“It shall not be so among you!”
René Girard and the Challenge of Truly Being Church
Click below for complete recording: Michael Kirwan SJ – ZOOM – Thu 30th March
“But Jesus called them to him and said, ‘You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you.‘” (Matt 20:25,26)Why is it that, despite this solemn instruction from Jesus, the Church came to mirror the pyramidal social order of the past? And why has unjust social inequality persisted even in spite of the call of the secular ‘Enlightenment’ for ‘liberty, equality and fraternity’?
In the view of a global colloquium of 21st century thinkers, this puzzle has finally been resolved by the American-French Catholic scholar René Girard, who died in 2015. His solution involves a new understanding of the verb ‘to covet’ – and of the warnings against coveting in the ninth and tenth commandments.
Throwing an extraordinary light on current problems of power, of violence, and of the environment – as well as on the conflict within the church – Girard’s insight also strongly supports the revelatory authority of the Gospels, reinforcing the importance of Easter.
In a Zoom presentation on Thursday March 30th, 2023, Michael Kirwan SJ argued that Girard’s insights can help resolve the church’s current divisions and inner tensions – and help all Christians become equal synodal partners in the united servant church that Jesus foresaw.
Dr Michael Kirwan is Director of the Loyola Institute based in Trinity College Dublin and Assistant Professor of Theology in the Catholic Tradition. He is the author of Discovering Girard (Darton, Longman and Todd 2004) a recognised introduction to the seminal insights of one of the most influential thinkers of our time.