Historians in Conversation, Webinar, 29th September, 2021 Invited Talk, 2021

Fainche Ryan, A More Authentic Church - Women on the Synodal Pathway, Intercom, 2021 Journal Article, 2021

Fainche Ryan, The Complexity of Truth-telling in a Post-Truth Age, Inspiring Ideas Webinar, Trinity College Dublin, 19 May, 2021, Trinity Development & Alumni Invited Talk, 2021

Fainche Ryan, Truth-telling matters: Hannah Arendt , The Percy French Festival, Roscommon, Ireland, 21 July, 2021 Invited Talk, 2021

Fainche Ryan, Covid, Sensus Fidei and the Church, The Furrow, 72, (5), 2021, p266 - 270 Journal Article, 2021

Fainche Ryan, Women on the Synodal Pathway, Autumn Lectures, St John the Baptist Church, Clontarf, 8th December, 2021 Invited Talk, 2021

Fainche Ryan, For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission, Ennismore Conversations, Ennismore Retreat House, Cork, 29th November, 2021, Dominican Congregation Invited Talk, 2021

Fainche Ryan, The Complexity of Truth-telling, Doctrine and Life, 71, (5), 2021, p13 - 22 Journal Article, 2021

Fainche Ryan, Women and the Church, TRISS Talk, Trinity College Dublin, 12th March, 2020, Trinity Research in Social Sciences Invited Talk, 2020

Fainche Ryan, When was Dublin baptised, and how is it faring?, Trinity and the Changing City, Long Room Hub, 20th February, 2020, Identities in Transformation Invited Talk, 2020

Fáinche Ryan, On consulting the faithful in matters of doctrine - the twenty first century , Spiriruality in Research Interest Group , School of Nursing & Midwifery. , 21st March, 2019 Invited Talk, 2019

Fainche Ryan, The Complexity of Truth-telling , IV Symposium Thomisticum, Rome, 4th-6th July, 2019, 2019 Conference Paper, 2019

Fainche Ryan, 'Book of Kells, MOOC interview', The Leap of Faith, 2019, - Broadcast, 2019

Fainche Ryan, 'Sunday Sequence', 2019, - Broadcast, 2019

Fainche Ryan, Augustine, Aquinas and Lying, Thomas Aquinas and the Church Fathers, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, 4th-6th April, 2019 Conference Paper, 2019

Fainche Ryan, Truth, Lies, Violence, European Academy of Religion EuARe , Bologna, 4th-7th March, 2019, 2019 Conference Paper, 2019

Fáinche Ryan, Book of Kells, A thing of beauty, a song of joy , The Tablet, 2019, p4 - 5 Journal Article, 2019

Fáinche Ryan, Secrets of an Irish masterpiece - The Book of Kells , The Tablet, 273, (9293), 2019, p4 - 5 Journal Article, 2019

Fainche Ryan, The most dangerous man in England' - Newman and On consulting the Laity, Catholic Chaplaincy Lecture Series, Oxford, 28th May, 2019 Conference Paper, 2019

Fainche ryan, Pinnochio, Aquinas and the virtue of the truth, L'Osservatore Romano, 2019 Journal Article, 2019

Fainche Ryan, 'Into Great Silence', The Leap of Faith, RTE, 2019, - Broadcast, 2019

Fáinche Ryan, 'Post-truth' in the light of Aquinas' analysis of truth-telling (veritas sive veracitas (ST 2.2 109, 1c), Aquinas and Analytic Philosophy, Trinty College Dublin, 27-28th January 2017, 2017 Conference Paper, 2017

Fáinche Ryan, Imbalanced Leadership Within the Church, Faith Responding To Changing Times, Dromantine Retreat and Conference Centre, Newry, Co. Down., 7th-9th July, 2017, Society of African Missions Invited Talk, 2017

Fáinche Ryan, Will Post-truth Set us Free?, Factions, Fears and Fake News, Trinity Long Room Hub, 7 November, 2017 Conference Paper, 2017

