ITI Alumni hold Dignitatis Humanae colloquium in Norcia

A small group of Latin and Byzantine Catholics, comprising both clergy and laity, and including several graduates of the ITI, set up the Dialogos Institute in 2014. The Dialogos Institute exists for the promotion of scholasticism, by means of conferences, publications and courses of study. Its inaugural event was a colloquium marking the 50th anniversary of Vatican II's Declaration on Religious Liberty, 'Dignitatis Humanae'. The colloquium took place in Norcia, Italy, from October 30th to November 1st 2015, at the monastery of the Benedictine nuns, and was honoured by the presence of Cardinal Raymond Burke. The principal organiser of the conference was Fr Thomas Crean OP (ITI STD 2015).

Dignitatis Humanae is one of the most interesting and probably the most controversial of the documents of the Second Vatican Council. Ever since it was promulgated, a lively debate has continued about its precise meaning and its compatibility with other magisterial teachings about the relation of Church and State. The Dialogos Institute brought together experts from across the Catholic world to debate these questions. The speakers were Dr John Rao, professor of history from St John's University, New York; Fr Brian Harrison OS, emeritus professor of theology at the pontifical university of Puerto Rico; Professor Roberto de Mattei, professor of history at the European University of Rome; philosopher and theologian Dr John Lamont; Dr Thomas Pink, Professor of Philosophy at King's College, London; Fr Basile Valuet, a Benedictine monk of the abbey of Le Barroux; Fr Dominique-Marie de Saint Laumer, superior-general of the Fraternity of St Vincent Ferrer and James Bogle, barrister-at-law and author of a biography of Blessed Charles of Austria and the Empress Zita. The colloquium took place over 3 days. Each speaker gave a paper on the meaning of Dignitatis Humanae and its relation to the Church's tradition, and each paper was followed by extensive and often lively discussion. On the third morning the two chairmen, Fr Thomas Crean OP and another ITI graduate, Dr Alan Fimister, led a general debate about the main questions that had come to light. A third ITI graduate, Miss Diane Montagna, also helped with the practical preparations for the colloquium.

The general view of all the speakers and of the participants was that the colloquium had been extremely interesting and had led to a genuine debate, something which is not always the case with academic conferences. The Dialogos Institute hopes to organise similar colloquia on controverted theological questions, using the same format of extensive debate and discussion, in 2016.

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