This collection of essays explores convergences and divergences between process thought and Roman Catholicism with the goal of identifying reasons for why process philosophy and theology has not had the same impact in Roman Catholic circles as in Protestantism, and of constructively navigating avenues of promising engagement between Process thought and Roman Catholicism. In creatively considering the Roman Catholic tradition from the vantage point of Process thought, different theoretical perspectives are brought to bear on Catholic characteristics of historical theology, fundamental theology, systematic theology, moral theology, social justice, and theology of religions. While the contributors draw upon a broad range of resources from the disciplines of the physical and social sciences, philosophy, and ethics from a process perspective, the primary methodology employed is theological reflection.
Marc A. Pugliese is associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Saint Leo University.
John Becker is assistant professor of philosophy in the Department of Religion and Philosophy at Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas.
Introduction: “Catholic Theology” by John B. Cobb, Jr.
Chapter 1: “Does Process Theology Rest on a Mistake?” by David B. Burrell, C. S. C.
Chapter 2: “Process Theology and the Catholic Theological Community” by J. J. Mueller, S. J.
Chapter 3: “Duns Scotus, Catholicity and the Roots of Process Thought” by Ilia Delio, O. S. F.
Chapter 4: “Charles Hartshorne and the Catholic Intellectual Tradition” by Daniel A. Dombrowski
Chapter 5: “A Catholic Approach to Process Philosophy” by Maria-Teresa Teixeira
Chapter 6: “Balancing Permanence and Change in a Systems-Oriented Metaphysics” by Joseph A. Bracken, S. J.
Chapter 7: “A Process Interpretation of Creatio ex Nihilo” by Thomas E. Hosinski, C. S. C.
Chapter 8: “Whitehead’s View on Incarnation and the Co-Inherence of God and the World” by Palmyre Oomen
Chapter 9: “The Eucharistic Experience: Process Theology and Sacramental Theology” by Thomas Schärtl
Chapter 10: “Babbling on About Pluralism: The Catholicity of Pluralism” by John Becker
Chapter 11: “Aquinas, Whitehead, and the Metaphysics of Morals: The Debate over Intrinsically Evil Acts” by Marc A. Pugliese
Chapter 12: “The Philosophy of Organism and Integral Ecology: Wisdom, Whitehead, and Pope Francis” by Leo D. Lefebure
Afterword: “Discovering Process (Again)” by Thomas P. Rausch, S. J.
Marc Pugliese and John Becker have brought together the most prominent Catholic philosophers and theologians who have reflected long and hard on Process thought to critically examine its place in Catholic theology. Sandwiched between the thoughtful preface of the premier Wesleyan Whiteheadian theologian John B. Cobb, Jr, and the challenging envoy of the Jesuit theologian Thomas P. Rausch, these essays leave no aspect of Catholic theology unturned. By no means uncritically endorsing Process philosophy, these essays show how various aspects of the Christian faith, both theoretical and practical, can be illuminated by the emphasis of Process thought on relation and change. Let's begin the conversation on this important theme (again)!
These readable chapters set forth a variety of ways in which Catholic thought may be enriched by critical reflection on the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead. After reading this well-crafted collection of essays I am convinced that Catholic theology in the age of science needs to listen more closely than ever to what Whitehead and his interpreters have been saying about the world and God during the past century.
It is clear that religion needs metaphysics. But which one? The problem of classical substance metaphysics lies in the phenomenon of God's world immanence: How can two distinct substances – God and world – be immanent to one another without merging into one? Here process philosophy offers promising solution approaches. It is therefore essential and urgent to explore the resources of process thinking for Catholic theology. This book does so in an admirable way – with prominent authors and with a broad thematic framework that takes into account the historical roots and philosophical foundations as well as a variety of specific systematic focal points. Congratulations on this ambitious project!
Featuring an illustrious gathering of theological voices with a range of perspectives on the coherence of Catholicism and process thought, this collection edited by Pugliese and Becker offers a rich, diverse, and candid vision of the possibilities and pitfalls of charting common ground between these presumably divergent domains. Eminently readable in its theological depth, it presents a balanced and enlightening treatment of such varied topics as creation, Eucharist, morality, and ecology in the encounter of Catholic and process thought. This compendium provides abundant fare to nourish the ongoing conversation.
Process Thought and Roman Catholicism is an innovative and timely contribution to Catholic scholarship. It can be a particularly exciting read for anyone interested in crossing borders between Catholic discourse and process theology and philosophy. The reader will rediscover neoclassical and non-dual forms of theism within Catholic theology and ecclesiastical heritage. Inquiries on God, humanity, liturgy, sacraments, religious pluralism, and creation are likewise infused into Whiteheadian thought and will help the reader reimagine theology.
The Catholic tradition of theology has always honored philosophy’s central role in theology. Clearly, therefore, it should welcome process thought as an excellent additional philosophy to the several other philosophies employed in Catholic theology—especially on the understanding of God.