June 2014 Press Release
Catholic theologians from twenty-four countries throughout the world will gather in July in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, to reflect on their role and responsibilities in the light of Pope Francis’s call for a renewal and reform of the Church’s mission.
The meeting, which is under the auspices of the International Network of Societies for Catholic Theology, will be the largest ever assembly of representatives of Catholic theology societies since the Network’s inception in 1996, and the first to take place outside of the United States of America.
Keynote speakers include Very Rev Dr Friedrich Bechina, Undersecretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education (Holy See), who will speak on key new international developments and initiatives in Catholic Higher Education.
The Executive Secretary of CELAM’s Justice and Solidarity Department, Irish Columban Father Peter Hughes SSC, will speak on an exciting new paradigm for mission that has emerged through challenging the impact of extractive industries in the Amazon region. He will report on the co-operative initiatives of the US, Canadian and Latin American bishops through the work of the Comisión Interamericana for Human Rights.
Delegates to the Network Meeting will also participate in the annual congress of the Sociedade de Teologia e Ciências da Religião, meeting at the Minas Pontifical University in Belo Horizonte.
The Congress patron is the Archbishop of Belo Horizonte, Walmor Oliveira de Azevedo, and the organizing committee is led by the Network’s President, Fr Eamonn Conway, Vice Presidents Profs Catherine Clifford (Ottawa), Valmor da Silva (Goias, Brazil), and incoming Vice-President Nancy Pinena-Madrid (Boston).
The following countries/theological societies are represented at the meeting: Ireland, Germany, Austria, Italy, UK, The Netherlands, Guatemala, Colombia, Brazil, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Mexico, The Phillipines, India, Australia, USA, Canada, South Africa, Uganda, Kenya, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Nigeria.
The working languages of the conference will be English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. Delegates will make reports of the current state of Catholic theology in their region and also present research on the role of Catholic theology in overcoming abuse of power in Church and society.
The Congress runs from July 16 – 20th and will be attended by ca fifty participants.