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Theology 'becoming lay activity'

The clergy is losing its monopoly on the teaching and study of theology, according to Australian Catholic Theological Association (ACTA) president Dr Neil Ormerod.

"Theology is increasingly a lay activity in the Church", said Dr Ormerod. "A growing percentage of ACTA members are now lay people who have undertaken theological study simply out of personal interest, though priests and religious are still the majority."

He said 80% of those studying at Catholic theological colleges are laity seeking to deepen their appreciation of their faith.

Dr Ormerod, the Association's new president, highlighted the shift in a statement issued yesterday that also reported on ACTA's annual general meeting held in Melbourne earlier this month.

Papers ranged from an account of the theological implications of Australia's refugee policy, entitled "Theology after Woomera" by Andrew Hamilton SJ, to the provocative question, "Can Jesus be called Shiva?" by Fr John Dupuche, whose research area is inter-religious dialogue.

A number of papers also touched on the theme of post-modernism. Of particular note was the paper from Prof. Peter Phan, previous president of the Catholic Theological Association of America, and guest of the conference who spoke on the place of "foolish wisdom" in the Christian tradition as a way of addresses post-modern themes.



18 Jul 2002