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His lecture was titled, "Constructing a New Catholic Systematics: A Report & an Invitation."

Doran made it clear from the beginning that people can never fully understand the mysteries of faith.,”The Rev. Robert Doran, professor of theology, spoke Thursday night about the ongoing development of a systematic Catholic theology.

His lecture was titled, "Constructing a New Catholic Systematics: A Report & an Invitation."

Doran made it clear from the beginning that people can never fully understand the mysteries of faith. As new problems and questions arise, theologians must develop a new systematic Catholic theology, building off of the existing ideas. The key is to search for the answers as a community of people, Doran said.

Doran began the main portion of his lecture by saying that all theological statements and ideas have to be seen within the dogmatic-theological context. Doran explained how the Trinity, the Incarnation and grace form the basis of this context, and all other theological developments have to be seen through the lens of these three main components.

Another concept he explored was "sanctifying grace," which he characterized as "being in love unconditionally, with no reservations."

Doran also expounded upon "mimetic theory," drawing from the work of the French theologian, Rene Girard, to help enlighten the audience. "Mimetic desire" is the idea that most human desires stem from imitation. According to Doran, humans choose a model, like a father or a friend, and they desire what that model has. The desire does not truly stem from a yearning to have what that person has. Instead, he or she wishes to keep that person from having it.

Doran said there is still much progress to be made in the area of systematic theology. Not every idea has been fully formed, and not every question has been completely answered. For example, the concept of "social grace," a main theme of the lecture that Doran described as "grace as it transforms a community," still needs to be addressed, he said.

"We need to fill out grace-filled social structures," Doran said. "It still has to be worked out between theologians and social scientists."

Nevertheless, Doran's lecture was very well received by audience members.

"It was a great lecture," said Ralph del Colle, associate professor of theology. "(His ideas about social grace) are very innovative. He definitely wants to move theology forward."

Students in Doran's introduction to systematic theology class attended the lecture. They also had positive comments.

"(Doran's ideas) are very interesting and visionary," said Paul Monson, a graduate student studying theology. Monson touched on the concept of grace as well.

"If sin is present outside the Church, grace must be as well, but how?" Monson said. "(Doran's lecture) asks the question, 'How does grace function inside and outside the Church?'"

Doran, who received his Ph.D. in theology at Marquette in 1975, has written several books and many articles published in professional journals. He is currently working on a book titled, "The Trinity in History." He said he is constantly working toward the development of theological ideas. Nevertheless, he said he cannot solve the mysteries of theology on his own.

"No single person can create a systematic theology," he said. "One can only point out the direction to be taken and take whatever steps in that direction God gives one the strength and insight to take."

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