Fáinche Ryan, Catholic Social Teaching' and the Christian 'Theological' virtue of Hope', Enacting Catholic Social Tradition: Making a Difference on the Ground, Rome, January 12-14, 2017, 2017 Conference Paper, 2017

Fáinche Ryan, On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine: From Newman to Vatican II and Beyond, 106, (423), 2017, p344 - 355 Journal Article, 2017

Dr Con Casey and Dr Fáinche Ryan, The Book of Kells: 'The most purely Irish thing we have' - James Joyce, 2015, - Miscellaneous, 2015

Fáinche Ryan, "Continuity and Radical Discontinuity: Temple Vocabulary and Priestly Ordination", Doctrine and Life, 64, 2014, p22 - 38 Journal Article, 2014

The Times They Are A-Changin' in, editor(s)John Littleton, Eamon Maher , The Francis Factor. A New Departure, Dublin, Columba Press, 2014, pp125 - 132, [Fáinche Ryan] Book Chapter, 2014

Fáinche Ryan, A Papal Interview: Women, The Furrow, 64, (11), 2013, p589 - 591 Journal Article, 2013

Fáinche Ryan, Review of Aquinas at Prayer: The Bible, Mysticism and Poetry, by Paul Murray , Doctrine and Life, 63, (7), 2013, p61-64 Review, 2013

Fáinche Ryan, Review of The Bible in Medieval Tradition: The Letter to the Galatians, Ian Christopher Levy , Theology, 2012, p131-132 Review, 2012

Fáinche Ryan, Review of New Short History of the Catholic Church, by Norman Tanner , Milltown Studies, 2012 Review, 2012

A Lingering Shame in, editor(s)Tony Flannery , Responding to the Ryan Report, Dublin, The Columba Press, 2009, pp148 - 161, [Fáinche Ryan] Book Chapter, 2009

Fáinche Ryan, A Theology of Ministry, The Furrow, 60, 2009, p588 - 595 Journal Article, 2009

Fáinche Ryan, Review of The Kindness of God: Metaphor, Gender, and Religious Language , by Janet Martin Soskice , Irish Theological Quarterly, 73, 2008, p202-203 Review, 2008

Fáinche Ryan, Litir ón Róimh., Timire, 2005 Journal Article, 2005

"To Make Us Holy: The Mission of Theology in, editor(s)J. Egan, B.McConvery , Faithful Witness. Glimpses of the Kingdom, Dublin, 2005, pp310 - 322, [Fáinche Ryan] Book Chapter, 2005

Fáinche Ryan, Are Priests not People? , Doctrine and Life, 55, 2005, p51 - 57 Journal Article, 2005

Fáinche Ryan, A Life of Consecrated Celibacy, Religious Life Review, 41, 2002, p330 - 339 Journal Article, 2002

Research Expertise


I am an internationally recognised theologian with specific expertise in the theology of Thomas Aquinas, evidenced by acceptance of my paper at the Eleventh International Thomistic Congress (September 2022, Rome). This will be published in the proceedings of the Congress. My research brings Aquinas' philosophical and theological works to bear on contemporary ecclesial and societal concerns. The second key direction of my research concerns church and ministry, with current particular interest in the theme of synodality, the sensus fidei, and the role for women in church leadership. My scholarship on Thomas Aquinas brings an original contribution to these topics. I publish and give talks in these areas both within and outside academia. A third focus of research is truth and truth-telling, a topic with singular relevance to the current political and cultural landscape. My argument is that truth-telling is an integral component within the virtue of justice, and that where truth-telling decays, society decays. My research has been disseminated in keynote papers at international conferences (January 2017, Dublin; June 2017 Porto; January 2019, Cambridge; January 2020, Innsbruck; May 2021, Oxford; September 2022, Rome). A publication emanating from this regards intelligent truth-telling (Aquinas' prudentia) (Religions 2021). In May 2022 I organised an international conference on the role of the university, with particular focus on the role of theology within academia (May 2022). In addition, developing this same topic, I am principal editor of an edited international volume, titled, Theology and the University (Routledge, 2024). As well as editorial material I contributed a chapter titled 'The University: A refuge of truth and truthfulness'. Within this research interest I was led to the work of Thomas Deman, a twentieth century French theologian, little translated into English. In 2022 I published 'Conscience Working within Prudentia. Instructed by Thomas Deman's Reading of Aquinas', Religions, 13. I was awarded a Research Boost fund to visit the Deman archive, University of Fribourg (Summer 2023). I am currently preparing a proposal for a monograph, working title 'Fiat veritas, et pereat mundus: The Complexity of Truth-telling'. T


