From the Editor's Desk

By Fahey, Michael A. | Theological Studies, September 2003 | Go to article overview

From the Editor's Desk


Fahey, Michael A., Theological Studies


By the time this September issue of Theological Studies reaches your mailbox, many of the North American colleges and universities will already be in the throes of another academic year. The time frame between the close of one school year and the opening of another seems to get shorter each year. Among my pleasant memories of the summer will be the annual convention of the College Theology Society held this year on the campus of Marquette University. Shortly thereafter the convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America took place in Cincinnati. The plenary sessions, numerous workshops, seminars, and election of new officers always provide a stimulus to rededicate ourselves to the theological agenda of research, writing, and teaching. The convention liturgy, held in a parish in the heart of an inner city that has experienced much pain and violence in the last years, was especially moving. At the annual banquet, I was honored to receive the John Courtney Murray Award for service to theology. In accepting the distinction, I felt a strong bond of solidarity with the numerous collaborators of Theological Studies: consultants, writers, and book reviewers who make possible our contribution to the ministry of theology.

Mary Ann Donovan, one of our dedicated editorial consultants, after years of yeoman service to the journal as adviser and referee, has completed her term of office. Our sincere thanks and appreciation accompany her as she moves on. We are pleased to welcome two new editorial consultants, Elizabeth Groppe of Xavier University, Cincinnati, and Thomas M. Buckley, church historian at the Jesuit School of Theology, Berkeley.

In mid-June I had the good fortune to participate in a ten-day travel seminar to Finland to visit some of the best examples of that country's remarkable architecture, including a number of Finnish Lutheran churches. The trip highlighted the buildings of Alvar Aalto (1898-1976) whose work has strongly influenced generations of architects on both sides of the Atlantic. His breathtakingly beautiful houses of worship such as the Seinajoki Church and the Church of the Three Crosses in Vuoksenniska, Imatra, constructed in the 1950s, as well as other churches inspired by his style, are models of sacred space. For Catholics, even post-Vatican II Catholics, these church interiors may seem bare and lacking in statues or iconography. But the central importance that these churches reflect about the celebration of the Lord's Supper speaks as eloquently as any Lutheran/ Catholic consensus statement on the Eucharist. It is unfortunate that our ecumenical dialogues take place in conference halls or classrooms rather than in places of worship.

In the Catholic Church's present time of introspection, shame, and disheartenment regarding sexual misconduct by clergy, in a time of economic downturn and rising unemployment, to say nothing of declining vocations to the priesthood, it is highly unlikely that plans for construction of new churches will give us opportunities to conceive of beautiful and liturgically apt structures. …

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