Annual Lecture Christianity and Society

The Annual Lecture Christianity and Society is held each year in the month of February at the campus of Tilburg University.

This public lecture focuses on a theme directly related to the 'In Dialogue' courses of the Master's program in Christianity and Society.


The dark side of modernity and the re-invention of Christian tradition

Tilburg School of Catholic Theology, June 2, 2017

Kieran Flanagan


"Having returned to the Foreign Office from the House of Commons, on the 3rd of August 1914, days after the start of the First World War, Sir Edward Grey reflected in a famous sentence: ‘the lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall not see them lit again in our life time’. It is unlikely that Grey had in mind resort to sociologists to restore light given how many it takes for them to change a light bulb. Nor had he mind the lights of churches going out in the face of secularisation, where over 15,000 in Europe by 2015, are deemed redundant. Whereas in the French Revolution, the spiritual capital of the churches was destroyed, generating charges of vandalism, which the Commission of Monuments 1790-1793 was set to resolve, now something more diffuse, more intractable and more pervasive in the ethos of the culture of a maturing modernity is generating that abandonment to the dark. It is as if the Confraternity of the Faithless, as in Oscar Wilde’s De Profundis, have gained the upper hand..."


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