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 All discourse on the CTSA blog, whether in blog postings or in comments posted by CTSA members, must abide by the standards of professional conduct and constructive criticism expressed in the "CTSA Statement on Professional Behavior" approved by the Board of Directors on June 7, 2018.  The CTSA Blog Committee reserves the right to edit or delete any language proposed for posting or posted on the CTSA blog website.  All postings by CTSA members must be germane to the blog discussion.  Comments submitted as alternate blog discussions will be removed, as will spam, links to websites, petitions, and advertising.



Lisa Fullam
2019 - 2022 


Mary Doak
2018 - 2021

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Stephen Okey, Chair
2018 - 2020

         *Mary Jane Ponyik,
                   ex officio

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  • 03/24/2020 7:50 AM | Anonymous

    Long standing CTSA member John Langan, S.J., died on March 20, 2020.  Memorials to his life are found at:

    http://www.mdsj.org/news-detail?TN=NEWS-20200322070310&fbclid=IwAR0AR4jkZU5wWQdXYrT2rz5iN2_IWSkQkYWCEzV6mWGyNm-TF8mEnjVZjbY

    and

    https://berkleycenter.georgetown.edu/visual_stories/berkley-center-remembers-rev-john-langan-s-j

    Eternal rest grant unto John, O Lord,
    and let perpetual light shine upon him.
    May his soul and the souls of all the faithfully departed,
     
    through the mercy of God, rest in peace.



  • 03/05/2020 9:47 AM | Anonymous

    Each year since 1971 the College Theology Society, of which many CTSA members are or have been members, has given awards for a book and article published the previous year. Since 1980, it has also given an award for best unpublished graduate student essay submitted; this is now called the Susan G. Perry Award.

    Last year, the CTS board gave me the task of compiling a list of all the awards given.  With the help of CTS members and of our archivists at The Catholic University of America, I more or less completed the job, and you can find the results here: https://collegetheologysociety10.wildapricot.org/Past-Publication-Award-Winners.  But the records are spotty in places--especially the 1990s, as we transitioned from paper to electronic record-keeping--and sometime inaccurate.  

    I invite CTSA members to check over the list, especially if you won, or have any idea who won, the student essay award in 1993, the book award in 1996, or any award at all in 1997.  Remember that the awards are for works published or graduate essays submitted during the year prior to the award.

    Please send any additions or corrections to me at collinge@msmary.edu.

    Bill Collinge


  • 02/25/2020 9:26 AM | Anonymous

    The following text is from "Gerard Sloyan, a symposium and some sad news", PrayTell Blog, Feb. 24, 2020 post (https://www.praytellblog.com/index.php/2020/02/24/gerard-sloyan-a-symposium-and-some-sad-news/).

    Fr. Gerard S. Sloyan was a priest of the Diocese of Trenton, NJ. He studied at Immaculate Conception Seminary, Darlington, NJ, and The Catholic University of America (S.T.L.; Ph.D.). He returned to CUA in 1950 to teach in the Department of Religious Education, serving as Department Chair between 1957 and 1967, developing courses in religion and theology for religious and lay students. He was subsequently Professor in the School of Religious Studies at Temple University, Philadelphia (1967–1990). Following his retirement from Temple, he returned to CUA as Distinguished Professor in 1994, and became Distinguished Professor at Georgetown University in 1996. Fr. Sloyan’s numerous publications reflect his wide interests and influence. They include Liturgy in Focus (1964), The Passion of the Jews (with L. Swidler, 1984); John: A Biblical Commentary (1988), Catholic Morality Revisited (1990), and Preaching from the Lectionary (2004).

    “Gerard S. Sloyan is one of those rare scholars who can claim an expertise in both Bible and theology that enables him to bridge the gap between exegesis and systematic theology” Frank Matera wrote in a publishing endorsement. A description of the full range of his contributions to education and inter-religious dialogue, as well as a bibliography of his numerous published works, can be found here.

    About the Symposium in his honor

    The Symposium will continue as scheduled and is open to the public. All are welcome. Here are the details:

    Scripture, Liturgy, Catechesis, Dialogue:
    A Symposium to Celebrate the Legacy of Fr. Gerard Sloyan at 100

    March 4, 2020, from 10 AM to 3 PM
    Caldwell Auditorium at Catholic University

    Speakers and topics:
    Philip CunninghamGerard S. Sloyan: A Post-Conciliar Polymath
    Adele ReinhartzThe Gospel of John and the “Parting of the Ways” Between Judaism and Christianity
    Rita Ferrone, Magnum Principium and the Reprioritization of the “Great Principle” of the Liturgical Reform
    William LoeweErant Gigantes: Father Sloyan At Catholic U.

