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Meg Stapleton Smith

Meg Stapleton Smith

Theological and Social Ethics


B.A., Boston College 2013

M.A.R., Yale Divinity School 2016


Meg Stapleton Smith is a fifth-year Ph.D. Candidate in Theological and Social Ethics at Fordham University, and a Postulant for Holy Orders in the Episcopal Church.

Meg’s academic interests are wide-ranging, but she is principally interested in exploring the contemporary retrieval of virtue ethics from a feminist and liberationist perspective. Her work explores how the intersection of these two fields might serve as a challenge for both virtue ethics and liberationist thought, as well as guide how we think about Christian social ethics and sexual ethics today. Meg is also interested in the role of experience in moral decision making, the development of conscience, contemporary approaches to natural law, and the ethical implications of queer theology.

Meg's dissertation, written under the direction of Rev. Dr. Bryan N. Massingale, is entitled, "Queer Virtue Ethics: Mary Daly's Challenge to Catholic Sexual Ethics." This dissertation draws on Mary Daly’s critique of virtue to demonstrate why the virtues of chastity and prudence are insufficient for the development of our authentic moral agency as sexual persons and subsequently takes up her call to radically reconstruct virtue ethics by advancing a queer virtue ethic. The dissertation argues that over and above the virtues of chastity and prudence, the virtue of courage ought to be reconceived as a central virtue for a queer virtue ethic of sexuality.

While at Fordham, Meg has taught “Catholic Social Teaching,” “Faith and Critical Reason,” “The Bible and Social Justice,” and “Church in Controversy.” To enhance her pedagogy, Meg took part in the semester-long Ignatian Pedagogy Seminar, as well as the Wabash Center Pedagogy Colloquium on Teaching Gender & Sexuality in Theology. For her dedication to teaching, Meg was the recipient of the “Excellence in Graduate Teaching Award” (Honorable Mention) and the “Beacon Exemplar Award,” which is given in recognition of outstanding dedication to inspiring, supporting, and motivating students. Meg also received the 2020-2021 Distinguished Senior Teaching Fellowship, and passed her comprehensive exams with high honors.

Meg graduated from Yale Divinity School in 2016 with a M.A.R. in Ethics, and holds a B.A. in Theology from Boston College with concentrations in Faith, Peace, and Justice Studies and Catholic Studies. While at Boston College, Meg studied abroad in El Salvador with the Casa de la Solidaridad program, and she has spent subsequent summers there, experiences that deeply inform her theological work. As an undergraduate, Meg also completed a thesis under the direction of Dr. Roberto Goizueta titled, “Empowering Education: Perspectives of Liberation Theology and Education in Lawrence, M.A.” After graduating from Boston College, and prior to her time at Yale Divinity School, Meg was Director of Campus Ministry and a Theology teacher at Notre Dame Cristo Rey High School in Lawrence, M.A.

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