In late November, Michael Paul Gallagher received an honorary doctorate from Regis College, Toronto, in recognition of his contributions to theology. Michael’s acceptance speech was entitled 'Enlarging the Tent: new horizons in fundamental theology'. A good title, reflecting the wholeness of his vision and imagination, not dividing up knowledge into academic compartments. In an original and closely argued lecture, he questions himself:
“Does any unity emerge, some central strand around which other ideas converge? Yes, I plead guilty to a life-long passion with making sense of faith, especially for those for whom it makes little or no sense. This concern had a definite moment of birth when I was 21 and spent an academic year away from the then very Catholic Ireland at the university of Caen in the north of France.
"For the first time in my life I encountered widespread agnosticism among my new French friends, most of them baptized Catholics, and rather like Monsieur Jourdain speaking prose without knowing it, through many conversations I discovered that I was doing new evangelization in my own intuitive way. Because I was so formed by my long years in the study and teaching of literature, I was drawn to an existential spirituality of faith rather than to more academic theologizing about it... Thus living out one’s faith, and the struggling adventure of holding on to it, always seemed to me more in need of attention than its doctrinal content. And that is what I mean by the title of this evening’s presentation: enlarging the tent, new horizons, or perhaps better, renewed horizons or refocused priorities for fundamental theology.”