Religious Studies

Dr. Paul Burns

Professor Emeritus of St. Mark’s College

Dr. Paul Burns came back St. Mark’s College and to Corpus Christi College after many years of teaching interdisciplinary courses in Arts One and in Religious Studies at UBC and then at Quest University. For fifteen years he was also responsible for teaching World Religions and the History of Christian Thought at UBC. For these courses, in particular, he won the University Teaching Prize. With colleagues in the Faculty of Arts at UBC, Paul helped to begin the Major in “Religion, Literature and the Arts”.

Paul studied Greek and Latin language, literature, philosophy and history at the University of Toronto before doing a program in Catholic Theology at the University of St. Michael’s College. For his work in Ecumenism in an organization for theological students across Canada, the World Council of Churches arranged for him to do advanced studies in the history of Christian Thought at Oxford.

Here at Corpus Christi College Paul was Director and then Dean of Liberal Arts which meant that he was responsible for developing and integrating the whole curriculum around a contemporary version of the Liberal Arts grounded in the Catholic intellectual tradition. He enjoys working with colleagues at Corpus Christi to incorporate some of the innovations in curriculum design and in teaching styles which he had learned in his previous experiences at UBC and at Quest University.

He designed and taught the course “Explorations in Catholicism”  He also taught “World Religions”. Recently to acknowledge the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 Theses, Paul team taught a graduate course on Augustine with Dr. Jason Byassee of VST.

Paul continues to research and to publish on major Christian Thinkers in the fourth century. He is particularly interested in the ways Hilary of Poitiers and Augustine of Hippo evangelized Christian and non-Christian members of the educated class of their respective generations. Integrating Catholic faith and public culture was also a challenge for Thomas Aquinas, as noted in the quotation above, and this task continues to be an important challenge for the Church of our own generation.

Education Ph.D. in Classics from the University of Toronto B.Litt. in History of Christian Thought from Oxford S.T.B. in Theology from the University of St. Michael’s College M.A. in Classics from the University of Toronto * B.A. (Honors) in Classics from the University of Toronto

Recent Publications Burns, P.C. “Augustine of Hippo: The Christian Life Then and Now” in Sources of the Christian Self: A Cultural History of Christian Identity, Edd. J.M. Houston and J. Zimmermann, (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmanns, 2018) 209-222 and reprinted in Crux Vol. 44, No 3 16-25. Burns, P.C., “Child Sacrifice: A Polyvalent Story in Early Eucharistic Piety,” in Sparing the Child: …, Edd. Arbel, D.V., Burns, P.C., Cousland J.R.C., Menkis, R.C., Neufeld, D. (New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2015) 141-164. Burns, P.C., A Model for the Christian Life: Hilary of Poitiers’ Commentary on the Psalms (Washington: Catholic University of America, 2012) * Burns, P.C., editor, Jesus in Twentieth-Century, Art and the Movies (New York: Continuum 2007).


Religious Studies/Historical Theology

“Grace does not repress or ignore nature but rather builds on it and expands it (Thomas Aquinas Summa Theologica I,1.8).”

Fr. Nicholas Meisl

Teaching and Research

At St. Mark’s and Corpus Christi Colleges, Fr. Nick teaches New Testament and Old Testament studies. In his doctoral studies, he is researching Paul’s views on sexuality, marriage and singleness under the supervision of Professors John Barclay (primary supervisor, Durham) and Harry Maier (secondary supervisor, Vancouver School of Theology).

Fr. Nick was ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Vancouver in 2013. As part of his formation, he spent several years with the Missionary of Charity Fathers, serving in various ministries in Tijuana, Mexico City and Rome. Prior to teaching, he served in several parishes in Surrey and Richmond. In addition to teaching at St. Mark’s and Corpus Christi Colleges, he is involved in parish and high school ministry.


Religious Studies


  • PhD candidate, New Testament, Durham University
  • SSL, Pontifical Biblical Institute (2018)
  • STB, Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas (2012)
  • BA, Seminary of Christ the King (2007)
  • BASc, Honours, Engineering Physics, Simon Fraser University (2005)

Select Conference Presentations and Publications

“What Was Moses Shown on Mt. Sinai?” Canadian Society of Biblical Studies. Annual Conference. Vancouver, BC. June 3, 2019.

