The Australian Catholic Theological Association (ACTA) and the Australian Catholic Biblical Association (ACBA) gathered for parallel conferences in Sydney this month, with Fr Dinh Trung Hoa SJ and Fr Brendan Byrne SJ among the presenters.
The meeting of the two associations, which bring together scholars from a range of fields, included a joint plenary presentation from Archbishop Mark Coleridge, and other presentations and discussions looking towards the 2020 Plenary Council of the Catholic Church in Australia.
A number of other Jesuits were present at the conferences, continuing a long history of Jesuit involvement in both associations. A key player in this history on the ACTA side is Fr John Wilcken SJ, a Life Member of ACTA, whose contribution to ACTA was acknowledged at this year’s AGM. The assembled theologians approved by acclamation a motion of appreciation for his contribution, not just to ACTA but to theological education and scholarship. The motion noted particularly John’s focus on liberation theology and the way he enacted that theology by his closeness to the poor, particularly his 30 years at Corpus Christi Community in Greenvale.
The citation continued:
‘John further developed his concerns by engaging with feminist theology, Asian and African theologies, and especially with Australian Aboriginal religions. On the latter topic, John offered a series of 10 papers at successive ACTA conferences on the range of major themes in systematic theology in light of Aboriginal religions. These reflections helped keep Aboriginal issues within ACTA’s purview.’
Fr Dinh presented a paper on ‘Bioethics in a Globalized World: Diversity Versus Universality’, exploring how principles of bioethics that are considered universal in the West have presumptions behind them that some scholars have argued can lead to the suppression of cultural diversity.
Meanwhile, Fr Brendan Byrne presented a paper titled, ‘Redeeming Paul’s Redemption Statements: Is Paul’s View of the Saving Role of Christ’s Death Theologically Acceptable Today?’, which explores the redemption statements of Paul in Rom 3:24-25.
Moral theology public seminars
Jesuit College of Spirituality has several seminars upcoming on the relation between spirituality and moral theology,, conducted by Rev. Dr Ai Pham SJ, Dean of Studies at Jesuit Theological College and a member of the faculty of Jesuit College of Spirituality. The first, on Thursday 27 July 2017, is titled ‘The Significance of the Human Body in Ignatian Spirituality and Contemporary Moral Theology’.