Pope: Vatican II tried to overcome ‘divorce between theology and pastoral ministry’

Pope Francis pictured at this week's general audience (CNS)

Francis says Church must avoid ‘false conflict’ between pastors and academics

The Church is called to embrace its past, present and future and avoid the temptations to condemn or to legitimise everything just because it is new and different, Pope Francis has told a group of theologians.

Theology and reflection should not be at odds with pastoral ministry and the lives of real people, he said.

In fact, theologians can help by “taking both the ecclesiastical tradition and current reality very seriously, placing them in dialogue with one another”.

The Pope’s words were part of a video message he delivered in Spanish to theologians and others taking part in an international congress in Buenos Aires on September 1-3.

The event marked the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the faculty of theology at the Catholic University of Argentina and the 50th anniversary of the close of the Second Vatican Council.

One of Vatican II’s main contributions was trying “to overcome this divorce between theology and pastoral ministry, between faith and life.” Often the two had been set against each other in “a false opposition” as two “separate realities”, he said.

“We not infrequently identify the doctrinal with the conservative and the backward, and, on the contrary, we think of pastoral ministry as adaptation, rolling back, accommodation – as if they had nothing to do with each other.”

This also creates a false conflict between those who are pastors “on the side of the people” and academics “on the side of doctrine”.

Yet the early Christian writers and theologians were also great pastors, he said.

“Doctrine is not a closed system devoid of dynamics able to raise questions, doubts, inquiries,” he said. Rather, Christianity is a living doctrine that is called Jesus Christ, whose life is “offered from generation to generation to all men and women and in all places”.

Safeguarding doctrine means being faithful to what has been received, he said, and at the same time, taking into account the person to whom it is being offered, and understanding and loving him or her.

After all, why is theology being done, he asked, if not for “the people we have before us? Without encountering families and the people of God, theology runs the great risk of becoming ideology”.

The hopes, dreams, struggles, problems, worries and questions people have cannot be ignored “if we want to take seriously the principle of the Incarnation”, he said.

People’s unrest, struggles and “the peripheries are not an optional, rather they are necessary for better understanding the faith”.

Theology looks at and must stem from the Holy Spirit in “the praying people”, if not, then that theology will have “the scent of a proposal that might be beautiful, but not real”, he said.

Pope Francis, referring to the teaching of Benedict XVI, said Church tradition is like a flowing river, which has a fixed origin, yet flows throughout the world bringing to life the best of that region and culture.

The Pope said that any attempt to limit or cut off the relationship and communication between “received tradition and concrete reality puts the faith of the people of God in danger”

About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
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2 Responses to Pope: Vatican II tried to overcome ‘divorce between theology and pastoral ministry’

  1. ralphcoelho says:

    This is the weakness of specialist in many fields, of Bible Students who do not look beyond the covers of their Bible and see the action of God in the nature around them, if not in their neighbour. Shakespeare saw “books in running brooks”; some of the scientists who developed the atom bomb discovered God in the atom today some see it in the internals of nano technology and quantum theory.
    Vatican II allowed theories to express their views publicly, even did into withdraw the authority to be priests but denied them the right to teach, whether in seminaries or in Church. They instead placed the onus on baptised Catholics to apply their own minds in judging the accuracy of these dissenters views. A striking contemporary example is that of the two Hitchens brothers – one an articulate unbeliever who condemned the tyranny of the Church and the other an equally ardent apologist for the faith.
    Personally, unless there is other evidence, I accept these dissenters as being honest in their beliefs. I respond to their arguments as dispassionately as possible as an intellectual exercise ; I believe that they are a test for us as much as the poor and oppressed and imprisoned and sick and dying are a challenge to the godliness that is implanted by the ‘breath’ of God when we are conceived. I see traces of this godliness, this spirit of God showing up in young children and young adducts who are confused by the ambivalence, or dishonesty, of their own loved ones in following the spirit of the law that they a teach. These youngsters are better educated by these loved ones and have still not compromised with their consciences. They choose to choose their own way rather than condemn their loved ones.
    This is the weakness of specialist in many fields, of Bible Students who do not look beyond the covers of their Bible and see the action of God in the nature around them, if not in their neighbour. Shakespeare saw “books in running brooks”; some of the scientists who developed the atom bomb discovered God in the atom today some see it in the internals of nano technology and quantum theory.
    Vatican II allowed theories to express their views publicly, even did into withdraw the authority to be priests but denied them the right to teach, whether in seminaries or in Church. They instead placed the onus on baptised Catholics to apply their own minds in judging the accuracy of these dissenters views. A striking contemporary example is that of the two Hitchens brothers – one an articulate unbeliever who condemned the tyranny of the Church and the other an equally ardent apologist for the faith.
    Personally, unless there is other evidence, I accept these dissenters as being honest in their beliefs. I respond to their arguments as dispassionately as possible as an intellectual exercise ; I believe that they are a test for us as much as the poor and oppressed and imprisoned and sick and dying are a challenge to the godliness that is implanted by the ‘breath’ of God when we are conceived. I see traces of this godliness, this spirit of God showing up in young children and young adducts who are confused by the ambivalence, or dishonesty, of their own loved ones in following the spirit of the law that they a teach. These youngsters are better educated by these loved ones and have still not compromised with their consciences. They choose to choose their own way rather than condemn their loved ones.

  2. ralphcoelho says:

    This is the weakness of specialist in many fields, of Bible Students who do not look beyond the covers of their Bible and see the action of God in the nature around them, if not in their neighbour. Shakespeare saw “books in running brooks”; some of the scientists who developed the atom bomb discovered God in the atom today some see it in the internals of nano technology and quantum theory.

    Vatican II allowed theories to express their views publicly, even did into withdraw the authority to be priests but denied them the right to teach, whether in seminaries or in Church. They instead placed the onus on baptised Catholics to apply their own minds in judging the accuracy of these dissenters views. A striking contemporary example is that of the two Hitchens brothers – one an articulate unbeliever who condemned the tyranny of the Church and the other an equally ardent apologist for the faith.

    Personally, unless there is other evidence, I accept these dissenters as being honest in their beliefs. I respond to their arguments as dispassionately as possible as an intellectual exercise ; I believe that they are a test for us as much as the poor and oppressed and imprisoned and sick and dying are a challenge to the godliness that is implanted by the ‘breath’ of God when we are conceived. I see traces of this godliness, this spirit of God showing up in young children and young adducts who are confused by the ambivalence, or dishonesty, of their own loved ones in following the spirit of the law that they a teach. These youngsters are better educated by these loved ones and have still not compromised with their consciences. They choose to choose their own way rather than condemn their loved ones.

    Ralph

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