Professional Societies

  • Canadian Society of Biblical Studies
  • Society of Biblical Literature

Dr. Germain McKenzie

Germain McKenzie is a Peruvian-Canadian theologian and sociologist who earned a Ph.D. in Religion and Culture from the Catholic University of America (Washington, D.C.). His academic interests focus on the intersection of Catholic theology and sociology in both a theoretical and applied manner. In regard to the former, he is currently studying the pre-conditions for a dialogue between theology and the social sciences that would respect the nature and method of each of those disciplines. As per the latter, Dr. McKenzie is studying new evangelization initiatives in Canada through the use of quantitative and qualitative sociological approaches, in the light of secular and post-secular studies.

Dr. McKenzie interests include issues related to moral theology, in particular those belonging to Catholic social ethics as applied to refugees and immigrants into Canada. He has been an activist for Catholic-inspired social change in Latin America and has served poor communities in the shanty towns of Lima, his city of birth, for more than 10 years. In this connection he has published peer-reviewed articles on social ethics: “Medellin: 30 Years After” and “John Paul II’s Reconciliation Proposal for Latin America.”

Dr. McKenzie is also interested in the social dynamics of religious minorities, having done studies on different Buddhist lineages in Peru, and also in Catholic revivalist groups. He is keen of exploring the origin, development and integration into the life of the Church of lay associations and ecclesial movements, as well as in the evolution of the theological understanding of the relationships between the charismatic and institutional dimension of the Church.

He has worked at various Peruvian universities and has also taught at Niagara University, in Lewiston, New York. While conducting his doctoral studies, Dr. McKenzie was awarded by his alma mater with the Hubbard Dissertation Fellowship, and by the Canadian Consortium for the Study of Religion with the Travel Scholarship for Doctoral Students. He also worked as Research Assistant for the Hispanic Ministry Organizational Culture Project, carried out by the Institute for Public Research and Catholic Studies (Washington, D.C.)

He currently lives in Surrey with his wife, Giuliana.


Sociology and Religious Studies


  • Interpreting Charles Taylor’s Social Theory on Secularization and Religion: A Comparative Study. New York: Springer, 2016.
  • Lay Associations and Ecclesial Movements. St. Catharines, ON: Office of Evangelization, 2010. (Edited)
  • Contemporary Cultural Trends in Peru. Lima: Universidad Catolica Sedes Sapientiae, 2010.

Entries in Edited Books

  • “Atheism and Religious Nones in Latin America,” in Michael Ruse and Stephen Bullivant, eds., The Cambridge Handbook of Atheism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (Forthcoming)
  • “Buddhism in Peru,” in Henri Gooren, ed., Encyclopedia of Latin American Religions. New York: Springer, 2019.

Selected Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • “Exploring Soto Zen in Peru,” Revista de Estudios de Religião, 16. 3 (2016): 174-196.
  • “John Paul II’s View on Faith and Culture: What Does it Say to Us in Canada Today?” Fidelitas (Summer-Fall 2014): 38-55.
  • “A Glance to the Medellin Document, After Thirty Years,” Revista VE 40 (May-August 1998): 45-71.
  • “Doctrinal Insights of the Reconciliation Proposal of John Paul II for Latin America,” Revista VE 36 (January-April 1997): 65-90.


  • Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C., USA – Ph.D. in Religion and Culture
  • Pontifical School of Theology of Lima, Peru – M.T.S. & M. Div. in * Practical Theology (Distinction)
  • Pontifical School of Theology of Lima, Peru – B. Th.

Professional Societies

  • College Theological Society
  • Society of Catholic Social Scientists
  • Canadian Consortium for the Study of Religion

Dr. Nicholas Olkovich

Assistant Professor, Marie Anne Blondin Chair in Catholic Theology, St. Mark’s College

Teaching and Research

Dr. Nicholas Olkovich comes to Vancouver from the Faculty of Theology, University of St. Michael’s College in Toronto where he taught and served as Director of Field Education and Pastoral Formation from 2015-2017. During his MDiv and PhD programs, he served as parish catechist and RCIA Director at a large parish in Toronto’s west-end.

Nick teaches in the areas of foundational, systematic and pastoral theology. His ongoing research focuses primarily on the relationship between ethics, politics and religion in democratic contexts and on a variety of issues in theological anthropology, fundamental ecclesiology, and foundational theology. His teaching and research is strongly influenced by the work of Canadian Jesuit philosopher and theologian Bernard Lonergan.


Religious Studies


Ph.D., Theology, University of St. Michael’s College (2009-2016)

S.T.L., Regis College (2009-2013)

M.Div., University of St. Michael’s College/University of Toronto (2005-2009)

B.A., Honours, History and Philosophy, University of Toronto (2001 – 2005)


“Complicating the Reception of Lonergan on ‘Sacralization and Secularization,’” Irish Theological Quarterly 86.2 (2021): 164-183.

