INSeCT regularly launches three-year Global Research Projects. INSeCT members collaboratively research an area of current importance and impact. Here you can find the current project and outcomes of previous projects.
The current project being undertaken by INSeCT is:
"A People of All Nations: Decolonizing Theologies-Decolonizing the World”
A Kairos for Catholic Theology:
This project was originally spearheaded by the late Professor Gerard Mannion. After his passing in 2019, organization of this project was taken over by the INSeCT board.
At the latest General Assembly held in 2017 in Bangalore (India) INSeCT decided to base its upcoming research on Pope Francis' invitation in the Apostolic letter Evangelii Gaudium to be a servant Church for the people. Therefore, the current INSeCT Research Triennium 2017-2020 is entitled A Kairos for Catholic Theology: In Service of the Church – in Service of the World. The theological collaboration of member societies is focused on the current social, political, economical, and ecological challenges in the world and the Church. Some of these challenges have already reached crisis point:
The crisis of democracy fuelled by increasing populist movements and polarisation of our societies along religious, ethnic, and cultural lines;
Economic, political, and social crises, including conflicts and wars;
The destabilisation of families, fostered by said crises;
The global ecological crisis and its consequences, such as natural disasters, displaced peoples, areas of famine, and the the phenomenon of increasing mass migration from affected areas in search of survival.
The destabilisation of families, fostered by said crises;The loss of credibility of Church leadership in light of the sexual abuse, its effect on Christian faith and practice and analysing underlying causes and possible ways forward.
INSeCT is seeking ways to discuss how theology can serve the church as well as the wider society to face these challenges and find solutions. The outcome of the global research, undertaken in the different regions and in mutual collaboration, will be discussed in the upcoming General Assembly in Rome (Jan/Feb 2021), with representatives of relevant Roman Dicasteries, Pontifical and Catholic Universities, and published in a variety of forms to encourage implementation and application. The Kairos Project’s aims therefore, are:–To use INSeCT’s global network to link the different challenges and theological answers so that mutual collaboration in the field of church praxis can be improved.–To bring these localized global challenges into the focus of local and worldwide church leadership so that they can develop the necessary means to be of true service for the people, especially to those that are affected most.–To strengthen the dialogue between theologians and their respective local church leadership, especially in regions where the mutual understanding asks for improvement.–To establish a forum of mutual dialogue within the worldwide community of theological scholars and between academic theology and the universal Church leadership
Serving the Church, Serving the World
Redeeming Power: Overcoming Abuse in Church and Society
We are exploring, in a constructive manner, ways in which abuses of power – whether individual or collective – may be overcome and prevented in the future. While the scope of the project is intentionally broad (eg including abuse in families, the media, and politics), the sexual abuse crisis in the Church naturally forms a major focus.
The nature, function and location of theology, with particular attention to the power of theology to overcome power abuse in Church and Society’.
A Question of Gender Justice:
Today’s global challenges – poverty, violence, war, ecological disasters, and human rights violations resulting from ethnic, religious, and gender discrimination – all especially affect women. Gender issues, therefore, require the special attention of the church and all disciplines of theology. INSeCT wants to take up the call of Pope Francis who, in Evangelii Gaudium (nos. 103-104), urged theologians to contribute to an up-to-date theology of women.
The role of women in decision-making in different areas of church and society
A People of All Nations
Decolonization is an unfinished project. Even after former colonies gained political independence, colonial structures continue to persist globally in economic systems, in social, cultural and epistemic relations, and also in the church. The triple violence of colonialism (political violence through oppression; economic violence through exploitation; and cultural violence through negation) reverberates in multiple forms in the overlapping crises we face today: environmental degradation, damaged health, racial oppression and gender injustice. Reckoning with the colonial mentalities that permeate institutions today, social movements calling for decolonization gain in momentum globally. Responding to local colonial histories, these initiatives are regionally diverse and focus on a range of issues that arise in the wake of colonial trauma (e.g., ‘Rhodes must fall’, Black lives matter, an increasing call in Northern Atlantic educational institutions to ‘Decolonize the Curriculum’). These ongoing decolonization initiatives are accompanied by an increasing academic interest in questions of decolonization – a growing body of research develops rewritten histories, conceptual frameworks and alternative epistemologies aimed at contending the political, cultural and epistemological hegemony of the ‘West’ / the ‘North’.
These are urgent questions also for the Church. Not least the ‘Synod of Bishops for the Pan-Amazon Region’ (2019) has highlighted that a Eurocentric paradigm continues to inform the pastoral practices, liturgical forms, institutional structures and theological knowledge production in the Global Church. The persistence of such a colonal mentality and its exclusionary power structures, however, prevents the Church to be truly catholic and apostolic, a people gathered from “disciples of all nations” (cf. Mt 28:19). There is thus an urgent need to reckon with the colonial past of the Church, to confront its ongoing legacies in the present, and to develop alternative ecclesial visions that challenge and transform the deeply entrenched heritage of colonialism in the Church. Theologians are called to contribute to this process towards ecclesial decolonization by (1) critically reviewing how theological and ecclesial discourses have served to buttress colonial power/knowledge regimes in the past and present, and by (2) constructively developing theological frameworks that can foster the decolonization of the church.
Building on work already done in this field, the research project of INSeCT 2021-2024 takes up these challenges by initiating and synthesizing global theological contributions to “Decolonizing Theologies / Decolonizing the World”
Decolonizing Theologies-Decolonizing the World