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The Crisis of Religion and the Problem of Roman Catholic Self-Definition

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GOA Blog Page

The researchers of the GOA research team explain the links between their  own research and the GOA project in the GOA blog.


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GOA project 

This project seeks to dispel some of the confusion surrounding the notion, and the contemporary discussion, of ‘religion’ by means of a critical reflection on one of its most complex and enduring manifestations, namely, the Roman Catholic tradition of Christianity. More concretely, our research explores the content and development of Roman Catholicism’s religious self-definition throughout history.

This history has been marked by internal tensions, and disputes and divisions within Catholicism, as well as repression and corruption. In the course of its existence, Roman Catholicism has encountered multiple cultural, religious and philosophical systems which it has both opposed and/or, to some degree, appropriated. Since the advent of modernity (and postmodernity) it has been obliged to address the emergence of modern atheism and the processes of secularization (and secularism). Most recently, it has been required to meet the challenges issuing from the increasing presence and growing popularity of rival religious systems, both Christian and non-Christian.

Project summary Project text

Recent publications


Upcoming activities

Previous events 2017


Previous events 


Terrence Merrigan (Coordinator)

Systematic Theology and the Study of Religions


Mathijs Lamberigts

History of Church and Theology


Lieven Boeve

Systematic Theology and the Study of Religions


Joris Geldhof

Pastoral and Empirical Theology


Wim François

History of Church and Theology

Research Team

As a whole, the GOA-research group joins some forty scholars involved in research on both the doctoral and postdoctoral level. Each of these members works in close collaboration with one of the five supervisors.

Academic secretary: Anton Milh