The Lehmeier-Klose Theological Forum
Photograph by Shin Moynihan
The launching of the annual Lehmeier-Klose theological forum was held a while ago at the Gansewinkel Hall, Downtown Campus, focusing on this year’s theme “The Eucharist in the Year of the Poor”, followed by a discussion of the lives of the Religious Education program’s founders – Fr. Ludwig Lehmeier, SVD and Fr. Dietmar Klose, SVD – as well as an in-depth look at the history of the program. The main focus of the forum was the keynote speech given by Dr. Vivian Ligo-Ralph, a distinguished professor in the field of Systematic and Pastoral Theology.
Dr. Ligo-Ralph emphasized the blatant hypocrisy of the forum’s theme, as well as its condescending message of the objectification of the poor. “The theme glosses over the fact that the poor have been with us, and were always with us,” said Dr. Ligo-Ralph when discussing the insensitive nature of the theme, “Why do we celebrate the year of the poor? We cannot celebrate poverty.”
She then went on to state that “We have to be very careful with our choice of words.” The theme was in accordance to Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines which declared the year 2015 as “The Year of the Poor.”
The keynote speech was then followed by a panel reaction, composed of religious educators, campus ministers, and school administrators. “The poor should have a face,” said Mrs. Josefina Cemine, a professor in religious studies, when critiquing Dr. Ligo-Ralph’s speech, “Only then will we be able to ask the question: Whose year is the year of the poor?”
The reaction panel was succeeded by an open forum in which the attendees were recommended to reflect on the keynote speech, before finally concluding after a short synthesis and some closing remarks.