Institute for Religion & Critical Inquiry

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IRCI holds successful Laudato Si event in Rome

The Institute for Religion and Critical Inquiry (IRCI) has held its first major seminar Laudato Si: The Greening of the Church? at ACU’s new Rome Centre.

The seminar brought together leading international eco-theologians, Biblical scholars, ecological ethicists and moral theologians to explore the strengths, weaknesses and implications of Pope Francis’ encyclical on the environment from a variety of ecclesial and academic perspectives.

The seminar was co-ordinated by Professor Neil Ormerod, Research Leader, Centre for Catholic Thought and Practice in the IRCI. He was joined by keynote speakers including:

  • encyclical ghost writer and eco-theologian Fr Sean McDonagh SCC
  • eco-theologians Professor Celia Deane-Drummond (Notre Dame University) and Rev. Professor Denis Edwards (ACU)
  • moral theologian Dr Lisa Sowle Cahill (Boston College)
  • Biblical scholar Rev. Prof. Francis Moloney (ACU)
  • ecological ethicists Associate Professor Willis Jenkins (University of Virginia) and Professor Michael Northcott (University of Edinburgh)
  • Catholic social teaching expert Donal Dorr.

The seminar was formally opened by the Australian Ambassador to the Holy See, Mr John McCarthy KCSG. Ms Tamara Grdzelidze, the Ambassador for Georgia to the Holy See, was a seminar participant.

Professor Ormerod said the seminar provided an excellent opportunity for IRCI to commence its activity in Rome.

“We are delighted to be able to bring together participants from various parts of the globe to reflect on the meaning, significance and implications of this papal teaching for our churches, society at large, and the world. The seminar marks our commitment to innovative, high quality, international research collaboration in the disciplines of theology and philosophy.”

Professor James McLaren, Director of IRCI, said participants found the seminar both useful and inspiring.

“We were delighted to hold our first Seminar in at our new Rome Centre. We look forward to holding further events to continue these important discussions,” he said.

Seminar participants were drawn from various institutions including Boston College, Durham University (UK), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Belgium), Catholic University of America, Lyon University (France), University of Notre Dame IN, ISewanee University of the South (US) and St Jerome’s University (Canada).

Over the three days there were nine main papers, with formal responses, and three panel sessions.

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