Catholic Theological Society of the Philippines
Damdaming Katoliko sa Teolohiya
Realizing the need to have a forum for serious theological discussions on intra and extraecclesial issues that call for enlightenment and critical analysis, a number of Philippine-based alumni of the theology faculty of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, have taken steps toward organizing an association, which they hope will contribute to the development of theological consciousness in the Philippine Church.
by Agnes Brazal
The group learned that there have been several attempts to form such a theological association before but these failed because of the members’ opposing theological orientations or levels of professional training. The group thought it wise to start with a community of friends with more or less similar orientation and level of professional training in theology. Toward this end, a steering committee called Fonske Group― composed of Leuvenaars― organized an inaugural symposium on “Fundamentalism and Pluralism in the Church” held on 25-26 October 2002 at the De La Salle University in Manila. In this symposium, there were already present theologian alumni from other universities, who expressed keen interest in joining the envisioned theological association. Thus the circle of friends immediately expanded to become what DaKaTeo is now, an association of Catholic men and women, specializing in the various theological disciplines and who received their professional training from different universities here and abroad.
In 2003, the group held several meetings to draft the Constitution. The Vision-Mission of the group was further clarified in a gathering in 2004 at the De La Salle guesthouse in Tagaytay.
Toward a just and inclusive Church and society, DaKaTeo sees its primary contribution not only in providing a space for theological reflections and praxis but also in fostering a “writing culture” among theologians. Oftentimes, Filipino theologians, after obtaining their licentiate or doctoral degrees, have difficulties finding time to write theological articles. The association is a support as well as “pressure” group for theologians to continue producing creative and relevant theological research. It is a joke in Dakateo that here, “we pay… to be pressured to write… and then to be critiqued!”
Equally important as well is the fostering of fellowship among its members. DaKaTeo is not just an organization but a “community of friends” who are also ready to support one another especially in times of “crisis”.
Lastly, it has been asked, a theology with whom and for whom? Who benefits from our theological discourse? DaKaTeo is convinced that we would be remiss in our vocation as theologians if our theology will not be conducted in dialogue with the poor and the excluded and in solidarity with their just interests and aspirations. DaKaTeo adopts a liberationist and intercultural perspective in its way of doing theology.