BANGALORE, India, JAN. 24, 2011 (Zenit.org).- A delegation from the Holy See, including the prefect and secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, met with 56 bishops and theologians in an annual colloquium in India to address some of the theological issues facing the Catholic Church in India.
A Vatican communiqué reported the presence of Cardinal William Levada and Archbishop Luis Ladaria at the week-long conference titled “Cooperatores Veritatis — Seeking The Truth Together,” which ended Saturday in Bangalore.
The Holy See delegation, which also included Monsignor Charles Scicluna, promoter of justice in that same dicastery, and three other officials, met with 28 members of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India and 26 theologians.
Cardinal Gracias Oswald, archbishop of Mumbai and president of the bishops’ conference, led the group of prelates, which represented three Catholic rites in that country.
Archbishop Salvatore Pennacchio, apostolic nuncio to India, also participated in the colloquium.
The communiqué noted that these annual colloquia between prelates and theologians in India have been taking place since 1996, and that participants expressed the hope that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith would join in the proceedings at some point.
“The colloquium in Bangalore was the realization of that hope,” it added, “and was specifically intended as a forum for addressing some of the theological issues facing the Catholic Church in India in a collaborative atmosphere of dialogue and discussion.”
The communiqué underlined the “specific and unique character of the Catholic Church in India,” a country with more than a billion inhabitants, 2.3% of whom are Christian.
It affirmed that “today, Catholics in India, though few in number, make a widely appreciated contribution to the welfare of the country, above all through numerous educational institutions, health care facilities, social welfare initiatives and charitable works.”
In this context, the colloquium participants discussed questions about “the specific role of the theologian in the Church, theological methodology in the East and in the West, inculturation, Jesus Christ as the one Savior of all people, the relationship between the Church of Christ and the other religions, the Christian concept of authentic human liberation, the role of the faith community (the “sensus fidelium”), and the distinctiveness of Christian prayer and spirituality.”
In this regard, the “singular importance of the role of the theologian in the Church was stressed, as well as the need, especially when one seeks to elaborate a contextualized theology, to build on a solid theological foundation, always faithful to the teaching authority of the Church.”
The Holy See delegation also worked specifically with the Indian prelates on questions regarding the role of the episcopacy, the bishop as teacher of the faith, the formation of priests and religious, and addressing serious violations of canon law.
The communiqué concluded by expressing the hope that this colloquium “will continue to benefit not only the Church, but also the wider society in India for years to come.”