‘It seemed Pope John Paul II was challenging us to refocus our thinking and our teaching. If not, why did he keep coming back to the same point?’
The Challenge of John Paul II was
‘to look more deeply at the human being, whom Christ has saved in the mystery of his love, and at the human being’s unceasing search for truth and meaning’
(Fides et Ratio, 1998, no 107).
The 100 participants that gathered here in Palmerston North were treated to a variety of presentations on the theme – Creed and Credibility in a Critical age. We focused on John Paul’s idea of the human yearning for truth and meaning and explored this via the lens of various theological and pastoral positions.
The colloquium MC, Dave Mullin, welcomed participants and speakers with his finding that the word ‘colloquium’ is synonymous to a ‘pow-wow’. The colloquium’s format allowed opportunities for conversations between participants and the 18 presenters to make real connections and apply ideas to individual scenarios. Sunday’s opening session lead by Dr Scott Eastham and Jacquie Lambert opened our minds to some of the challenges that needed addressing.
On Monday we wondered our way through discussions on the philosophical environment of the age (Rev Dr John Owens SM), the many dimensions of credibility (Anne Dickinson) and welcomed our first Australian to speak on the personal and social ethics (Rev Dr Gerald Gleeson). All participants went home that night challenged but yet optimistic that this colloquium was an important step in the current discussions that must continue.
Tuesday welcomed discussions on Sexual Ethics (Rev Dr Neil Vaney, Kerry and John Kleinsman), Bio-Ethics (Dr Anna Holmes) and a discussion on John Courtney Murray’s method of public discourse (Dr Mary Eastham). After a full day the colloquium participants and presenters adjourned to a outstanding meal at the Verdict Caf√¢ÀÜ≈°√É¬†.
Wednesday saw more specific presentations on the Voices of Women (Dr Sophie McGrath), Young People (Archbishop John Dew, David Mullin) and Liturgy (Fr Neil Darragh). The evening session was a public address by Rev Dr Joe Grayland on celebrating the Paschal Mystery in the present age.
Prayer each morning was lead by a different department of the diocesan centre and showed the breadth and depth of Catholic prayer styles. On the final day of the colloquium we were treated to a dual presentation on being fully human, fully alive (Gary Finlay, Bishop Peter Cullinane) and our final session: What shape for the Church on this ‘way for the church’ (Rev Dr Richard Lennan).
There’ll be more from various participants in the colloquium in the next few issues of Wel-com. Pics and papers can be seen online at www.pn.catholic.org.nz/colloquium 2005.
For a diocese celebrating 25 years this event was definitely a highlight and one that may have lasting fruit for the church in Aotearoa New Zealand.