By Amanda Murthy
An upcoming conference themed 1968: Five Decades On will wind the clock back by 50 years, revisiting some of the most significant cultural moments in history, while uncovering the responses and impacts it has had on the Church.
Organised by The Dawson Society, the conference is being held at the University of Notre Dame Fremantle campus and will be spearheaded by notable speakers including Sydney Auxiliary Bishop Richard Umbers, Notre Dame University John Paul II Chair of Catholic Theology Professor Tracey Rowland who is the only Australian theologian on the Vatican’s International Theological Commission and University of WA Associate Professor John Kinder.
The pre-conference will also feature theologian to the Papal Household, Fr Wojciech Giertych OP from Rome, who will give a free lecture on Thursday 12 July, addressing Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae.
Founder and President of The Dawson Society, Thomas Gourlay, said he hopes that the conference, as well as the free public talk will encourage a lot of stimulating discussions and ‘food for thought’, adding that there will be panel discussion of our three keynote presenters convened by Scott Stephens of the ABC’s Religion and Ethics unit to conclude the event.
“The papers will be academic in tone, but we are confident that anyone with an interest in culture will gain something from the presentations,” he said.
Mr Gourlay said that the objective of the conference is to encourage all “Christians is to prayerfully discern these movements of culture – to ‘read the signs of the times’, so to speak.”
“We live in a society that has radically changed, and which is rapidly changing.
“Much of what we experience today is a direct result of some of the cultural and philosophical movements which came to a head in the 1960s and in 1968 particularly.
“This conference intends to look closely at many of the cultural and philosophical movements of the 60’s and evaluate the impact that they have had and continue to have on believers today.
“It simply will not do to uncritically reject every facet of these movements, but neither should we uncritically accept and celebrate them,” added Mr Gourlay.
In addition to the various keynote presentations, there will be papers addressing birth control, the civil rights movement, academic freedom in Catholic universities, the internationalisation of terrorism, and many other interesting topics.
For more information go to www.1968fivedecadeson.org