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2011-2014: Minutes and Meetings

Steering Committee 2011-2014

officers_eamonn_conway  cathy_clifford  Valmor

President: Eamonn Conway (ESCT / Ireland)

Vice-Presidents: Catherine E. Clifford (CTSA / Canada) and Valmor da Silva (SOTER / Brasil)

Minutes

Steering Committee Meetings

  • 2012 in Abidjank, Cote d’Ivoire (hosted by our colleague Gaston Ogui)
  • 2013 in Belo Horizonte (hosted by SOTER)

Network Council Meeting

  • 2014 in Belo Horizonte (hosted by SOTER)

INSeCT Network Council Meeting in Belo Horizonte, July 17-20, 2014

INSeCT Network Council Meeting in Belo Horizonte, July 17-20, 2014

Network Council Meets in Belo Horizonte

INSeCT2014_BeloHorizonte Participants

Catholic theologians gathered in Brazil to participate in a global research congress on the power of theology to overcome abuses of power in church and society.

Leading Catholic theologians joined colleagues from 21 countries to take part in a global research congress on the power of theology in overcoming abuses of power in church and society. The congress was held in Belo Horizonte, Brazil between the 16th and 20th July 2014.  The discussions formed part of the triennial Congress of the International Network of Societies of Catholic Theology.

Among the international keynote speakers at the event, held in the light of Pope Francis’s call for a renewal and reform of the Church’s mission, were the Very Rev. Dr Friedrich Bechina of the Congregation for Catholic Education (Holy See) and Irish Columban missionary Father Peter Hughes, Executive Secretary of the Latin American Bishops’ Justice and Solidarity Department.

“We chose the theme of the power of theology in overcoming abuses of power in Church and society back in 2011,” said Rev. Professor Eamonn Conway, who is immediate past-President of the International Network.

“Little did we know then that we would have a new Pope and that the Congress would be held in the light of his apostolic exhortation Evangelii Gaudium –The Joy of the Gospel – which provides a renewed sense of vision for our deliberations, particularly when it comes to the Church being a true world-Church in a secularised world made up of numerous and complex elements.

“Pope Francis encourages us to get out of our comfort zones and be a Church which must go forth to everyone without exception. He calls us all to be missionary disciples, a people for everyone abandoning the attitude of we have always done it this way.  We are, in effect, being challenged to re-imagine our ministry.

“Throughout the Congress we considered how theology can overcome abuses of power in Church and Society. Evangelii Gaudium provides a contemporary and challenging reference point for that discussion, one that resonates in many countries right around the world, particularly those where we are working towards healing the hurts of the past and rediscovering and celebrating the joy of the Gospel.”

The Very Rev. Dr Friedrich Bechina of the Congregation for Catholic Education (Holy See) briefed delegates on important new international developments and initiatives in Catholic Higher Education saying that higher education institutions play a critical role in the mission of the Church.

“Around 700 faculties, specialist stand-alone or affiliated institutes of theology, philosophy, canon law as well as other more specialised ecclesiastical studies such as sacred music, archaeology or social communications make an ever more important contribution to the mission of the Church, and also to the world of Universities and society at large,” said The Very Rev. Dr Friedrich Bechina.

“This important work will always be carried out within the tension between the necessary rootedness within the Church, the responsibility for the faith of the faithful and the enterprise of exploring new answers to the question of our present time, drawing from the rich source of wisdom of the Gospel and the Catholic tradition.”

Irish Columban missionary Father Peter Hughes, Executive Secretary of the Latin American Bishops’ Justice and Solidarity Department, spoke about an exciting new concept for mission that has emerged through challenging the impact of extractive industries in the Amazon region.  He also presented a report on the co-operative initiatives of the US, Canadian and Latin American bishops through the work of the Comisión Interamericana for Human Rights.

“On his visit to Brazil last year Pope Francis implored the Church to assume its responsibility and play its part in saving the Amazon region,” said Father Peter Hughes.

“The Amazon region is a huge area under immense pressure because of destruction caused to the rain forest and the rights of indigenous peoples to their lands and cultures which are being destroyed by the onslaught of mining, timber and hydro-electric dam mega projects.

“Already 19% of the area has been destroyed and the remainder is in jeopardy which has serious consequences not just for the Amazon people or the people of Brazil, but for the entire world as the Amazon region plays a key role in the struggle against global warming and climate change.

“Pope Francis has called on Christians, in virtue of their baptism, to become involved in a courageous and decisive way in the struggle to save the Amazon.  Each and every one of us has a role to play whether it be challenging the mega projects directly, lobbying for the rights of the Amazon people to be respected or being responsible about our consumption of energy and other raw materials.”

In an unprecedented act of global solidarity, Irish Catholics have raised $50,000 to provide 25 theologians and scholars from developing countries with a grant towards their travel costs enabling them to take part in this important discussion.

