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Religious Community Life: A World between Tradition and Innovation
This seminar took place on 20 and 21 October 2016 in collaboration with Prof. Veerle Fraeters, Dr. Wim Vandewiele, Prof. Walter Van Herck and Prof. Em. Henk Witte. On 19 October Br. Michael Casey o.cist. gave a lecture.
Beliefs – both men’s and women’s – have for centuries been central to the formation of religious communities where believers live together abiding by certain rules and evangelical values of poverty, chastity and obedience: congregations and orders, spiritual movements, but also lay groups. Scholars from disciplines such as theology, history, religious studies, sociology of religion and spatial planning explored the interaction between societal trends such as increasing individualization, (the idea of) increasing personal autonomy, economization and the new social media on the one hand, and the internal and external dynamics of old and new religious communities on the other.

Taking into account the dialectic of rule and life, the workshop looked at the bond that regular clergy and lay groups have with (monastic) rules: do these rules limit life or do they actually give freedom to live? Furthermore, is there flexibility for monks and members of religious communities to interact with their religious tradition and to give a contemporary meaning to rules such as vows to poverty or chastity? Which religious communities maintain their relevance, both within their church and religion and for the surrounding society?