    Sponsored by the Catholic University of American School of Theology and Religious Studies, and co-sponsored by the Diocese of Trenton

    RSVP here.  For more information, and to request accommodation for persons with disabilities,contact Roxana Paalvast at paalvast@cua.eduat

    Eternal rest, grant unto Gerard, O Lord
    and let perpetual light shine upon him.
    May he rest in peace.
    May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
    through the mercy of God, rest in peace.  Amen.


  • 12/13/2019 12:23 PM | Anonymous

    Fr. Gerard S. Sloyan, distinguished Biblical scholar, teacher, author, and activist in liturgical reform turns 100 years old Dec. 13, 2019! Gerard S. Sloyan, Professor Emeritus of Temple University, was President of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA), from 1993-94. His presidential address to the CTSA was entitled “The Jesus in Whom the Churches of the Apostolic Age Believed.” CTSA Proceedings,49(1994) 65-70.   Fr. Sloyan celebrated the 75th anniversary of his priesthood June 5, 2019.

    We invite you to help post memories, congratulatory comments, and meditations on how Fr. Sloyan’s work and person has influenced you.  

    Here is a brief account my relationship Fr. Sloyan:

    My name is Elizabeth Adams-Eilers. When I moved to Philadelphia to pursue a Ph.D. in Religious Studies at Temple University, I sought a place to live.  As it so happens, Fr. Gerard Sloyan had to leave Temple that year because he had reached Temple’s mandatory retirement age.  As he prepared to leave Temple to move to the Washington, DC area, Fr. Sloyan looked for someone to rent his house. For two years, I was delighted to lease Fr Sloyan’s house on Sansom Street in Center City, Philadelphia.   In 1991 “snail mail” was a preferred method of communication, and we wrote quite often to one another.   While employed as an adjunct by Holy Family University in Philadelphia, I used two of his books as textbooks for a course on Catholic doctrine: Catholic Morality Revisited and Why Jesus Died.

    Ten years later, the University of Notre Dame Press published a chapter from my dissertation, and Fr. Sloyan was a peer reviewer for this essay.   He sent me scores of notes and notecards in his meticulous handwriting, his wisdom transmitted to this reader through perfectly-formed tiny script.  I have kept some of these notecards as a fond remembrance of our work together.

    When my husband, Bob, and I married in 2004, Fr. Sloyan officiated at our wedding, which was held at St. Matthew’s Cathedral, St. Anthony’s Chapel.   Fr. Sloyan generously invited us to marry there where he had served the parish for many years. 

    I am so grateful for Fr. Sloyan’s generosity, guidance, and love extended to me and to my family in the 29 years we have known him!  Blessings to him on his 100th!!!

    Please respond with your own stories!

    Peace and every good,

    Elizabeth Adams-Eilers, ofs, Ph.D.

    eadams02@temple.edu.

    P.S. For an approved version of his life story see https://www.biola.edu/talbot/ce20/database/gerard-s-sloyan

    -------------------

    CTSA Proceedings' links to Fr. Sloyan's work:

    Presidential Address: The Jesus in Whom the Churches of the Apostolic Age Believed

    Gerard S. Sloyan

    2013-02-01

    https://ejournals.bc.edu/index.php/ctsa/article/view/3884    

    Orthodoxy and heterodoxy: the situation in the Church today

    Gerard S. Sloyan

    2012-10-01

    https://ejournals.bc.edu/index.php/ctsa/article/view/2683  

    The Age of First Confession

    Gerard S. Sloyan

    2012-10-01

    https://ejournals.bc.edu/index.php/ctsa/article/view/2629  

    Faith and modern subjective thought

    Gerard S. Sloyan

    2012-10-01

    https://ejournals.bc.edu/index.php/ctsa/article/view/2547  

     


  • 12/11/2019 8:01 AM | Anonymous

    Sister Mary Christine (Christophil) Athans, BVM, 87, died at Caritas Center, in Dubuque, Iowa, Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019.

    Funeral services will be Monday, Dec.16, 2019, in the Marian Hall Chapel. Visitation is 10–11 a.m., followed by Sharing of Memories. Mass of Christian Burial begins at 1:15 p.m. Burial will be in the Mount Carmel cemetery.

