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Public Theology, Private Religion?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 September 2014

William P. Loewe
Catholic University of America


What does one say in a presidential address? First of all, and as always, it is good, and very good, for us to be here as we come together to renew the bonds of collegial respect and affection that make our Society unique. Looking back on the events of the past two years, however, “difficult” hardly begins to describe them. That short period saw the bishops of the United States acquiesce to Rome's demand for a juridical implementation of canon 812, and we have been wrestling both individually and as a society with the ramifications of that decision. Then, dwarfing all else, there burst upon us the towering horror of 9/11 with its awful images of fiery destruction and plummeting human bodies. Where that leaves us as a nation remains to be seen, but the specious practicality of Realpolitik seems to be the order of the day. An Afghan wedding party becomes “collateral damage,” while a spiral of violence sweeps over the Holy Land, engulfing even Bethlehem, birthplace of the Prince of Peace. At the same time the church that looks to him as its founder staggers through a sordid scandal of clerical sexual abuse and hierarchic cover up. We mourn and lament as even our heroes sink into the quagmire. On a personal level, this two-year term began with news that my father had fallen ill, and I attended his deathbed shortly before our board meeting last November. These have been a difficult two years.

Editorial Essays
Copyright © The College Theology Society 2003

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