During the weekend of February 10-12th, the International Theological Conference of the Union of Scranton convened in Mainz for the second time hosted by the Nordic Catholic Church in Germany. The theme was “God be in my thinking – The intellectual background of the secularization”, following up on the proceedings from the conference in 2020. Also this year, the conference was held at the Conference Center of the Roman Catholic Diocese in Mainz, Erbacher Hof, located in close vicinity of the Cathedral.
Around 20 laypeople and clergy from Germany, Italy, the USA, Ireland and Norway participated in lectures and discussions, divine offices, mass celebration and social talks about the current challenges. The next step will be to communicate thoughts and plans to clergy and laity within our churches and ecumenical dialogue partners.
The Western Christian churches are today facing an increasingly aggressive Gnosticism, much like the first Christians. We need to deepen our understanding of this challenge and do as we are exhorted by St. Peter: “Sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts! Always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15).
The conference theme was presented and debated in the light of five main lectures, as follows:
— “Marx’ idea of a ‘new man'” (Roald N. Flemestad, via zoom from Oslo)
— “The gender issue” (Ottar M. Myrseth)
— “Keeping the faith in a hostile culture, inspiration from D. Bonhoeffer” (John Needham)
— “A way forward from the present crisis” (Jeremy Boccabello)
— “To discover Ecumenical Imagination in a Post Church World” (Kevin Donlon)
More detailed information about the Mainz Conference initiative is available in the notes from the conference in 2020.
Organizational and practical cooperation issues were on the agenda, and local programs and plans from several countries were exchanged. This was also an occasion for presentations of gifts.
Bishop Ottar Myrseth gave a copy of the newly printed Scandinavian Missal to Archbishop Anthony Mikovsky, while the Secretary General of the Union of Scranton, Fr. Sr. Rob Nemkovich, handed over a photo to Fr. Daniel Gerte, as Vicar General of the German administration, presenting the bishops of the Scranton Union gathered at the General Synod in Scranton in October 2022.
Laudes on Saturday was celebrated in the Gotthard Chapel of the cathedral, all other offices and Sunday mass in the chapel of Conference Center. Celebrant on Sunday was Vicar General Daniel Gerte and homilist was Archbishop Anthony Mikovsky.
An album with more pictures from the conference is available via this link: Mainz II Conference – 10-12 February 2023.
Warm thanks for the well organised local program to Vicar General Fr. Daniel Gerte, the Martinuswerk and all participants for their contributions and commitment. Our thanks are also extended to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Mainz for their hospitality.