Dr. Fáinche Ryan

Dr. Fáinche Ryan

Associate Professor, School of Religion


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

  • 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
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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 - 148Journal Article, 2016, DOI
  • Fáinche Ryan, Reflections at the Burning Bush: Doing Theology Practically with Thomas Aquinas, Practical Theology, 10, (1), 2017Journal Article, 2017, 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 - 178ppBook, 2019
  • Fáinche Ryan, Holiness as Priesthood, New Blackfriars, 97 , 2016, p173 - 186Journal Article, 2016
  • 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 - 48Journal Article, 2019, URL
  • 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 PhilosophyInvited Talk, 2020
  • Fánche Ryan, Consumerism replaces Christianity? The case of Ireland, Svensk Teologisk Kvartalskrift, 96, (3), 2020, p219 - 233Journal Article, 2020
  • Fainche Ryan, . On Restoring the Centrality of Prudentia (Phronēsis) for Living Well: Pathways and Contemporary Relevance , Religions , 12, (10), 2021, p1 - 19Journal Article, 2021, DOI , TARA - Full Text
  • 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 InstituteInvited 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, 2021Invited Talk, 2021
  • Fainche Ryan, Ideology of perfectionism abounds but legislation alone cannot eliminate violence against women, 1826, 2022, -Miscellaneous, 2022
  • Fainche Ryan, Theology and the University, Routledge: Taylor and Francis Group, 2024Book, 2024, DOI
  • Fainche Ryan, Conscience Working within Prudentia. Instructed by Thomas Deman's Reading of Aquinas, Religions , 13, (9), 2022, p12Journal Article, 2022, DOI , TARA - Full Text
  • Special Issue of Religions: "Decision-Making in an Uncertain Time. Should You Always Obey Your Conscience?", (2022), Fainche RyanJournal, 2022
  • Fáinche Ryan, The Eucharist: What do we believe?, Dublin, Columba Press, 2012, 1 - 96ppBook, 2012
  • Fáinche Ryan, Christian Anthropology: Theology for Today, Dublin, The Priory Institute, 2012, 1 - 104ppBook, 2012
  • Fáinche Ryan, Christian Anthropology: Theology for Today Volume Two, Dublin, The Priory Institute, 2012, 1 - 156ppBook, 2012
  • Fáinche Ryan, Formation in Holiness. Thomas Aquinas on Sacra doctrina. , Leuven, Thomas Instituut Utrecht - Peeters , 2007, 1 - 217ppBook, 2007
  • Fáinche Ryan, Sacra doctrina, discourse about God, is a formation in holiness, Rome, Pontifical University of St Thomas Aquinas, 2007, 1 - 139ppBook, 2007
  • Fáinche Ryan, Ian Leask, The Taylor Effect: Responding to a Secular Age, Newcastle, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2010, 1 - 216ppBook, 2010
  • Fáinche Ryan, Padraic Conway, Karl Rahner: Theologian for the Twenty-First Century , Bern, Peter Lang, 2010, 1 - 251ppBook, 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
  • 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
  • REA: A Journal of Religion, Theology and the Arts, 7, (2011), Fáinche Ryan, Mary Shanahan, [eds.]Journal, 2011
  • Fáinche Ryan, Sign of Contradiction. Towards a Renewed Priesthood in the Wake of Scandal, Milltown Studies, 67, 2011, p16 - 33Journal Article, 2011
  • Fáinche Ryan, 'Salvation is from the Jews' (Jn 4:22): Aquinas, God, and the People of God, Studies in Christian-Jewish Relations, 5, (1), 2010Journal Article, 2010
  • Teaching to Think: St Thomas as Pedagogue in, Yearbook of the Irish Philosophical Society, 2009, pp93 - 105, [Fáinche Ryan]Book Chapter, 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, Theology, a road to sanctification?, Irish Theological Quarterly, 74, 2009, p75 - 88Journal Article, 2009
