November 14, 2013

Continuing a series of Thursday night presentations to the community by outside speakers, Dr. Nelson H. Minnich, PhD, came this evening to tell us something about the church’s efforts at reform in the century before the Council of Trent. He is a professor of Renaissance and Reformation History at The Catholic University of America. His topic covered the period from 1400 to about 1517 during which there were eight church councils that dealt with pressing issues of those times. His talk focused particularly on efforts to restore church unity, to clarify the role of the papacy, to examine and deal with heresies, and to inaugurate much needed reforms of church practices. Sadly in the end efforts at reconciliation and unity failed, and not enough reforms in church practices were instituted to avoid the schism that came with the Protestant Reformation shortly thereafter.

Previous Thursday night speakers and topics were Daryl P. Domning, a professor of Anatomy at Howard University and Christopher Ruddy, professors of Ecclesiology at The Catholic University of America. Dr Domning shared with us some rethinking about the origin of evil and whether original sin as previously understood still holds up in the context of an evolutionary world view. Dr. Ruddy examined the contrast between the autobiographical and published comments of Frs. Yves Congar and Hans Kung about their experiences and influence as periti at the Vatican II. These presentations were informative and appreciated as shown by the questions and discussions that followed.