In an audience with members of the International Theological Commission today, Pope Francis called on theologians to be “pioneers” in the Church’s dialogue with other cultures.
The commission advises the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith on theological matters.
The members of the commission met with the Holy Father at the close of their plenary assembly, under the theme “The Relationship between Monotheism and Violence.” Archbishop Gerhard Muller, president of the commission and Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith was also present.
“Your reflection bears witness that God’s revelation truly constitutes Good News for all humanity,” the Holy Father said. “God is not a threat for humankind. Faith in the one and triune holy God is not, and can never be, a source of violence or intolerance. On the contrary, its highly rational character confers a universal dimension upon it, capable of uniting persons of good will.”
Every recourse to violence done in the name of God, he stressed, is rendered impossible by the “Revelation of God in Jesus Christ.”
The Holy Father went on to say that the concept of peace has, as its goal, to reflect the love of God for the human person. “The Church is held to living first of all within herself that social message that it bears to the world,” he told the commission members.
Stressing the importance of discerning what conforms to the apostolic faith, the Holy Father also said that the ‘sensus fidelium’ [sense of the faithful] should not be confused with a majority opinion. The task of the ITC, then is “to develop criteria that allow the authentic expressions of the ‘sensus fidelium’ to be discerned.”
“Pope Benedict XVI often pointed out that the theologian must remain attentive to the faith lived by the humble and the small, to whom it pleased the Father to reveal that which He had hidden from the learned and the wise,” he noted.
Concluding his address, Pope Francis said that while theological research can be fascinating, theologians must be on guard against the temptations of pride and ambition. “May the Immaculate Virgin obtain for all men and women theologians to grow in this spirit of prayer and devotion and thus, with a profound sense of humility, be true servants of the Church,” he said.