    A Memorial Mass will be held Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020, at Lumen Christi Catholic Church, 2055 Bohland Ave., Saint Paul, Minn. Visitation will be at 9 a.m., with Mass at 10 a.m.

    Sister Mary Christine was born on April 7, 1932, in Joliet, Ill., to Christophil and Mary Anderson Athans. She entered the BVM congregation Sept. 8, 1955, from St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, Phoenix. She professed first vows on Feb. 3, 1958, and final vows on July 16, 1963.

    Sister Mary Christine was a teacher at the University of San Francisco and the Claremont School of Theology in Claremont, Calif., where she also served as assistant dean. She was an assistant professor of religious studies at the University of Illinois in Champaign and an associate professor of church history at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minn. She ministered as associate professor and professor at the Saint Paul Seminary in Saint Paul, and as an adjunct professor at Loyola University Institute of Pastoral Studies and the Catholic Theological Union, both in Chicago. She worked as a guest lecturer and alumnae relations staff at Xavier College Preparatory in Phoenix. She also taught at St. Eugene ES in Chicago; Our Lady of Peace HS in Saint Paul, Minn.; and St. Francis Xavier in Phoenix.

    She was preceded in death by her parents.  She is survived by siblings Catherine Athans and Cyril (Veronica) Athans, both of Fresno, Calif.; nieces; and the Sisters of Charity, BVM, with whom she shared life for 64 years.

    Memorials may be given to Sisters of Charity, BVM Support Fund, 1100 Carmel Drive, Dubuque, IA 52003 or online at https://www.bvmsisters.org/support_donate.cfm.

    Eternal rest grant to Sr. Mary Christine, O Lord,
    and let light perpetual shine upon her.
    May her soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed,
    through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


  • 12/04/2019 2:09 PM | Anonymous

    The following text was written by Sarah MacDonald, a freelance journalist in Dublin, and published online by Global Sisters Report: A Project of National Catholic Reporter, Dec. 3, 2019, accessed at https://www.globalsistersreport.org/news/news/news/sr-carmel-mcenroy-author-who-captured-womens-role-vatican-ii-dies.


    Mercy Sr. Carmel McEnroy, author of a groundbreaking work on the role of women in the Second Vatican Council, has died at age 83 in Galway City, Ireland, after a long illness. 

    Responding to the news, Sr. Doreen Whitney of the Sisters of Mercy in the U.S. said McEnroy, who passed away Dec. 3, would be greatly missed by family, sisters, former colleagues, associates and many others throughout the world.

    Following a diagnosis of terminal cancer earlier this year, McEnroy had been receiving care from the Sisters of Mercy in Ireland, though she spent most of her working life in the U.S.

    When a comprehensive history of women and the Catholic Church in the 20th century is written, the name of Sr. Carmel McEnroy will loom large. She penned the most insightful account to date of the 23 women auditors who participated in Vatican II. Guests in Their Own House: The Women of Vatican II was published in 1996 and the following year (1997) won the Catholic Book Award for History/Biography.

    In an article published on the Mercy Sisters' website in January 2013, McEnroy related how within 20 years of the closing of Vatican II, the fact that there were women at the council was already becoming a forgotten memory. She wrote: "This exclusion motivated me to recover the dangerous memory of the female auditors before it was irretrievably lost."

    In his foreword to her book, German theologian, Redemptorist Fr. Bernard Häring, who was a theological advisor and consultant to the council, wrote, "I consider McEnroy's book both important and necessary. As far as I can see, up to now very little is said by historians of the council about the absence and presence of women in Vatican Council II. I dare to foretell that the present book will find great interest for a long time."

    Though McEnroy will be best remembered for her book on Vatican II, she will also be remembered for the treatment she received from St. Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology, in St. Meinrad, Indiana. A distinguished theologian, she taught systematic theology there for 14 years and was tenured in 1992.

    However, St. Meinrad fired McEnroy from her position as a professor in 1995 after she signed an open letter to Pope John Paul II and the U.S. bishops, along with about 2,000 others, asking that the discussion of women's ordination be allowed to continue. The letter, which was written in response to John Paul II's Ordinatio Sacerdotalis of May 1994, which sought to close the debate on women priests definitively, was published in the Nov. 4, 1994, issue of the National Catholic Reporter.

