'Catholic Identity and Today's Culture'
Michael Paul Gallagher SJ
A three-part exploration of the theme of identity under pressure in today’s culture which aims to:
1. Understand our long story of faith and the many challenges of today’s post-modern situation
2. Deepen our sense of the many facets of Christian faith as a lived reality through revisiting some of the giants of theology
3. Turn towards mission and a passion for faith: evangelization made credible and concrete.
Michael Paul Gallagher is an Irish Jesuit, Dean of the Theology Faculty of the Gregorian University Rome, and author of Clashing Symbols: Introduction to Faith and Culture (2003)
LT Ushaw 2006 Courses:
Series A Lecture Options
A1 Introduction to Theology
Bryan Lobo, S.J.
Among the many definitions of Theology, the shortest one I think is "Theology is God Talk". If this is so, then every person who believes in God does Theology because at least sometime during a lifetime he or she thinks and talks about God. If a practising Christian talks about God he would surely do it from a certain stand-point, from certain information received through Scripture and Tradition which has become his Universe of Faith. It is this Faith that will be re-lived during this course, and re-lived in a personal way because unless this Faith is personalised it remains meaningless.
Having this intention in mind I shall follow a three-tier method for every 75 minute session. It will be as follows:
45 minutes input: [Basic issues in Theology/Faith, Challenges to the Faith and how the Fathers of the Church and the later Theologians (only a few very important ones will be dealt with), stood up to this challenge giving rise to a vast and rich variety of literature and perspectives on Christian Faith].
15 minute: Discussions or sharing in groups on the issue of our Faith already introduced in the session and how the participant would deal personally with that issue from his/her context.
15 minutes: Reporting on the discussions and rounding up of the session
Clarifications or questions could be asked at any time during the sessions because the classes will be interactive. The teaching method and content will be adapted to the level of the group.
- Ratzinger, Joseph. Introduction to Christianity. New York: Herder & Herder, 1970.
(This book is an excellent start for any theology student. Presents the ‘Creed’ in a style lucid, convincing and thoughtful. Reads well).
- Lane, A. Dermott The Experience of God: An Invitation to do Theology. New York: Paulist Press, 1981.
(A short, simple yet profound book whose aim is the "personal participation of the individual" in the Faith of his/her community).
- Alszeghy, Zoltan SJ. Introductory Theology. London, Sheed & Ward, 1952.
(A very short yet good introduction to Theology).
- McGrath, Alister, Christian Theology: An Introduction, Oxford: Blackwell, 2001.
- Evans, G.R. The Medieval Theologians, Oxford, Blackwell 2001
- Ford, David. The Modern Theologians, Oxford, Blackwell, 1989
The above Blackwell series are excellent introductions to a panoramic view of Theology which also bears in mind views of theologians which would be helpful and important.
Bryan Lobo, S.J. is a Jesuit from the Mumbai Province of India doing his doctorate in Dogmatic Theology at the Gregorian University Rome. Had a short teaching experience at the Gregorian University last year, when he guided a major seminar for the third year students of the first cycle in Theology.
A2 The Roots of Fundamentalism
Gerry J. Hughes S.J.
People can be fundamentalists about sacred texts, or doctrines, or ethics. Is it possible to unravel the basic assumptions which are at work in such diverse areas? This course offers you the chance to think about familiar disputes in ethics, the interpretation of biblical texts and in Christian doctrine from a fresh, and it is hoped, illuminating perspective. No previous knowledge or philosophical skill is required. You will be invited to take an active part in the class: handouts will contain all the notes you would need to take, so that you can concentrate on trying to think and talk through the issues.
Gerry J. Hughes is a Jesuit philosopher, formerly of Heythrop College, University of London, now at Campion Hall, Oxford University.
A3 Rights and Obligations in the Church
Helen Costigane SHCJ
What are my rights and obligations in the Church? This course will look at the emergence of rights in Western legal thought and give a brief historical overview of rights in Canon Law, before looking in detail at rights and obligations within the Code. Particular attention will be given to the rights of all Christ’s faithful (lay people and clergy), as well as focussing on issues affecting those particular groups. Time permitting, we will consider the Nolan report and its implications, and human rights legislation and its impact on Canon Law.
