Matthew Philipp Whelan is a postdoctoral research fellow with the Baylor Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty. A moral theologian, he works at the intersection of Catholic social teaching, liberation theologies, and ecological theology-ethics. He holds degrees from the University of Virginia (B.A.), Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (M.Sc.), and Duke University (M.T.S., Ph.D.).
Matthew is the author of Blood in the Fields: Óscar Romero, Catholic Social Teaching, and Land Reform (Catholic University of America Press, 2020), which argues that Romero’s advocacy for justice in the distribution of land—a commitment with deep roots in the Christian tradition—illumines the meaning of his martyrdom. In this way, struggles over access to land also became struggles over what it meant to be human, to live in society with others, and even to be a follower of Christ. Matthew’s current book project, The Grammar of Creation: A Theological Engagement with Agroecology, extends these reflections further, drawing upon agroecology, a transdisciplinary science integrating ecological principles into agriculture, in order to deepen and concretize Catholic social teaching’s understanding of what it means to care for our common home. This research has generated nascent projects on food sovereignty, immigration, natural law, and the intersections of poverty and art. It has also led to articles in Modern Theology, Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, Journal of Moral Theology, Communio, Nova et Vetera, Crosscurrents, among other venues.
Matthew’s scholarship is informed by his years working with farming communities in Central America as well as his involvement in COMPARTE (Spanish for “Share”), a Jesuit-affiliated network of learning and action that works with producer organizations and other social actors to envision and embody alternatives to dominant models of development. He lives in Waco, Texas with his wife, Natalie, and their three daughters, Chora, Edith, and Simone.
View Curriculum Vitae.