    The treatment of McEnroy by St. Meinrad raised uncomfortable questions about the academic freedom of Catholic theologians and the denial of academic due process. In her autobiographical notes in the postscript of her book on women and Vatican II, she recalled how she was fired from her teaching position "with less than two weeks' notice, no due process, and the insulting offer of half a year's already meagre salary. All of this was in clear violation of the terms of my contract, the procedures spelled out in the Faculty Handbook, and the school's endorsement of the American Association of University Professor's Statement on Academic Freedom."

    The charge brought against McEnroy was public dissent from magisterial teaching in regard to women's ordination. The open letter she signed had been organized by the Women's Ordination Conference. McEnroy contended that she was acting as a private citizen and that she signed it, "in accordance with my rights as a citizen and private person (guaranteed by my contract)." She did not indicate her professional affiliation with St. Meinrad School of Theology, nor did she use the initials of the Congregation of the Sisters of Mercy.

    Putting her name to the letter, even in a private capacity, was construed by St. Meinrad as dissent. On April 26, 1995, McEnroy received a letter from Archabbot Fr. Timothy Sweeney stating that he was asking the president-rector of St. Meinrad, Fr. Eugene Hensell, to terminate her contract because signing the open letter had made her "seriously deficient" in her duty. This was despite consistent commendation of her work in previous years. May 9, 1995, was her last teaching day at the college.

    St. Meinrad was undergoing a visitation by a team on behalf of the U.S. bishops' conference. The first rumor McEnroy had heard about her possible dismissal was on March 6, 1995, when the chair of the visitation team, Archbishop Elden Curtiss of Omaha, according to McEnroy, "made it known publicly to students that he was there to carry out Archbishop Daniel Buechlein's wishes with regard to feminism, including firing me, and homosexuality." McEnroy said the "precipitous unilateral action" against her evidenced her accusers' "ignorance of the nuanced understanding of 'dissent,' which clearly distinguishes honest differences from those that are hostile and obstinate."

    St. Meinrad's administrators, she explained, "totally ignored" letters from the Leadership Team of the Mercy congregation at the central, provincial, local and individual level, as well as from other religious congregations and groups at academic institutions, who tried to initiate discussion before her position was terminated.

    On May 10, 1995, Sr. Bridget Clare McKeever, a Sister of St. Louis and a tenured professor at St. Meinrad, submitted her letter of resignation, stating that the termination of Sister Carmel's tenured contract without due process was "a breach of faith not only with Dr. McEnroy, but also with the entire faculty. Regardless of how these actions are rationalized, they are unjustified and unjust."

    Then the largest professional society of theologians in the world, the Catholic Theological Society of America, overwhelmingly endorsed a statement and two resolutions in McEnroy's favor at its 1995 meeting, calling for her reinstatement and questioning the charge of dissent. McEnroy took a civil action against St. Meinrad. But in June 1999 the Court of Appeals of Indiana ruled in favor of the seminary's argument that resolution of the action would "excessively entangle the court in religious matters in violation of the First Amendment." The American Association of University Professors in 1997 censured St Meinrad School of Theology for violating McEnroy's academic freedom.

    Speaking to Global Sisters Report about McEnroy, Mary Hunt, feminist theologian, described the Mercy Sister as a canary in the Catholic coal mine. "She was a sign to other Catholic women scholars that there is no recourse from the power of a patriarchal church to crush its opposition."

    "Her book, Guests in Their Own House: The Women of Vatican II, brought the 23 women auditors at the council to public attention," Hunt said. "It was a necessary if embarrassing reminder that none of them were able to vote at the meeting despite their influence around the edges. Little has changed since then as women are still non-voting auditors at Catholic synods."

    McEnroy, according to Hunt, paid the price at St. Meinrad for her honesty and persistence. "That seminary, like many others, still has only a miniscule percentage of women on the faculty. Yet her book remains a classic in the field, a gift to a church that did not want to read what she had to say but could not deny the truth of her message."

    According to background information from the Sisters of Mercy, Margaret Carmel Elizabeth McEnroy was born May 15, 1936, in Carrickmakeegan, Ballinamore, County Leitrim, Ireland. She was the third of seven children of Bernard and Agnes (Fee) McEnroy.

    According to the Sisters of Mercy, she attended Mercy Secondary School in Ballymahon, County Longford, where she excelled in her studies. She entered the Sisters of Mercy as a postulant in 1955 and made her final profession in 1961. She volunteered for the U.S. mission that year and was sent to the Jefferson City, Missouri, Diocese, where she taught and was principal of Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School in Columbia, Missouri, for many years.

