Talk to us

CathNews, the most frequently visited Catholic website in Australia, is your daily news service featuring Catholics and Catholicism from home and around the world, Mass on Demand and on line, prayer, meditation, reflections, opinion, and reviews. And, what's more - it's free!

Pope Francis released the motu proprio on theology yesterday (CNS/Lola Gomez)

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. Source: CNA.

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 yesterday.

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. 

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.

He 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 emphasised 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 emphasised that this bottom-up re-envisioning of theology is necessary to better aid the Church’s evangelising mission. 

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


Pope Francis calls for ‘paradigm shift’ in theology for world of today (By Jonathan Liedl, CNA


Pope: Theology must interpret the Gospel for today’s world (Vatican News