“I would like to thank the very many people and organizations who have joined together to support us in enabling theologians and scholars from Africa, Asia and Latin America to attend the Congress.  We are a truly international network and the generosity of donors means that a lack of resources is not preventing delegates from many countries less well off than our own from attending,” Professor Conway continued.

Congress delegates also participated in the annual congress of the Sociedade de Teologicia e Ciências da Religião (The Brazilian Catholic Theology Society) which took place at the Minas Pontifical University in Belo Horizonte.

The Congress Patron was the Archbishop of Belo Horizonte, Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo and the organising committee was led by the Network’s President Rev. Professor Eamonn Conway, Vice Presidents Profs Catherine Clifford (Ottawa), Valmor da Silva (Goias, Brazil) and incoming Vice-President Nancy Pinena-Madrid (Boston).

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Fr. Godfrey Katumba, Secretary of the Executive Committe of the Council Meeting, with the Banner for the Meeting

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Welcome from President of SOTER, Vitório Jaldemir; sitting in the background: the Executive Committee of the Council Meeting: Eamonn Conway, Catherine Clifford and Nancy Pineda-Madrid

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Audience of the Council Meeting

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At the SOTER Meeting, Pontifical University of Belo Horizonte; Presentation of Regional Reports in Panel Groups

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Immersion with Local Church in Belo Horizonte

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The Keynote-Speakers: Rev. Fr. Peter Hughes, CELAM, and Rev. Fr. Friedrich Bechina, Vatican

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Celebrating the Eucharist with the Archbishop of Belo Horizonte, Walmor de Oliveira

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The Members of the outgoing and of the new elected Steering Committee

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President Eamonn Conway with his new elected Successor Martin M. Lintner

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Celebrating the new President’s Birthday

June 2014 Press Release

June 2014 Press Release

Catholic theologians from twenty-four countries throughout the world will gather in July in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, to reflect on their role and responsibilities in the light of Pope Francis’s call for a renewal and reform of the Church’s mission.

The meeting, which is under the auspices of the International Network of Societies for Catholic Theology, will be the largest ever assembly of representatives of Catholic theology societies since the Network’s inception in 1996, and the first to take place outside of the United States of America.

Keynote speakers include Very Rev Dr Friedrich Bechina, Undersecretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education (Holy See), who will speak on key new international developments and initiatives  in Catholic Higher Education.

The Executive Secretary of CELAM’s Justice and Solidarity Department, Irish Columban Father Peter Hughes SSC, will speak on an exciting new paradigm for mission that has emerged through challenging the impact of extractive industries in the Amazon region. He will report on the co-operative initiatives of the US, Canadian and Latin American bishops through the work of the Comisión Interamericana for Human Rights.

Delegates to the Network Meeting will also participate in the annual congress of the Sociedade de Teologia e Ciências da Religião, meeting at the Minas Pontifical University in Belo Horizonte.

The Congress patron is the Archbishop of Belo Horizonte, Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo, and the organizing committee is led by the Network’s President, Fr Eamonn Conway, Vice Presidents Profs Catherine Clifford (Ottawa), Valmor da Silva (Goias, Brazil), and incoming Vice-President Nancy Pinena-Madrid (Boston).

The following countries/theological societies are represented at the meeting: Ireland, Germany, Austria, Italy, UK, The Netherlands, Guatemala, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, The Phillipines, India, Australia, USA, Canada, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Nigeria.

The working languages of the conference will be English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Delegates will make reports of the current state of Catholic theology in their region and also present research on the role of Catholic theology in overcoming abuse of power in Church and society.

The Congress runs from July 16 – 20th and will be attended by ca fifty participants.

June 2014 Letter from President of INSeCT

June 2014 Letter from President of INSeCT

Dear Colleague

It is now exactly one month to our gathering in Belo Horizonte.

We very much look forward to your participation in the forthcoming Network Council Meeting of the International Network of Societies for Catholic Theology.  Please find attached the latest draft programme for the event, as well as a list of participants. We are most grateful to our colleagues in SOTER for making all the local arrangements for us, as well as for the support of the archbishop and the faculty of PUC –Minas University.

Attached you will find the latest version of the programme.

We have two keynote speakers. Father Friedrich Bechina is Undersecretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, and he will address us on International Catholic Higher Education, and especially the place of Catholic theology, in the context of Pope Francis reform agenda for the Church.

The Executive Secretary of CELAM’s Justice and Solidarity Department, Father Peter Hughes SSC will speak on an exciting new paradigm for mission emerging in the context of challenging the impact of extractive industries in the Amazon region. He will report on the co-operative initiatives of the US, Canadian and CELAM bishops through the work of the Comisión Interamericana for Human Rights.

