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Catholic Theology Worldwide – Regional Challenges and New Developments

An Historic Gathering of Catholic Theologians: The Participants

The fourth Network Council assembly of INSeCT was held June 7-12, 2005 in conjunction with the Catholic Theological Society of America. An invitation went out to representatives from every known society of Catholic theology and from those regions in Africa and Asia where no societies are yet in existence. The overwhelmingly positive response to this invitation brought together the following theologians:

Africa

Jennifer Slater, OP, Associate Chairperson of the Catholic Theological Society of South Africa (CTSSA)

Josephat Obi Oguejiofor, President of the Catholic Theological Association of Nigeria (CATHAN)

Meinrad Hebga, SJ representative of Association Oecuménique de Théologiens Africains (AOTA)

Gaston Ogui, President of the Association des Théologiens Catholiques du Bénin

Elochukwu Eugene Uzukwu, CSSP, Nigeria, teaches at Milltown Institute of Philosophy and Theology, Dublin, Ireland

Teresia Hinga from Kenya teaches at Santa Clara University, and represents the ecumenical group, the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians

Stuart Bate, OMI, St Augustine College, Johannesburg , South Africa

Léonard Santedi Kinkupu, Dean of the Faculte de Theologie Catholique de Kinshasa, Congo

Asia

Vimal Tirimanna, CSsR, from Kandy, Sri Lanka, Executive Secretary of the Office of Theological Concerns of the Federation of Asian Bishops Conference (FABC-OTC)

Edmund Kee-Fook Chia, from 1996-2004, worked in Thailand for the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences as executive secretary for the Office of Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

Gemma Talud Cruz, Philippines, representing the newly formed Ecclesia of Women in Asia Association

Australia

Neil Ormerod, President of the Australian Catholic Theological Association (ACTA)

Gideon Goosen, delegate of ACTA

Europe

Lieven Boeve, President of the European Society of Catholic Theology (ET)

Thomas Fliethmann, Vice President, INSeCT (representative of ET), Tübingen, Germany

Latin America

Paulo Fernando Carneiro de Andrade, Vice President of Sociedade de Teologia e Ciências da Religião (SOTER), Brazil, Vice President of INSeCT

Fernando Berríos Medel, Presidente Sociedad Chilena de Teología (SCT)

Damián Nannini, representative of Sociedad Argentina de Teología (SAT)

North America

Roberto Goizueta, President, the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA)

Robert Masson, President, College Theology Society

Peter Casarella, president of Academy of Catholic Theologians of the United States (ACHTUS); (Orlando Espin prepared the essay for ACHTUS)

M. Shawn Copeland, Convener of the Black Catholic Theological Symposium (BCTS)

Jean-Guy Nadeau, President of Société Canadienne de théologie

Monica Hellwig, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU)

Bradford Hinze, President, INSeCT (representative of CTSA)

The Agenda: Challenges and Developments in Theological Education, Society, and Church

The colloquium began with evening prayer, introductions, and opening remarks by Bradford Hinze on What makes the collaborative work of INSeCT distinctive from other Catholic and Ecumenical groups of theologians? In the days that followed the participants discussed regional challenges and new developments in three areas: theological education, society, and in the church. The deliberations were initiated by papers written by many of the participants. During the colloquium these three topics were discussed in small regional groups (with Australian members dividing between Asia and Europe, and North Americans and Europeans combined into one group) and again in plenary assembly. Toward the end of the colloquium, the group came to the consensus that the following list of issues merited widespread consideration and discussion.

Primary Concerns: The culmination of the groups collective deliberation.

As concerned Catholic theologians we continue to search for God, hope and a prophetic voice.

  1. We need to promote dialogue and collaboration with:
  • ordinary people: the local reality; the daily reality; particularly with women, children/youth, and those living in poverty.
  • each other across cultures
  • bishops
  • other religions
  • society
  • We need to develop a new and nuanced contextual analysis of the signs of the times in relation to:
  • globalization
  • intercultural relations
  • migration
  • fundamentalism and relativism
  • secularization
  • detraditionalization
  • ecology and respect for the earth

Regional Contributions and Needs

Each group identified what their particular regional groupregional church and theologianscan contribute to the two issues of 1) promotion of dialogue and 2) reframing the signs of the times. They also voiced the particular needs their regions that inhibit participation. This document is posted with the title Regional Contributions and Needs (link to posted document).

What are the next steps?

During the final session of the colloquium the questions were posed: Where are we now? and What can we do with what we have accomplished here? The following suggestions were raised

  • Disseminate the essays and collaborative findings of this group
  • Take this experience and the results of our work back to our regional and continental societies for their own reflection and deliberation.
  • Continue the practice of the colloquium by reconvening on a regular basis (e.g., every three years) the representatives of societies of Catholic theology and from regions without societies, in conjunction with the triennial INSeCT Network Council Meeting. Future colloquiums should invite wider consultation with societies of Catholic theology and local theologians in areas where no societies exist so that the delegates could bring a more developed regional formulations on selected topics agreed upon by participating groups to continue this conversation and to discern and deliberate how to advance reflection on these issues of life and praxis.

In Gratitude

Travel and accommodations for participants from Africa, Latin America, and Asia were made possible by generous donations from the following institutions: Marquette University, Boston College, Fordham University, Duquesne University, Georgetown University. Joseph Mueller, S.J., translated written reports from French and Alexandro Crosthwaite, O.P., from Spanish and Portuguese. Abraham Fisher was financial and planning administrator. Judith Schaefer, O.P., was group process consultant and facilitator for the colloquium. Cyril Orji, Alejandro Crosthwaite, Christine Firer Hinze, Paul Hinze, and Karl Hinze served as the hospitality team during the colloquium. Ashley Hall provided editorial assistance in preparing the manuscripts.

Bradford Hinze, President, INSeCT

June 2005; revised June 2006

read also: Presented papers

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