The Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) opened its sixty-fifth annual convention in Cleveland, Ohio yesterday, June 10. It is the principal association of Catholic theologians in North America and the largest professional society of theologians and religious scholars in the Catholic church. Some 400 are in attendance here.
The theme of this year’s meeting, “Theology’s Prophetic Commitments,” commemorates the twenty-fifth anniversary of the historic “Kairos Document,” an ecumenical church statement that played a significant role in ending South African apartheid.
The CTSA seems to be in its second transformation. Decades back it was fundamentally a clerical organization with most of its members teaching in seminaries.
During the organization’s last thirty years, women theologians entered and soon were common at CTSA gatherings.
In recent years the CTSA has seen a strong influx of lay theologians. CTSA president-elect and organizer of this year’s conference, Immaculate Heart of Mary Sister Many Ann Hinsdale said to me today that the growing prominence of lay theologians, as distinguished from lay-religious theologians, represents an important new shift in membership -- and potentially in Catholic theology itself.