The authors of this symposium nvite the reader to consider the liberation of those at the table, those on the table, those servicing and serving the tables, those raising, tending and harvesting for tables, and those without access to any table at all.
“Children give us immense joy, but they are also hard work. We have to do everything for them but sometimes we also have to resist the urge to help them, so that they can become independent. They grow up too fast, but also, often, way too slowly. When they rebel against us, it is a sign that we have raised them well. Could we treat our political theological categories similarly? Could we want for them this flexibility, or mutability, this growing independence from us who created them?”
The essays seek a genealogy of and reckoning with the place of religion in modern regimes of sovereignty, its pre-colonial histories and post-colonial legacies, as well as an accounting of the fissures that remain in its emplacement, out of which new life continues to grow.
“[These books] exhibit the fruits of decades of scholarship urging us to engage a wide variety of Catholic subjects and to allow for the strangeness of religious experience, and yet at the same time contribute so clearly to older strands of work on intellectual and political history.”
But how subversive can a contemporary inquiry be if it remains a paradigmatically modern- and Euro-centric affair (as the critical literature on the secular has historically been). My suggestion is that if the secular is a temporal and spatial concept emanating from the modern West (as many would agree), its “shadows” will necessarily lie elsewhere.
We contend that in this time of increasing disaffiliation, the stories of “the women who left” in the twentieth century offer valuable insights about familiar Catholic experiences for those who know the pain of disillusionment, who have yearned for holiness outside of the church, and who have sought to reclaim what is of value in the tradition that formed them.