.- The Vatican announced Monday that Pope Francis will travel to Naples in June to discuss the impact of the apostolic constitution, Veritatis Gaudium, on theological studies.
In Naples, the pope will give a speech June 21 on “Theology after Veritatis Gaudium in the context of the Mediterranean,” before taking part in a private meeting on the same topic organized by the San Luigi Papal Theological Seminary of Southern Italy.
The apostolic constitution Veritatis Gaudium went into effect beginning with the 2018-2019 academic term for ecclesiastical universities and faculties. The 87-page document, published in January 2018, stipulated new norms of governance and education for all institutions that issue ecclesiastical degrees.
“The theologian who is satisfied with his complete and conclusive thought is mediocre. The good theologian and philosopher has an open, that is, an incomplete, thought, always open to the maius [greaterness] of God and of the truth, always in development,” Francis wrote in Veritatis Gaudium.
The constitution included an option for distance learning, and called for institutions to develop procedures for the education of refugees and migrants.
Pope Francis stated in its introduction, “One of the main contributions of the Second Vatican Council was precisely seeking a way to overcome this divorce between theology and pastoral care, between faith and life. I dare say that the Council has revolutionized to some extent the status of theology – the believer’s way of doing and thinking.”
The flavor of the document is well demonstrated in this passage:
The primary need today is for the whole People of God to be ready to embark upon a new stage of “Spirit-filled” evangelization. This calls for “a resolute process of discernment, purification and reform”. In this process, a fitting renewal of the system of ecclesiastical studies plays a strategic role. These studies, in fact, are called to offer opportunities and processes for the suitable formation of priests, consecrated men and women, and committed lay people. At the same time, they are called to be a sort of providential cultural laboratory in which the Church carries out the performative interpretation of the reality brought about by the Christ event and nourished by the gifts of wisdom and knowledge by which the Holy Spirit enriches the People of God in manifold ways – from the sensus fidei fidelium to the magisterium of the bishops, and from the charism of the prophets to that of the doctors and theologians.
This is essential for a Church that “goes forth”! All the more so because today we are not only living in a time of changes but are experiencing a true epochal shift, marked by a wide-ranging “anthropological” and “environmental crisis”. Indeed, we daily see “signs that things are now reaching a breaking point, due to the rapid pace of change and degradation; these are evident in large-scale natural disasters as well as social and even financial crises”. In a word, this calls for “changing the models of global development” and “redefining our notion of progress”. Yet “the problem is that we still lack the culture necessary to confront this crisis. We lack leadership capable of striking out on new paths”.
This vast and pressing task requires, on the cultural level of academic training and scientific study, a broad and generous effort at a radical paradigm shift, or rather – dare I say – at “a bold cultural revolution”.
PopeWatch sometimes thinks that the Pope is a Peronist, but occasionally PopeWatch is amazed at how much like a Maoist circa 1966 the Pope sounds like.