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‘For an Outgoing Missionary Church, Theological Ministry Is an Urgent, Important Priority’

Pope Addresses Italian Theological Association

For an outgoing missionary Church, Pope Francis says theological ministry is an urgent and important priority.

The Holy Father stressed this to the Italian Theological Association which he met for the 50th anniversary of its founding, in the Vatican this morning. 

In his remarks, the Pope recalled how in these days, we are immersed in the joyful contemplation of the mystery of our God, Who “has become so involved and compromised with our poor humanity” that He sends His Son to us, taking on our flesh.

“Every Christian theological thought cannot, but always, begin incessantly from here, in a reflection that will never exhaust the living source of divine Love, which has been left to touch, watch and savor in the crib of Bethlehem.”

After 50 years of dedication, the Pope thanked the theologians for the contribution they have given to theological development and to the life of the Church.

The association, in accordance with Vatican II, the Pope observed, contributes to this ‘new stage of evangelization’ where [with Vatican II] She assumed the responsibility of announcing the Gospel in a new way, more in harmony with a deeply changed world and culture.”

It is evident, he reminded, that this effort asks the whole Church, and theologians in particular, to be received in the name of “creative fidelity,” in the awareness that in these 50 years, there have been further changes . He expressed the importance of the Gospel continuing to touch even today’s women and men.

“Therefore I ask you to continue to remain faithful and anchored in your theological work, in the Council and in the capacity that the Church has shown there to be allowed to be fertilized by the perennial novelty of the Gospel of Christ.”

In particular, it is a clear fruit of the Council and a richness not to disperse the fact that you have felt and continue to feel the need to “do theology together,” as an Association, which includes more than 330 theologians today.

“In fact, we can not think of serving the Truth of a God who is Love, eternal communion of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and whose saving plan is that of the communion of men with Him and among them, making it in an individualistic or particularistic way, or, even worse, in a competitive logic.”

“That of theologians can only be a personal search; but of people who are immersed in a theological community as wide as possible, of which they feel and are actually part, involved in bonds of solidarity and also of authentic friendship. This is not an accessory aspect of the theological ministry!”

There continues to be a great need for this ministry in the Church, the Pope said.  While stressing the importance of ‘doing theology together,’ and doing this intellectual research, the Pope warned against thinking that in order for others to be authentic believers, they must be holding theology degrees. He also warned against thinking all aspects of faith, can be easily, intelligibly explained.

Pope Francis concluded, reminding those present to pray for him, and stressing that for an outgoing missionary Church, theological ministry is particularly important and urgent.


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About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is a Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in four languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight, and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': or

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