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Re-printed with permission from the Editor of Western Catholic Reporter.

The article was first published on August 20, 2003 in the Western Catholic Report.

 

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Last Updated: Wednesday - 08/20/2003


Week of August 25, 2003


Theology on Tap quenches spirits


By RENATO GANDIA
WCR Staff Writer
Edmonton


Sans smoky air, rowdy bar patrons and loud music, close to 200 people filled Stonehouse Pub, 11012 Jasper Ave., to standing room only on Aug. 19.

Beer or other inebriating beverages were not tops on patrons' order lists. Though most of them had something to drink, what they really came for was the "theology on tap."

This was the scene at the pub for four consecutive Tuesday nights since July 29. Young adults gathered to listen and discuss various issues in the world that demand and calls for a faith perspective with theological experts.

This program is not new, but unheard of before in Edmonton.

The idea behind the series is to take theology where young people live and play. It started in Chicago in 1981 as a way to reach out to young people at universities and colleges during the summer break.

Youth ministry coordinator Roger Lamoureux, one of the organizers, was beaming, both with pride and gratitude.

"We're just flabbergasted. We were talking when we planned it, if we get 30 to 50 people on a regular basis, we would be very happy."

By Aug. 19, attendance climbed close to 200.

On its last night, the topic was ever ancient, ever new.

Social justice activist Bob McKeon shared his personal stories related to the Vietnam War, discussed biblical models of war and the Catechism of the Catholic Church's teachings on just war.

Fresh in people's minds was that day's suicide bombing of UN headquarters in Baghdad and discussions dwelt on the morality of the War in Iraq

War thoughts

For most people, the Catechism's principles on just war were new and something they have never paid attention to before. McKeon explained the principles were worded differently, although they were the same principles that world leaders stood by in opposing the War in Iraq.

McKeon admitted, "There's certainly some critique with the just war theology itself."

"John Paul II calls us to go beyond the just war principles because the Gospel calls us to non-violence."

Formation

Lamoureux became convinced theology on tap is a way of formation "in a pretty safe environment, And yet it's challenging because the speakers are all constantly saying, 'Where do you stand on this?'"

On its July 29 opening night, Notre Dame Sister Mary Lou Cranston spoke about bioethics. Julien Hammond discussed interfaith and ecumenical relations on Aug. 5 while Redemptorist Father David Purcell led an Aug. 12 discussion on the use and misuse of Scripture by Christians.

Jason Gariepy, 27, communications manager for the provincial government, acted as the host of the series.

"It's about how we as Catholics can get along better with other Christians and with other major religious groups, and how we can have a better common understanding and how we can learn from each other, be respectful and accepting of each other while still maintaining our Catholic values and principles."

He believes this is the central message of all theology on tap events.

U of A civil engineering student Dennis Bremault, attended the last two nights. "It wouldn't be the first time I talked about my faith in a bar. It's kinda cool. Your faith is everywhere. God has always been there for me, that's why faith is important for me."

On Aug. 26 Archbishop Thomas Collins will celebrate a Mass with this group to be followed by a barbecue at Mary Help of Christians Parish.

The tap has been turned off for this year. It will surely be opened next summer, but its patrons remained thirsting for more theology on tap.

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http://www.wcr.ab.ca/news/2003/0825/theology082503.shtml

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