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Michael E. Lee

Michael Lee


Duane Library 105



Michael E. Lee, PhD is Associate Professor of Theology with affiliation in Fordham’s Latin American and Latino Studies Institute. Born in Miami, FL of Puerto Rican parents, he holds graduate degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Lee joined the Fordham faculty in 2004 and teaches courses in Roman Catholic theology, liberation theologies, Latin American and Latino/a theologies, Christology, and spirituality. He has served on the governing board of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) and as President of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS). His commentary has appeared in a wide variety of venues including The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and El Faro Académico (El Salvador). He has also appeared on networks including CNN, Al-Jazeera America, ABC-NY, National Public Radio, and Radio France International.

His book, Bearing the Weight of Salvation: The Soteriology of Ignacio Ellacuría (Herder & Herder), won the 2010 Hispanic Theological Initiative Book Prize, sponsored by Princeton Theological Seminary. In 2015-16, he was awarded a Sabbatical Grant for Researchers from the Louisville Institute for his current project on Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador.

His scholarly activity has always been complemented by a commitment to practical engagement. He has lived at Andre House, a Catholic Worker inspired community; served as a liturgical musician at SS. Simon & Jude Cathedral, Phoenix, AZ; facilitated Spanish-language RCIA programs, and is currently on the board of CRISPAZ (Christians for Peace in El Salvador).


PhD - University of Notre Dame
MA - University of Chicago
MA - University of Notre Dame
BA - University of Notre Dame

Research Interests

Roman Catholic theology, liberation theologies, Christology, spirituality, religion & politics, Latin American and U.S. Latino/a theologies.

Dr. Lee’s research centers on how Christian reflection intersects with movements for justice. He investigates how Christian theology might spur action for justice, and how in turn, engagement in struggles for justice leads to reexamination of Christian thought.

For the past decade, Dr. Lee’s work has focused on liberation theology coming from El Salvador, and particularly, on the life and work of the Jesuit martyr-priest and president of the Universidad Centroamericana José Simeón Cañas, Ignacio Ellacuría.

His first book, Bearing the Weight of Salvation, identified how Ellacuría’s philosophy, Christology, and account of discipleship are woven together to provide a distinctive liberationist account of salvation, and then it placed this soteriology in critical dialogue with authors of the “radical orthodoxy.”

Dr. Lee then edited Ignacio Ellacuría: Essays on History, Liberation, and Salvation (Orbis, 2013) providing an English-speaking audience access to a collection of Ellacuría’s most substantial theological essays.

His current book project explores the legacy of Archbishop Oscar Romero. By examining Romero’s context, life, and theological works, Dr. Lee asks the question, “How do/should Christians think and live differently because of Oscar Romero?”

In addition to this work, Dr. Lee has also published various pieces on Christology and salvation, particularly as this reflection is done from the location of U.S. Latino/as.



Revolutionary Saint: The Theological Legacy of Óscar Romero. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2018.

Ignacio Ellacuría: Essays on History, Liberation, and Salvation. Editor, translator, with an introduction. Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2013.

Bearing the Weight of Salvation: The Soteriology of Ignacio Ellacuría. New York: Herder & Herder, 2009.

Selected Articles and Chapters
“Gustavo Gutiérrez,” in Christian Theologies of Salvation, ed. Justin Holcomb (NYU Press, 2016).

“Toward a New, Historical Evangelization,” in A Grammar of Justice: The Legacy of Ignacio Ellacuría, ed. J. Matthew Ashley, Kevin Burke, Rodolfo Cardenal (Orbis, 2014). [This essay has appeared in Spanish as: La civilización de la pobreza (CEP); and in Portuguese as: A civilização da pobreza (Paulinas).]

“Ignacio Ellacuría: Historical Reality, Liberation, and the Role of the University,” in A Critical Pedagogy of Resistance: 34 Pedagogues We Need to Know, ed. James Kirylo (Sense Publishers, 2013).

“Raised in Jerusalem,” in Jesus of Galilee: Contextual Christology for the 21st Century, ed. Robert Lassalle-Klein (Orbis Books, 2011).

“A Way Forward for Latino/a Christology,” in In Our Own Voices: Latino/a Renditions of Theology, ed. Benjamin Valentín (Orbis Books, 2010).

“Galilean Journey Revisited: Mestizaje, Anti-Judaism, and the Logic of Exclusion,” in Theological Studies 70, no. 2 (June 2009): 377-400.