Online Colloquium 2006


Opening Paper

Thomas Finger, “Sacrimentality

Certainly there is a anti-sacramental tendency in the Anabaptist-Mennonite tradition, Finger acknowledges.. Yet if sacramentality names the promise that God’s grace can permeate and transform all of creation, he argues, then “historic Anabaptists were extremely sacramental,” for “they insisted, at least as strongly as any current religious movement, that grace inform all their concrete, material activities and relationships.” Finger identifies Anabaptist strands and thinkers who offer theological insights that could lead towards a fuller Mennonite affirmation of sacramentality. He also discusses recent proposals by Roman Catholic theologians attempting to explain sacramental theology in the modern world that might resonate with Mennonite theology. He points out similarities between some of these proposals and key Mennonite convictions about the presence of Christ in the church community and the need for liturgical practices to be ethically and socially transformative.

Invited Responses

Dennis Martin, “Two Trains Passing in the Night

Martin insists that for Mennonite theologians such as Finger to engage in serious ecumenical dialogue with Roman Catholicism, they must engage settled  magisterial teaching, not just “cherry-pick” the Catholic theologians that attract them.  To do otherwise is to “converse with one’s Mennonite self, disguised superficially in ‘Catholic’ garb.”

Margaret R. Pfeil, “Liturgical Asceticism: Where Grace and Discipleship Meet

Pfeil calls fellow Catholics to “liturgical asceticism.” Rooted in the liturgical life of the worshipping community, liturgical asceticism connotes contemplative awareness of the mystery by which God transforms a “frail human community of believers into the Body of Christ,” so that individually and communally believers become icons of Christ in service to the world.