Speaking to members of the International Theological Commission Friday at the Vatican, the Pope defined what it means to be a theologian.
The theologian is, first of all, a believer who ‘hears’ God’s word. But rather than just hearing, Francis said the theologian must also “humbly listen” to “‘what the Spirit says to the Churches’ through the diverse manifestations of the lived faith of the Church.”
In 1969, Pope Paul VI instituted, in connection with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, an International Theological Commission. Its task is to help the Holy See and primarily the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith examine doctrinal questions of major importance. Its president is the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, presently Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller.
The Commission is composed of no more than 30 theologians from diverse schools and countries known for their their knowledge and faithfulness to the Magisterium.
The mission of the commission, the Pope reflected, is “to study doctrinal problems of great importance, especially those which present new points of view, and in this way to offer its help to the Magisterium of the Church.”
This task not only requires “intellectual competence,” he said, “but also spiritual dispositions,” such as listening to what the Holy Spirit says.
On the commission’s composition, Francis observed that its international character reflects the “Catholicity” of the Church.
“The diversity of points of view,” he said, “should enrich the Catholicity without harming the unity.”
Even if opinions differ, the Argentine Pontiff stressed that the unity of Catholic theologians is derived from their common reference to the faith and is nourished by the different gifts the Holy Spirit bestows.
Only from different cultural contexts and methods, can we have proper theological dialogue. Approaches, he noted, should not ignore, but rather enrich and correct, one another.
Noting the greater presence of women on the Commission, he exhorted the commission to “to draw greater profit from this specific contribution of women to the understanding of the faith.”
He also noted that, “In virtue of their feminine genius, female theologians are able to take up… certain unexplored aspects of the unfathomable mystery of Christ.”
Pope Francis concluded praying to Mary, ‘the teacher of authentic theology,’ to enhance the theologians’ knowledge and perception.
“In virtue of their feminine genius,” he said, “female theologians are able to take up… certain unexplored aspects of the unfathomable mystery of Christ.” He invited the Commission “to draw greater profit from this specific contribution of women to the understanding of the faith.”
On the NET:
On the International Theological Commission: http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/cti_documents/rc_con_cfaith_pro_14071997_ictheology_en.html