  • Fáinche Ryan, Auctoritas in the Theology of Thomas Aquinas, New Blackfriars, 88, 2007, p443 - 456Journal Article, 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
  • Fáinche Ryan, Searching for Hope, Spirituality, 2010, p334 - 339Journal Article, 2010
  • Fáinche Ryan, Why were we silent? The Role of the 'Simple Faithful' in Ecclesial Structures, Doctrine and Life, 60, 2010, p15 - 26Journal Article, 2010
  • Fáinche Ryan, Review of Thomas Aquinas. The Academic Sermons., by Mark-Robin Hoogland , New Blackfriars, 92, 2011, p628-629Review, 2011
  • Fáinche Ryan, Review of Exchanges of Grace: Essays in Honour of Ann Loades, by Natalie K. Watson, Stephen Burns , Irish Theological Quarterly, 74, 2009, p236-237Review, 2009
  • Fáinche Ryan, Why do we still need Aquinas?, New Blackfriars, 95, (1056), 2014, p160 - 176Journal Article, 2014
  • Dr Con Casey and Dr Fáinche Ryan, The Book of Kells: 'The most purely Irish thing we have' - James Joyce, 2015, -Miscellaneous
  • Fáinche Ryan, "Continuity and Radical Discontinuity: Temple Vocabulary and Priestly Ordination", Doctrine and Life, 64, 2014, p22 - 38Journal Article
  • 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, 2017Conference Paper
  • 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, 2017Conference Paper
  • Fáinche Ryan, On Consulting the Faithful in Matters of Doctrine: From Newman to Vatican II and Beyond, 106, (423), 2017, p344 - 355Journal Article
  • 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 MissionsInvited Talk
  • Fáinche Ryan, Will Post-truth Set us Free?, Factions, Fears and Fake News, Trinity Long Room Hub, 7 November, 2017Conference Paper
  • Fáinche Ryan, Book of Kells, A thing of beauty, a song of joy , The Tablet, 2019, p4 - 5Journal Article
  • Fáinche Ryan, Secrets of an Irish masterpiece - The Book of Kells , The Tablet, 273, (9293), 2019, p4 - 5Journal Article
  • Fainche Ryan, 'Sunday Sequence', 2019, -Broadcast
  • Fainche Ryan, 'Into Great Silence', The Leap of Faith, RTE, 2019, -Broadcast
  • Fainche Ryan, 'Book of Kells, MOOC interview', The Leap of Faith, 2019, -Broadcast
  • Fainche Ryan, The Complexity of Truth-telling , IV Symposium Thomisticum, Rome, 4th-6th July, 2019, 2019Conference Paper
  • Fainche Ryan, Truth, Lies, Violence, European Academy of Religion EuARe , Bologna, 4th-7th March, 2019, 2019Conference Paper
  • Fainche Ryan, Augustine, Aquinas and Lying, Thomas Aquinas and the Church Fathers, Nicolaus Copernicus University, Torun, 4th-6th April, 2019Conference Paper
  • 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, 2019Invited Talk
  • Fainche Ryan, The most dangerous man in England' - Newman and On consulting the Laity, Catholic Chaplaincy Lecture Series, Oxford, 28th May, 2019Conference Paper
  • Fainche ryan, Pinnochio, Aquinas and the virtue of the truth, L'Osservatore Romano, 2019Journal Article
  • Fainche Ryan, When was Dublin baptised, and how is it faring?, Trinity and the Changing City, Long Room Hub, 20th February, 2020, Identities in TransformationInvited Talk
  • Fainche Ryan, Covid, Sensus Fidei and the Church, The Furrow, 72, (5), 2021, p266 - 270Journal Article
  • Fainche Ryan, The Complexity of Truth-telling, Doctrine and Life, 71, (5), 2021, p13 - 22Journal Article
  • Fainche Ryan, The Complexity of Truth-telling in a Post-Truth Age, Inspiring Ideas Webinar, Trinity College Dublin, 19 May, 2021, Trinity Development & AlumniInvited Talk
  • Fainche Ryan, Truth-telling matters: Hannah Arendt , The Percy French Festival, Roscommon, Ireland, 21 July, 2021Invited Talk
  • Fainche Ryan, Women and the Church, TRISS Talk, Trinity College Dublin, 12th March, 2020, Trinity Research in Social SciencesInvited Talk
  • Fainche Ryan, A More Authentic Church - Women on the Synodal Pathway, Intercom, 2021Journal Article
