Theology Conference ponders unrealised Vatican II vision

This month's conference of the Australian Catholic Theological Association (ACTA) focused on the way the Church has received the seminal Vatican II document Gaudium et Spes, and on the work that remains before the vision of Vatican II is fully realised.

This year's 2005 ACTA Conference, held 7-10 July at Sancta Sophia College at the University of Sydney, focused on the 40th Anniversary of 'The Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World' (Gaudium et Spes), the final document of the Second Vatican Council.

ACTA President Dr Richard Lennan reports that members engaged in a joint session with the Australian Catholic Biblical Association and Australian Catholic Moral Association on the challenges of the document for the church in contemporary Australia.

There were a number of papers from members reflecting on the way that the church has received Gaudium et Spes and on the work that still needs to be undertaken in order for today's church to realise the vision of Vatican II.

Dr James McEvoy of Flinders University told the Conference in his paper that that the document made the Church both more open to the world and more faithful to its own tradition:

"The Council has brought about a fundamental change in the church's understanding of its place in the world, yet one that is more faithful to the tradition of faith because it accounts for the action of the Holy Spirit in the world and the openness of history to the work of God."

Sub-themes of the conference dealt with issues in the theology of Eucharist, including its relationship to the contemporary ecological debates and the possibility for elements from Australian indigenous culture to be reflected in Eucharistic celebrations.

The office-bearers of the Association for 2005-06 are:

President: Dr Richard Lennan (Catholic Institute of Sydney)
Vice President: Dr Anne Hunt (ACU National)
Secretary: Dr. Kim Power (ACU National)
Treasurer: Dr Damien Casey (ACU National)

The Conference in 2006 will be held in Adelaide.

Meanwhile a collection of essays to honour Old Testament Scholar Dr Tony Campbell upon his 70th birthday was recently launched in Melbourne. Dr Campbell has taught at the United Faculty of Theology in Melbourne since 1975.

Jesuits Australia reports that Seeing Signals, Reading Signs is a collection of studies in the Old Testament was edited by fellow teachers and scholars Howard Wallace and Mark O'Brien OP.

In their introduction to Seeing Signals, Reading Signs, the editors write: "For Antony Campbell, exegesis is an artistic endeavour, requiring sensitivity to the literary signals in the text and an artist's eye for'reading the signs'. Literary signals are like signposts."

Report on Conference - 2005 (Australian Catholic Theological Association 15/7/05)
Festchrift for Australian Province Jesuit Scripture Scholar (Jesuit Australia 15/7/05)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Pastoral Constitution - Gaudium et Spes
Fellowship for Biblical Studies - Festschrift for Tony Campbell
Seeing Signals, Reading Signs: The Art of Exegesis (alibris.com)

21 Jul 2005