Last week I traveled to Washington, D.C. for a conference sponsored by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and Catholic University of America. The conference focused on the Intellectual Tasks of the New Evangelization and included talks by Daniel Cardinal Di Nardo, Janet E. Smith, John Cavadini, Archbishop J. A. DiNoia, O.P., Msgr. Kevin W. Irwin, Rev. Frank Matera, and Ralph Del Colle. Approximately 50 pre-tenure theologians were invited (with expenses paid by the Knights of Columbus). Donald Cardinal Wuerl was the principal celebrant of the closing liturgy, which you can read about here. Michael Sean Winters blogged about the symposium here. There were other members of the press in attendance, so I’ll add links as I discover them. In his opening remarks, Fr. Thomas Weinandy of the Committee on Doctrine explained that the bishops want to build up a relationship with new young theologians. One of the aims of the conference was to encourage conversation among theologians and bishops. While I did get to have a brief conversation with Archbishop DiNoia, I found that I spent most of my time talking with other pre-tenure theologians. It was wonderful to meet other “young” theologians and to hear about their teaching and research projects. As often happens at conferences, some of us stayed up into the wee hours of the morning in passionate conversations about our love for the church and our vocations as teachers and scholars. We also talked about our impressions of the strengths and weaknesses of the conferences presentations and the Q&A sessions. It was a lively weekend, and I’m grateful for the USCCB’s investment in this conversation. I hope that there will be more opportunities in the future for continued listening and learning between and among theologians and bishops in venues such as this.
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I’ve just discovered that the USCCB Doctrine Committee has posted links to some of the paper presentations and handouts, so I want to share those with interested readers:
Also, Cathleen Kaveny over at dotCommonweal raises some interesting questions as she compares the NE conference to another conference that happened last weekend at Fordham.