After global summit, Pope Francis injects synodality into Vatican theology

by | Nov 8, 2023 | Religion

VATICAN CITY (RNS) — After a massive consultation of Catholics around the world and a Vatican summit to discuss the future of the church, Pope Francis has directed theologians to tread new paths, shift paradigms and embrace synodality.In a decree issued Nov. 1, Pope Francis challenged the International Pontifical Theological Commission — the body tasked with advising the pope and the Vatican on questions concerning doctrine — to embrace an evolving theology that cannot be limited to “abstractly rehashing formulas and patterns from the past.”
“A synodal, missional and ‘outgoing’ church can only correspond to an ‘outgoing’ theology,” Francis wrote in the decree, also known as a motu proprio. “Theological reflections are hence called to a turning point, a paradigm shift, ‘a brave cultural revolution,’” the pope added, emphasizing such a theology must meet people in the concrete reality of their lives, culture and environment.
According to the theologian Leonardo Paris, who teaches philosophy at the Romano Guardini Institute of Religious Sciences, the new papal bull is asking theologians to help realize Francis’ vision for a church that is open to today’s realities.
“In the document we can see that the pope is aware of the need for theological tools that will ensure that synodality, an …

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