Culture and Religion

TST Annual Lecture: 'Does Society Need Scruples?'

On Tuesday March 22nd the annual lecture of Tilburg School of Catholic theology will be held. Keynote speaker is prof. dr. Tomáš Halík. He is a priest and professor in Philosophy and Theology at Charles University in Prague. He may be best known for his book Patience with God. In 2015 he won the Templeton Prize.

Does Society Need Scruples?

In our secular Western society, we enjoy freedom and welfare at a level unrivalled in history. High efficiency levels generated high income per capita but, at the same time, at tremendous cost of humanity life: eventually our sense of moral and human dignity is at stake.

Liberal welfare states have become a framework of paradoxes: extremely high personal incomes for a few, poverty and marginalization for many; permanent jobs for a few, flexible labour for many. We have been poor stewards, leaving future generations on earth that is too warm and depleted of resources. Are we willing to share some of our wealth with refugees who have lost everything? Churches have witnessed diminished attendance, while at the same spiritual centres flourish and monasteries receive more guests than ever.

A pastoral message of hope is badly needed:  a theological language to enable a dialogue with both secular atheists and Islam. The social teaching of the Church may guide us towards a society based on equality and solidarity.

Prof. dr. Tomáš Halík

He may be best known for his book, Patience with God: The Story of Zacchaeus Continuing in Us. In it, he invites us into the gospel story of Zacchaeus to reflect on a little man on the fringe of society. Like Zacchaeus we have questions and doubts and, like him, we need to respond to Jesus’ call and climb down from our comfort zone. His message points to believers and atheists alike.

As seekers we have much in common since we both have been marginalised by a dominant secularism. He writes in a pastoral rather than a theological tone, which explains his vast audience.

Tomáš Halík is one of the most influential theologians of our time.

Public Program

Dante Building DZ1

14.15 - 14.30 hrs  Coffee and tea

14.30 - 14.40 hrs  Welcome by prof. dr. Marcel Sarot, Dean Tilburg School of Catholic Theology

14.40 - 14.50 hrs  Retrospect by prof. dr. Roel van der Voort, Chairman of the centre of Social Teaching of the Church, Amsterdam Business School

14.50 - 15.35 hrs  Annual Lecture, 'Reading the Signs of the Times'. Christianity between Secularity and Post-secularity by prof. dr. Tomáš Halík

15.35 - 15.50 hrs  Statement by dr. Roshnee Ossewaarde-Lowtoo, postdoctoral researcher, Economy, Love and Human Perfection, Tilburg School of Catholic Theology/Goldschmeding foundation

15.50 - 16.05 hrs  Statement by prof. dr. Peter Jonkers, professor Tilburg School of Catholic Theology, Department of Systematic Theology and Philosophy

16.05 - 16.30 hrs  Discussion chaired by prof. dr. Marcel Poorthuis, professor Tilburg School of Catholic Theology, Department of Biblical Studies and Church History

16.30 hrs  Closure

Morning Sessions for Experts

Dante Building DZ1

10.15 - 10.30 hrs  Coffee and Tea

10.30 - 10.45 hrs  Welcome by prof. dr. Roel van der Voort, Chairman of the Centre of Social Teaching of the Church, Amsterdam Business School 

10.45 - 11. 05 hrs  prof. dr. Ronald Jeurissen, professor of Business Ethics at Nyenrode University

11.05 - 11.25 hrs  Eefje de Gelder, MSc MA PhD student, Institute for Management Research, Radboud Universiteit Nijmegen

11.25 - 11.45 hrs  Dr. Kees de Groot, assistant professor, Tilburg School of Catholic Theology, Department of Practical Theology and Religious Studies

11.45 - 12.15 hrs  prof. dr. Tomáš Halík

12.15 - 12.45 hrs  Discussion

12.45 hrs  Closure

13.00 hrs  Lunch

The organizers wish to extend their gratitude to the following organizations for their involvement, supports and input: Centrum voor de Sociale Leer van de Kerk, katholiek netwerk voor inspiratie en dialoog DEZINNEN in Den Haag en Het Tsjechisch Centrum.


All are welcome to attend. Do register here if you wish to attend. There is no entrance fee.

For more information on the TST Annual Lecture, contact the TST Office at +31 13 466 3800, e-mail: bureautst@tilburguniversity.edu.

For information on Tomáš Halík's itinerary and lecture tour in The Netherlands, please contact mr Theo Wierema from DEZINNEN at theowierema@dezinnen.nl or cell phone number +31 6 2022 8973.