5 October 2010
Calvin and Loyola conference in Maynooth on 8 and 9 October 2010
Did the early paths of John Calvin (Protestant Reformer) and Ignatius Loyola (founder of the Society of Jesus known as the Jesuit religious order) cross as students? Both attended the University of Paris in the 1520’s. The theme of a unique conference: ‘Living in union with Christ in today’s world: the contributions of John Calvin and Ignatius Loyola’, which takes place this weekend in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, is drawn from the central element in the thinking of Calvin and Loyola – ‘Union with Christ’.
The conference will unpack this important theme in a popular and user-friendly manner. Contributors (see below) include prominent figures both from within the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, from Union Theological College, Belfast, and from the Faculty of Theology in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co Kildare. Rt Rev Dr Hugh Connolly, President of St Patrick’s College, Maynooth and Very Rev Dr Trevor Morrow, Minister of Lucan and former Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, will jointly host this conference.
In advance of the conference Dr Trevor Morrow and Dr Hugh Connolly said: “We are honoured to co-host this conference. It is unique in Irish history in that leading theologians from each tradition will discuss with openness and integrity the issues raised by these men. The names of the contributors are compelling. This is something not to be missed, an opportunity to forge new understanding and friendship across this island and between our Christian faith-traditions.”
College days have a habit of bringing unlikely people together. As John Calvin, one of the major figures of the Reformation, was nearing the end of his studies at the Collège de Montaigu of the University of Paris, an older student arrived there. He was a Basque ex-soldier, Inigo de Loyola who had undergone a conversion experience while recovering from wounds received at the battle of Pamplona. Inigo, better known as Ignatius, was some eighteen years older than John Calvin. It is not known how well they were acquainted with one another. Their subsequent histories would mark them out as leading figures in the history of Europe, indeed as major shapers of the Europe that would emerge from the difficult years that followed their studies.
At the opening session of the conference at 7.30pm this Friday, Rev Dr Stephen Williams, Professor of Systematic Theology at Union College, Belfast, will introduce Calvin, while Dr Salvador Ryan will introduce Ignatius Loyola. On the Saturday morning, Rev Dr Gordon Campbell, Professor of New Testament at Union and Fr Brendan McConvery, Lecturer in Sacred Scripture, will explore together how Calvin was a pioneering figure in the rediscovery of the Scriptures as the soul of the Church’s life and theology. The third session will be a workshop on ‘Encountering Christ in everyday life’. This will take as its starting point Ignatius’ teaching in the Spiritual Exercises. Rev Tom Wilson of Kilmakee Presbyterian Church, Belfast, and Fr Tom Layden SJ will lead the workshop.
The fourth session will focus on the constant challenge of reform that faces Christ’s Church. The Very Rev Dr Stafford Carson, Minister of First Portadown and past Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and Dr Liam Treacy, Professor of Liturgy at Maynooth, will be the speakers. The theme of the concluding session of the day is ‘Towards transformation – Mission in two directions: the perspectives of Calvin and Loyola’. This will be led by Rev Dr Drew Gibson, Professor of Practical Theology (Union College, Belfast) and Fr Laurence Murphy (Spiritual Director, Maynooth).
Notes to editors:
- Further information about the conference and enrolment can be obtained from the Maynooth College website www.maynoothcollege.ie
- A website dedicated to the conference is also available at www.calvinandloyolaconference.org A special feature on the conference is also available on the Catholic Bishops’ website which includes details of the speakers and themes, information on accommodation and background information. The feature is accessible at www.catholicbishops.ie
Martin Long, Director of Communications 086 172 7678
Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer 087 310 4444