Spirituality

Michael W. Cooper, S.J., Saint Leo University (Florida)
Michael.coopersj@saintleo.edu


Daniel Horan, OFM, Catholic Theological Union (Illinois), dhoran@ctu.edu


The emerging vision and praxis of a Vatican II Church along with the prophetic changes and challenges of American culture define 1968 as truly a Copernican Revolution across the board. Church life especially after “Humanae Vitae” moved from near absolute obedience to authority, e.g., “Father knows best,” to claiming more “informed” personal authority and responsibility. American religious life moved away from “blind obedience” to spiritual discernment.


Religious life moved from blind obedience to spiritual discernment, while the American Church in part shifted from near absolute obedience to authority to more inner authority and following of the Spirit by reading the signs of the times. Overall, after 1968 spirituality moved from a personal and private piety to a more prophetic and public spirituality and was also no longer world-fleeing but world-embracing both within and beyond church walls. Along with these changes the Church became more lay focused, while the centers of theological and spiritual pedagogy moved out of seminaries and European universities to American campuses.


The renewed interest in spirituality in the 60’s both in theory and praxis moved the discipline of spirituality out of being a peripheral non-entity—loosely tied perhaps to moral theology but with no formal connection to biblical or systematic theology—toward a proper discipline of its own.


What can we learn then from this great Copernican Revolution in Spirituality linked to many of the events and changes in church and society in 1968? What can particular individuals, schools, and communities of spirituality tells us about what made for an exciting and eventful living and spread of the Gospel coming out of the movements of 1968? What can we incorporate today into a spirituality that nurtures and uncovers a  spirituality of  boldness for a Community of Faith in either dynamic or fatal transition?


We have the whole rediscovery of experience as revelatory and truly the heart of the matter since 1968. We have many latent spiritualities to be articulated in the spiritual practices, writings, and devotions of both individuals and communities trying to embrace Vatican II. We have before us the whole exploration of the recovery of the academic discipline and methods of spirituality that returned to center stage beginning in 1968 and continues today. Fitting so well into the contemporary “signs of the times,” we have much to learn about the Spiritualities of Protest and Resistance so shaped by the  renewal of Vatican II in conjunction  with the emergence of the Civil Right Movements, the Women’s Movement both in and beyond the Church, the Anti-War Movement, the beginnings of LGBT Movement (e.g.,  surfacing at New Ways Ministry nationally and in the Local Church), as well as others. We welcome your proposals for papers that to continue this exploration of 1968 explosions trajectories in spirituality for a bold and exciting community of faith today.


Other proposals relating to Spirituality are also welcome but a first preference will be given to topics directly related to this year’s Conference Theme.

The College Theology Society is a registered, non-profit professional society and a Related Scholarly Organization of the American Academy of Religion.

Email: secretary@collegetheology.org

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