Negotiating the Religious Heritage of Saint Rose

March 16, 2010– This months Provisions Happy Hour presented a sensitive topic on campus here at Saint Rose. The topic was negotiating the religious heritage of Saint Rose and the presenters included Scott Brodie from the Art Department, Chris DeGiovine from Spiritual Life, and Mark Ledbetter from the Philosophy and Religion Department.

Scott Brodie began the conversation by sharing with the group his relationship with Father Chris. Coming from two different religious backgrounds, Brodie and Father Chris formed a friendship and bond based on neutral understanding, curiosity, and interest in the difference between them. It was truly inspiring to hear that two individuals, with completely differenet belief systems, can find common ground and form a friendship. As Brodie mentioned, “deeply held, sharply different beliefs keep life interesting.” The overall theme of Brodies presentation was to be who you are, but learn about those who are different and don’t be persuaded by community pressure to hide your practices.

Father Chris spoke next about the important difference between Catholic Intellectual Tradition (CIT) and the Roman Catholic Church (RCC). With the RCC becoming an old dying institute, CIT is all about free inquiry and truth. Father Chris spoke about the importance in distinguishing between the two  because Saint Rose is based on CIT more so then RCC. Below you will find the handout in which Father Chris presented to accompany his presentation.

Finally, Mark Ledbetter from the Philosophy and Religion Department talked about a course he taught called Religion and Culture. In the course eight students were engaged in an intense discussion on all topics surrounding religion. The goal of this course was to interrogate religion, and Ledbetter spoke highly of its success. The overall theme of Ledbetter’s presentation was that students do not distinguish between religion and spirituality and the importance to recognize that the ability to move among religions is part of their religious identity.

At the conclusion of the presentations the open discussion faced many of the challenging topics Saint Rose faces. Topics discussed include the role and inequality of women in the Catholice Church and why there weren’t any women speakers on the panel, the difference between a Catholic College and a Catholic Church, and the need for a post-religious world. The idea of a post-religious world is not the same as a non-religion world, it is the need for no dominant religion and greater understanding of all religions. This idea helped shaped the conversation and brought the session to a close.

To hear all three presenters from last nights session, check out the Provisions Podcast.

Provisions

A Discussion on the Catholic heritage of the College

March 16, 2010

Father Chris DeGiovine

1. A conflicted relationship

a. The Catholic Intellectual Tradition (CIT) and the Roman Catholic Church are not the identical

i. Theology vs. doctrine

ii. Teachers vs. clerics

iii. Prophetic vs. magisterial

iv. Social justice vs. institutional structure

b. A college is part of the prophetic/teaching arm of the community

2. CIT argues, among many other things, that:

a. Faith and reason are congruent

b. There is evil (sin) in the world and in us

c. God is incarnational/sacramental

d. There is universal truth to which all people and disciplines are called

e. Each and every human life has dignity

f. The community is as important as the individual

3. Implications

a. Education is not only of the mind but of the whole person, including body and spirit

b. We need to constantly seek justice and reconciliation, especially of the poor (preferential option for the poor)

c. God is found in creation, in human beings, in the “stuff” of the earth

d. God is primarily encountered in human beings

e. God has come to call and redeem the “ecclesia”, the “church”, the “gathering of God’s people”

4. Norma normans for CIT is the Bible (Hebrew and Christian) and tradition (history)

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