“Whose Populism? Which People? Mouffe, Girard and Lonergan in Dialogue,” Religious Studies and Theology 39.2 (2020): 177-193

“Solidarity and the Possibility of Global Human Rights,” in Everything is Interconnected: Towards a Globalization with a Human Face and an Integral Ecology. Milwaukee: Marquette Univ. Press, 2019 (57-78)

“Dimensions of Freedom: Human and Christian,” Touchstone 37 (2019): 31-41.

“Rethinking the Politics-Religion Distinction,” Political Theology 19 (2018): 227-246.

“Vatican II and Thomist Revivalism: MacIntyre and Lonergan on the Dialectic of History,” in The Promise of Renewal: Dominicans at Vatican II. Adelaide: Australasian Theological Forum (ATF Press), 2016 (159-183)

The Promise of Renewal: Dominicans at Vatican II. Adelaide: Australasian Theological Forum (ATF Press), 2016 (co-edited with Michael Attridge, Darren Dias and Matthew Eaton)

“Politicizing Religion: Cavanaugh, Levinas and Lonergan in Dialogue,” with Matthew Eaton and Michael Buttrey, in Didaskalia 25 (2015): 103-127

“Reinterpreting Original Sin: Integrating Insights from Sociology and the Evolutionary Sciences,” The Heythrop Journal 54 (5) (2013): 715-731

“Conceptualism, Classicism, and Lonergan’s Retrieval of Aquinas,” Pacifica: Australasian Journal of Theology, 26 (1) (2013): 37-58

“Beyond Radical Particularism: A Lonerganian Response to S. Mark Heim’s ‘Pluralistic Inclusivism,” Method: Journal of Lonergan Studies 2 N/S (2011): 89-122

RELG 101: Introduction to the Old Testament

This course introduces students to the literature and major themes of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) with an emphasis on its ancient Near Eastern context. Through the study of representative primary texts, the course familiarizes students with methods and issues in the modern study of the Old Testament. The course provides useful background for further studies in religion and theology.

RELG 102: Introduction to the New Testament

The New Testament is an integral source for understanding and contextualizing the mission of Jesus as well as understanding the theological heritage of the Church. Understanding the New Testament authors, their methods of communication, and their historical contexts, is the first step before any application of these texts may take place. This course gives students an appreciation for the New Testament as an early and developing witness to a faith in Christ. The focus of the course is to acquire skills to do textual exegesis and understand historical factors that shaped the New Testament’s origins.

RELG 200: Modern Catholic Social Teaching

“Who is my neighbor?” How history, economics, politics, science and religion affect our personal, social, global and cosmic relationships.

RELG 201: Themes in Scripture

This course is an introduction and entry into both the Christian and the Jewish Scriptures via selected key themes. Each theme will be studied in its own historical and literary contexts as the foundation for meaning, but also be compared across beyond historical boundaries into contemporary contexts. Attention will be given to gaining a basic understanding of responsible and historically informed interpretation of these books, as well as the role of the variety of sources and perspectives that inform them. Attention will be given to a Catholic approach to these texts as a compass, as well as to how different traditions approach the issues raised in thematic study.

RELG 202: Early Christian Writings

A survey of Patristic Writing from the Apostolic Fathers to the Fifth Century: Didache, Pastor of Hermas, Clement’s Epistles, Ignatius of Antioch’s Epistles, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, Origen, Lives of the Martyrs, Desert Fathers, Cappedochians, John Chrysostom, Cyprian, Augustine.

RELG 207: World Religions

Introduction to the major religions of the world, including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, and Judaism.

RELG 209: Major Shapers of the Christian Tradition (Ignatius of Loyola to Merton)

This course will examine several major figures who significantly influenced the Christian tradition from the sixteenth century to the present. It will place them in their historical context and study key features of their thought. These figures will include Ignatius of Loyola, Teresa of Avila, Francis de Sales and Jane de Chantal, François de Fénelon, Cardinal Newman and Thomas Merton.

RELG 212: Near Eastern Myths and the Hebrew Bible

This course introduces students to Mesopotamian mythology and the scriptures of Judaism. This will be achieved through introductions to, and reading representative selections from, ancient Near Eastern mythology and the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). Attention will be given to comparisons between these texts, as well as parallel and interpretive literature.

RELG 230: Protestant History and Thought

This course is designed to survey and explore a number of relevant issues on the origins of Protestant thought and social engagement. The selections of assignments, questions and sources may vary from year to year.

RELG 240: Explorations in Catholicism

This course deals with a number of relevant issues on the sources, method and selected major themes in Catholic Thought. The selections of themes and examples vary from year to year.