Catholic Theological Society of America

Catholic Theological Society of America


Call For Papers

Bernard Lonergan Consultation

Administrative Team:
     Cyril Orji (Convener)
     Mark Miller
     John Dadosky

Convention Theme: Justice and Mercy

Session Description:
The theme of the 2016 CTSA convention in San Juan, Puerto Rico is JUSTICE AND MERCY. The relation between justice and mercy is theological and the depth of this issue can be uncovered if proper attention is paid to understanding both the historicity and genetic development of structures that engender injustice and marginalization in society. Bernard Lonergan writes massively about the problem of bias and how “the facts of good and evil, of progress and decline, raise questions about the character of our universe (Method in Theology, p.101). In spite of his erudite scholarship on the subject, Lonergan’s discourse on bias “was primarily concerned with socio-economic analysis, especially socio-economic problems in Europe and North America. He was in no way concerned with how his analysis impacts the peoples of Africa [and other ethnic minorities] politically, economically, or socially, and his work does not offer any theological considerations of these” (Cyril Orji, Ethnic and Religious Conflicts in Africa: An Analysis of Bias and Conversion Based on the Works of Bernard Lonergan, p.221).

The 2016 CTSA convention affirms that “the relation between justice and mercy, adequately understood, need not be one of opposition but of complementarity. It can be argued that mercy helps bring about full justice by directing attention to the needs of those who are unjustly deprived or suffering. Developing an adequate understanding of the relation of justice and mercy will call for serious theological investigation.” In line with the 2016 convention, the Lonergan Consultation welcomes theological reflections that critique and draw from Lonergan on how an adequate understanding of the relation between justice and mercy can be uncovered in light of the unjustly deprived and marginalized in society. Proposals may consider questions like:

  • How might Lonergan scholarship help expose the Puerto Rican migrant experience, i.e., the historical socio-economic oppression that besets the island as a modern day “colony” of the United States?
  • How might the issue of social justice, which seems marginal in Lonergan’s corpus, be made central in light of contemporary struggles for racial and economic equality?
  • How are differences based on race, ethnicity, religious beliefs, and sexual orientation understood and negotiated in light of Lonergan’s theology of justice and mercy?
  • Does Lonergan offer a theological analysis of justice and mercy in line with the vision of Pope Francis who stresses justice and mercy as key virtues for Christian witnessing in society?
  • How does Lonergan’s Christology and/or theology of sin, grace, and redemption contribute to contemporary Christian understandings of justice and mercy?
  • Does Lonergan offer an understanding of justice and mercy that can enrich other religious traditions?

Paper proposals should outline the argument of the paper in 200-500 words. You should also include a 100-word précis that will be posted on the CTSA website should your paper be accepted. Also indicate whether you will be requiring A/V equipment, as this will affect room assignment and ability to use such equipment in your presentation.

CTSA guidelines require that those making proposals ordinarily be associate or full members in good standing with their dues paid up. Anyone with an associate or full membership application on file can also submit a proposal if they expect to be accepted for membership in the upcoming June convention. No member may present a paper/respond to a paper/participate on a panel more than once at a given convention. An exception is made for members of under‐represented groups, not including presentations made to the Women’s Consultation on Constructive Theology. A new CTSA rule stipulates that a member may not present more than two years in a row.

Deadline for submission of proposal is September 1st 2015. Please provide your name, institution, and contact information, including e‐mail. Submit your proposal as email attachment simultaneously to John Dadosky john.dadosky@utoronto.ca, Cyril Orji xstiam@yahoo.com, and Mark Miller mtmiller2@usfca.edu.