    She received a bachelor of arts degree in 1967 from Marillac College in St. Louis, Missouri. In 1976 she received a master's degree from the University of St. Michael's College, Toronto School of Theology and a doctorate from there in 1984.

    After she was fired by St. Meinrad, she worked for a while as a visiting Lilly Professor at the Berea College and as an adjunct professor at the Lexington Theological Seminary, both Protestant educational institutions in Kentucky.

    McEnroy was "a staunch advocate for justice and women's rights and was direct in expressing her truth with complete honesty throughout her life," said Sr. Doreen Whitney of the Sisters of Mercy, who had known Sister Carmel for many years. "She continued to be involved with current concerns, and often took brave steps to speak out on unjust systems, even at her own expense."

    "Apart from her sharp intellect and capable skills, Carmel had many other talents and interests," Whitney added. "She also explored photography and art, and in her later years she produced some beautiful watercolor paintings. Carmel was a loyal and faithful friend to many and was always generous with her time. She was willing to share her knowledge and listen to others. She deeply loved her family and relatives and enjoyed their support throughout her life."

    Her cousin, Sr. Rosarii Beirne, also a Sister of Mercy, told Global Sisters Report that Carmel's rural childhood was idyllic. "She was surrounded with love and beauty. It is no surprise that she was a great lover of nature and that she so often reproduced nature scenes in her works of art."

    McEnroy joined the Mercy Congregation in Ballymahon when Beirne was a student in the boarding school there. "She was a brilliant teacher. When she was sent to join our fledgling foundation in Missouri we felt she was a great loss to the Irish education system."

    She also paid tribute to her cousin who as a junior professed sister gave her sound advice when Rosarii entered the Mercy Sisters. "She was able to take the broader view and to think outside the box." Of her many good qualities, Beirne highlighted Sister Carmel's sincerity and loyalty. "She was also very good humored, generous and hospitable."

    According to Hunt, "Inroads that women make in the Catholic theological world, the ability to speak our truths in that most defended of sanctuaries, we do with thanks to Carmel McEnroy and her colleagues. History will be kind to them."

    "Sr. Carmel McEnroy was a modern day example of a true Sister of Mercy," according to Sr. Susan DeGuide, regional superior of the Sisters of Mercy in the U.S. "She was always about further justice issues, especially those that pertained to women in society and the church. Even when things were most contentious for her, she always acted with integrity and with the best intention to further the significant role of women and especially women theologians in the Church. We stand very proud of her."

    "My aunt was a fighter," Professor Joyce Smith of Ryerson University's Journalism Research Centre told Global Sisters Report. "When she felt strongly about something, she was all in, whether that was winning a game of Monopoly or challenging a parish priest after Mass about his lack of inclusive language. You wanted her in your corner.

    "Somehow, she kept track of all of us and always had a card and often a gift for our important dates: wedding anniversaries, birthdays, graduations. This was no small feat given that she had six siblings, five in-laws, 20 nieces and nephews, and then their kids. She supported our pursuits, always genuinely interested and invested. And she was a lot of fun. I'll always admire her strength of conviction and her generosity. We're going to miss her."

    Written by Sarah Mac Donald, a freelance journalist based in Dublin.


    Eternal rest grant to Sr. Carmel, O Lord,
    and let light perpetual shine upon her. 
    May her soul, and the souls of all the faithful departed,
    through the mercy of God, rest in peace.



  • 12/02/2019 8:02 AM | Anonymous

    The text for Patrick J. Howell, S.J.'s memorial below is a slightly edited version of a memoriam notice that was sent out to the Gonzaga University community.


    The CTSA remembers its member, Rev. Patrick J. Howell, S.J., who died Thursday, November 28, 2019, at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Washington.  Pat, who re-joined Gonzaga University in the Office of Mission and Ministry this past August, learned that he had lung cancer not long after moving to Spokane, and, even as he was facing the physical and emotional challenges of his illness, was insistent upon keeping this quiet and focusing instead on the work of intellectual engagement, mission formation, and pastoral ministry.  Even in that short time, Pat contributed significantly to the life of the university, developing several formation programs for faculty and staff. Just two weeks ago he delivered a well-attended lecture on the theological and pastoral vision of Pope Francis.

