“Dear friends”—my typical salutation in these bulletins—takes on deeper meaning with the recent promulgation of Fratelli tutti. The Lonergan Research Institute has received this very timely encyclical on social friendship as a balm upon our collective and individual wounds. In a year marked by a global pandemic, economic recession, racialized violence, and the ever-deepening effects of our ongoing environmental crisis, this call to sisterly and brotherly love reminds us of St. Paul’s conviction that “the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory about to be revealed to us” (Romans 8:18, NRSV). It poignantly calls us to attend not only to the pressing concerns of this time, but also to look and build towards a better future. The vision of sisterly and brotherly love advanced in Fratelli tutti–together with the Universal Apostolic Preferences of the Society of Jesus–will probably for some time guide much of our planning for events and seminars here at the LRI.
Our most recent graduate seminar consisted of a panel discussion delivered by David de la Fuente (doctoral candidate at Fordham University), Fiona Li (doctoral candidate at Regis College), and Jordan Ryan (Assistant Professor at Wheaton College, Illinois), who together spoke to matters related to Lonergan, race, and theology. The aim of this discussion was to further the cause of sisterly and brotherly love through productive dialogue between persons of different backgrounds, and especially to hear from emerging scholars of colour who have been thinking about the theological dimensions of racism at length in their vocational and avocational lives.
In more immediate news, the Lonergan Research Institute has gone live with a new website. It can be found at our old web address, but has been fully renovated in order to align with current web standards and will allow us to communicate more effectively with our constituency. It further includes a new and more user-friendly web portal for donations. Sometime over the next year we aim also to implement an online store through which we can more effectively distribute the Collected Works of Bernard Lonergan.
With the advent of the new website, the LRI Bulletin will begin to transition from a quarterly to a more frequent publication. Exactly what form this will take remains to be fully explored, but I anticipate that it will be a combination of the traditional updates from the Executive Director that you have come to expect, as well as content from invited guests. Currently, we are beginning to organize a series of “guest” bulletins which will move through Fratelli tutti, offering a Lonerganian commentary upon the text. We seek especially to draw upon doctoral students and emerging scholars, in order to showcase the abilities of a rising generation of scholars interested in Lonergan. I would invite any doctoral students or emerging scholars to contact me if they are interested in participating in this project.