Professor Susan Docherty part of discussion on current position of Catholic theology

27/02/2018 by Sinead Staunton

A group of Catholic theologians and religious educators met in Luton on Saturday 24th February 2018 to reflect on the current position of Catholic theology in the UK and Ireland and to discuss its future.

The meeting was an initiative of the Catholic Theological Association of Great Britain, and convened and chaired by its current President, Professor Tom O’Loughlin, Professor of Historical Theology at Nottingham University. The nineteen people present had travelled from all parts of England, and represented a range of Institutions, including Diocesan centres, study houses of religious orders, Universities with a Catholic foundation, and public Universities which have a Theology Dept.  Rev. Dr Michael Shortall (registrar of the Pontifical University, Maynooth) attended to represent the Irish Catholic Theological Association.

In a statement released on behalf of the group, Professor Susan Docherty, Professor of New Testament and Early Judaism and Head of Theology at Newman University, Birmingham, said that the meeting had focused on three main areas: how to attract more Catholics to study Theology and pursue careers in the field; how to support Institutions teaching Catholic Theology at a time when external factors are putting pressure on finances and resources; and how to best ensure that the voices of Catholic theologians are heard within both the Church in Britain and the public arena.

Several actions were proposed, including the fostering of closer personal and professional collaborations across Institutions engaged in Catholic theological education; training and mentoring for Catholic scholars at an early stage of their careers in academic theology; and the setting up of fora to encourage a wider and more public discussion within the Church of the nature of Catholic Theology today and how it can serve the Church’s mission.