The Catholic University of America

Human Ecology: Integrating 125 Years of Catholic Social Doctrine

Presented by The Napa Institute and The Catholic University of America School of Business and Economics

March 16 – 18, 2016

Russell Ronald “Rusty” Reno, Ph.D.
First Things magazine


Russell Ronald "R.R." Reno III is the editor of First Things magazine. He was formerly a professor of theology and ethics at Creighton University. Reno is the author of several books, including "Fighting the Noonday Devil — and Other Essays Personal and Theological", "In the Ruins of the Church", "Redemptive Change: Atonement and the Cure of the Soul", and a theological commentary on the Book of Genesis in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible series, for which he also serves as general editor. He has also coauthored two books, "Heroism and The Christian Life" and "Sanctified Vision: An Introduction to Early Christian Interpretation of the Bible". His scholarly work ranges widely in systematic and moral theology, as well as in controverted questions of biblical interpretation.

Reno was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1959, and grew up in Towson, Maryland. A graduate of Towson High School in 1978, after a year living in his tent in Yosemite Valley, he attended Haverford College, receiving a B.A. in 1983. He began graduate study at Yale University in the Department of Religious Studies in 1984 and completed his doctoral degree in 1990 in the area of religious ethics. While in graduate school he met and married Juliana Miller, with whom he has had two children, Rachel (born 1990) and Jesse (born 1992). He received his first faculty appointment at Creighton University in 1990, where he taught until 2010 when he took an extended academic leave to work full-time at First Things.

A theological and political conservative, Reno was baptized into the Episcopal Church as an infant and grew up as a member of the Church of the Redeemer in Baltimore, Maryland. As an adult he was an active participant in the Episcopal Church, serving as Senior Warden of the Church of the Resurrection in Omaha, Nebraska from 1991–1995, as deputy to the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 1993, 1996, and 1999, and as a member of the Theology Committee of the Episcopal Church's House of Bishops from 2001–2003. On September 18, 2004, he was received into the Roman Catholic Church. He explained his conversion in this way: "as an Episcopalian I needed a theory to stay put, and I came to realize that a theory is a thin thread easily broken. The Catholic Church needs no theories". In addition to his academic pursuits, Reno has been an avid rock climber and mountaineer from a young age.