Home » Events » M.A. Thesis Defense of JOHN MARY FRANCIS M. NUQUI (Philippines) on 15 May 2024

M.A. Thesis Defense of JOHN MARY FRANCIS M. NUQUI (Philippines) on 15 May 2024

Apr 29, 2024

The Theology and Ministry Program of the School of Humanities invites you to the oral defense of the M.A. Thesis entitled “MERCY AS EMBRACE: An Understanding of Forgiveness and Reconciliation Through Miroslav Volf’s Exclusion and Embrace” by JOHN MARY FRANCIS M. NUQUI (Archdiocese of Manila) on 15 May 2024, Wednesday, 2:00 p.m. at Tipanan ni San Ignacio, DLC 201, 2/F Dela Costa Bldg., Loyola School of Theology. The Board of Examiners is composed of Fr. Oliver Dy, S.J., S.T.D., Ph.D. (Second Reader/Principal Examiner), Fr. Cristopher Fajardo, S.T.D. cand., and Fr. Jojo Fung, S.J., Ph.D. The M.A. Thesis Adviser is Fr. Arnel Aquino, S.J., S.T.D. The defense is being held in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Master of Arts in Theological Studies with Systematic Theology as the field of specialization. It is open to the public.

Abstract: Human history and experience – especially in the world’s entry into the twentieth century – tell stories of violence such as terrorism, wars, genocide, and murder. People continue to experience injustice, murder, oppression, abuse, and exploitation in their everyday lives. Such tragic reality makes the offense look unforgiveable. This created a tension between the cry for justice of the oppressed and the call to forgive. Caught in this kind of situation, will forgiveness and reconciliation still be possible?

Miroslav Volf, a contemporary theologian, has written extensively about forgiveness and reconciliation. He developed his works in a context fraught with disturbing wars and out of deep concern for the social and political realities of today. This study presents Volf’s theology of mercy as seen in one of his works entitled Exclusion and Embrace: A Theological Exploration of Identity, Otherness, and Reconciliation. The discussion outlines Volf’s concepts of “identity and otherness,” and “exclusion” against which he subsequently constructs his main argument on “embrace”.

Furthermore, this paper revisits the Old Testament understanding of mercy, particularly the lex talionis, the Hebrew words hesed and rahamim, and the relationship between God’s mercy and justice. The discussion then flows by looking at Jesus’ teachings, especially his call to love the enemy and the parables of the Good Samaritan and Prodigal Son. This also refers to works of contemporary theologians such as Walter Kasper and Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the writings and homilies of Pope Francis.

Lastly, this thesis does a systematic analysis of theological texts, looking carefully at the articulation and development of Volf’s understanding of forgiveness and reconciliation vis-à-vis the Catholic Church’s theology of mercy. Integrating Volf’s theology of embrace leads to an understanding of mercy as embracive identity, as exercising double vision, and as the will to embrace. This then narrates the experience and relationship between the UP Parish of the Sacrifice and the Old Roman Catholic Church as an appropriation of Volf’s theology of embrace.

In light of the experiences of oppression and cycle of violence, a theology of embrace hopes to offer a fresh perspective and practical framework of heeding the call to love and forgive. It has become evident that mercy, forgiveness, and reconciliation – while often deemed extraordinary acts – are also practical, possible, and sensible. The image of embrace places mercy at the heart of the Church’s theology and pastoral praxis all because mercy is at the very heart of God’s self revelation. As an embrace, the offer of forgiveness and reconciliation is not only a response to the call to love one’s enemies; more importantly, it is a bold affirmation and declaration of the experience of being embraced by God.

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