- L.J. Spiteri, The Code in the hands of the Laity: Canon Law for Everyone (Alba House, 1997): ISBN 0818907630
- P. Vere and M. Trueman, Surprised by Canon Law: 150 Questions Catholics Ask About Canon Law (St Anthony Messenger Press, 2005): ISBN 0867166088
Helen Costigane is Programme Director for the MA Degree in Canon Law at Heythrop College, University of London
A4 The Parables of Jesus
John Hemer MHM
The course will try to look at the parables of Jesus, examine them in their original cultural context and tease out some of the meanings hidden from us because of our ignorance of Jesus’ culture. We will try to see what Jesus meant for his disciples – and what his teaching might mean for us today. We will take into account the fact that Jesus never wasted his time saying the obvious, but that each of the parables was in some way a challenge to his hearers, some of them also a comfort. We will try to pay attention to the way the evangelists used the parables as ways of developing the gospel story.
The form will be prepared lectures with open discussion throughout.
- Robert Farrer-Capon, The parables of the Kingdom, The Parables of Grace, The Parables of Judgement. ( Three volumes available as one)
- William Barclay, As Jesus Said.
- Hermann Hendrickx, The Parables of Jesus
- Megan McKenna, Parables
John Hemer is a Mill Hill father who lectures at Allen Hall and the Missionary Institute London. He is a graduate of the Biblical Institute Rome, and has worked as a missionary in Pakistan, Kenya and Uganda.
A5 After Jesus, what? The answer of Luke
Peter Edmonds S.J.
The Acts of the Apostles is a good read. It is the most dramatic and human of the New Testament books. Its story begins in Jerusalem, the centre of Judaism, and ends in Rome, the capital of the known world of the time. Its characters stand out as individuals, both in the way that they are portrayed, and in the contributions they make to the spread of the gospel. The backdrop of the book is the life of the major cities of the mighty Roman empire.
This week we will concentrate on turning points in the narrative, and examine burning questions which the leading personalities had to face. These include the story of Stephen with his speech and his lynching; the career and ministry of Peter; the call and conversion of Paul, and outstanding events of his mission, such as the assembly in Jerusalem, his experience in Athens and his farewell to the elders of Ephesus. What are these events and personalities saying to the Church of today?
The lecturer will presuppose only a beginner’s knowledge of the material and will welcome discussion.
Participants are recommended to have read through the Acts of the Apostles beforehand, giving special attention to chapters 7, 9, 10-11, 17, 20, 22, 26.
Two fairly substantial commentaries are
- C.K. Barrett, Acts, a Shorter Commentary, T. & T. Clark, 2002
- L.T. Johnson, The Acts of the Apostles, (Sacra Pagina 5), Collegeville, 1993
After teaching the New Testament in Zimbabwe and Kenya, Peter Edmonds is based at Campion Hall Oxford, where he is a member of the Faculty of Theology.
A6 Short history of Christianity in Britain: from earliest times to the present day.
Norman Tanner S.J.
The course treats of the remarkable history of Christianity in Britain from Roman times, through the age of Bede, to the Middle Ages, Reformation and Counter-Reformation, the Victorian Age, and the twentieth century. Britain’s frontiers, and indeed its definition, have varied through the centuries. While the principal focus will be upon England, attention will be given to other countries of the British Isles, and to their inter-relationships.
Christianity in Britain must be seen within the larger context of Europe and the wider world. The faith was introduced and nourished by missionaries and visitors, while in turn British Christians have played a significant role in the development of Christianity worldwide. These varied contributions, as well as some thoughts for the future, will enliven the talks.
- D. Edwards, Christian England, 3 volumes (Collins, 1981 – 5)
- H. Mayr-Harting, The Coming of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England (Batsford, 1975)
- E. Duffy, The Stripping of the Altars:Traditional Religion in England c.1400 – c.1580 (Yale UP, 1992)
- J. Bossy, The English Catholic Community 1570-1850, (DLT, 1975)
- A. Hastings, A History of English Christianity 1920-1985. (Collins, 1986)
Norman Tanner S.J. (British Province) is Professor of Church History at the Gregorian University, Rome
Series B Lecture Options
B1 Ignatian Catholic Identity in the light of the Ignation Autobiography reconsidered
Billy Hewitt S.J.
