Sunday, June 10, 2007

Bishops in the Church

This was the theme of the 2007 Convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) which I joined a couple of years ago. In spite of the name, membership in this professional organization is open to Protestant as well as Catholic theologians. Although the flavor of the conversation is decidedly Catholic, there is also a clear commitment to ecumenical theology and dialogue (not to mention reform and renewal--which has not always been appreciated by all members of the church hierarchy. Click here for an anti-CTSA editorial written in June 1997 by Cardinal Bernard Law and here for a forum on the Cardinal's criticism.) For an idea of what topics were addressed at the 2007 convention, check out John Allen's "Daily Column" at the National Catholic Reporter.

One of the plenary addresses was given by Michael Root, Professor of Systematic Theology and Dean of Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary and fellow member of the U.S. Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue. His presentation was entitled: “Bishops, Ministry, and the Unity of the Church in Ecumenical Dialogue: Deadlock, Breakthrough, or Both?” [As an aside, the person who introduced him quoted Bishop Richard Sklba (Auxiliary Bishop of Milwaukee and co-chair of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue) who quipped to her that "Professor Root knows more about indulgences than most Catholics do." For those interested in a primer, check out Root's article, "Indulgences, Again."]

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