PAPERS Resources

AAR Annual Meeting
San Diego, CA
November 23-26, 2019

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Program Book (PDF)

Preliminary Program Book (MS Word)

Floorplans of Annual Meeting Facilities (PDF)

Exhibit Hall Listing and Map (PDF)

Program Book Ads (PDF)

Annual Meeting At-A-Glance (PDF)

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Vatican II Studies Unit

Statement of Purpose: 

This Unit gives scholarly attention to the Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), one of the most significant events in the history of the Catholic Church — an event that had wide-ranging implications for other faiths, other Christian churches, and for the wider world alike. This Unit has a double focus: first, deepening the understanding of the history of Vatican II, its link with movements of renewal in Catholic theology and in the Church in the decades prior to Vatican II, and the history of the reception of the Council, and the redaction history of the different documents of the Council; second, a strong theological on both to the hermeneutical issues connected to methods of interpreting conciliar teaching and its ongoing reception in a changing context. By looking more closely at the past, our Unit hopes to promote greater conciliarity and synodality in the Christian churches in the present. In this second mandate of its presence within the American Academy of Religion (2018-2022) the Vatican II Studies Unit turns its attention to the reception of Vatican II within the various social and cultural contexts of the Americas and elsewhere, and to its continuing influence in the changing context of twenty-first century global Christianity.

Call for Papers: 

● Considering Vatican I: Challenges and Opportunities 150 Years Later -
December 8, 2019 marks the 150th anniversary of the opening of the First Vatican Council. Several recent studies have sought to understand the council more deeply, yet even with greater understanding, its teachings present significant ecclesiological and ecumenical challenges. This anniversary offers an opportunity to revisit the council’s definitions of papal primacy and infallibility and explore ways forward in terms of ecclesial reform and ecumenical advance.
Revisiting Vatican I is particularly timely given the present struggle, identified by Pope Francis, to move beyond the ultramontane form of Catholicism with a highly-centralized exercise of the primacy, to a form of church governance which is more “decentralized.” Francis has demonstrated a clear desire for the church in various regions to be more responsive to the diversity of local and regional challenges in a world church. These efforts towards ecclesial reform require a deeper understanding of the relationship between synodality and primacy. This session seeks to examine the ongoing impact of Vatican I with particular attention to the challenges that its teachings present for Francis’ efforts at ecclesial renewal. Questions of interest include: what ecumenical work has been done/needs to be done to address the concerns raised by the council’s presentation of papal authority? How does Vatican II’s reception of Vatican I impact understandings of both councils? How has the culture of centralization entered or shaped the post-Vatican II church? How might we envision or work to develop the relationship between synodality and primacy? The Vatican II Studies Unit welcomes papers from a variety of perspectives which seek to examine Vatican I retrospectively and prospectively in order to advance critical questions of the council’s interpretation and ongoing impact.

Crisis in the Church: Patterns of Abuse as Challenge and Opportunity for Reform (Joint Session with Ecclesiological Investigations Unit) -
The sexual abuse of minors and vulnerable adults, both past and present, and related patterns of abuse of power by church leaders who valued the protection of the institution over the needs of victims in country after country point to a systemic failure of church leadership, structures, and practices. Efforts to cover-up the full extent of abuse and misconduct perpetrated by the ministers of the church have given rise to an unprecedented crisis of confidence and sense of betrayal by Christians world-wide, and have profoundly damaged the church’s credibility as a witness to the gospel in the world.

What might we learn from the broad history of Christianity, the Second Vatican Council, and the experience of ecumenical partners? What insights might present theology and teaching contribute to a substantial renewal of ecclesiology and to the reform of structures and practices so as to ensure greater accountability and transparency in church governance and in the administration of ecclesiastical justice? Where might the limits of contemporary theology and practice need to be met by new visions, complemented by the resources of the synodal tradition, or by the knowledge of contemporary sciences?

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ChairSteering Committee