The Theology and Ministry Program of the School of Humanities invites you to the oral defense of the M.A. Thesis entitled “PRACTICING SYNODALITY: A Way Using the 12-Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and Walter Brueggemann’s Prophetic Imagination” by ALDO MIGUEL CONSTANTINO M. BONIFACIO on 11 May 2023, Thursday, 10:00 a.m at the Loyola School of Theology. The Board of Examiners is composed of Markus Locker, Ph.D. (Second Reader/Principal Examiner), Fr. Jerome Vallabaraj, S.D.B., Th.D., and Fr. Teodulo Gonzales, S.J., Ph.D. The M.A. Thesis Adviser is Fr. Francis Alvarez, S.J., S.T.L., Ph.D. The defense is being held in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Arts in Theological Studies with field of specialization in Biblical Theology. It is open to the public.
Abstract: This research attempts to answer the Synod on Synodality’s call to journey with those who have become distant from the Church—Catholics who rarely or never practice their faith and those who have left the Church, commonly known as the disaffiliated. In attempting to understand the distance, the research discovered through data and analysis a common dynamic shared between these two groups—a dynamic and gradual process of disengagement.
In light of this discovery, the research endeavors to develop a practical dynamic approach to disengagement that begins with an admission that all of us are disengaged, establishing common ground, and reflecting synodality. This pragmatic approach is based on the twelve-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, a treatment modality for substance-use disorders that also functions as a highly effective dialogical tool. This modality is highly adaptable and may be modified to address disengagement and bridge the ever-growing distance between the Church and the disengaged. But this research found that it needs many enhancements, which led the study to draw from the key principles of Walter Brueggemann’s work on prophetic ministry, The Prophetic Imagination.
The result of this thesis sets the foundations for a simple, accessible, and highly adaptable way to encounter and dialogue with Catholics who have grown distant from the Church. The author hopes that various Catholic ministries, organizations, or groups will further enhance, modify, and appropriate this study based on their specific needs and context.