  • Fainche Ryan, For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation and Mission, Ennismore Conversations, Ennismore Retreat House, Cork, 29th November, 2021, Dominican CongregationInvited Talk
  • Fainche Ryan, Women on the Synodal Pathway, Autumn Lectures, St John the Baptist Church, Clontarf, 8th December, 2021Invited Talk
  • Cornelius Casey, Fainche Ryan, Soiscéal mór Colmcille, Comcille in Context: Theologians and Historians in Conversation, Webinar, 29th September, 2021Invited Talk
  • 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, p436-437Review
  • Fainche Ryan, Aquinas on Faith, Reason and Charity, Review of Aquinas on Faith, Reason, and Charity, by Roberto Di Ceglie , Faith and Philosophy, 2022Review
  • Fainche Ryan, The Book of Kells and Our Lady, Africa , 88, (4), 2023, p8 - 9Journal Article
  • 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
  • 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
  • "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
  • Fáinche Ryan, A Theology of Ministry, The Furrow, 60, 2009, p588 - 595Journal Article
  • A Lingering Shame in, editor(s)Tony Flannery , Responding to the Ryan Report, Dublin, The Columba Press, 2009, pp148 - 161, [Fáinche Ryan]Book Chapter
  • Fáinche Ryan, Are Priests not People? , Doctrine and Life, 55, 2005, p51 - 57Journal Article
  • Fáinche Ryan, Litir ón Róimh., Timire, 2005Journal Article
  • Fáinche Ryan, A Life of Consecrated Celibacy, Religious Life Review, 41, 2002, p330 - 339Journal Article
  • Fáinche Ryan, Review of New Short History of the Catholic Church, by Norman Tanner , Milltown Studies, 2012Review
  • Fáinche Ryan, Review of The Bible in Medieval Tradition: The Letter to the Galatians, Ian Christopher Levy , Theology, 2012, p131-132Review
  • Fáinche Ryan, Review of The Kindness of God: Metaphor, Gender, and Religious Language , by Janet Martin Soskice , Irish Theological Quarterly, 73, 2008, p202-203Review
  • Fáinche Ryan, A Papal Interview: Women, The Furrow, 64, (11), 2013, p589 - 591Journal Article
  • Fáinche Ryan, Review of Aquinas at Prayer: The Bible, Mysticism and Poetry, by Paul Murray , Doctrine and Life, 63, (7), 2013, p61-64Review

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
    Religious Literacy
  • Title
    Theology in the University

Other Humanities,


  • Fellow of Trinity College Dublin 29th April, 2019
  • Catholic Theological Association (GB) 2018
  • Irish Theological Association (President 2012-2017) Present
  • European Society for Catholic Theology (ESCT)[President Irish Section, 2019-present] Present
  • European Academy of Religion Present
  • Irish Biblical Association 2016
  • Appointed by the Teaching Council of Ireland as subject assessor in the area of Religious Education 2014
  • 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
  • Elected President, Irish Section of the European Society for Catholic Theology (ESCT) 2019
  • 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
  • Member of the Board of Mount Anville Heart Education Trust 2019
  • President of the Irish Theological Association 2012
  • Invited member of committee for the state doctoral examination, Faculty of Theology, University of South Bohemia 2023
  • External Examiner, Carlow College, St Patrick's 2022
  • 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
  • Appointed member of the Academic Council of the Priory Institute, Tallaght, Dublin 2010
  • External examiner for Licentiate dissertation, Pontifical University, Maynooth. 10th December
  • 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
  • External examiner, University of Malta, Faculty of Theology. 2019
  • 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
  • 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
  • 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