(ZENIT News / Vatican City, 10.31.2023).- With the Apostolic Letter “Ad theologiam promovendam,” Pope Francis has promulgated the new Statutes of the Pontifical Academy of Theology (PATH) on November 1st. In these statutes, the identity and mission of the PATH are outlined, characterized primarily by their commitment to promoting the scientific deepening of theology and fostering dialogue between reason and faith, as indicated in the Apostolic Letter “Inter munera Academiarum” by Pope John Paul II, dated January 28, 1999, which was decisively inspired by the Encyclical “Fides et Ratio.”
In the light of the Encyclical “Lumen fidei,” jointly authored by Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis, the Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii gaudium,” and Pope Francis’s Apostolic Constitution “Veritatis gaudium,” the new Statutes state that the PATH “promotes transdisciplinary dialogue with philosophy, sciences, arts, and all other forms of knowledge. It serves academic institutions dedicated to theology and other cultural and knowledge development centers interested in reaching the human person within their life and thought context” (Article 1, § 3).
In the fulfillment of its mission, the PATH primarily involves Ordinary and Corresponding Members, who are scholars of theological-philosophical or related disciplines from around the world. The new Statutes also introduce a new form of collaboration, that of Referring Interlocutors, scholars, even from other Christian confessions or religions, who are called upon to identify and open areas and spaces for dialogue that promote inter- and transdisciplinary discourse.
To “serve the renewed impetus of evangelization (cf. Apostolic Constitution Praedicate Evangelium, preamble)” (Article 1, § 4), the Academy, as it has done in recent years, in addition to publishing the PATH Journal and organizing conferences and meetings, will “work in a network” with universities and centers of cultural and intellectual production. Furthermore, through theological gatherings and “teological cenacles” that will be held in the existential places of professions, culture, and the life of ecclesial communities, it will promote a “wisdom diffusion,” a culturally qualified sharing of the “knowledge of faith” and its understanding, not only rationally dignified but also capable of making the Gospel a lamp that illuminates the path of believers and possibly even those who do not believe in God. In this sense, and in harmony with Pope Francis’s teachings, the PATH also aims to practice a commitment to “intellectual charity,” being attentive to the questions and needs of those on the fringes of discomfort and existential peripheries.
“The Pope Francis,” says the president of PATH, Archbishop Antonio Staglianò, “entrusts our Pontifical Academy with a new mission: that of promoting, in all fields of knowledge, confrontation and dialogue to reach and involve the entire people of God in theological research so that the life of the people becomes theological life.”