  • Title
    • Theology in the University
  • Title
    • Religious Literacy


; Church; Eucharistic Theology; Ministry in the Church; Sensus Fidelium; The Virtue of Truth-telling; Theology ; Theology of the Book of Kells; Theology of Thomas Aquinas; Women in Leadership



Elected President, Irish Section of the European Society for Catholic Theology (ESCT) 2019

President of the Irish Theological Association 2012

External examiner, University of Malta, Faculty of Theology. 2019

Invited member of committee for the state doctoral examination, Faculty of Theology, University of South Bohemia 2023

External examiner for Licentiate dissertation, Pontifical University, Maynooth. 10th December

External Examiner, Carlow College, St Patrick's 2022

Member of the Board of Mount Anville Heart Education Trust 2019

Appointed by the Teaching Council of Ireland as subject assessor in the area of Religious Education 2014

As Irish representative at the European Third Level Network of rectors and deans of Jesuit Universities and Faculties (Kircher Network I attended meetings in Paris (2017), Bilbao (2018) and Innsbruck (2019) 2017

Appointed member of the Academic Council of the Priory Institute, Tallaght, Dublin 2010

Invitation to present a paper to the Christian Theology Seminar, at the Divinity Faculty, Cambridge. Title of presentation: 'Priesthood and Thomas Aquinas' Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews: Some Pointers for a Theology of Priesthood today.' March 6

Invited participant at a symposium entitled Factions, Fears, and Fake News. This was organized by the Trinity Long Room Hub Arts and Humanities Research Institute and the Heyman Center for the Humanities, Columbia University, New York. 7 November

I am an invited member of the Applied Catholic Social Tradition Network, an international group of scholars focused on the application of Catholic social tradition (CST) to various social problems. In this capacity I have participated in seminars in London and Rome. At the Rome colloquium, entitled, "Enacting Catholic Social Tradition: Making a Difference on the Ground," I gave a paper entitled "Catholic Social Teaching and the Christian Theological Virtue of Hope. January

I was invited to present a paper at a colloquium entitled Aquinas and Analytic Philosophy. My paper was titled "Post-truth in the light of Aquinas analysis of truth-telling (veritas sive veracitas). Other speakers included Prof Eleanore Stump,The Robert J. Henle Professor of Philosophy, Saint Louis University and Prof. Roger Pouivet, Université de Lorraine. 27-28th January

Invited speaker at the Second International Symposium Thomisticum (held in Porto, Portugal, June 2017) and the forthcoming Fourth International Symposium Thomisticum to be held in Rome (July 2019). July

Keynote speaker at the SMA Summer School 2017 - "Faith Responding To Changing Times". My paper was titled "Imbalanced Leadership within the Church". 7-9 July

Awards and Honours

Fellow of Trinity College Dublin 29th April, 2019


European Academy of Religion 2018 – Present

Irish Theological Association (President 2012-2017) 1998 – Present

Catholic Theological Association (GB) 2006 – 2018

European Society for Catholic Theology (ESCT)[President Irish Section, 2019-present] 2003 – Present

Irish Biblical Association 1998 – 2016