Thomistic Circles Conference at the Dominican House of Studies

October 1, 2014

This weekend, October 3-4, the Dominican House of Studies and the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception play host to the Fall 2014 Thomistic Circles conference. The topic is a timely one: Vatican II in the 21st Century: A Theological Symposium. Speakers include Fr. Gabriel O’Donnell, OP, Fr. Thomas Joseph White, OP, Fr. David Meconi, SJ, Dr. Michael Waldstein, and Dr. R. R. Reno. Fr. Thomas Joseph, Director of the Thomistic Institute, offered a few thoughts on the conference and his hopes for it during a brief interview: Why is it important to talk about Vatican II today? What still needs to be said? Fifty years after Vatican II the Church finds herself in a new context, in a more secular culture in the West and adrift in an age of great intellectual uncertainty. Between times, we have had the very influential pontificate of St. John Paul II, who wrote a great deal about the interpretation of the Council. It is important to consider the question of how the documents of the Council can be applied or understood in our current setting, with the challenges of a new evangelization in our own time. What can Thomistic thought bring to the table in this sort of conversation? The Council made a great deal of implicit use of Aquinas’ theology in the documents, particularly in its understanding of the dignity of the human person, the moral conscience and the human capacity to know the truth in matters of religion. However, there was an amnesia regarding Aquinas in the Church in the post-conciliar period, in many areas of Church life. Recovering a deeper understanding of Thomistic philosophy and theology helps us understand much of the underlying meaning of the Council and its applicability today. Do you have any particular hopes for this conference and conversations it may generate? Theology is really in a time of searching in our own historical moment. The great “liberal” theologies of the 1970’s have declined, and the new theology of the Communio school, while very influential, is not exhaustive. Young people are looking for points of intellectual orientation that allow us to find ways to understand and communicate the gospel in our own era. The goal of this conference is to think about the post-post Vatican II era, and the tasks of the Church and of theology in our own historical moment.   The conference is free and open to the public. For more details and a schedule of the conference, please visit the Thomistic Institute’s website.

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