International Seminar on the Social Teaching of John Paul II
The Multicultural Centre in co-operation with the University of Asia and the Pacific, Philippines organised an international seminar on contemporary social issues in the teaching of John Paul II.
The seminar was officially opened by Professor Jim Taylor, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Global Learning Services) and took place at the USQ Toowoomba campus Council Chamber, room S515 on 4 and 5 December 2008.
Important contemporary social issues such as peace, poverty, terrorism, homelessness or human rights were often the subject of John Paul II's concerns. He addressed them in numerous official documents and public speeches. His ideas invited the intense interest of millions of listeners in the many addresses given both from the Vatican and on international papal visits, which were widely reported by the media.
As a generally acknowledged world leader, Pope John Paul II met with heads of state, governments, diplomats and religious leaders of different faiths, and he was not afraid to discuss sensitive, difficult to resolve, social issues.
John Paul II as a person has also been a subject of a number of books of biographical character and various publications by others. Many of them, although focussing on the person and his times, undertook an analysis of social issues as understood from the papal teachings.
Although John Paul II's views on social justice issues cannot be separated from his role as the Supreme Pontiff of the Catholic Church, the leader of billion of Catholics world-wide, his teachings can and should also be analysed from a universal, humanistic perspective. Doing this, we would be able to find out the values, directions, solutions, ideas of values for all, regardless of individual religious orientations.
The task is worthwhile as John Paul II's contribution to humanity was enormous. The best-known aspect is his contribution to the collapse of communism. A number of books on this Pope have very special titles, reflecting his world-wide leadership, including: "The Universal Father", "The Man of the Century" or "The Man of History". His international activities, frequent pastoral and (simultaneously as the head of state) state visits as well as the interest of the media in his every move, made him highly influential and the most recognisable world leader.
John Paul II's frequent contacts with other churches, religions and faiths made him famous for his contribution to ecumenism and inter-faith dialogue. He was admired not only by Catholics and Christians but also by many Jews, Muslims and Buddhists.
After more than three years since his death it is appropriate to recall his teaching and to select issues still very relevant to all.
The purpose of the seminar is to try to analyse John Paul II's teaching on social issues, their relevance today and in the future.
To invite scholarly papers written on topics associated with the social teaching of John Paul II;
To select, through academic debate and discussion, the issues relevant for today and for the future;
To undertake an attempt of classification of these issues;
To develop interest in John Paul II's writings on social issues and, especially the ways of addressing them;
To consider preparation of an international conference with the involvement of Australian and Filipino scholars and practitioners in social justice;
To establish and develop contacts with scholars raising interest in this area.
A number of experts and interested participants attended this seminar.
"Social Teachings of John Paul II and Corporate Social Responsibility" paper presented by Mr Dionisio Papelleras.
“The Influence of John Paul II and His Ideas on Education” paper presented by Dr Richard Benton.
For more information, contact William Conwell, Manager, Multicultural Centre, on +61 07 4631 1678