April 15, 2019 — The 9th edition of the Lonergan Symposium will be held next May 4, 2019, jointly organized by the Centre Culturel Chrétien de Montréal and the Lonergan network. This symposium pays tribute to the memory of our colleague, Bernard Lonergan, SJ, a prominent figure in 20th century Catholic philosophy and theology.
This ninth edition of the Lonergan symposium will deal with the painful and haunting philosophical issue of evil. Is evil conceivable and if so, how and under what conditions?
"We all encounter and experience evil in our personal lives, be it physical evil, which is suffering, or be it moral evil, in the form of fault, of the offence perpetrated by another, even by ourselves, but also the pain that we inflict, the faults that our own conscience condemns. This reality of evil in different forms already disturbs and worries us, occupies our mind, which is seeking for and demanding a cause, a justification for this failure of our actions. Why does an innocent child suffer? Why does torture exist? Various approaches and even certain answers to these troubling questions have been suggested by the cultural, religious and philosophical traditions that we have inherited.
More concretely, are we doomed to remain powerless in our personal existence? If the reality of evil discourages our logical thought, is the only avenue open to us to battle it in all its forms with our weak means?
Those are a few of the issues to reflect upon in this symposium," states the program of this symposium.
An author well known by Québec Catholics for his reflections published in the Prions en Église, theologian Jacques Lison will reflect upon the question of the acceptability of traditional theodicy, in the wake of his recent work on the subject (Does God really allow evil?), published by Novalis. A lecturer at Concordia University and ex-director of the Social Pastoral Office of the Archdiocese of Montreal, Brian McDonough will present Lonergan’s thoughts on evil. Estelle Drouvin and Carole Joly will explain how restorative justice confronts and transforms the problem of evil.
Born in Buckingham, Gatineau in 1904, Bernard Lonergan, SJ joined the Society of Jesus in 1922 after finishing his studies at Loyola College in Montreal. He then completed brilliant studies in philosophy and theology at the Gregorian University in Rome (1933-1937). Afterwards, he taught philosophy first at the Immaculée-Conception College in Montreal (1940-1946), followed by Regis College (1947-1953) and then at the Gregorian, his alma mater, from 1953-1964. "By the time of his death, in 1984, he had received seventeen honorary doctorates, and was made a Companion of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the British Academy. His work stands, first and foremost, as a profound invitation to discover a dynamic process at work in ourselves: one that changes our questions, our assumptions, the way we imagine and understand, and the way we care for our world. " (Website of the Lonergan Centre of Saint-Paul University in Ottawa)