Tuesday, June 06, 2006

William T Cavanaugh

Dr William Cavanaugh, Associate Professor of Theology atUniversity of St. Thomas (St. Paul, Minnesota, USA) was in Brisbane on June 7 as part of the Dom Helder Camara Lecture Series. I went to one session whch introduced me to a guy who has much to offer in the discussion about politics and religion in our community. We also share a passion for a Church where where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.

Dr William Cavanaugh was educated in theology and religion at Notre Dame, Cambridge and Duke Universities. His dissertation for his PhD at Duke “Torture and Eucharist in Pinochet’s Chile” drew on his experiences living in Chile in the 1980s and was developed into the highly-acclaimed book “Torture and Eucharist: Theology, Politics and the Body of Christ,” which reflects on the Church, the Eucharist and politics within the context of the Pinochet regime. A well known writer on theology, the church and politics, his other books include “Theopolitical Imagination: Discovering the Liturgy as a Political Act in an Age of Global Consumerism” and “The Blackwell Companion to Political Theology” edited with Peter Scott.

Now, there's a story behind the picture of Bill Cavanaugh. Most of the images used in the PR for his tour show a pretty slick looking "all American" lad. How ever, I found this one on a site that is headed The Church and the Liberal Tradition. It includes links to a number of Cavanaugh's essays and the following item:

Cardinal Pell and the Theology of the Nation State: "What is happening in the relationship between church and state when Christians, who struggle to define their place in the secular, pluralist nation state, suddenly find one of their number a recipient of the nation's top honour precisely because of his Christian leadership?" - Radio discussion w. Cardinal George Pell, Margaret Coffey, William Cavanaugh.[transcript] Sunday 26 June 2005.

View one of his articles (PDF 31kB) Enough is Enough.

Torture and Eucharist

In Torture and Eucharist: Theology, Politics, and the Body of Christ (Blackwell, 1998), William T. Cavanaugh describes the situation of the Catholic Church in Chile under the Pinochet regime, 1973-1990.

Liturgy as politics

Violence, Religion, and the State” William Cavanaugh Draft only – not for citation

Now for those who got past the preferred definition of Church in the first paragraph and are still a little perplexed, I suggest you drop in on the Lake Woebegone Effect
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