Australian Lonergan Workshop 2021
Friday 30 April to Sunday 2 May, West Hall, St.Mary’s College, University of Melbourne, Parkville
Authentic subjects transforming cultures: regenerative farming, a parable for our times
Progress proceeds from originating value, from subjects being their true selves by observing the transcendental precepts, Be attentive, Be intelligent, Be reasonable, Be responsible. Being attentive includes attention to human affairs. Being intelligent includes a grasp of hitherto unnoticed or unrealized possibilities. Being reasonable includes the rejection of what probably would not work but also the acknowledgment of what probably would. Being responsible includes basing one’s decisions and choices on an unbiased evaluation of short-term and long-term costs and benefits to oneself, to one’s group, to other groups. (Bernard Lonergan, Method in Theology, p.53)
This theme was inspired by Charles Massy, an Australian advocate for regenerative farming as an alternative to traditional methods. As a farmer, he discovered how he was destroying his land and, transformed himself and the culture of farming.
For more information about Charles Massy and the regenerative farming movement, see:
Tom Daly Oration – an Oration in Honour of Fr Tom Daly, SJ
Dr Robin Koning, SJ on “Authentic subjects transforming cultures: Fr Tom Daly’s contribution”
While Fr Tom Daly SJ spent much of his life as an academic philosopher, this was never for him a merely academic exercise, divorced from the realities of people’s personal lives and their life together in society. Daly understood his work as contributing to the renewal of persons, particularly via the self-appropriation to which Bernard Lonergan invites us, and to the closely-related renewal of culture – part of that work of evangelization, of people and of cultures, which is the Church’s mission. Recognizing Daly’s signal contribution to Lonergan studies, The Australian Lonergan Centre has been working on his archival material, piecing together a comprehensive bibliography of his writings, published and unpublished, and making these available, as far as possible, on the Lonergan Australia website. In the 2021 Oration, during which this project will be formally launched, Fr Robin Koning SJ will take the opportunity provided by the collation of these materials to reflect on Daly’s written work as a key component of his contribution to renewal.
Assistant Professor Lucas Briola on “’Fruit of the Earth and Work of Human Hands’: Connecting the Eucharist and Regenerative Agriculture in Dialogue with Bernard Lonergan, Pope Francis, and Charles Massy”.
In conversation with the writings of Bernard Lonergan, Charles Massy, and Pope Francis, this presentation examines the links between the Christian celebration of the Eucharist and support for the regenerative agricultural movement. First, it surveys the overlapping cultural malaises identified by Massy, Francis, and Lonergan at the root of modern industrial agriculture (the “mechanical mind”, the “technocratic paradigm” and “general bias” respectively). Second, in response to this form of decline, it shows how the regenerative agricultural practices called for by Massy instantiate the “integral ecology” called for by Pope Francis; at the same time, it substantiates Massy’s calls through the “emergently probable” worldview of Lonergan. Third, in a way that Massy does not show, such a worldview can help elevate these agricultural concerns to a supernatural, redemptive plane. Not only does an emergently probable worldview show that right agricultural practices restore creation’s capacity to praise, so too does it show that Christian praise – as made especially apparent in the Eucharist – depends upon right agricultural practices. In this way might the “fruit of the earth” and “work of human hands” foster authentic care for our common home.
Geoff Brodie on “The Education Moment: Some Suggestions for a Foundation in Education”
Professor Matthew Ogilvie on “Lonergan and Encounter with Australian Indigenous Culture”
Peter Madden on “Emergent probability”
Loretta Brennan on “Teaching Lonergan’s transcendental method to undergraduates”
Dr John Little on “Integral Ecology – a note from Genesis”
Ashley Mitcham on “Ecology and the Eucharist; a Story of Conversion”
Dr Sean McNelis on “Lonergan’s integral scale of values as a heuristic for understanding and transforming cultures”