    A native of North Dakota and one of nine children, Pat graduated from Gonzaga University in 1961 before entering the Society of Jesus.  In the 1960’s he served as Academic Vice Principal (and subsequently, Principal) at Jesuit High in Portland and, among many other assignments was Principal at Gonzaga Prep during the early 1980’s.  After earning a doctorate in Pastoral Theology, he took up a fulltime faculty position in the Department of Theology and Ministry at Seattle University in 1986, where he was based until this fall (2019).  Across time, Pat served in a number of administrative and academic positions at Seattle U, including as the inaugural Dean of the School of Theology and Ministry, Vice President for Mission and Ministry, and Distinguished Professor of Pastoral Theology.  He wrote many articles and book chapters and gave many presentations throughout the country on pastoral theology, sacramental theology, the theology of Vatican II, Pope Francis, and contemporary Catholicism, and the integration of spirituality and psychology.  He was the author of three books, including Great Risks had to be Taken: The Jesuit Response to the Second Vatican Council, 1958-2018, published this year. In 2013, Pat was a member of the team of translators who translated Antonio Spadaro’s groundbreaking interview with Pope Francis, A Big Heart Open to God, from Italian into English for America magazine, where he was serving as an editor during a sabbatical. Pat was for many years involved with Conversations magazine and served as chair of the National Seminar in Jesuit Higher Education.

    Eternal rest grant unto Patrick, O Lord,
    and let perpetual light shine upon him.
    May Patrick's soul and all the souls of the faithful departed,
    through the mercy of God, 
    rest in peace.


  • 10/25/2019 8:32 AM | Anonymous

    Remembering CTSA member Rev. Francis A. Sullivan, S.J. 

    Rev. Sullivan was awarded the 1994 John Courtney Murray Award.  

    Here is his piece on "The Magisterium and Theology" presented at the CTSA's 2013 annual convention.  See https://ejournals.bc.edu/index.php/ctsa/article/view/3480

    Eternal rest grant unto Francis Sullivan, O Lord,
    and let perpetual light shine upon him.
    May his soul
     and the souls of all the faithful departed,
    through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen. 

    DEATH NOTICE
    Courtesy of the U.S.A. Northeast Province

     Let us pray in thanksgiving for the life of our brother

    REV. FRANCIS A. SULLIVAN, S.J.

    who died peacefully last evening at 9:43 P.M., October 23, 2019, at Campion Center, Weston, MA.  He was 97 years old. At the time of his death, Frank was the oldest member of the UNE Province. Frank was born on May 21, 1922 in Jamaica Plain, MA, and entered the Society of Jesus on July 30, 1938 at Shadowbrook, Lenox, MA and was later ordained on June 16, 1951 at Weston College, Weston, MA. He pronounced his final vows on August 15, 1955 at the Chapel of the Holy Spirit, Weston College, Weston, MA. 

    WAKE:       Monday, October 28, 2019

                         Campion Center, Chapel of the Holy Spirit

                         3:00-5:00 p.m. (Wake Service at 4:30 p.m.)

                         319 Concord Road

                         Weston, MA 02493

     

    MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL:     Tuesday, October 29, 2019—10:00 A.M.

                                                                    Campion Center, Chapel of the Holy Spirit

                                                                    319 Concord Road

                                                                    Weston, MA 02493                             

    BURIAL:  Campion Jesuit Cemetery, Weston, MA


  • 10/23/2019 8:01 AM | Anonymous

    An Update on INSeCT's Kairos Initiative

    Note: In response to an invitation from the CTSA Board, the INSeCT update below was submitted by INSeCT President and CTSA member, Prof. Gerard Mannion before his untimely death in September of this year.  The information was submitted to inform the CTSA membership of the activities of INSeCT, especially with regards to INSeCT’s Kairos initiative, and to clarify the important relationship between the CTSA and INSeCT.  The post was lightly edited by the CTSA blog committee.

    This guest blog is offered to update the wider CTSA membership on recent  developments in relation to the International Network for Societies of Catholic Theology (INSeCT), for which I presently serve as the CTSA representative. It’s an opportunity to share further news about the exciting global theological conversation the CTSA membership has been invited to be part of in preparation for the next full INSeCT General Council in 2020.  

