Religious illiteracy means ignorance of core religious beliefs, symbols and practices operative within a culture. Many have noted that a feature of culture In Ireland is the increasing absence of ‘Christian literacy.’ There are obvious challenges in this for the well-being of Christian churches. The dangers for wider society must also be of concern. When ignorance replaces literacy a space is created wherein fundamental misunderstandings will occur. Ignorance will feed upon itself. Without religious literacy how can fiction be distinguished from truth? This symposium will explore these questions from the perspective of both academics and practitioners. We will ask both why are things the way they are, and what can be done.
The Religious Literacy colloquium took place in the JM Synge Theatre, Trinity College Dublin.
International Speakers - RESOURCESLink To Recording
Prof Alberto Melloni
European Religious Illiteracy: the historical framework of a removed agenda.Alberto Melloni is professor of History of Christianity in the University of Modena-Reggio, Director of the John XXIII Foundation for Religious Studies, Chair holder of the UNESCO Chair on Religious Pluralism and Peace at the University of Bologna and Senior Advisor at the Institute of the Italian Encyclopedia Treccani, in Rome. Prof Melloni has lead a number of international research programs, has published prolifically - including initiating several academic series and journals. He has lectured internationally and is a columnist for “Il Corriere della sera“ since 2000 and for RAI; he commented on the Vatican conclave of 2013 for CNN, NBC, CBS, TF5, and for the NYT and FT
Dr. Johanna Gustafsson Lundberg
The Handshake debates in the context of Nordic Secularism.A reader of theological ethics at Lund University. Gustafsson Lundberg has in her research written about the church in late modern society. She has also analyzed questions concerning religion, social practices, and the meaning of religious symbols in the public sphere, the subject which gathered in significance both in Sweden and, more broadly, in Europe due to the growing polarization. Her second research area is migration and the question of meetings between unaccompanied minors and the Swedish institutions.
The Handshake debates in the context of Nordic Secularism.A PhD student in practical theology at Lund University. He studied law, liberal arts and the Religious Roots of Europe at the Universities of Warsaw and Copenhagen. He has published inter alia on the constitutive effect that law can have on the formation of religious categories, and on the problematic character of multifaith spaces. His current work focuses on the policies of management of religious diversity in Scandinavia.
Illiterate, incurious, indifferent: religion and the media today.Senior Fellow at Theos. He is the author of a number of books and reports, most recently The Political Samaritan: how power hijacked a parable (Bloomsbury, 2017), The Evolution of the West (SPCK, 2016) and Atheists: The Origin of the Species (Bloomsbury, 2014). Outside of Theos, Nick is Visiting Research Fellow at the Faiths and Civil Society Unit, Goldsmiths, University of London and a Fellow of the International Society for Science and Religion.
Dr Francesca Cadeddu
Schools, society and scholarship. Challenges for religious literacy in Europe.A post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Social and Institutional Sciences in Cagliari, Italy. She also works for the Foundation for Religious Sciences in Bologna, Italy. She specializes in the history of Catholicism in the United States and religious freedom and religious literacy in the twentieth century. She holds a master’s degree in international relations and a Ph.D. in political doctrines from the University of Bologna.
Irish Experience, Irish Perspectives - RESOURCESLink to Recording
Fr Gerard Condon
Ignore, Deplore, Restore, Explore? Observations of a Diocesan Advisor.Fr. Gerard Condon is parish priest of Killavullen, in north County Cork and a Religious Education adviser for second-level schools. He has taught at St. Patrick’s College, Thurles and the Milltown Institute, Dublin. He is the author of The Power of Dreams. A Christian Guide (Columba, 2008) and writes a monthly movie review for The Messenger of St. Anthony.
Can you hear me now? – reflections of a pastoral worker.Frances Rowland is a Pastoral Development Worker with the Diocese of Kerry since 2003. Frances is passionate about enabling people to deepen their relationship with God and to live and minister in a way that is life-giving.
Fr Gerard Tanham
Are the people of Ireland still communicating — listening, speaking, engaging — with the church/religion: reflections of a parish priest.Fr. Gerard Tanham is currently Roman Catholic Moderator and Co-Parish Priest of Baldoyle, Howth and Sutton and Dean (VF) of the parishes of the Howth Deanery.
Religious Education at School: a subject unlike any other.Emma Rothwell is a secondary school teacher of Religious Education and English. Having taught in the classroom for a number of years, she then took on the role of Diocesan Youth and Children’s Officer in the Church of Ireland Dioceses of Meath and Kildare. In 2015 she was appointed the School Chaplain to Wilson’s Hospital School, a Church of Ireland boarding school in Co. Westmeath. She is currently on sabbatical while undertaking an M. Phil. in Christian Theology at the Loyola Institute, Trinity College Dublin.