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Vatican search for common discourse

VATICAN (SE): The Vatican published a new document on March 8 entitled, Theology Today: Perspectives, principles and criteria.

Prepared by the International Theological Commission, it was released in English and is an effort to provide a common discourse in order to communicate the message of Christ more clearly.

The Vatican Information Service described it as examining certain contemporary theological issues and proposals in the light of the basic principles of theology and methodological criteria, which are vital for Catholic theology with respect to other similar disciplines, like religious sciences.

The introduction to the document points to what it calls an extremely productive era for theology following Vatican II, but notes that the rush of new material has left theological studies slightly fragmented.

Nevertheless, the introduction to the document notes that although it is a search for unity, it is important not to confuse unity with conformity or a single style.

“The unity of theology, like that of the Church as professed in the Creed, must be closely correlated with the idea of catholicity and also with the holiness of apostolicity,” it reads.

“The Church is at home in every nation and culture, and seeks to gather everything for its salvation and sanctification,” it continues.

“Plurality must manifest distinctive family traits,” the introduction stresses.

It highlights the rise of lay theologians, especially women, and the theologies written in various cultural contexts, particularly those coming out of Latin America, Africa and Asia since Vatican II.

It points to new themes that have made an extremely positive impact on theological reflection, in particular studies in peace, justice, liberation, the ecology and bioethics.

“(There has been) deeper treatment of former themes, thanks to renewal in biblical, liturgical, patristic and medieval studies,” the introduction says, “and new venues for reflection, such as ecumenical, interreligious and inter-cultural dialogue.”

Research on the document was done between 2004 and 2008 and it seeks to answer the question, “What characterises Catholic theology and gives it, in and through its many forms, a clear sense of identity in its engagement with the world of today?”

It notes that in responding to that question, it is necessary to consider both unity in diversity and diversity in unity.

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