This week, we’re all talking about academic conferences. I am presenting at one next week. I have not finished the paper for that conference, in part because I was finishing up another article with a colleague that was published yesterday. This is the sort of cluster of deadlines that academics try to avoid so much, but when you’re dealing with outside organizations and news outlets, there’s only so much you can do. In lieu of a fuller post on conferences, I give you a snippet of and link to the article I have been writing.
The only other point I’d make is that much of what academics do is “invisible,” not just because it happens at conferences that are of little interest to the general public, but also because it happens in private, and because it is unpaid. None of this work – the article in the Washington Post, my writing for this blog, the conference paper I’m writing, the book I’m writing – is paid, and much of it depends on research I have to pay for myself. It is still part of my job and I’m expected to do it to get and maintain employment.
In July, an international group of 62 Catholics delivered a challenge to Pope Francis, charging him with propagating heresies in his 2016 suggestion that divorced and remarried Catholics could receive Communion, a sacrament from which they are currently barred.
After they had received no satisfactory response from the pope, they released their “Filial Correction” to the public in September. Since then, the number of signatories has grown to 235.
The incident — Catholics challenging the pope, even accusing him of heresy — no doubt seems shocking. But challenges to papal authority are nothing new in the Catholic Church. Laypeople, theologians and priests have claimed the right to define the nature of Catholicism throughout its 2,000-year history.