In addition, we will join the SOTER Congress for some of their activities and also visit projects in the Belo Horizonte local Church. Of course, we will also have to attend to the ordinary work of the Network Council as well. In this regard we intend to bring forward new proposals for the structure of the Network.

In preparation for the meeting we would remind you of the following:

1. TRAVEL:

Please ensure that you have forwarded your exact arrival and departure details to Father Godfrey Katumba (godfrey.katumba@mic.ul.ie) and if possible also a cell/mobile ‘phone number that you will have with you if we need to reach you.

Please note that Br Joseph Hill SJ will make every effort to arrange for you to be met at the airport. His cell phone number is  (00 55) 31 9416 5305.

2. CONFERENCE VENUE:

This is the website of the Conference venue:  http://www.sacramentinasdebergamo.org.br/coqueirodagua/

The contact details are as follows:

Please ensure that Fr Godfrey Katumba knows exactly the nights you need in terms of accommodation. SOTER is very kindly providing accommodation and subsistence for the duration of the Council Meeting, that is, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights 16th to 19th July inclusive. If you need accommodation for additional nights, please make sure that we have been informed so we can reserve these for you. These additional nights will be at your own expense but rates are very reasonable.

3. VISA ARRANGEMENTS

Delegates are responsible for their own VISA arrangements. However, a letter of invitation will be provided by the Pontifical University in Belo Horizonte by contacting Prof Paulo Agostino N. Baptista (pagostin@gmail.com). Before applying, please check that you require one.

4. REFUND OF TRAVEL EXPENSES

If you have been awarded a travel grant (max $2000) you will need to attend to the following:

a. Refunds will only be made up to the pre-authorized amount for expenses incurred in direct travel to and from the Council Meeting.

b. Payment will only be made through international electronic bank transfer in Euro or US Dollar. Participants should bring with them to the Meeting full details of their bank accounts, including IBAN / SWIFT / BIC codes or equivalent to ensure accurate and timely refund.

c. You are required to submit an original invoice / receipt for the ticket(s) as well as all boarding passes, so all boarding passes and tickets must be retained.

5. NETWORK COUNCIL MEMBERSHIP FEES

Please ensure that your society has paid membership fees for the 2012/2013. Fees for 2014 are now due. In accordance with the revised payment structure, Societies are asked to pay just €1 (one Euro) per subscribed theologian-member per annum up to a maximum of €500 per Society p.a.  (or the equivalent in your currency). You are asked to make the payment in Euro in order to avoid the Network incurring currency conversion fees. If any fees are outstanding for 2011, 2012, or 2013  then we would ask that you take that into account in making your payment as well. Please note that the Society is entirely dependent upon these contributions for its day to day operations. However, if a particular Society finds that even this payment requirement is burdensome then we would ask that they inform the Executive.

Please send your payment to:

  • Volksbank Ammerbuch eG, D-72119 Ammerbuch, Germany.
  • Bankletzahl (bank number)  641 613 97
  • Kontonr (account number) 65 683 005
  • BIC/Swift Code:  GENO DES1 AMM

Alternatively, fees may be paid at the Council Meeting in Belo Horizonte.

Many thanks and best wishes as you prepare for the Council Meeting. A most sincere thanks on my part also to all our collaborators who look forward to meeting you on arrival.

Prof Eamonn Conway

President, International Network of Societies for Catholic Theology.

Tel: +353 87 2422127, email: eamonn.conway@mic.ul.ie, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick

Redeeming Power

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The International Network of Societies for Catholic Theology (INSeCT) is undertaking a 3-year, global research project on ‘the nature, function and location of theology, with particular attention to the power of theology to overcome power abuse in Church and Society’.

As its response, the European Society of Catholic Theology (ESCT) launched Redeeming Power: Overcoming Abuse in Church and Society, an interdisciplinary, collaborative research initiative, directed by InSpiRe’s Dr Stephen Bullivant.

Other institutions involved:

  • Heythrop College (UK)
  • University College Dublin (Ireland)
  • KU Leuven (Belgium)
  • University of Trnava (Slovakia)
  • University of Opole (Poland)
  • Durham University (UK)

We are exploring, in a constructive manner, ways in which abuses of power – whether individual or collective – may be overcome and prevented in the future. While the scope of the project is intentionally broad (eg including abuse in families, the media, and politics), the sexual abuse crisis in the Church naturally forms a major focus.

News

Redeeming Power Project newsletter (PDF file)

Redeeming Power Conferencem, held on 4th-5th September 2012

A two-day conference was held at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, to launch Redeeming Power. Organized in conjunction with Heythrop College (University of London) and the Centre for Catholic Studies (Durham University) and an interdisciplinary, collaborative initiative of the European Society of Catholic Theology.

