The Road from Regensburg

FAITH Magazine May – June 2012


Extracts from International Theological Commission document: Theology Today: Perspectives, Principles and Criteria


1. The years following the Second Vatican Council ...Catholic theology has sought to follow the path opened by the Council, which wished to express its "solidarity and respectful affection for the whole human family" by entering into dialogue with it and offering "the saving resources which the Church has received from its founder under the promptings of the Holy Spirit" [Gaudium et Spes, 3]. However, this period has also seen a certain fragmentation of theology ...

2.  ... the Church clearly needs a common discourse if it is to communicate the one message of Christ to the world.

Chapter 2: Abiding in the Communion of the Church

33.  ... the council declares that the entire people of God participates in the prophetic ministry of Jesus [cf. Lumen Gentium, 35]... and then of the bishops [Lumen Gentium, 3] who, through ... their own specific charisma veritatis certum (sure charism of truth) [Dei Verbum, 8], constitute, as a college in hierarchical communion with their head, the bishop of Rome ... the Church's magisterium. Likewise, Dei Verbum 3, ...

34.  ... the sensus fidelium is the sense of the faith that is deeply rooted in the people of God who receive, understand and live the Word of God in the Church.

37. ... theology receives its object from God through the Church whose faith is authentically interpreted by "the living teaching office of the Church alone" [Dei Verbum, 10].

51.  ... The Second Vatican Council said that the Church should therefore be ready to discern in "the events, the needs and the longings" of today's world what may truly be signs of the Spirit's activity [Gaudium et Spes, 11]. "In language intelligible to every generation, she should be able to answer the ever-recurring questions [people] ask about the meaning of [life].

52.  ..."With the help of the Holy Spirit, it is for the whole people of God, particularly its pastors and theologians, to listen to and distinguish the many voices of our times and to interpret them in the light of the divine Word, so that the revealed truth may be more deeply penetrated, better understood, and more suitably presented" [Gaudium et Spes, 44].

Chapter 3: Giving an Account of the Truth of God
59-64. ... Revelation is not received purely passively by the human mind. On the contrary, the believing intelligence actively embraces revealed truth [cf. Thomas Aquinas, Summa theologiae, lla-llae, q.2, a.10]. ... The truth of God, accepted in faith, encounters human reason. ... Human reason, itself part of created reality, ... adapts itself to the intrinsic intelligibility of reality. ... So, the revealed truth of God both requires and stimulates the believer's reason. ... The dialogue between faith and reason, between theology and philosophy, is therefore required not only by faith but also by reason, as Pope John Paul explains in Fides et Ratio 65. ... The Fathers of the Church located Christianity alongside "natural theology", ...[cf. Augustine, De CivitateDei, VI, 5-12].

72-74. In Fides et Ratio, Pope John Paul II ... called for a renewal of the relationship between theology and philosophy. ... A criterion of Catholic theology is that it should strive to give a scientifically and rationally argued presentation of the truths of the Christian faith. ... Vatican II directed that all theological treatises "should be renewed through a more vivid contact with the Mystery of Christ and the history of salvation".

82. ... It pertains to philosophy, as rational wisdom, to insert the results obtained by various sciences into a more universal vision. ... Scientific knowledge gained with regard to the evolution of life needs to be interpreted in the light of philosophy, so as to determine its value and meaning, before being taken into account by theology [cf. Pope John Paul II, Message to Pontifical Academy of Sciences, 22 October 1996; also, Fides at Ratio 69].

FEBRUARY 2012: "The Announcement of the Gospel Today", Cardinal Timothy Dolan to New Cardinals

... the New Evangelisation: the rekindling of faith in persons and cultures where it has grown lacklustre ... Listen to how our Pope describes it...: "secularisation ... has been manifest for some time in the heart of the Church herself. It profoundly distorts the Christian faith from within, and consequently the lifestyle and daily behaviour of believers ...".

1.  ... [from] the address Pope Benedict gave [the Roman curia] at Christmas two years ago ... "As the first step of evangelisation ... we must seek that human beings do not set aside the question of God, ...".

2.  ... We are convinced, confident, and courageous in the New Evangelisation because of the power of the Person sending us on mission - who happens to be the second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity - because of the truth of the message, and the deep down openness in even the most secularised of people to the divine. Confident, yes! Triumphant, never!

3.  ... [there is] love of a Person, a relationship at the root of our faith.

4.  ... Cardinal Avery Dulles call[ed] for neo-apologetics, rooted not in dull polemics but in the Truth that has a name, Jesus ... through His Church.

5.  ... [the New Evangeliser] must be a person of joy ... 6. [expressing] a love incarnate ... 7. [even giving] the supreme witness [of] martyrdom.

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