Call to Action Conference, Memphis

I had a busy day today at the CTA conference.  I gave a talk in the morning on the history of women in the Church, with particular emphasis on the spirituality of the women mystics.  I drew a lot of what I was saying from Mary T. Malone’s wonderful new book, The Elephant in the Church.  The crowd who came were so great that we had to be moved to a larger venue, and even there, in the best Redemptorist tradition, they had to go for more chairs.

Then after lunch I gave another talk, to a somewhat similar crowd, on the Irish Church. Each of those talks was followed by a lively discussion, and the event lasted for an hour and a half in each case.

Then a five o’clock in the evening I was part of a panel, with Debbie Rose-Milavec, Chris Schenck, and Gerry Busaird, discussing the prospects of better cooperation between clergy and laity in the Church.  Again there was a large crowd at that, and the discussion was very lively.  At one point Chris Schenck asked those present who had masters degrees in theology to put up their hands.  At least half of the attendance of about 150 put their hands up.  It gave me a real indication of the quality of the people who are attending this conference. The lay people in the reform movements in the US are mostly highly educated in the different areas of religion.

Tomorrow morning early I fly on to Sarasota for stop number twelve on my tour.