Pontifical Theological Academy Considers Vatican II Christology

Looks at Theology in Faith-Reason Dynamic

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By Antonio Gaspari

ROME, FEB. 2, 2012 (Zenit.org).- The 6th international forum of the Pontifical Theological Academy was centered on the Christology of the Vatican II document «Optatam Totius» in the context of the faith-reason dialectic.

The Jan. 26-28 forum was divided into four sessions, presided over, respectively, by Cardinals Zenon Grocholewski, Gianfranco Ravasi, Angelo Amato and Marc Ouellet.

The group also reflected on theological research in its Christological dimension, and the need for theologians to have living contact with the mystery of Christ.

The forum was held at the Pontifical Lateran University; the rector, Father Enrico Dal Covolo, specified that the main question continues to be that of «doing theology today»: in the context of a renewed dialectic between faith and reason. «In particular, the question is that of the «renewal,» not only of Christology, but of theology as a whole, he stressed.

Already, he said, «I was able to illustrate some fundamental chapters of this urgent ‘theological renewal’ proposed by the Pope: for example, the widening of reason to the dimensions of faith and love; the realism of faith, the urgency of a new synthesis of thought, in face of the devastating pulling apart of religion and reason; between theology and other knowledge; between rational theology and the contemplative dimension; between so-called academic exegesis and lectio divina.»

Only such a renewal will render the challenge between theology and other sciences ever more purposeful and fruitful, he concluded.

There were numerous speakers during the encounter. 

Father Roberto Spataro of the Pontifical Salesian University, stressed the role of the Patristic sciences and of ecclesiastical history, explaining that for a theology of history the event of Christ must be put at the center.

In relation to this, he proposed a joining of forces between biblical exegesis and patristic theology, in a style similar to the Cristocentric approach of the Fathers of the Church.

According to Father Spataro, it is necessary to re-establish the alliance between ancient Christian literature and patristic theology and between the historical method and the theological method in order to analyze a complex reality resulting from the human and divine dimensions.

Paul O’Callaghan, professor of theological anthropology at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, commented that in the Old World, from which came a substantial part of the evangelizing effort of the Church in the last millennium, one hears repeatedly today «the call to hope, or better still the call of the lack of hope.»

And he added, «The basis of Christian hope is the event of the salvific revelation of the Incarnation of the Word-Son, namely, Christology.»

Person, not doctrine

Felix Maria Arocena of the faculty of theology of the University of Navarre, confirmed that the Christian mystery is not based only on a doctrine, but primarily on a Person, the Glorious Crucified.

«He is the unconditional reason of all that God has called, that he calls and will call to exist, the foundation of being, and the historic engine of everything; who precedes everything and from whom everything had its beginning.»

«The Crucified-Risen One is he whom theology seeks to understand. He has always been at the center,» Arocena said. «Theology was born and developed from his event because it knows that the secret of originality is found always in the return to the origin: the paschal Christ.»

Monsignor Nicola Ciola, ordinary of ecclesiology of the Pontifical Lateran University, stressed the need to «elaborate a theological interpretation of Christian hope and not just an expositive study on the spiritual life.»

Good fruits are coming from the post-conciliar research that studies the relationship between Christian hope and its reference to the «Christian objective» that is, the mystery of Christ, from the Incarnation to the Paschal event.

«In this connection, not to be neglected is the significant literature around the subject of the ‘theology of saints’ as divine science,» he concluded.

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