As regular readers of this blog may know, I’m giving a lecture at Queen’s University Belfast on Thursday 20 October titled, ‘The End of Irish Catholicism?: Exploring Extra-Institutional Spaces for Faith.’ The talk kicks off at 5.15 pm in the Peter Froggart Centre and is the first event in Queen’s new Religious Studies Research Forum.
This talk is based on research conducted for my School’s three-year IRCHSS-funded research project, ‘Visioning 21st Century Ecumenism: Diversity, Dialogue and Reconciliation.’
The project has three main components:
- surveys of faith leaders and lay people, conducted in 2009
- eight case studies of various expressions of faith on the island of Ireland
- theological reflection
For me the talk is a bit of a warm-up for a seminar series titled, ‘Visioning 21st Century Ecumenism: an Irish Contextual Theology,’ which begins on Saturday 22 October at Trinity College Dublin’s Long Room Hub.
As a social scientist who has gathered much of the empirical data for this project, I’m curious to see what sort of theological reflection comes out of the seminars. Most of the speakers will have read initial drafts of the project’s empirical work, which I eventually hope to publish in a book.
The project’s intersection of social science and theology strives towards the ideal of ‘Ecumenics,’ described in my blog post yesterday on Fr Michael Hurley’s definitions of Ecumenical Theology and Ecumenics. (I’ve also written a post on Fr Michael Hurley on Ecumenism.)
The publicity for the seminar series describes it this way:
The series is concerned with the re-articulation of the ecumenical project in light of the increasingly multi-religious and secular contexts of today. Taking, as its particular frame of reference, the rich resources which have been generated through reconciliatory responses to Ireland’s civil and religious conflict, the aim is to develop an Irish contextual theology which will contribute, at the global level, to an ecumenical vision for the 21st century. The seminars will address the issues through the lenses of ethics, theology and ecclesiology.
Reshaping the Ethical Imagination – 22 October
‘Public theology in an Irish Key,’ Enda McDonagh
‘Restoring the Fabric of Irish Economic and Social Life,’ Gerry O’Hanlon
‘Relations of Reciprocity: Contemporary Religiosity and Convictional Pluralism,’ Celia Kenny
‘Public Theology of Reconciliation,’ David Tombs
‘Broken Dialogue, Fractured Faith and Elusive Truth,’ Peter Admirand
In Search of an Irish Church – 2 November
‘The Nature and Mission of the Church: A Global Perspective,’ Peter de Mey
Respondents: Adrian Cristea, Mark Patrick Hederman, Anne Thurston
‘The Ecclesial Shape of Repentance,’ Andrew Pierce
‘Addressing the Legacy of Abuse: Ecumenics as Resource and Method,’ Geraldine Smyth
Embedded Memory and the Theological Contours of Division – 19 December
‘Unfinished History: Religion and Identity in Ireland,’ Marianne Elliot
‘The Theological Contours of Division,’ Alan Ford
‘The Churches and Embedded Memory,’ Oliver Rafferty
The seminar series is free and lunch will be provided. To register, please RSVP firstname.lastname@example.org
You can download a poster about the series here.