The Ignatian Autobiography as a key to understanding both Ignatius’ own identity and how his story can still evoke ours.
No previous experience or knowledge is required but those well versed in the subject might still find this treatment helpful. We sit in a circle and participate at whatever level we feel to be appropriate: no-one is put on the spot to contribute but there will be time for all kinds of insight and connection, questions and discussion. There will also be time for writing journal style, privately but in the group setting, what we are discovering in the process of the course. The instruction part will include historical and philosophical background to the meaning and purpose of the autobiography, and a speaking out of the leader in the first person "playing" Ignatius, both remembering and reconsidering his original 16th century statement.
No previous reading is necessary but if you are completely new to the subject then you might well enjoy simply reading through one of the many version of the autobiography most easily obtainable in the Penguin Classics edition: St Ignatius of Loyola, Personal Writings. The audio cassette "Inigo Story and Songs" is also an enjoyable way of gaining familiarity with the basic story. This can be obtained from Inigo Enterprises, Links View, Traps Lane, New Malden, Surrey KT3 4RY. Tel: 020 8949 1670
Billy Hewitt has spent many years reflecting on and adapting Ignatius’ Autobiography for present use: audio and video cassettes, journaling, prayer exercises etc.
B2 What was Vatican II?
Dominc Robinson S.J.
The most recent Council in history opened the Church’s doors to the world around her in ways which brought Catholicism alive, making the faith more comprehensible and placing it in dialogue with believers and non- believers alike. As such it signalled a major turning point which profoundly affects current and future generations of Catholics. This course returns to major documents of the Council to present what its core teachings actually were, and how they relate to subsequent Church teaching in the pontificates of Paul VI and John Paul II. Each of the first 5 days will be devoted to one particular Vatican II document with a final course synthesis on day 6.
The style of the course is lectures through use of visual aids and discussion. No previous knowledge is required.
- Norman Tanner S.J.ed. Degrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Vol II (Trent – Vatican II), London: Sheed & Ward; Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 1990
This is one of the standard translations but there are others available in libraries and theology sectolns of bookshops, i.e. Abbott; Flannery.
The following Vatican II documents will b e studied:
- · Sacrosanctum Concilium - ‘The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy’
- · Lumen Gentium – ‘Dogmatic Constitution on the Church’
- · Unitatis Redintegratio – ‘Degree on Ecumenism’
- · Nostra Aetate – ‘Declaration on the Relation of the Church to Non- Christian Religions’
- · Dei Verbum – ‘Dogmatic Constitution on divine Revelation’
Dominic Robinson is currently preparing a doctorate in Dogmatic Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome
B3 An Introduction to Moral Theology
This course will introduce participants to some of the main components of fundamental moral theology, and enable the application of ethical principles and arguments to a number of problems in the sphere of applied ethics. We will look at questions such as: What is conscience and how is it formed? How can we use the Bible in deciding how to approach certain ethical issues? What do we understand by ‘sin’? What do we mean by ‘natural law’? What does it mean to speak of ‘feminist ethics’? How do we apply the Principle of Double Effect? In addition we will look at a selection of contemporary ethical questions.
- Kevin T. Kelly, New Directions in Moral Theology (Geoffrey Chapman, 1992) ISBN 0225666391
- Linda Hogan, Confronting the Truth: Conscience in the Catholic Tradition (Paulist Press, 2000) ISBN 0809139812.
Helen Costigane teaches moral theology at Heythrop College, University of London.
B4 Readings in Isaiah Chapters 40 – 66: Political Theology in Poetry
Robert Murray S.J
Lecture 1: Preaching (anonymously) to the exiles in Babylon, Poetic rhetoric of encouragement: God is both supreme and caring. There is to be a second Exodus; desert will flower. Passagew in ‘prosecution’ style:God addresses both gentiles and wavering Jews (collectively, ‘my servant’),
Lecture 2: Satire on pagan idolatry; Babylon is a doomed queen. God’s agent for this (Cyrus, but not named) is also ‘my servant’
Lecture 3: Third Servant figure develops, with kingly allusions; climax (ch 53) sees him as suffering for his people. Jerusalem has also suffered (image of wife rejected) but will be rebuilt in glory; restoration of Davidic line also hoped for.
