Symposium 2019: 20th Anniversary of Macau Ricci Institute

Thursday, 17 October 2019 at 9:00 - Friday, 18 October 2019 at 17:30

Macau, St. Joseph Seminary, Largo de Santo Agostinho 5, Macau - China, Macau


We hope to stimulate cross-cultural explorations of the role of contemplation in cultivating moral excellence in general, and particularly in business and the professions where it is all-too-often ignored in the pressures of making business decisions. Those who respond to our Call for Papers are encouraged to explore the various traditions of religious faith and spiritual practices that have had an impact on China’s historic development and that continue to enjoy legal recognition in China. In addition, those who respond may also take the opportunity to explore how these wisdom traditions have evolved in the countries on China’s periphery, in South, Southeast, and Northeast Asia. General explorations of contemplative practice, of course, will be considered; but the focus for this symposium must remain on their impact on achieving moral excellence in business and the professions.

The exploration of this topic, however, cannot be confined to the comparative study of contemplative theories and practices. The wisdom traditions of China, like those throughout the globe, are embedded in communities, with their own unique histories, each responding to their own sense of purpose and destiny. Thus, the title of this symposium is “Contemplation, Mission and Martyrdom”. We encourage participants therefore to propose papers related to three key events that have marked the history of Catholicism in the 20th century, namely, (1) the impact of Benedict XV’s encyclical letter, “Maximum Illud,” promulgated in 1919, on the Church’s missions, especially in China and East Asia, and (2) the thirtieth anniversary (1989) of the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador, who sought to dramatize the systematic abuse of human rights in the midst of that country’s civil war and (3) the Encyclical Letters “Evangelii Gaudium” (“The Joy of the Gospel”) (2013) and “Laudato Si’” (“The Concern for the Common Home”) (2015) of Pope Francis which describes key elements of new approach to mission.

These events are worth remembering, especially for the lessons they hold for those who would share the gift of religious faith and the spiritual practices that sustain it. In a context of a massive crisis of moral leadership, cultivating “the subversive and dangerous memory”(Johann Baptist Metz) of sacrifice and suffering may be a resource for sustaining the courage of those who seek the truth that may set us free. The example of Msgr. Oscar Arnulfo Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador, El Salvador, killed while celebrating Holy Mass in March 1980 stands out as a model of moral leadership deeply rooted in Contemplation, which has had a lasting impact well beyond the boundaries of his flock. The exploration of Mission and Martyrdom enables this symposium to fulfill the promise of Pope Francis’ repeated calls for interreligious dialogue and collaboration. His concern to highlight the globally interrelated challenges of poverty and climate change is a direct reflection of the Church’s Mission, and the Martyrdoms—great and small—that may have to be faced if the lethal consequences of our seriously distorted policies of economic and social development are to be reshaped toward serving the common good. As Francis’ letter on environmental responsibility and spirituality Laudato Si’(2015), makes clear, such efforts to address our global problems will not be successful, if we ignore the deeper spiritual crisis that exacerbates them. The MRI’s focus on Contemplation is not a distraction from addressing these problems, but is an indispensable component of any effective solutions.

The Call for Papers for the 2019 October Symposium, then, is an attempt to define a topic that will promote the rediscovery of spiritual resources for making a practical difference in resolving the problems that we face as individuals and as peoples united in our common destiny as one humanity. We hope to provide a forum for the exploration of comprehensive perspectives, at once both historically informed as well as spiritually attuned, and practical, in which our wisdom traditions are being deployed to address contemporary challenges, especially in business and the professions. We hope that you will consider answering this Call, and will share with us what you have learned in your research as well as in your personal spiritual journeys.



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