Cultivating faith and theology amid the trying times, Ateneo de Davao University (AdDU) Theology Department, in partnership with the Ignatian Spirituality and Formation Office (ISFO), launched the first AdDU Theological Conversation, following the theme of “Moral Life, Virtues, and COVID-19 Pandemic.”
University President Rev. Fr. Joel Tabora, SJ welcomed the program in his opening address by describing the globe’s status quo against the virus. He then mentioned that the “fear of invisible enemy increases,” referring to the rise of newer and deadlier mutations such as the delta variant.
Tabora also emphasized the significance of “self-discipline” in addressing the urgency of the pandemic, showing concern and manifesting compassion to those left devastated, especially the lives lost and the economic repercussions that ensued in this disheartening period.
“As this pandemic rages, through this conversation, may we all grow inside just like how a virtuous Christan must act,” Tabora said.
Meanwhile, Keynote speaker Fr. James Keenan, SJ, Director of the Jesuit Institute in Boston College, expounded on the necessary virtues a Catholic must recall, especially in facing the COVID-19 health crisis.
Keenan discussed 12 virtues and explained their relevance in improving people’s outlook in life. Among the virtues were justice, fidelity, self-care, prudence, mercy, fortitude, honesty, solidarity, humility, playfulness, hospitality, and charity.
When asked about whether attention should be placed more on caring for the others who are next to us or trying to do something to rectify the global injustice in the world, Fr. Keenan answered the necessity of both options, further indicating the need “to go beyond for change to happen.”
“Speak the truth. In my country, during Trump’s term, many of our Bishops said nothing. We had so many awful actions happening, and they kept quiet,” he said, responding to a query on how to engage the church and religious leaders who actually side with populist politicians.
Fr. Keenan further pointed out “to pay attention to the fact that there is that experience where God is on occasion,” citing instances where doubts prevail over people about God abandoning His creation, most notably in this crucial time.
“Sometimes, the felt absence of God is about having a more profound understanding of faith,” he said.
The discussion was streamed yesterday via the ISFO Facebook page and Youtube channel, garnering an accumulation of more than 2,000 viewers from across the Philippines on both streaming platforms.