Chaplaincy life—'within and beyond borders' says keynote

A meeting this week with one of keynotes, Pádraig Ó Tuama, led to a chance to gather some fresh ideas from him on borders and belonging for chaplaincy in the university.

Rights, Dignity & Religion

In conversation with Pádraig Ó Tuama about borders and belonging

One of our keynotes Pádraig Ó Tuama was in Sheffield this last weekend. Jeremy Clines, our conference facilitator, had chance to meet up with him and learn more about his perspectives on chaplaincy, borders, liberation and leadership.

The question put to Pádraig was:

'How can chaplains and chaplaincies ask the big questions about life with borders?'

In less than two minutes we were offered many gems for our contemplation as we prepare for the conference.

Pádraig on universities without borders 

I understand and appreciated universities like to see themselves as beyond, and through and above and without borders, but most people come with a bordered existence and so if we think we are beyond them, then the question is: can we speak intelligently about them?

Pádraig on border as liberation 

For some people, establishment of border is about liberation — being liberated from a colonial point of view — so they want to create or expand a border to say 'we want the freedom within that border'.

Pádraig on border as limitation or 'teorann' 

In Irish the word for border is 'teorann' which means limitation... you want to limit people's capacity to come in or you want to limit other people's capacity on the other side and there's all kinds of moralities happening there.

Pádraig on the borders of religious belonging 

I think the possibility of the university having multiple approaches towards what a border can mean and how to apply critical thinking to them, how to apply theological thinking in a cross-border religious understanding for Europe these days as we look at the borders of religious belonging changing also around Europe I think it's a timely conference.

Pádraig on leadership 

What does leadership mean? There's all sorts of boisterous, bolshy leaderships arising. Does that define leadership finally, or do we have a different understanding of leadership? How can leadership not be understood as one character but more like a social movement for leadership change?

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