Report from CEPHAS 2016

CEPHAS 2016: What is Faith?

14th -17th July 2016

To celebrate the 800th anniversary year of the Dominican Order, CEPHAS held a three-day symposium on the nature of Faith.

Dante called St Dominic the ‘lover of the Christian faith,’ and imagined a mystical marriage between the Dominican Order’s founder and Lady Faith.

But what is faith? What is it to believe? Is it a moral or an intellectual virtue? Do we believe with the heart or the head? Is it private or public? How does faith come about?

The long weekend symposium was an opportunity to explore such questions about faith philosophically in relation to the works of Aquinas and, especially, to his Summa Theologica.

Br Andrew Wagstaff (a former lawyer and now member of the Birmingham Oratory) gave an extremely interesting talk on Marriage in relation to radical changes in British law over the last fifty years.

Participants commented:

Really good to concentrate on one aspect as it gave me a greater understanding. Enjoyed the balance of social and learning. Really friendly participants and appreciated the varied balance of other people’s knowledge.

Talks were very interesting specially about the definition of Faith. I suggest that for next sessions we could focus more on different fundamental definitions. Food and hospitality was brilliant. Thank you. Also I really enjoyed the company of others and use their comments and thoughts.

I have a scientific background and have never attended (or been involved in philosophy) a course like it. I have found it very stimulating and it has given me lots to investigate and read. There was a lot to assimilate and digest. The layout and delivery of the material was good. I would definitely like to have the opportunity for more! Thank you for everything you have put into it.

I liked the one theme Faith. Deepened my faith as a result. Wonderful week end really inspiring. I did not know what to expect but well past my expectations. I thought I might have difficulty taking on or understanding the concepts but George and Sister Valery both explained it so well I had no difficulty understanding. Will be using my new found knowledge to deepen my catechesis.

On Thursday night I wondered if this weekend would really fill a need (“Do I really need this”) – By the end of Friday I was feeling that I was indeed appreciating Faith – and my faith in a new light.

A relaxed and friendly atmosphere to engage in study. Stimulated thinking things through in deeper, structured ways. The focus on faith was very interesting and the workshops provided a way of examining and modifying our own insights and misconceptions. I was very pleased with this aspect. It is wonderful to be able to join in the worship of the sisters and to hear Mass so easily so often.