Theologians must find new ways to express and share faith, Pope says
ROME — The Catholic Church needs theologians who know how to convey the truths of the faith in a way that speaks to people today, helps them live the faith in their daily lives, and inspires them to share the gospel with others, wrote Pope Francis.
“The community needs the work of those who try to interpret the faith, to translate it and re-translate it, to make it comprehensible, to expound it in new words; it is a work that must always be redone, in each generation,” the pope told the staff of the Archdiocesan Seminary of Milan in a text given to them on June 17.
Seminary staff were in Rome as part of the 150th anniversary celebration of the seminary’s theological journal, which Pope Francis described as “a bit like a showcase, where a craftsman exhibits his work, and you can admire his creativity”.
“What has matured in the workshops of university classrooms, in the patient exercise of research and reflection, debate and dialogue, deserves to be shared and made accessible to others,” the pope said in his written text.
The Vatican press office said the pope gave his prepared text to seminary and newspaper staff, but did not provide any information about what he discussed with them.
In the text, the pope had written that the Church needs theologians who can “communicate the truths of the faith today, taking into account linguistic, social, cultural changes and competently using the media, without ever watering down , weaken or ‘virtualise'”. the contents.”
“The Church encourages and supports the effort to redefine the content of the faith in every age, in the dynamism of tradition,” he said. “That is why theological language must always be alive, dynamic, can only evolve and must work to make itself understood.”
Unfortunately, he says, “sometimes the sermons or catecheses that we hear are mostly composed of moralism and are not ‘theological’ enough, that is, capable of speaking to us about God and answering questions of meaning. which accompany people’s lives, and which we often do not have the courage to formulate openly.
To be of true service to the Church and its members, he said, theologians must “always keep in mind the connection between faith and life” and “cherish and communicate the joy of faith to the Lord Jesus”.
At the same time, he says, they must also have “a healthy restlessness, that quivering of the heart before the mystery of God. And we will know how to accompany others in the search as we come to know this joy and this concern. That is, the more ‘disciples’ we are.
To truly support evangelization today, the pope said, theology must know how and show others how to “dialogue with the world, with cultures and religions.”
“A theology that evangelizes is a theology nourished by dialogue and welcome,” he said. “Dialogue and the living memory of the testimony of the love and peace of Jesus Christ are the paths to follow to build together a future of justice, fraternity and peace for the whole human family.
Pope Francis also used his text to speak about the role of seminary personnel today in identifying and educating those with a vocation to the priesthood or religious life.
“Those called are not mushrooms that grow spontaneously,” he said. Each person is “an immense mystery” and comes with a range of personal experiences and a past shaped by family, community and parish.
“Seminarians and young people in formation, wrote the pope, should be able to learn more from your life than from your words; to be able to learn the docility of your obedience, the perseverance of your devotion, the generosity with the poor of your sobriety and availability and the paternity of your chaste and non-possessive affection.