Complex world needs clear essentials of Gospel, pope tells theologians

IMAGE: CNS/Paul Haring

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — In an increasingly complex world of
unprecedented scientific and technological challenges, theologians must
communicate what is essential about life and help Christians proclaim God’s
merciful, saving grace, Pope Francis told a group of Italian theologians.

The theologians’ task requires being “faithful and
anchored” to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and continuing
the council’s focus on the church “letting itself be enriched by the
perennial newness of Christ’s Gospel,” he said.

Speaking Dec. 29 at the Vatican to members of the Italian
Theological Association, which was celebrating its 50th anniversary, the pope
said theologians and other church workers must always refer back to Vatican II
where the church recognized its responsibility to “proclaim the Gospel in
a new way.”

Such a task is done not by changing the message, but by
communicating the perennial message with “faithful creativity” to a
world experiencing rapid transformations, he said.

These changes and challenges require that the church, and
theologians in particular, believe that the Gospel “can continue to touch
the women and men of today” and work to clearly show people what lies at
the heart of the Gospel.

This theological effort of showing what is essential is
“indispensable” in a highly complex world of unprecedented scientific
and technological advancement, and in a culture where “distorted views of
the very heart of the Gospel” can sneak in and spread, he said.

“There needs to be a theology that helps all
Christians proclaim and show, most of all, the salvific face of God, the
merciful God, especially given the presence of some unprecedented challenges
that involve humanity today, such as: the environmental crisis; the development
of neuroscience or technology that can alter human beings; ever greater social
inequalities or the migration of whole peoples; and relativism in theory and

He said theology must develop from the work of women and
men working together and supporting each other as a community, not as rivals;
working to serve the universal church and all particular churches; and to
“reimagine the church so that it may conform to the Gospel that it must

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