Sunday, May 23, 2021

COVID-19 and Ecumenism at the Eighth Day Institute

Our Eighth Day Institute 4th annual Florovsky-Newman Week is coming up, May 31 to June 5, including an Icon workshop, a separate seminar, and a festal banquet before the presentation of plenary and academic papers. Our topic this year is Baptism:

The Patristic View of Baptism: Public Proclamation or Salvific Sacrament?

Co-sponsored by St George Orthodox Christian Cathedral and the Gerber Institute for Catholic Studies, the Florovsky-Newman Week promotes a “return to the sources for Christian unity.” Heeding Fr. Florovsky's advice, rather than simply overlooking differences, this conference seeks to overcome the different views of baptism. And we do so by returning to the common Tradition, by learning to read the Fathers as living masters, rather than as historical documents. Our hope is for you to deepen your understanding of baptism by examining it from our respective traditions as Orthodox, Catholic, and Protestant Christians. Join us for this unique event as we dive into the Church Fathers in order to explore, challenge, and encourage one another to better love God and neighbor.

The plenary speakers are Matthew Levering (Catholic), Marcus Plested (Orthodox) and Charles Raith II (Protestant). Here's the schedule of their presentations--which include responses from the other speakers.

I'm giving one of the academic papers Thursday or Friday morning (don't know the full schedule yet):

Newman’s “Religious Opinions” and Infant Baptism

John Henry Cardinal Newman, recently canonized by the Catholic Church, wrote his Apologia pro Vita Sua in response to challenges to his integrity and honesty by Charles Kingsley in 1863. Newman had to answer Kingsley’s charge that truth didn’t matter to Catholic priests and that Newman had even stated that truth shouldn’t matter to Catholic priests and so he told the story of his conversion to demonstrate his integrity and honesty.

In four chapters Newman tells the history of his religious opinions: up to 1833, from 1833 to 1839, 1839-1841, and 1841-1845; after that he says he has “no further history of my religious opinions to narrate”. Before the crucial date of October 9, 1845 when he became a Catholic, Newman changed his mind several times about various religious matters—including Baptism and what it means to be baptized and a member of the Church.

This presentation will explore Newman’s thoughts about Baptism through a brief biographical sketch and an examination of an 1828 sermon he preached as Vicar of the University Church of St. Mary’s the Virgin in Oxford: “Infant Baptism”. 

EDI has been trying to present opportunities for fellowship and discussion during the COVID shut-downs, online, outside, and properly socially distanced. Registration is slow right out and we, the Director and the Board of Directors, hope it picks up soon. You can't really have ecumenical discussions, sharing different religious doctrines and theologies, online or virtually. One of the best things about the Florovsky Newman Week is the format of the plenary sessions. When the Catholic speaker presents a Catholic view, the Orthodox and Protestant speakers respond; when the Orthodox speakers presents his paper, the Protestant and the Catholic respond; when the Protestant presents, the Catholic and Orthodox--so there's real exchange of ideas and scholarly community.

We're hoping that registration picks up soon and we're thinking of incentives to bring more EDI members and friends to this great week. I enjoyed the 2018 and 2019 events. (Last year it had to be virtual event with online presentations!)

No comments:

Post a Comment