The Theology of the Child, Children’s Care, and Protection
The phenomenon of preventable child-family separation is as old as time. Societal approaches to children at risk of losing parental care are largely informed by cultural beliefs and habits. Faith-based perspectives and responses are—and have always been—an important part of this equation. Christian faith communities have responded to child-family separation in various ways throughout history, contributing to both the propagation and prevention of child-family separation across time and contexts, including during American slavery (trafficking), through interactions with Indigenous communities and the establishment of residential boarding schools, the development and use of orphanages and institutional care worldwide, and in response to refugee and migrant movements.
During this webinar, participants will explore the theological dimensions of child-family separation. Is there a theology of the child within the Christian faith? How has the care and protection of children been understood within Catholic social teaching? How have these interpretations interacted with growing evidence about the effects of child-family separation on developmental outcomes across the life course and with the field of child rights?
The forum on Faith and the Family: Propagating and Preventing Child-Family Separation across Time and Context is convened by Catholic Relief Services and Georgetown University’s Collaborative on Global Children’s Issues, in coordination with the Changing the Way We Care initiative and strategic partners.
English, French, and Spanish interpretation will be available. Please email email@example.com by Wednesday, March 15 with additional accommodation requests.
Marcia J. Bunge is professor of religion and the Bernhardson Distinguished Chair at Gustavus Adolphus College and extraordinary research professor at North-West University in South Africa. She has published six volumes on perspectives on children and childhood in world religions. As a theologian, scholar, and child advocate, Bunge has been engaged in several international and interreligious academic projects and advocacy efforts devoted to children and child well-being.
Rev. Charles Chilufya, S.J. (moderator), is the director of the Justice and Ecology Office at the Jesuit Conference of Africa and Madagascar. Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Chilufya has coordinated the Africa Task Force of the Vatican COVID-19 Commission, an effort under the aegis of the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development. Chilufya previously worked with Copperbelt University, a public university in Zambia, in the School of Business and as the university chaplain.
Rev. Jean Messingué, S.J., is a Jesuit priest with a doctorate in clinical psychology and a master’s degree in mental health counseling. He is a professor at the Jesuit Institute of Theology in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Messingué also directs a counseling center and a research department. He teaches courses on pastoral counseling and practical theology and continues to develop training and certificate programs related to pastoral care, counseling, and psychotherapy.
Sr. Nuala Patricia Kenny, S.C., is professor emerita at Dalhousie University. She entered the Sisters of Charity of Halifax in 1962 and received postgraduate training in pediatrics at Dalhousie and Tufts Medical Center. Kenny has received seven honorary doctorates for her work in child health, medical education, and health policy. Her research focuses on clergy abuse, pandemic ethics, the renewal of public health, and Pope Francis’ call to synodality.
Bishop Luis Solé Fa, C.M., has served as the bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Trujillo on the north coast of Honduras since 2005. Born in Tarragona, Spain, he entered the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian Missionaries) in 1968 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1973. Belonging to the Religious Province of Barcelona, Spain, he has served in various capacities in the Mission of Honduras for the past 47 years. His degrees are in education, philosophy, and theology.