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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Let your voice be heard: A Practical Theology Dialogue on the Margins of the Catholic Church
by Reisinger, Joan Hebert, Ph.D., St. Thomas University, 2010, 288; 3434189
Abstract (Summary)

People are moving to the margins of the Catholic Church. As one dialogue partner states, "I left the Church to beat the rush." Yet, another remarks, "I just wonder. I have to ask, who's on the margins? I'm not sure." The main objective of this practical theology research is to understand the dynamics on the margins of the Roman Catholic Church in dialogue with fifty dialogue partners from the four geographic regions of the United States. Practical theology, the theology of marginality of Jung Young Lee, reciprocal ethnography, and the communication theory of Mikhail Bakhtin join in a transversal cross-disciplinary dialogue. The practical theology method invites non-consensus seeking dialogue, welcomes multiple voices and privileges the voice of the other. Aware of both centrifugal forces pushing towards unity and order and centripetal forces pushing towards multiplicity and diversity this practical theology research allows multiple perspectives to stand together to suggest new paths for transformative action.

In dialogue with the dialogue partners, I seek the reasons why Catholics over the age of twenty-one, who were once active and involved in the Catholic Church but presently no longer attend Mass, find themselves on the margins of the Church and how they understand their own marginality. This dialogue reveals implications for those on the margins of the Church, implications for all those talking about God and seeking to understand God's relationship in everyday experiences and for those who minister within the Catholic Church. Among these implications are adult religious education that teaches critical thinking in the areas of Catholic Church history, scripture, and theology. The dialogue partners speak of new ways of being Church emerging on the margins. This emerging Church is marked by inclusive relationship that includes dialogue that does not seek agreement or consensus, a critical and thoughtful recalling of memories and narratives of the Catholic faith tradition, and appropriation of these in new and creative ways, and community envisioned as koinonia.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Froehle, Bryan T.
Commitee: Fulkerson, Mary M., O'Brien, Maureen R.
School: St. Thomas University
Department: Practical Theology
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 72/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Communication, Theology
Keywords: Bakhtin, Catholic, Dialogue, Margins, Practical theology, Religious education
Publication Number: 3434189
ISBN: 978-1-124-40718-0
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