Edited by Stan Chu Ilo and Gianluca Montaldi

Why the theme of Crisis?

This project and this theme have its root in the exchange of ideas and themes that took place various years ago in the Board of Editors. Felix Wilfred raised the question of the ‘church in crisis’ in the search for new issues to be addressed by Concilium and obtained many reactions in this regard. Following this conversation among both the BoD and the BoE, and given the urgency of some of the issues we face in today’s church, it was decided that the first edition of Concilium Online should be on the crisis in the Church. The importance of this kind of discussion, and the need for a theological dialogue and engagement with themes around this topic, has become more urgent with the uncertainties and complexities we have witnessed since 2020.

We have seen clearly some of the signs of the crisis in our Church from different parts of the world. We will like to point out to you some of the new questions arising from some of the signs of this crisis. These questions are not exhaustive. However, we hope they might offer you some few prompts for a deeper theological analysis and concrete pastoral intervention and greater social engagement in shaping the focus of your article for Concilium Online:

  1. What does the McCarrick report reveal about the systematic and destructive clerical and institutional culture that is responsible for this human tragedy that is a permanent stain on the Church?
  2. What kind of ecclesiology can be developed from the wounds and tragedies of these terrible crimes; abuse of authority and trust in our Church and for dealing with the ever-expanding consequences of clerical sexual abuse?
  3. What creative theological and pastoral proposals could be developed for healing the victims of these sinful and shameful crimes and for creating a safe space within our churches for people to lament, and to find a true spiritual home where they can find comfort, peace, and healing and thus truly and deeply see the face of God in our churches and in their brothers and sisters?
  4. Covid-19 has exposed the inadequacy of our sacramental theology, the limits of our cultic clericalism, the continuing marginalization of the laity and particularly the question of the real presence of the Lord outside the narrow concentration on the Eucharistic species. What reforms are needed as we confront in this pandemic the crisis of our sacramental theology, the divisive theological arguments for and against church closures during the pandemic, the virtualization of the mass, and the asymmetries of power on full display in the reception of the Eucharist species by the priest vs. the spiritual reception by the laity in virtual masses etc?
  5. How credible has been the Church’s witness to the poor, seniors, the sick and dying, in the face of Covid-19, and what new pastoral and social ministries can be developed from the failings and best practices from all around the world in the witness of people of faith and Church agencies and leadership?
  6. What challenges do the anti-racist protests that irrupted globally following George Floyd’s brutal killing in the U.S and the divisive responses within the Church in the U.S and elsewhere on racism and injustice in the world pose to our social engagement as a Church and theologians? How do we develop a theological anthropology and construction of otherness that is compelling and an capable of transforming the sinful racialized thinking and social hierarchies in our societies and churches?
  7. The American presidential election has revealed the need for theologians to develop a political theology that is capable of speaking to the crisis of the nation-state and the contradictions of democratic projects built on clinical liberal capitalism. The passionate defense of Trumpism as a standard bearer of the Church’s pro-life teachings raise questions about the sources for validating moral truth, and engagement of the Church in the public square. Does the Church need new Constantinian moral, religious and political Christendom for meeting the cultural and moral pluralism and contestations of our times? What are the limits of the Church’s support for one party over another? What are the bases for making a moral judgement on the legitimacy of political authorities, office holders, and institutions vis-à-vis the common good or the good of order?


What we are looking for from Contributors

The content and style of the essays will be the same as the print edition. However, we are looking for essays that are not simply theoretical, but essays that are rich in stories, and that draw from the real-life experiences and examples of the life or social realities of people from all around the world.

What this means is that your essay should not simply tell (generalized reflection), but rather should show (grounded concrete engagement with a social fact or an event, news story that can draw people into the story in an intuitive manner).

We also hope that essayists will take into consideration the need to hold two things in constant dialogue in this online edition: First, the crisis in the Church: How does the story, event, or issue which you address show that there is a crisis in the Church. Second, Transformation of the Church beyond the analysis of the crisis or critical comments, what intervention measures are you proposing? In other words, ‘what next’ are you bringing to the table that will contribute in the transformation of the Church. 

Your essay should be written in two ways: first, you could write it as a purely academic essay with references (you don’t need to include a bibliography). Second, you may write as a reflective theological essay as an opinion on a topic while maintaining theological and scientific rigor, without populated it with references. In either case, however, please note that the goal of the online edition is to open Concilium to a newer and wider readership of both academic and non-academic readers, and to use the online edition as a forum for ongoing conversation between our readers and our writers on current issues of pertinence to faith and witness. We hope that the online edition will stimulate some interesting and helpful conversations as we move forward. We intend to publish the essays as they arrive unlike the print edition, so we will be publishing essays in blocks of 4-5.



We hope to group the essays that will be submitted around these three broad areas and will like you to indicate in the Key Words for your essay the categories below to which your essay belongs:

a) the crisis of the church in a general sense: universal church-local church relationship, authority in the church, election of ecclesial guides/leaders, ministries/ministeria, women and church, violence and power, sacraments today, etc.

b) the churches in their context, social engagement, church and politics, religion and violence, church and racism: the various local and global manifestations of the crisis we are going through in the World Church.

c) particular, though absolutely necessary, issues: abuse, financial scandals, reform of the Roman curia, religious life, priestly life, celibacy, Catholic education, spirituality, liturgy and sacramentality, etc.