Conference Schedule (PDF File)

Speakers

  • Anna Arco (freelance journalist)
  • Rt Revd John Arnold (Auxiliary Bishop, Westminster)
  • Revd Prof. John Bell (Professor of Law, University of Cambridge, UK)
  • Prof Annemie Dillen (Assistant Professor of Pastoral Theology, KU Leuven, Belgium)
  • Sr Nuala Kenny SC (Professor Emerita of Bioethics, Dalhousie University, Canada)
  • Revd Dr Dariusz Krok (Assistant Professor of Psychology, Opole University, Poland)
  • Mgr Charles Scicluna (Promotor of Justice, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Holy See)
  • Madeleine Teahan (Assistant Editor, Catholic Herald)

PLUS short papers from researchers and practitioners in the fields of theology, psychology, bioethics, social work, canon law, and safeguarding, from Austria, Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, Peru, the Philippines, Poland, Slovakia, the UK, and the USA.

Conference Aims

  • The aim of the event was to bring together researchers from a wide range of disciplines, interested in: a) examining the nature, scope, and context of abuses of power, both in the Church and beyond; and b) investigating the means by which they may be overcome.
  • While the sexual abuse crisis naturally formed a major focus of the conference (and project), this could not be understood within a vacuum. We were therefore keen to explore all other issues relating to the topic of theology, power, and abuse.
  • The conference identified a number of key themes that will guide and inform the Redeeming Power project, leading to a number of events, projects and publications across Europe.

Press Coverage

Vatican Radio’s 30 minute feature on the conference

News report on the Catholic News Service

Preparing for the Network Council Meeting Belo Horizonte 17 – 19 July 2014

Preparing for the Network Council Meeting Belo Horizonte 17–19 July 2014

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The next Network Council Meeting of INSeCT will take place at the  Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais, Belo Horizonte, from 17 –  20 July 2014. The Congress will be hosted by the Brazilian Sociedade deTeologia e Ciências da Religião (SOTER) with the support of the University Rector, Bishop Joaquim Giovani Mol Guimarães, and the co-operation of the Archbishop of Belo Horizonte, Dom Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo.

The local organizing committee is under the chair of Prof Valmor da Silva.

The theme of the 2014 Congress is ‘the nature, function and location of theology, with particular attention to the role of theology in overcoming power abuse in Church and Society’. In preparation for the Congress, member societies have been asked to partner in conducting research with their counterparts in other continents, so, for example, the European Society for Catholic Theology has been working closely with DaKaTeo, the Catholic Theological Society of the Philippines. A preliminary conference took place last year at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham (UK) which was addressed by Msgr Charles Scicluna, then of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (see http://www.smuc.ac.uk/inspire/redeeming-power.htm).

Until now, mainly for funding reasons, Network meetings and Congresses have always taken place within the USA. Last year, for the first time, the Executive met in Africa (in the Cote d’Ivoire), and will meet again this year in Belo Horizonte to prepare for the 2014 Congress while also giving papers at this year’s SOTER conference (see http://www.soter.org.br/). . The current Executive is very committed to realizing the Network’s goal of being a particular support to Catholic theologians working in developing countries, and this is why we have decided for the first time to host meetings outside of the USA and Europe. We also wish to maximize participation from Asia, Africa and Latin America in the 2014 event.  The Congress has initiated a vigorous fundraising campaign in order to be able to assist representatives of Network Council member societies especially from Africa and Asia to participate in the event. Priority will be given to representatives of societies that have already begin to engage with the conference theme through local conferences, symposia and publications.

Together with the Pontifical University in Belo Horizonte, SOTER is optimistic that it will be able to provide the necessary funding to accommodate delegates and host the meeting.

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The Executive Committee for the Council Meeting in Belo Horizonte: Catherine Clifford (Vize-President of INSeCT), Eamonn Conway (President of INSeCT) and Nancy Pineda-Madrid

Meeting of the INSeCT Executive in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, July 2012

Meeting of the INSeCT Executive in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, July 2012

Faculty

Visit to the Students and Staff of the Université Catholique de l’Afrique de l’Ouest, Abidjan, where our contact and host was Rev
Prof Dr. Gaston Ogui,.

Jesuits

The Executive visited the Centre de recherche et d’action pour la paix (CERAP) in the quarter of Cocody, Abidjan.

sisters

The InSeCT Executive with the Brazilian community of Claretian sisters based in Abidjan

with Doms

The InSeCT Executive visited the Dominican Institut Saint Thomas d’Aquin, a small monastery on 50 hectares of land in the countryside. Friars Cyril and Modeste spoke of the SANKOFA Center for the Study and Research on the Theology of Development, affiliated with the Faculty of Theology at the Université catholique de l’Afrique de l’ouest.