Pope Francis Calls For Catholic Church Theologians to Embrace a Deeper Connection With the Challenges of Daily Life
Pope Francis is encouraging Catholic theologians to better understand the concerns of everyday individuals and he advocates for open dialogues with both non-believers and followers of different faiths.
In a document signed by Pope Francis on November 1 and released by the Vatican, the pontiff acknowledged that he was revising the regulations of the Pontifical Academy of Theology, as the previous update had been implemented nearly a quarter-century ago during the papacy of John Paul II.
An academic institution consisting of scholars and theologians within the Catholic Church, the Pontifical Academy of Theology was established in Rome and received its initial regulations from Pope Clement XI in 1718. Its mission is to advance the understanding of Catholic theology and engage with contemporary theological questions and challenges, while promoting dialogue between faith and reason and deepening Christian doctrine.
“The moment has come to revise these norms, to make them more adaptable to the mission that our time imposes on theology,” Francis stated in an Apostolic Letter.
Embracing the global community, “with its problems, its wounds, its challenges, its potential,” Francis wrote in the document, requires a profound reconsideration of its knowledge and methodology, necessitating a bold transformation in cultural perspectives that is nothing short of a “courageous cultural revolution.”
“It is about starting from the experiences we all share as human beings and studying them, adopting the perspectives of complexity, transdisciplinary dialogue and collaboration between different subjects,” the pope said in a brief YouTube video clip titled, “Why Pope Francis Has Reformed the Pontifical Academy of Theology.”
Theology should evolve within an atmosphere of open dialogue, encompassing various Christian denominations and different religious traditions, engaging in candid exchanges with both believers and non-believers, Francis wrote in the document.
The pope, who has repeatedly said over the 10 years of his papacy that the Catholic Church must be more attentive to suffering—especially toward those living on the margins of society—also emphasized the importance of theology being receptive to the perspectives of diverse communities.
Such a divinity, the pontiff proposed, ought to promote a “popular” theology characterized by compassionate engagement with the vulnerabilities of humanity, the environment and the complexities of human history.
It’s an outlook, Francis added, that entails giving precedence to the wisdom derived from the collective understanding of ordinary people.