    For those of you who may not know, INSeCT was founded in 1996 by the visionary Professor Peter Hünermann of Tübingen, Germany, and it is an expanding organization that has over 30 member and affiliate member societies of Catholic theology from around the world. The CTSA was a founding member and has provided four INSeCT presidents, to date, with multiple vice-presidents and board members. At a time when the Catholic Church is ever more inter-linked globally, INSeCT strives to build links between the many differing collective organizations that focus on Catholic Theology around the world.

    INSeCT has invited all member societies to be part of a Global Theological Conversation on the theme: ‘A Kairos for Catholic Theology: Serving the Church - Serving the World’ (termed the ‘Kairos Project’ for short). The present time is a kairos moment for Catholic Theology and the organizational church alike because of the convergence of a range of significant factors: the papacy and reforms of Pope Francis; developments in theology worldwide; and new energies for active collaboration between the church, the world of Catholic theology and members of other churches, other religions and secular entities.  These factors are converging in the present time to present Catholic theology with a unique opportunity; the challenges that today’s world and the church are faced with—locally, regionally and universally—all make such collaboration imperative.

    How might we encourage Catholic theologians worldwide, as well as the wider church, to embrace this kairos moment? INSeCT has committed itself to helping do so through combining three different strands into a single focal point over the coming years:

    a.     The sharing of ongoing work in Catholic Theology and the church worldwide in the respective societies, contexts and regions represented by INSeCT

    b.    INSeCT’s triennial research project focus – which for this cycle is the Kairos project itself

    c.     The continued enhancement of INSeCT’s mission and impact in Connecting Catholic Theology Worldwide

    The Kairos Project will therefore be the core focus of the triennial INSeCT General Council in September next year, when representatives from every society of Catholic Theology around the world will gather in Rome. Those delegates will be focusing upon explorations from around the globe on how these times may constitute a Kairos Moment for Catholic Theology—in its service both to the church and to the world—in their respective contexts.

    In May this year, the INSeCT Board had its 2019 Annual Meeting. Primarily, its work focused on the Kairos Project. The INSeCT Board, therefore, met in Rome in order to engage in a wide range of meetings with some twenty-one Vatican curial departments, dicasteries and sections, along with several pontifical universities and other academic institutions. We were met with universal enthusiasm for the Kairos Project and willingness to work with us and contribute to the General Council next year and in the future.

    We found that the various Vatican and Pontifical Institutions are very much supportive of building better channels of communication and collaboration with  Catholic theologians and Catholic theological societies around the globe. Warm, engaged and enthusiastic responses from key curial cardinals, archbishops, bishops and university rectors during our conversations were the norm. This all further suggests that it is indeed a Kairos moment for Catholic theology and INSeCT has invited the CTSA, along with all other member and affiliated societies to play a leading role in the Global Theological Conversation that forms the basis of INSeCT’s work in the coming years.

    To such ends, the CTSA Board and wider membership have been warmly encouraged to explore questions such as how theology today is helping to serve the church and society in the North American context, including, perhaps especially, how theology serves society through serving the church (and vice versa). The CTSA is also encouraged to give further attention to where stumbling blocks and problematic relations exist between the theological community and both ecclesial and secular official bodies and authorities. Finally, the CTSA is asked to consider what potential might exist for taking Catholic theology in North American contexts forward into the future, identifying priorities and key questions and challenges for this region.

    A final report from each region and member society will be presented in shorter form at next year’s INSeCT General Council in Rome, itself, and further revised for eventual publication.

    The benefits of this procedure will, it is hoped, be multiple. The General Council and Kairos Project provide an opportunity where member and affiliated societies can inform fellow societies, as well as being the recipient of like contributions from other societies. This will also be a unique opportunity to educate official church bodies, departments and bishops’ conferences on what is happening with theology worldwide, on issues of concern, as well as theological achievements. It will also allow those bodies to dialogue with the world of Catholic theology about their own work, experiences and priorities in the present time. The presentations will help display just how much member societies and INSeCT can prove to be rich resources for the church.

    A set of questions has been distributed to all member societies to help focus their reflections as they prepare their reports in advance of the General Council in Rome next year. It is hoped societies will find the process conducive to their own work as well.

    The CTSA has traditionally been one of the most generous supporters of the triennial INSeCT General Councils, providing a significant contribution toward the overall costs of the General Council, and helping to support the participation of representatives from theological societies that would otherwise not be able to travel to participate. The INSeCT Board hopes that the CTSA, alongside other societies with the resources to do so, will continue this generous tradition in facilitating the continued interaction and mutual learning between societies of Catholic theology from the different continents of the world, especially given the unique significance of next year’s Council in Rome.

