Dr. Brian Flanagan thought a unique way to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the Second Vatican Council would be to look at the watershed moment in church history from a different perspective.
No one had done a conference on how the council was received and continues to be received outside the church, said Flanagan, an assistant professor of theology at Marymount University.
His idea led to Vatican II Remembering the Future: Ecumenical, Interfaith and Secular Perspectives on the Councils Impact and Promise. The landmark theological conference was jointly hosted by Marymount, Georgetown University and the Washington National Cathedral from May 21-24.
The conference drew 250 scholars and religious leaders from around the world, including Philippines Cardinal Luis Tagle, often cited as a possible successor to Pope Francis, along with Cardinal Walter Kasper, an influential German theologian, and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue.
The afternoon sessions on Saturday, May 23 were on the Marymount campus and featured a welcome from President Matthew D. Shank. Sessions were chaired by Flanagan and Dr. Brian Doyle, a professor of theology and chair of MU’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies.
Marymounts Matthew Shadle, associate professor of theology and religious studies, spoke during a session at Georgetown.
Vatican II, held in Rome between 1962-65, opened global dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and those beyond its doors.
Marymount was a natural location for a conversation along those lines, Flanagan said.
While grounded in the Catholic tradition, Marymount is well-known for welcoming people of all faiths and backgrounds. According to U.S. News & World Report, it is the second-most ethnically diverse university in the South. Students from more than 60 countries are enrolled at MU.
Participants in the Ninth Annual International Conference of the Ecclesiological Investigations International Research Network included Christians of many denominations, Jews, Muslims and others. Previous conference locations have included Oxford, England; Belgrade, Serbia; Assisi, Italy and Leuven, Belgium.
Dr. Brian Flanagan, Cardinal Walter Kasper and Dr. Brian Doyle are pictured at the Washington National Cathedral. The three participated in the recent conference Vatican II Remembering the Future: Ecumenical, Interfaith and Secular Perspectives on the Councils Impact and Promise.