Systematic Theology

Joseph Ogbonnaya, Marquette University (Wisconsin) 
George Gilmore, Spring Hill College (Alabama) 

In 1956, sixty years ago, American Catholic theologians knew little about a recently deceased Jesuit named Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, but most knew that John Courtney Murray S. J., had been silenced by the Vatican. Anti-Modernist textbook Thomism was apparently immovable in the (non)driver’s seat. Who knew that American and world-wide Catholic theology was on the cusp of major breakthrough?

Where is American theology today? What are its prospects?

The CTS Section on Systematic Theology requests proposals reflecting on past, present and/or future transitions in Catholic systematic theology.

An example of a past transition could be John Courtney Murray’s development of an authentically Catholic political theology out of Thomas Aquinas, and into a re-created American Catholic religious pluralism: from “Error has no rights,” to “Erring persons have rights.”

Present developments could focus on: 1.) the systematic underpinnings for the tensions between moral absolutes on human life being compromised by recognition that a religiously pluralist country and body of law must not legislate morality.; or 2.) what might be, beyond but not necessarily excluding John Courtney Murray’s thought,  contemporary insights into the foundations in systematic theology for American religious pluralism?

A future systematic development might be: 1.) a rethought sacramental theology of ministry and service supporting the women’s diaconate; 2.) an emphasis on rethinking Catholic systematic theology beyond its objectivist patristic and scholastic roots, and into a literary/Hebraic re-articulation [retrieval] of interpersonal subjectivist roots.

The College Theology Society is a registered, non-profit professional society and a Related Scholarly Organization of the American Academy of Religion.


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