Fellowship of Scholars Find Space for Rich Dialogue

The first-ever Fellowship of Scholars sponsored by the Mount Angel Institute was held from May 29 through June 1, 2024, at Mount Angel Abbey’s guesthouse.

Professor Piero Coda presents his thoughts on Trinitarian Ontology at Mount Angel Abbey.The gathering of more than 20 scholars was unique for many of those participating in the discussions due in part to the presence of Msgr. Piero Coda, full professor at Sophia University Institute in Italy and Secretary-General of the International Theological Commission. Using Msgr. Coda’s method of “doing” theology as a respectful dialogue with an openness to the Holy Spirit, the discussions focused on Msgr. Coda’s teachings on Trinitarian Ontology. All of this may sound intimidating, but Msgr. Coda’s method is simply a way of doing theology that invites the participants to be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit as they present their views and listen to one another. In this spirit of openness and receptivity to the other,
Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, and Professor Piero Coda at the Fellowship of Scholars at Mount Angel Abbey.a rich dialogue can emerge, which many participants felt was a key difference from other academic conferences they had attended. The conference at Mount Angel was also important in bringing the thought of Msgr. Coda to the English-speaking world of theology, where he is still largely unknown.

Dr. Liam de los Reyes, professor of moral theology at Mount Angel Seminary, speaks further on the significance of this event. He says it was an opportunity for participants to “intentionally situate their scholarly and intellectual interests within their spiritual vocations to life in Christ,” something often missing in the wider academic field of theology. Regarding Msgr. Coda’s method, de los Reyes notes that the Fellowship offered scholars “a reprieve and an opportunity for slower discussion, more in-depth conversation, and time and space to think about the implications of the papers they are hearing and the discussions they are having.” And on a personal note, he was also glad for the opportunity to stretch his thinking outside of his usual field of study in a relaxed atmosphere, and for “opportunities to reconnect with friends and acquaintances and renew friendships around our common love of theological inquiry.”

The Fellowship of Scholars 2024, hosted by the Mount Angel Institute at Mount Angel Abbey.Br. Anselm Flores, OSB, coordinator of the Mount Angel Institute, worked with de los Reyes and other Mount Angel Seminary faculty members in planning and hosting the event. In his own words: “I had thought that I would be the one benefiting most from listening to some of the conversation around the table. After all, these scholars were the very authors I was reading in seminary! But I realized that they were also benefiting from us, from the space we offered, from monks, and even from me. I was humbled that some of my heroes looked up to the monks, and I felt proud and happy of my vocation. At the same time, I felt the responsibility. God has given Mount Angel a gift and charism. The Fellowship of Scholars was a brief and strong epiphany of our vocation as a monastery.”

Indeed, this event was an exceptional opportunity to practice many of the rich ways Mount Angel seeks to be a light for both the local and worldwide Church, an opportunity from which we will undoubtedly continue to reap the fruits in the months and years to come.

– Br. Matthew Sislow, OSB

Participants in the Fellowship of Scholars 2024

Abbot Jeremy Driscoll, OSB, Mount Angel Seminary
Msgr. Piero Coda, Sophia University Institute
Peter Casarella, Duke Divinity School
Fr. Khaled Anatolios, University of Notre Dame
Scott Ables, University of Portland
Rev. Sarah Coakley, University of Cambridge
David Turnbloom, University of Portland
Taylor Timpane Ross, Fordham University
Jonathan Ciraulo, Saint Meinrad Seminary
Andrew Cummings, Mount Angel Seminary
John Rico, Mount Angel Seminary
Grant Kaplan, Saint Louis University
Rev. Justin Coyle, Mount Angel Seminary
Christopher Hackett, Saint Meinrad Seminary
Ted Papa, Mount Angel Seminary
Roberto de la Noval, Mount St. Mary’s University
Matthew Vale, Boston College
Ross McCullough, George Fox University
Karen Kilby, Durham University
Liam De Los Reyes, Mount Angel Seminary
Fr. Brandon Gallaher, University of Exeter
Jordan Daniel Wood, Belmont University

Categories: Monastery, Seminary, Uncategorized