Editorial Note: Given the alarming resurgence of anti-Semitic and other xenophobic violence in today’s sociopolitical climate—often buttressed by false appeals to “religion”—the information offered below seems more timely than ever.
An army chaplain blesses Wehrmacht soldiers in German-occupied Poland, 1941.
(German Federal Archive / BArch, Bild 146-2005-0193 / Walter Henisch / CC-BY-SA 3.0)
FASPE Seminary examines the role played by German and international clergy during the period of 1933-1945, underscoring the reality that moral codes governing clergy of all religions can break down or be distorted with devastating consequences. Having demonstrated the power held by religious leaders, FASPE addresses ethical issues now facing individual members of the clergy and religious institutions at large. With the historical background in mind, the FASPE Seminary Fellows are more committed and better positioned to confront contemporary issues.
Each year, FASPE chooses 12 to 18 Seminary Fellows from divinity schools and seminaries, as well as early-career religious leaders, to spend two weeks in Berlin and Poland where they visit key historical sites and participate in daily seminars led by specialized faculty. The Seminary Fellows travel with the Medical Fellows, having the opportunity to exchange views over shared meals and in several interdisciplinary seminars.
2019 FASPE Seminary Program Dates: June 15, 2019 – June 28, 2019 (Program starts in the evening of June 15.) Applications for FASPE Seminary 2019 are now open. To apply please go here.
FASPE Seminary Fellows consider topics such as:
- the complicity of clergy in the execution of Nazi policies, including by failing to speak out
- postwar confession, apologies and reconciliation
- the right and responsibility of religious leaders to be ethical educators
- pastoral leadership in a diverse community
- religious faith, exclusivism and the temptations toward prejudice and intolerance
- navigating multiple loyalties—to institutional authorities, religious doctrine and policies, lay leaders, community needs and more
- tactics for addressing ethical issues within religious institutions
FASPE Seminary offers an approach to ethics and professionalism that differs from the usual experience at seminaries and divinity schools by providing a holistic curriculum that looks beyond dogma and norms to focus on ethical problems faced by individual leaders in the contemporary pastoral or academic setting.
The Seminary program was initially developed by a committee of professors, priests, rabbis and scholars. Particular contributions to the program over the years have been made by the Rev. John Langan, S.J., Professor of Philosophy and Cardinal Bernardin Chair of Catholic Social Thought at Georgetown University; Rabbi James Ponet, Howard M. Holtzmann Jewish Chaplain Emeritus at Yale University; and the Rev. Kevin P. Spicer, C.S.C., James J. Kenneally Distinguished Professor of History at Stonehill College. FASPE Seminary Fellows from prior years are now serving as clergy, chaplains, theologians and educators.