St Patrick's College, Maynooth is delighted to present the Michael Devlin Lecture, which this year will be given by Professor Bradford Hinze, the Karl Rahner Chair of Theology at Fordham University in New York.
He has served as president of the International Network of Societies for Catholic Theology and the College Theology Society, and he is currently the president of the Catholic Theological Society of America.
Professor Hinze will speak on: ‘Can We Find Our Way Together? The Challenge of Synodality in a Wounded and Wounding Church’.
‘Synod’ means ‘walking together.’ For Pope Francis ‘a synodal Church is a Church which listens, and which realizes that listening is ‘more than simply hearing.’ He wants the Church as a whole to travel on a ‘synodal path.’ It reflects his desire for a less clerical, less centralised, Church preoccupied with rules.
Francis’ synodal vision is an invitation to a new way of operating. It best expresses the Church’s nature as the People of God journeying together as ‘companions on the journey’ and gathering in assembly, in the power of the Holy Spirit, to proclaim the Gospel.
This is Francis's wager, according to Prof. Hinze. If we don't realize authentic synodality in the life and mission of the Church, we will continue to diminish in size and our future will not be guided by the discerning lifeblood of the community. It's a risky wager in any period in history, but it is especially so for us today because of the compounding of crises and scandals taking place. However, it is the promise of Vatican II, which he would argue has only been realized in fits and starts and has been profoundly undermined in various ways after the council, but Francis is wagering his papacy on trying to advance it.
We may well lose members because of the wounds they have received by the church and their outrage and impatience with the dysfunctions in the church, and so we must honour their departure, but, we may gain our authentic identity and mission as church by pursuing this way forward.
One of his most recent books is entitled Prophetic Obedience: Ecclesiology for a Dialogical Church Orbis Books, 2016. Drawing on the documents of Vatican II (Lumen Gentium and others) as well as biblical, theological, and spiritual resources, Hinze seeks to develop a deeper understanding of what it means to foster "prophetic obedience" in a dialogical church. The book advances a practical fundamental ecclesiology that combines a constructive theological argument with an argument for greater lay participation and "grassroots democracy" in the church, based on historical descriptions of church practices in history and society.
All are welcome
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