Words of welcome
Prof. Jean Ehret, Ph.D., Ph.D. (LSRS)
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to the Luxembourg School of Religion & Society at the Centre Jean XXIII in Luxembourg. My name is Jean Ehret. I am the Director of the LSRS and it is my privilege and my pleasure to welcome you at our institution. […]
In a few minutes, Professor Laliberté will read a message from H. E. the Archbishop of Luxembourg. Afterwards I will make a short introduction into our symposium. Now, I would like to say some words about the young Luxembourg School of Religion & Society, an emerging, nascent Academic player. I hope that this short presentation will also help to understand why we invited you to a symposium titled in French: “Pas d’humanité sans parole,” that I translate into English: “No Word, No Humanity.”
The Luxembourg School of Religion & Society is an institution of higher education and research sponsored by the Archdiocese of Luxembourg, open to the collaboration with other religious communities that signed an agreement with the Luxembourg State. It considers itself as a theological institution with an interdisciplinary orientation; yet it is not a faculty of theology, but a school focusing on the specific relationship between religion and society. Historical, social, and recent political contexts have lead to this specific denomination.
In fact, the LSRS’s predecessors are the following institutions: firstly, the diocesan seminary, founded in 1845, that offered professional training for clergy; then the Institute of Religious Education, that (still) offers professional training for teachers of Catholic religion in grammar schools; finally, a number of diocesan initiatives of adult education. This interest in professional training including serious theological and religious knowledge is still on our agenda.
Then it is our goal is to hear, understand, and answer today’s challenges, questions, and problems. Luxembourg has become a very rich land and a secularized, pluralist, individualistic society that needs to think about how bringing all social and political actors together to build its future. In this context, one can probably ask two fundamental questions: What does it mean to be a Catholic, or a Jew, or a Muslim, or an Atheist in this context? The Department of Religion, Communication, Education works on this question. This department has organized our symposium under the leadership of Professor Laliberté. The second fundamental question one can ask is the following: Which contributions can religion(s) make to building the future of our society? In other words: Which responsibility do religions have for the future of our democratic society and how can they live up to it? Therefore we named of the second department of the LSRS the Department of Public Responsibility.
We don’t want to ask yesterday’s questions; they have had their answers. Of course we dig into tradition, but we focus on the needs of our society and Church. We don’t want to ask the questions of a closed circle of specialists or a “milieu.” We strongly believe that working on answering today’s questions we will also discover our own faith, its history, traditions, and the Word of God itself in a new way, and thus make a humble contribution to the eventful life of theology.
Before ending this presentation, I want to thank the staff of the Department of Religion, Communication, Education as well as the staff of the Centre Jean XXIII under the leadership of our manager, Mr Claude Holper, and Ms Gilberte Bodson, our publications manager, for the good work they have done in preparing everything in such a professional way. Thank you very much.
I would now like to invite Professor Daniel Laliberté, the head of the Department Religion, Communication, Education to read the Archbishop’s message. Thank you for your attention.