In the post Vatican II era the Roman Catholic Church has undergone considerable change. For some the changes have caused concern over issues of continuity and uniformity, believing that the church has lost touch with the rituals, practices and language that had defined it for centuries. For such people Vatican II is seen to have contributed to the weakening of Catholic teachings and the undermining of the Church's authority. For others, however, the changes inspired by Vatican II have not been implemented fast enough, nor do they go far enough, believing that without further transformation the Church will increasingly be regarded as outdated, over-bearing and irrelevant.
The conference will seek to provide a forum for the exploration and examination of critical issues and questions such as these, with the hope that the presentations and the discussion they provoke will be a focus for dialogue and progress.
The conference is to be inter- and multi-disciplinary. Papers, presentations and workshops are invited on any of the following themes:
The Clergy: What defines a priest? A priest forever? Attitudes towards clergy who leave their vocation Clerical celibacy and married Catholic clergy The decline of vocations in traditionally Catholic countries The role of the permanent deaconate
The Laity: Lay involvement and responsibility 'Movements' within the Church Education and evangelisation Attitudes to 'lapsed' Catholics
The Church in the World: Unity in diversity - race and culture within the Catholic Church Poverty and excess - the Church's response to the divide between rich and poor Rendering unto Caesar - Church state relations Views of Catholicism from outside of the Church
Issues of Sex and Sexuality: Attitudes towards homosexuality Attitudes towards women within the Church Divorce and remarriage Contraception and health Paedophilia and prejudice
Exclusivity and Ecumenism: Relations with other denominations Relations with other faiths Excommunication and exclusion Sectarianism and suspicion
Papers will be considered on any related theme. 300 word abstracts should be submitted to both the Joint Organising Chairs by Friday 1st August 2003; Full draft papers should be submitted by Friday 21st November 2003. Papers should be in Word, WordPerfect or RTF format and may be sent as an attachment or in the body of the email.
The conference is sponsored by Inter-Disciplinary.Net and Learning Solutions as part of the 'Critical Issues' programme of research projects. It aims to bring together people from different areas and interests to share ideas and explore various discussions which are innovative and exciting.
All papers accepted for and presented at this conference will be published in an ISBN eBook. Selected papers will be developed for publication in a themed hard copy volume. The project is also to be supported by an e-mail discussion group and ISSN e-journal.
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