LST hosts int’l theological confab

LST hosts int’l theological confab

MANILA– With the theme “Frontiers, Dialogue and Discernment,” the Loyola School of Theology (LST) organized an International Theological Symposium held at the Leong Hall of the Ateneo de Manila University last March 16.

Attended by around five hundred students and professors of theology, the symposium featured different personalities who offered a wide array of insights from their fields of expertise.

Margot Torres, Senior Vice-President of McDonald’s Philippines, and Fr. Antonio Spadaro, SJ, Editor-in-Chief of the Rome-based La Civilta Cattolica, spoke about information technology and the social media.

Torres discussed about the current statistics and online behavior of Filipino social media users and dwelt on the “good, bad and ugly” side of social media. While social media grant us easy and instant communication, real time news and information discovery as well as help us exercise our freedom of expression, build networks and find people with similar interests with us, it also degrades face to face interactions, provides venue for ranting, creates factions, and causes lesser productivity and family closeness, she explained.

“It’s not technology or new media that can destroy humanity but how humans use it,” she said.

Reflecting on the internet and its implications in our theological reflections, Fr. Spadaro said that the “internet is a part of daily life. It is not an option but a given.” The internet is a reflection of our deep spiritual desires, he added.

For him, humanity can be found in the digital world. “[Our] digital experience is an extension of our daily life,” he furthered. However, he said that the challenge that cyberspace poses is authenticity and he reminded everyone that “authenticity is in the heart.”

Discussing on current issues in statistics and theology, Prof. Filomeno Aguilar Jr., a social scientist from the Ateneo de Manila University, and Fr. Peter Phan, a theologian from Georgetown Univeristy based in Washington, provided insights about how can the Church “cross borders” and “build bridges” in the Asian context.

For Fr. Phan, it is important to remember that missionary activities did not begin in the West but from the East. Contrary to common belief, “the nations in Asia are not pagans or heathens or superstitious and immoral people living under the reign of the devil but [the people] are deeply religious with their own ways to God.”

He also invited everyone to look at the Church’s missionary activities not with the goal of church-planting or conversion of non-Catholics but as a “reciprocal mission among and in the midst of Christians and believers of other religions.”

As Christians, we are called to foster a spirit of collaboration with other people whose faith may be different from the Catholic faith in order “to promote a world of justice, peace and reconciliation,” Fr. Phan added.

A similar symposium was hosted by the Jesuit-run institution last year in celebration of its 50th year. This year’s Theological Symposium is LST’s way of “facing the succeeding 50 years” as we are all invited to “reflect on the mission of the Church in Asia.” CBCPNews