My Blog List

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Deathly Prose

Mark Twain described the Book of Mormon as "cloroform in print" and anyone who has struggled with that glutinous tome and its turgid, pseudo-Jacobean prose would surely agree with Twain's assessment. As a religious institution, however, the Mormons have no monopoly on soporific reading, as witness this deadly gem recently sent me by my pal Banished Child of Eve, who alerted: "In case you thought being a Catholic theologian was an interesting job." It takes the form of a press release last year from DePaul University, announcing what must have been a truly scintillating conference last fall: "Transformed by Hope: Building a Catholic Theology for the Americas."

Boy, that title really grabs you, doesn't it (and wouldn't you have killed to have attended)? It gets better. Here's a little snippet from the announcement (take a deep breath):
When Pope Benedict XVI traveled to Aparecida, Brazil in May of 2007 for the beginning of the Fifth General Conference of CELAM, he underscored the continuity of this gathering with the four that preceded it: Rio de Janeiro (1955), Medellín (1968), Puebla (1979), and Santo Domingo (1992). But Pope Benedict also acknowledged the newness of the situation to be analyzed at Aparecida and cited in that context the phenomenon of globalization as a potentially unifying but also risk-filled network of relationships extending over the whole planet.

The other changes that have taken place since 1968 include developments within the Latin American theology of liberation that Medellín helped to create as well as critical responses to certain currents of a theology of liberation from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and elsewhere. There is also a new awareness today of the tremendous impact of the globalization of markets on the daily life of the human family. Globalization presents both new opportunities and challenges, but the call of the Gospel to address the plight of the poor remains as urgent as it was in 1968. Moreover, in his post-synodal apostolic exhortation Ecclesia in America Pope John Paul II affirmed that the borders of the Church on the American hemisphere are not national borders. He recalled he clear message of the Gospel to seek a social solidarity rooted in the Trinitarian communion. He enjoined Catholics on this hemisphere to build up ecclesial bonds—relationships of love and mutual support—between the members of the Church in North and South America. Many dioceses have heard this call—including the Archdiocese of Chicago—and have responded by establishing transcontinental ties between parishes and dioceses.
It's kind of like those countless press statements that continually emanate from the offices of the Episcopal Church and United Nations, only without their sparkle.

No comments: