A journal of academic theology

Neil Ormerod

A Hidden Ecological Dialectic: An Oversight in Insight

While the writings of Robert Doran exhibit significant ecological awareness, the
present paper argues that the corpus of Bernard Lonergan and Doran’s own work
have overlooked an ecological dialectic that arises naturally from Lonergan’s approach.
This article suggests there is an anthropocentric bias operating that prevents its
recognition, which needs to be identified and overcome if we are to address our
current ecological crises. To that end, this article identifies a double dialectic operating
in the social order. The first dialectic, as identified by Lonergan and expanded by Doran,
is that between intersubjectivity and practical intelligence; however, this dialectic is
embedded in a second larger dialectic between the social order itself and the order of
the nonhuman processes from which the social order itself emerges. The appreciation
of this dialectic has been blocked by our neglect of cosmological meanings and values,
as exemplified by the Indigenous peoples of our world.

Sexual Abuse, a Royal Commission, and the Australian Church

Despite recent signs of change, the Indian church was rather reluctant to acknowledge
the clerical sexual abuse scandal as its own problem. In the Indian context, the scandal
entails not only the abuse of minors, but also the abuse of women and other vulnerable
adults by church personnel. The hierarchical structure of Indian society, gender
relations based on patriarchy, and postcolonial attitudes provide a fertile ground for
abuse. Clericalism, centralization of power in the church, and continuing negative
attitudes to sexuality are further contributing factors. The clerical sexual abuse scandal
calls for developing new ethical horizons based on a theology of a participatory church,
and a reconsideration of the church’s attitude to sexuality and gender relations.

Statistically Ordered: Gender, Sexual Identity, and the Metaphysics of “Normal”

The recent call by Pope Francis for the church to develop a “theology of women” raises
more fundamental and prior questions about the very nature of gender and sexual
identity. Drawing on the metaphysics developed in Lonergan’s Insight and his heuristic
structure of a scale of values found in Method in Theology, this article explores these
prior questions in a way that avoids the extremes of either gender essentialism or of
complete gender fluidity. It proposes a form of heteronormativity that is statistically
structured allowing for a greater flexibility than suggested by gender essentialism,
while still constraining the social and cultural construction of gender within certain
biological realities. The authors also present Lonergan’s scale of values as a further
heuristic for anticipating the force of this constraint in a differentiated way.

Sacred Heart, Beatific Mind: Exploring the Consciousness of Jesus

Traditional Christologies have focused attention on the question of Jesus’ beatific knowing. On the other hand, recent explorations into Spirit Christology raise different questions about his affectivity. Both issues highlight a concern with Jesus’ psychological experience. The present article proposes that both these issues can be fruitfully examined through the lens of the psychological analogy for the Trinity. In particular, Bernard Lonergan’s developments of the analogy drawing as they do on the experience of grace, shed a new and helpful light on the question of Jesus’ knowing and loving. This approach alleviates some of the more problematic aspects of the traditional approach to Jesus’ beatific vision, while also providing a more solid trinitarian basis for Catholic devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

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