Dr Gemma Cruz addresses world's largest group of Catholictheologians

Published: Wednesday 17th June 2015



ACU Theologian Addresses World's Largest Catholic Theological Association

Dr. Gemma Cruz of ACU's Faculty of Theology and Philosophy delivered a plenary lecture at the annual convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) which was held at the Hyatt Hotel in Milwaukee, USA, 11-14 June 2015. CTSA is an association which has a membership of more than a thousand theologians, including some from Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa and also Australia. It is no doubt the largest gathering of established Catholic theologians in the world, many of whom are authors of the most incisive theological monographs being produced today.

Dr. Cruz addressed the topic of 'sensus fidelium' (the sense of the faithful) by exploring "theology as conversation," particularly on doing theology in conversation with those at the margins/fringes of society. She pointed out that a theology that is informed by the sense of the faithful comes "from the heart of the people", engages in dialogue, and articulates the hope of the Christian community. She quoted from a book written by fellow ACU theologian Fr. Ormond Rush who advises that listening to the people "is an essential task for a theologian". Dr. Cruz asserted that theologians should "help make the Church's language and proclamation up to date by making them intelligible in new historical contexts". These days, she continued, it includes being up to date with the language used in social media such as "cakehole, sexting, twerking, bezzy, emoji, ridic and lolz".  She concluded her lecture by inviting the theologians present at the convention to keep in mind that "theology is a vocation" and that "theologians need a creative, dialogical and prophetic imagination".

Dr. Cruz's lecture was well received and, according to Professor Brad Hinze, the president-elect of the CTSA, it captured many of the experiences of people at the grassroots. Other well-known theologians also congratulated Dr. Cruz for her presentation including Professor David Hollenbach who himself is a leading moral theologian of the academy, Professor Catherine Cornille, Chair of the Theology department of Boston College, Professor Thomas Groome, a leading practical theologian of religious education, Professor Lisa Cahill, prominent ethicist and feminist theologian, and Professor John Burkhard, former president of Washington Theological Union who himself was also invited to deliver an earlier plenary address.