Neil Ormerod, PhD.
Monday, May 2nd, 2011
12:05 -1:00 p.m.
This event is free and open to the public.
The question of the “Catholic” nature of various Catholic institutions has become increasingly pressing in recent years, notably as the leadership of these institutions has moved from persons who have been formed within the culture of priestly or religious life, to a lay leadership, who, while professional competent, does not have the same depth and breadth of Catholic formation as the previous generation of leaders. This is not to say that they have less to bring to their leadership responsibilities, as often they excel in other areas of competence, far more than their predecessors. However, in terms of their Catholic formation they have less depth and breadth.
The aim of this paper is to present a theological analysis of the key terms “identity” and “mission” in the broader context of ecclesiology. Church-based agencies share, in some manner, the identity and mission of the Church. They may do so in different ways and with different emphases. It may not be feasible nor appropriate for all bodies to partake in all aspects of identity and mission in the same fashion. As I shall argue, identity and mission are multi-dimensional features of Church life and each type of agency will reflect different dimensions in different ways. What is important for the life of the Church is that through the full variety of structures and institutions which emerge from its life all aspects of its identity and mission be expressed, not that each individual structure reflects that totality. A Catholic hospital is not a Catholic parish nor should it aspire to all the same goals.