Fr. J. Bryan Hehir

The opening session for Assembly 2019 promises to get straight to the heart of the matter during a facilitated conversation on the mainstage about the clergy sex abuse scandal. Fr. Bryan Hehir is one of the prominent voices from our ministry who will share comments and insights into the issue and discuss ways Catholic health care and Church leadership can work together to protect human dignity, promote healing and advance the common good.

Fr. J. Bryan Hehir

Secretary for Health and Social Services, Archdiocese of Boston and Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government 

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Fr. J. Bryan Hehir is the Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life. He is also the Secretary of Health and Social Services on the staff of Cardinal Sean O’Malley in the Archdiocese of Boston. Previously he served on the faculty of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service (1984-92) and on the Harvard Divinity School faculty (1993-2001) including three years as the Chair of the HDS Executive Committee. In Washington D.C., he served on the staff of the U.S. Catholic Conference of Bishops (1973-92) working on issues of foreign policy and domestic policy, including being the staff director of the Catholic Bishops pastoral letter (“The Challenge of Peace” – 1983). From 2002-2003 he was President of Catholic Charities USA, the nationwide network of social service agencies for the Catholic church in the United States.

In the Archdiocese of Boston, Fr. Hehir represents Cardinal O’Malley to four social service agencies and also serves as a liaison to Catholic health systems in the Archdiocese. He was a member of the Vatican Delegation to the United Nations (1973 and 1978). At HKS he is a Faculty Associate at the Carr Center for Human Rights and at the Safra Center for Ethics and the Professions. His teaching, research and writing focus on ethics and foreign policy and the role of religion in world politics and in American society.

Fr. Hehir is a recipient of the MacArthur Award, the Laetare Award (University of Notre Dame), the American Academy of Religion’s Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion, and the Kennedy School’s Carballo Award for excellence in teaching.

He is member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society. He serves on the Board of the Arms Control Association and the Roundtable for Church Management.