Lecture 4: Focus is now on life of Jews in Palestine as a province of Persian empire; scribes (perhaps those who produced ‘Deuteronomy’) back from exile; people who stayed in Palestine, maintaining old traditions and hostile to returned exiles
Lecture 5: Several voices can be distinguished. One (56-59) deplores moral decline (dishonesty, lax Sabbath observance, some idolatry). Another (60-62) tells of visions of the holy land transfigured in glory, attracting non-Jewish nations to join God’s people. In chs.63-64 we seem to hear laments of people who have been ‘unchurched’ and cry out in agony and contrition.
Lecture 6: In 65 – 66 God addresses all his people, first in reproach, then promising future glory, and the author suggests that the only temple God wants is that of the interior spiritual worship (Stephen, Acts 7:48-50)
Method: lecture, welcoming discussion and (it is hoped) with time for more in last session
- R.N. Whybray The Second Isaiah (T & T Clark Study Guides, reprint 2003) xiv + 85 pages
- Grace Emmerson Isaiah 56-66 (same series, reprint 2004) 117 pages
- R.N. Whybray Isaiah 40-66 (in series, ‘The New Century Bible Commentary’, London: Marshall, Morgan and Scott, paperback 1981) 294 pages
- John Eaton Festal drama in Deutero-Isaiah (London, SPCK, 1979) 132 pages
Robert Murray has had long experience in teaching Biblical studies at Heythrop and is now a Fellow of the College engaged in writing.
B5 The first pages of the Gospels, the first days of Jesus
Peter Edmonds S.J.
For many, Christmas is a confusing time, and we do not know what to make of what the gospels say. In this course we take each gospel in turn and explore what they have to tell us about the first days of Jesus. Mark begins with a prologue consisting of a title and three paragraphs about John the Baptist, the baptism of Jesus and his temptation. Matthew expands these three items, but adds four paragraphs giving traditions about events surrounding the birth of Jesus. Luke too expands the material of Mark, but introduces it by telling us the birth story of Jesus in seven sections which include elaborate contrasts between Jesus and John the Baptist. John takes a very different, even a mystical approach, in offering the reader a prologue which links the earthly career of Jesus with events in eternity. By looking at these four prologues in some detail, we will not only come to a better understanding of Christmas, but will be better equipped to accompany Jesus in his ministry, his sufferings and his resurrection which each gospel goes on to report. The lecturer will presuppose only a beginner’s knowledge of the material and will welcome discussion.
- The fullest account of the Birth Narratives available is Raymond Brown’s Birth of the Messiah (Second edition, Doubleday 1993).
- A much shorter work, confining itself to the gospel ‘prologues’ is Morna Hooker’s Beginnings: Keys that Open the Gospel, SCM 1997
After teaching the New Testament in Zimbabwe and Kenya, Peter Edmonds is based at Campion Hall Oxford, where he is a member of the Faculty of Theology.
B6 The Church and the World: Gaudium et Spes (Vatican II), past present and future
Norman Tanner S.J
'The Church in the Modern World’ also known by its Latin title Gaudium et Spes, remains perhaps the best known and most forward looking of all Vatican II’s decrees – the one that most tried to help Christians live their faith amidst the hope and trials of everyday life. It was unique in stretching out beyond Catholics and other Christians to speak to ‘people everywhere’.
The decree has had a powerful influence upon the thought and practices of the Catholic Church and well beyond it, ever since the council. At the same time it has been criticised as naively optimistic and too accommodating to the modern world. The past, present and future of the challenging document will be discussed through the lecturer’s recent study of it.
- Norman Tanner, The Church and the World, Gaudium et Spes, Inter Mirifica (Paulist Press, 2005) pp,xii + 131. Paperback £9.95 ISBN 0-8091-4238-4. Textbook for the course. Copies of this book will be available in the Living Theology bookshop
- A.Flannery (ed), Vatican II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents (Dublin, 1975 and reprints)
- R. Latourelle (ed), Vatican II: Assessment and Perspectives Twenty-Five years After (1962-1987), 3 vols (1988-9), chapters 36-40 and 58-60
Norman Tanner SJ (British Province) is Professor of church History at the Gregorian University, Rome
The Late Bishop of Hexham & Newcastle, the Rt. Rev. Kevin Dunn,
who died on Saturday 1st March 2008, speaking at Living Theology Ushaw 2006