The Triannual Meeting of INSeCT 2914, July 16-20, in Belo Horizonte
Catholic theologians from 21 countries gather in Brazil to participate in global research congress on the contribution of theology in overcoming abuses of power in Church and society and network for the future
INSeCT, the “International Network of Societies for Catholic Theology” has been founded by Peter Hünermann and others some 20 years ago and is made up of 35 Catholic theological societies from across the globe. Its aim is to provide a forum for exchange and support between Catholic theological societies around the world. In particular, it seeks to support Catholic theological societies in the global south.
The Council of INSeCT meets in a tri-annual cycle, usually a period of research on a certain topic. So the meeting is focused on a summing-up of the latest global research project and discussing the theme for the upcoming three years.
So this July the Network Council Meeting was held in Belo Horizonte (being the first ever meeting of the Network located in the global south), discussing the research project that had been developed in 2011 at the meeting in Chicago: “The nature, function and location of theology, with particular attention to the power of theology to overcome power abuse in Church and Society.
So the representatives of the different theological societies presented their research on that topic that had been organized by the respective societies during the recent three years. Among the international keynote speakers at the event, held in the light of Pope Francis’s call for a renewal and reform of the Church’s mission, were Fr. Dr. Friedrich Bechina of the Congregation for Catholic Education (Holy See) and Fr. Peter Hughes SSC, Executive Secretary of the Latin American Bishops’ Justice and Solidarity Department.
During the discussions the idea came up, to present the upcoming theological works of the next three years’ term in an international conference for a broader public. The new leading team will be working on that.
The upcoming theme of theological research and discussion
For the new 3 years’ term the delegates chose to concentrate on the question, how theology can contribute in the improvement of the situation of women in church and society. So INSeCT takes up the call of Pope Francis, who urged theologians in his apostolic exhortation “Evangelii gaudium” (No. 103-105) to contribute to an up-to-date theology of women, which in fact means a theology of sex and gender, since it is not possible to discuss the role of women in church and society without discussing the role of men as well – that means to take up the challenges of our times, especially gender issues.
It was the unanimous decision of the delegates to take up that topic, because they felt it was the logical follow-up of the latest. All the global challenges of today – poverty, violence, war, human rights violations out of ethnical, religious and gender discrimination, ecological disasters, etc. – affect women most and therefore theological research has to be done in that sector.
The Steering Committee will prepare a paper to present this issue in more detail and to promote research projects for the next three years. An invitation letter and necessary information will be sent to all the member societies.
The new presidium
In Order to better represent the global reality of the Catholic community of scholars, the Network Council Meeting 2014 took the decision that the Steering Committee would be composed of five members, representing North- and Latin America, Africa, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
The team that is responsible for the new three years’ term has been elected also unanimously:
President: Martin M. Lintner OSM (Italy & Austria), Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Brixen, President of ESCT
Vice Presidents: Nancy Piñeda-Madrid (USA), Boston College, President elect of ACHTUS, and Érico João Hammes (Brasil), Pontificia Univ. Catolica do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Vice President of SOTER
Members: Gaston Ogui Cossi (Côte d’Ivoir), Catholic Univ. West Africa, Abidjan, President of ATCB, and James McEvoy (Australia), Australian Catholic University, Adelaide SA, President of ACTA.
INSeCT can be found in the internet
Since many years, INSeCT in realizing its goals is using the electronic media. Please visit the web-presence of the Network: www.insecttheology.wordpress.com. There you can find quite some useful and interesting materials, e.g. the regional reports 2014 on the state of (catholic) theology in the different regions of the world as well as presentations of various initiatives on the recent topic “The nature, function and location of theology, with particular attention to the power of theology to overcome power abuse in Church and Society”.
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Facebook group of INSeCT
In order to share inform on INSeCT, we have created a facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/insecttheology. This platform is dedicated to sharing resources, blogs, posts, writings, questions, and discussions to support each other in engaging the International Networking of Societies for Catholic Theology.
All members of the societies that are INSeCT members are invited to join the group. Please note: It is a closed group and therefore any new member has to be approved by the admin (Martin M. Lintner).
We express our gratitueds to the former presidium, i.e. Eamonn Conway, who served INSeCT as president from 2011 to 2014, Catherine Clifford, who was president for two terms from 2008 to 2014, and to Valmor da Silva, who was vice-president from 2011 to 2014. Special thanks go also to Nancy Piñeda-Madrid and Godfrey Katumba, who were part of the Belo Horizonte-Council Preparation Committee, as well as staff from SOTER who assisted us!