Posted On April 8, 1997
The Aims of the Institute Through education and research, we are implementing the thought of Bernard Lonergan and his concern for the "human good" (or as our sub-title reads, the "Good Under Construction"). The term "human good" was used by Lonergan as a means of retrieving and applying what traditionally was called the common good (Bernard Lonergan was a Jesuit theologian and philosopher who was born in 1904 in Quebec, Canada and died in 1984). In his understanding of the human good, he developed a way of distinguishing and relating all the various goods that human beings seek: from the food that they eat and produce in agricultural systems to the religious graces of God that are carried and bestowed through a religious tradition.
Theology, Culture, and Education Our educational and research projects will focus upon three areas. First, as a training institute for theology, we will nurture the Church's theological apostolate by fostering the religious, personal, moral, and intellectual context in which a person develops theology. We will use Lonergan's theology as a unifying context to advance both the theory and practice of Catholic theology in a manner that faithfully respects the tradition while genuinely responding to the call of aggiornamento issued by the Second Vatican Council. We will offer seminars, discussion groups, and support for the spiritual, moral, and intellectual formation of theologians. In addition, we will provide both a location and financial support for theologians who wish to further the thought of Bernard Lonergan through research and scholarship (one of the possibilities includes funding for undergraduates who are majoring in theology and would like to spend a summer doing research with us). Second, we will address current cultural and social issues by translating Lonergan's analyses into the needs of daily life. We help promising individuals for research that will combine thinking, reflection, and action. This research will address questions that pertain to the "human good" raised by ecumenical issues, the human and social sciences, physical science and technology, and health care. Using the results of these studies, we will offer seminars, courses, and discussion groups to the general public which will help people to integrate work, family, political, and international activities with their faith. Third, as a resource center for education, we will address the foundations and nature of all stages of Catholic education. We will treat issues of coordinated curriculum from kindergarten through graduate school as well as interdisciplinary issues using Lonergan's understanding of human consciousness, of human development, and of human community. With the fruits of these studies, we will offer our resources to educators through seminars, courses, and personal collaboration.
The Future of the Institute Concern with the "good under construction" is simultaneously a concern with a stewardship of history. Since the future is conditioned by how we understand and respond to the world around us, we need ongoing appraisals that will treat development, decline, and redemption. Thus, we hope to continue raising crucial funds to support sustained research that will develop insights from the wealth of our Catholic tradition and, through education, make them available for the needs of today (special attention will be given to building financial support for lay theologians since their numbers continue to increase due to the call of Pope John Paul II and the Church for them). In the end, the whole purpose of this institute is to improve the way that Catholics and Christians integrate their faith to all aspects of life by improving the way that we live out the religious precepts of loving God and loving our neighbor as Christ has done and commands us to do.
The Immediate Status of the Institute Since 1993, discussion and reading groups focusing upon Lonergan's book INSIGHT: A STUDY OF HUMAN UNDERSTANDING have been held either at The Catholic University of America or at St. Anselm's Abbey. New seminars have been initiated. Two read and discussed Patristic, Medieval, and Modern writings on the Trinity. A third discussed a book on grace and human freedom by Dr. Michael Stebbins who led the seminar. In 1997, a discussion seminar was initiated developing a philosophy of science based upon Lonergan's work. This was led by Dr. John Young and Dr. Ronald Vardiman. These seminars take place in an office and seminar room dedicated to the Lonergan Institute at St. Anselm's Abbey and maintained with the help of the monks and good friends. If we are able to get funding and increase the number of members, perhaps this will expand. Much, in the end, depends on divine providence. We can always use your prayers.
Who and Where We Are The Institute is headed by Br. Dunstan Robidoux OSB, Vice-Director, and David Fleischacker, Director. It is located in St. Anselm's Abbey at 4501 South Dakota Avenue in Washington, D.C.. The idea of the Institute developed, in part, from the reading and discussion groups that have been established since the fall of 1993. From reading Lonergan, a larger project has sprung, and we subsequently incorporated as a non-profit organization on April 18, 1997. Contact us immediately? If you wish to write to us, send your letter to the following address; THE LONERGAN INSTITUTE for the "Good Under Construction" 4501 S. Dakota Ave. NE Washington, D.C. 20017 tel. 202-269-6650 fax 202-269-2312 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org