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Sydney bishop launches faith formation podcast


The Episcopal Podcast

J-P Mauro - published on 06/17/20 - updated on 06/17/20

The Epsicopal Podcast, geared towards millennials, will explore Catholic philosophy, theology, history, the sciences, languages and the arts.

Bishop Richard Umbers, Auxiliary Bishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, has launched a new series of podcasts aimed at solidifying the faith formations of Catholic young adults. Christened The Episcopal Podcast, Bishop Umbers’ project intends to bring elements of the Christian intellectual tradition to bear on contemporary issues, with new installments coming every two weeks.

For the first podcast, titled “S1E1: Philosophy & Why Catholics Should Care,” Bishop Umbers was joined by his research assistant Silvana Scarfe and theologian Dr. Matthew Tan. Over the course of the half-hour recording, these three discuss Catholic disciplines and their relation to philosophy. They make a case that it is essential for all Catholics to have some understanding of philosophy and highlight the effect it could have on one’s faith.

Along the way, they reference the teachings of Plato, Aristotle, Karol Woltyla (Pope St. John Paul II), Michael Foucault, Max Scheler, Edmund Husserl, and Jacques Derrida. Dr. Tan noted that the study of the structure of philosophies is very important to the understanding of theological concepts. Here’s an excerpt from their discussion:

Dr. Matthew Tan: “What I’ve found in the teaching of theology is that it doesn’t make a lot of sense to talk about theological categories without first talking about philosophy, precisely because philosophy gives them the mental infrastructure, I suppose, to think through these theological topics we cover in class.” Bishop Umber: “Even in the Creed, when we talk about being consubstantial with the Father. What does consubstantial mean? What is substance? That is in many ways, in what has been called scholastic philosophy, a certain understanding of how the Church is appropriated. To understand the very theological terms that are in the Creeds and in the dogmatic statements of various ecumenical councils … When you say that there are three persons in one God and the term hypostasis and how it was developed in theology, but was drawn from the Greek philosophical speculation. Of course, a lot of heresies resulted from a poor appropriation of those terms. That’s why, I think, it’s really important to have a good grounding in the history of philosophy if you want to learn theology well.”

The podcast delves deeply into topics and concepts that many may never have considered before, and maintains a high level of vocabulary aimed at university-educated men and women in their 20s and 30s. While the conversations can become very dense, the educational value of the musings is immense.

The first episode was released on June 17, and more episodes of The Episcopal Podcast are released ever two weeks. It is Bishop Umber’s intention to have a variety of guests, both Australian and international, in order to provide the most entertaining and enlightening conversations possible.

Listen to The Episcopal Podcast here.

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