Paradigm Shift Says the Pope

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    • #119190

        Pope Francis calls for ‘paradigm shift’ in theology for world of today

        Pope Francis has called for a “paradigm shift” in Catholic theology that takes widespread engagement with contemporary science, culture, and people’s lived experience as an essential starting point.

        Citing the need to deal with “profound cultural transformations,” the pope presented his dramatic vision for the future of Catholic theology in a new motu proprio issued earlier today.

        Titled Ad Theologiam Promovendam, or “to promote theology,” the document revises the statutes of the Pontifical Academy of Theology (PATH) “to make them more suitable for the mission that our time imposes on theology.”

        “Theology can only develop in a culture of dialogue and encounter between different traditions and different knowledge, between different Christian confessions and different religions, openly engaging with everyone, believers and nonbelievers,” the pope wrote in the apostolic letter.

        ‘Fundamentally contextual’
        Pope Francis wrote that Catholic theology must experience a “courageous cultural revolution” in order to become a “fundamentally contextual theology.” Guided by Christ’s incarnation into time and space, this approach to theology must be capable of reading and interpreting “the Gospel in the conditions in which men and women live daily, in different geographical, social, and cultural environments,” the pope wrote.

        The pope contrasted this approach with a theology that is limited to “abstractly re-proposing formulas and schemes from the past” and repeated his long-standing criticism of “desk bound theology.” Instead, he emphasized that theological studies must be open to the world, not as a “‘tactical’ attitude” but as a profound “turning point” in their method, which he said must be “inductive.”

        Pope Francis emphasized that this bottom-up reenvisioning of theology is necessary to better aid the Church’s evangelizing mission.

        “A synodal, missionary, and ‘outgoing’ Church can only correspond to an ‘outgoing’ theology,” the pope wrote.

        Relatedly, the pope said, this dialogical approach can allow theology to “broaden the boundaries” of scientific reasoning, allowing it to overcome dehumanizing tendencies.
        ‘Transdisciplinary’ and pastoral
        To achieve this “‘outgoing’ theology,” Pope Francis wrote that theology must become “transdisciplinary,” part of a “web of relationships, first of all with other disciplines and other knowledge.” This engagement, he wrote, leads to “the arduous task” of theologians making use of “new categories developed by other knowledge” in order to “penetrate and communicate the truths of faith and transmit the teaching of Jesus in today’s languages, with originality and critical awareness.”

        Pope Francis also wrote that priority must be given to “the knowledge of people’s ‘common sense,’” which he described as a “theological source in which many images of God live, often not corresponding to the Christian face of God, only and always love.”

        The pope said that this “pastoral stamp” must be placed upon all of Catholic theology. Described as “popular theology,” by starting from “the different contexts and concrete situations in which people are inserted” and allowing itself “to be seriously challenged by reality,” theological reflection can aid in the discernment of the “signs of the times,” the pope wrote.

        “Theology places itself at the service of the evangelization of the Church and the transmission of faith, so that faith becomes culture; that is, the wise ethos of the people of God, a proposal of human and humanizing beauty for all,” the pope wrote.

        New statutes
        The pope’s shift in emphasis in Catholic theology was reflected in the new statutes issued for the Pontifical Academy of Theology. Ad Theologiam Promovendam shifted the 200-year-old institute’s focus from “promoting the dialogue between reason and faith” to promoting “transdisciplinary dialogue with philosophies, sciences, arts, and all other knowledge.” The new statutes place PATH “at the service of academic institutions dedicated to theology and other cultural and knowledge development centers interested in reaching the human person in his context of life and thought.”



      • #119191

          I don’t agree with many of the beliefs of Catholicism, but one would think that conservative Catholics would be very upset with the message from this pope. Of course many Protestants aren’t much better when I reflect on certain denominations. There’s still a remnant out there. The gates of Hell will not prevail against it.

        • #119200

            Kolleen — I am not surprised that the pope would go this route — having worked in a “catholic” healthcare system for 10 years and hearing ALL the “inclusions” and “allowances” was very disgusting. The only thing it did allow form me to do is start most of my meetings with prayer and I always closed “in Jesus name” — I do think the Vatican will offer a lot of backing for the false prophet — thankful I will miss that :prayer-hands:

          • #119444

              This sounds like a lot of “fancy” talk and word manipulation to say “we are going to go with the flow” and if that doesn’t gel with the God of the Bible and known scripture and the words of Jesus…..well just that’s the price of “progressing” or “evolving”…….no thanks, just give me Jesus and scripture as is

            • #119446

                no thanks, just give me Jesus and scripture as is


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