Or if you prefer the more modern version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GuJQSAiODqI
No I have not been listening to my friend Terry Nelson at Abbey Roads who is obviously likely to be in the vanguard of an exciting new area of theology.
You will recall that this week 143 University theologians in Germany, Austria and Switzerland called on the Catholic Church this week to abandon the vow of celibacy for priests, open up the clergy for women and accept gays couples
Amongst the signatories are some professors in the Faculty of Catholic Theology at The University of Graz in Austria.
The Faculty of Catholic Theology at Graz is fairly large and has a prestigious history and was founded in 1585/86 by Archduke Charles II of Habsburg as a Jesuit university, and is the oldest in Austria, after Vienna
One of its major research projects as seen from its website is Commun(icat)ing Bodies:The Body as Medium in Religious Symbol System
Some of those who signed the petition to the German episcopate are members or associates of the Group. The Research Objectives are rather opaque to a non-theologian and I have to leave it to the professional theologians to judge its importance from a theological point of view
One of the members of the Group according to the website has an interest in The second skin: Clothing as a medium in religious communication systems
Of this we learn :
"Recent research on the body has emphasised the fact that the body has to be understood in relation to its social and material environment. Clothing becomes an important element in the staging of the body: by using clothes (high heels, stays, muscle shirts etc.), bodies are formed and constructed and consequently shape an individual’s self-identity and group-identity." (Emphasis added)
Recently the Group organised a conference entitled Body & Clothing, 6-10 Oct 2010, in Switzerland. The blurb on the website says this about the Conference:
"An important aspect of this bodily form of communication is the staging of the body through textiles, hairstyle, jewelry, body language, gestures, and habitus. Such "external" body (re)presentations are omnipresent; they are at the heart of religious communication systems and can tell us a lot about this complex communication processes."
Unfortunately there are no publications, papers or other downloads for the research project
I wonder if Pope Benedict will devote a series of Wednesday catecheses to this fascinating subject.