sexta-feira, 20 de março de 2015

Renewing the Church in a Secular Age

foi o tópico da conferência que teve lugar em Roma no início deste mês e na qual participei. Deixo-vos duas imagens do evento, uma das quais, perdoai o narcisismo, certificando a minha presença. Para que tenham uma ideia do que foi abordado, transcrevo parte do relatório descritivo final. The two-day International conference entitled "Renewing the Church in a Secular Age: Holistic Dialogue and Kenotic Vision" was held at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome, Italy, on March 4-5, 2015, and generated new interest and enthusiasm among the over 300 participants. This was a joint effort of The Council for Research in Values and Philosophy (RVP) and The Pontifical Gregorian University (PUG), with the High Patronage of the Pontifical Council for Culture of the Holy See under Cardinal Gianfranco RAVASI. This joint International Conference was the result of an effort which began with the identification by Professors Charles TAYLOR, author of A Secular Age, and José Casanova of four disjunctions between Church and People these related to: (a) seekers who have left ecclesial practice in search of the Spirit, and (b) the magisterium charged with pastoral responsibilities; and (c) its contemporary moral guidance, (d) in a world of plural spiritualities. Presently the project has advanced to articulate four emerging conjunctions of the Church as (a) not only listening to the experience of the laity (b) but discerning the path ahead, and hence (c) welcoming the seekers and (d) serving their broad religious needs in a context deeply marked by pluralism and diversity. Scholars around the world, but particularly in the West, were invited to join the effort of Church renewal which this conference represents, based on the work of more than a dozen research teams in different parts of Europe and North America. The conference was intended to engage the intellectual mind and so better contribute to the universal Church as it faces the many present challenges. As such, the conference was intended also to function as a launching pad for similar initiatives to follow on the impact of secularization across Asia, Africa and Latin America and so contribute to the worldwide renewal of the Church as a communion of Dialogue in search of Truth, Beauty and the Good as the emergence of God’s Kingdom in human history. 2 As a cumulative effort by these research teams mainly from Universities in North America and across Europe, the conference drew on those who have been reflecting on the challenges and opportunities of secularity faced by the various cultural traditions in the West under the project “Faith in a Secular Age”. This project, initiated and carried out by the RVP, began in 2009 with a dialogue between Cardinal Francis GEORGE from Chicago and Charles TAYLOR, and moderated by José CASANOVA. Since then, the representatives of the research teams met annually either in Washington or in Vienna, Austria (see the reports of those annual meetings These research teams planned with their members personal research, reflection, and writing. This gave founded hope that light would be shed on the crucial issues of our secular age. The teams consisted of leading religious scholars, philosophers, sociologists, etc. Rather than beginning with the long and rich history of the project on "Faith in a Secular Age" with its multiple facets, times of promise, crisis and renewal, it seems more effective to begin from the recent period of Pope Francis. He seems to be putting things right by simple gestures in accord with both the life of the people and the gospel message. But rather than resting with these, it is our task to ask what is missing where a project of scholars might be of help. Upon reflection one notes that Pope Frances is not going deeply into the secular culture in which all are raised. This is inescapable in daily life, and provides the terms of which present events are interpreted and the future is projected. Hence, the goal of this project has been to support Pope Francis in this regard with professional insight drawn by such various competencies as can be provided by the humanities and the social sciences, by philosophy and theology under the light of faith. What then is the secularity of which we speak? Charles TAYLOR in his now classical work A Secular Age, spoke of three senses of the term in order to focus on the third: (a) separation of Church and state, (b) decline in Church practice, and (c) the cultural conditions which today often make unbelief seem more easy, more natural and more viable than belief. This has been exacerbated by sexual and financial scandals. Though these can be seen as tragic chances of timing, in fact they may be rather the inevitable results of structures which overstayed their age till finally they became unsustainable and all seemed to be collapsing. In view of all this what then are the goals and objectives of this project; namely, what kind of vision is needed in order to contribute to the life of faith in the new cultural conditions which have come to constitute this secular age? Two stand out, namely, an wholistic vision achieved through dialogue and a kenotic vision in the image of Christ and indeed of the entire Trinity.

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