Forum 2018, Dignity, Difference and Dialogue

St. Volodymyr Cultural Center,
1280 Dundas Street West, Oakville Ontario L6M 4H9

 27 and 28 April 2018

Forum 2018, Dignity, Difference and Dialogue : Theology in Context (http://cfotae.ca/about/) is fast approaching and I hope you are planning to register online (http://cfotae.ca/forum-registration/) ‘Dignity, Difference and Dialogue: Theology in Context’ will address issues of diversity and inclusion as a reflection of Catholicity within society as a whole. How we struggle with issues such as race, gender, LGBT concerns, religious difference and poverty in our schools, parishes and communities is of interest to all as we each must navigate tensions between what the Church hierarchy wants us to hear, what Christ teaches, and what society promotes. To examine questions of equity and inclusion our presenters, Tina and Cathy will draw on perspectives on Catholic Social Teaching, theologies of hospitality, teachings on conscience, biblical teaching, and maybe some postcolonial theology and some of the philosophy of Emmanuel Levinas.

I realize Tina nor Cathy may be as well-known in North America as Joan(Chittister) or Diarmuid (O’Murchu). Tina is certainly as much in demand in Britain and Europe as either of them and Cathy, a regular participant at Forum, is well on her way. Both are members of Catholic Women Speak, an international organization that works towards empowering Catholic women and each has an article in the group’s first book Catholic Women Speak: Bringing Our Gifts to the Table (Paulist Press, 2015).I know their working together at Forum will excite and challenge you.

I remember my high school education in Liverpool (1953-1960) with the Jesuits at St. Francis Xavier’s College. Although it would never be found in the curriculum the following statement permeated everything I was taught and everything I learned. “Being Catholic does not mean putting your brain in park.” This thought has been front and centre in High School Forum and the Canadian Forum on Theology and Education since it all began in 1979.

FORUM speakers are moving Catholic faith into the future. They are voices to be heard and prophets in their own time! They respect but challenge the status quo and push faith to new heights and depths!

Forum just like life has evolved over the years. What was a initially a foundational theological opportunity for secondary teachers has developed into a cutting edge theological discourse.

As a practising Catholic, I appreciate a venue in which various perspectives and interpretations of our faith – and of societal issues – can be dissected and discussed in a non-judgmental and open-minded manner. Most of the other Church-run institutions I have contact with do not promote this same type of openness. Important questions are raised, perceptive and well-supported responses are offered, and everyone – no matter what conclusions are reached on a personal level – comes away from Forum with a deeper and more authentic connection to the Spirit.

Tina Beattie is Director of the Digby Stuart Research Centre for Religion, Society and Human Flourishing and of Catherine of Siena College, both based at the University of Roehampton. Much of her research focuses on the relationship between the Catholic tradition and contemporary culture, particularly in areas to do with gender, sexuality and reproductive ethics; Catholic social teaching and women’s rights, and theology and the visual arts.

Catherine Cavanagh, DMin, is an Ontario high school teacher and chaplaincy leader.Catherine’s articles and stories on spirituality, social justice, Catholic education, gender issues and current affairs have appeared in Weavings: The Journal of the Spiritual Life, The Catholic Register, The Catholic New Times, DIsciplesWorld, Devozine, Messenger of the Sacred Heart, Religious Studies Review, and Upper Room Disciplines.

$225 Registration includes: parking, brunch, refreshment break, dinner, wine and cheese on April 27th and parking, breakfast, refreshment break, and lunch on April 28th Forum rate for each hotel is $127.60 per room per night taxes included. Rooms contain 2 Queen beds or 1 King Bed