    The INSeCT Board also discussed various priorities and plans as to how best to consolidate INSeCT’s impact, to strengthen its support and resource base and to raise its profile. The board also seeks to explore how best to expand INSeCT’s service to the church at differing levels in its synodal function – from grassroots to Rome - as both a collaborative partner and critical friend (in relation to leadership and authorities) in facilitating theological reflection on the opportunities and challenges of the current times.

    To such ends INSeCT has also asked all member and affiliated societies to consider how they might deepen their own engagement with and commitment to INSeCT.

    Speaking this June, at a conference in Naples, Italy, Pope Francis said that we ‘can and must work towards a “theological Pentecost” which allows the women and men of our time to hear “in their own native language” a Christian message that responds to their search for meaning and for a full life’.(1)  Pope Francis also indicated that these times call for ‘a kerygmatic theology, a theology of discernment, of mercy and of welcoming, in dialogue with society, cultures and religions for the construction of the peaceful coexistence of individuals and peoples’.(2)

    Francis further stressed the crucial role of networking  for theology and for the church alike, especially in engaging wider social and political realities and civic, ecclesial and interreligious bodies toward the end of enhancing justice, peace and care for creation throughout this world. Pope Francis continued, ‘Theology is an expression of a Church which is a “field hospital”, which lives her mission of salvation and healing in the world’.(3)

    There can be no better summation of this Kairos for Catholic Theology – Serving the Church, Serving the World. As Francis has called for greater theological networking around the Catholic world, INSeCT is excited to help make that vision a reality in the coming years ahead.

    Gerard Mannion

    President and CTSA Representative, INSeCT,
    Amaturo Chair in Catholic Studies, Georgetown University

    1. Pope Francis, ‘Address’, Meeting on the Theme “Theology after Veritatis gaudium in the Context of the Mediterranean”, promoted by the Pontifical Theological Faculty of Southern Italy – San Luigi section – of Naples (Friday 21st June, 2019), http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/speeches/2019/june/documents/papa-francesco_20190621_teologia-napoli.html.

    2. Ibid.

    3. Ibid.


  • 10/10/2019 8:41 AM | Anonymous

     The CTSA awarded the Institute of Pastoral Studies (IPS) at Loyola University Chicago a grant to meet with Auxiliary Bishop Ron Hicks.  On September 26, IPS faculty and staff members Michael Canaris, David Dault, Timone Davis, Peter Jones, Heidi Russell, Bill Schmidt, Nathaniel Samuel,  Deborah Watson, and John Fontana along with Bishop Hicks discussed  Synodality in the life and mission of the Churcha study by the International Theological Commission, that serves in an advisory capacity to the Pope and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on current relevant topics.

    Bishop Hicks, vicar general of the Archdiocese of Chicago, previously served as regional director at an orphanage in El Salvador between 2005 and 2009, and for that reason IPS chose to enjoy Salvadorian food (including the local staple — pupusas!) for this meeting.  The bishop was also at one time Dean of Formation for St. Joseph College Seminary in its earlier iteration as an academic unit at Loyola.

    The conversation included an ongoing commitment to mutual active listening by those seeking to live in the community of the faith at all levels.  Both Bishop Hicks and the IPS professors commented on how modeling such behavior is an important antidote to the tribalism and silos of our day.  Oscar Romero was frequently invoked in the discussions.

    As the convener of the session, long stand CTSA member Michael Canaris expressed his gratitude for the project.  “It came up in my colleagues’ comments that we are in an anomalous historical and political situation where an outside grant is sometimes necessary to spur dialogue in some places between Catholic higher education and local ordinaries.  We are thankfully in a much healthier context here in Chicago, where Bishop Hicks, Cardinal Cupich, and the wider archdiocesan apparatus are largely supportive of the work in which we are engaged in forming lay leaders and advocates for social justice here at Loyola in general, and in the IPS in particular.  However, I remain thankful for this CTSA initiative which enabled us to deepen these relationships and plan for future collaboration and mutual support.  We will be following up with our local leaders when we host some events at the USCCB meetings alongside them this November, as is our recent tradition here.”

    The above text was copied and edited from IPS's blog http://blogs.luc.edu/ips/lunch-with-auxiliary-bishop-ron-hicks/

    More information about the grant initiative can be found here: https://ctsa-online.org/TheologicalGroupDiscussions



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