Journeys of Liberation: Joys and Hopes for the Future

(2016/1) Editor(s): Maria Clara Bingemer(c), Luiz-Carlos Susin et al
Cover Page

Articles of the issue

Table of Contents 2016/1

Table of Contents 2016/1

Editorial: The Council and Concilium Double Anniversary

Editors of the issue

Part One: Theology and its Mission: Facing the Future

Struggles for a More Equitable and inclusive World: The Role of Theology

Felix Wilfred

The Task of Theology After Postconciliar Restoration  

Andres Torres Queiruga

The ‘Soul of Theology’: Hopes, Grief and Open Questions 50 years of Biblical Studies in Concilium

Marie-Theres Wacker

Theology: Hermeneutics for a Common Future

Luiz Carlos Susin

The Irreducible Cultural Pluralism and the Unity of Theology

Theirry-Marie Courau

Part Two: Theology Transforming the World

Fifty Years for a Future that is Christian and Human  

Jon Sobrino

Revisiting See-Judge-Act: Reflections from Asia

Daniel Franklin Pilario

Catholic Theological Ethics Beyond Vatican II

Lisa Cahill

Entering Fully into the Fabric of Society: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholic Social Discernment

Johan Verstraeten

Part Three: Theological Forum: Some Hot Questions put to the Future of Theology

Journey of Hope and Liberation: What is Waiting for Us and What We Hope For  

Cesar Kuzma

Thinking from Below and With the Spirit

Diego Irarrazaval

Theology, Interrupted  

Regina Ammicht-Quinn

How Far has the ‘Unity of Ecumenical Grace’ got in the 20th Century?

Silvia Scatena

Young People and the Church: From Paternalism to Intergenerational Co-Education

Solange Lefebvre

Editorial: The Council and Concilium Double Anniversary

Fifty years ago saw the closure of the Second Vatican Council that was felt as a breath of renewal and benevolence for the Catholic Church. The renewal that the Council brought to the world and the Church spread across the globe showing that in liberty, faith grows and develops. The Council equally insisted that the Church is called to deal with earthly realities and to become expert in humanity, bringing light to the beauty of the good news of the Gospel of Jesus.

The sense that it was also necessary for a Church undergoing such a radical transformation to have a renewed theology led to the flowering of new ecclesiastic initiatives allowing new ideas and expressions to come to light. The journal Concilium, also first published in January 1965, was certainly one of the best qualified expressions of this renewed theology.

It is a matter, therefore, of a double jubilee celebration: on the one hand of the Council and everything it signified for ecclesiastic and pastoral life and for liturgy. On the other hand, of Concilium. This journal, founded by the leading European theologians of their time, offered the Church and society theological reflections that took the conclusions of the Council as their starting point. The issues began to have a positive inspirational impact on theological faculties and institutes, pastoral life and the widest range of Christian communities. It also assured a place for theological learning in the most up to date forums for discussion and debate.

To celebrate this 50th anniversary, an International Symposium was organised ahead of the annual meeting of the journal’s editorial committee. It took place in May 2015 in Rio de Janeiro, Brasil in its Pontifical Catholic University. The Symposium brought together over 400 participants, not only from the University, but also from elsewhere in Brasil and other countries, above all from Latin America. The Symposium’s beautiful and happy theme was taken from the First Pastoral Constitution, Gaudiam et Spes: Paths of liberation: Joys and Hopes for the future.

In choosing this title, the Concilium team made it clear that its intent was not merely to celebrate a past that remained in the mind as a pleasant memory. Rather, they wanted to recover all the potential for innovation and coming together that the title encapsulated and to look to the future. It was not just a case of memorializing a happy event of fifty years ago. It was rather to ask the question, here and now, of how that event continues to call us to look forward, attentive to the demands and concerns of new generations, ready with faithful creativity in how we respond to them......

Struggles for a More Equitable and inclusive World: The Role of Theology

Felix Wilfred

Abstract

Inequality and exclusion characterize the life of the people in the South, and increasingly those in the North. Lampedusa is a symbol and a snapshot of our divided world and its victims, and indeed of “a moral and political disgrace”. The uni-polar world, after the Cold War, is through and through driven by exploitative capitalism and free market causing material deprivations of millions of people, with serious social and environmental consequences. A genuine theology will interrogate about its own role in the face of the urgencies of the present times.  How could theology contribute to the salvation or wellbeing (salus) of the world? It needs to cast aside leisurely speculations without reference to the burning issues of humanity and nature. Shedding its all-knowing pretensions about sin and salvation, theology will humbly seek to answer, just like Jesus, the pain and suffering of humanity, and in this process will lead to the experience of the ultimate mystery of love and compassion, bonding together the divine, the human and the universe.

The Task of Theology After Postconciliar Restoration

Andres Torres Queiruga

Abstract

Vatican II put an end to a period of restoration, triggering off an enormous wave of theological creativity and attention paid to the problems of humanity, with a firm determination to confront the new situation of secularization. The journal Concilium was created with the purpose of contributing to this task. As occurs in any great change, it also gave rise to and increasing doctrinal restoration. Theological creativity found itself reined in and exposed to frequent sanctions. Consequently it emphasized positive studies and contact with human problems and the respective sciences. The new pontificate is endeavouring to reclaim the original intention of the Council, calling for a new synthesis with the problems of the world and accentuating evangelical values on behalf of the poor, the marginalized and the needy. Theology without abandoning its practical course, now has the chance to renew study of the great truths of the faith, to make them meaningful and effective in the present situation. It will only be able to truly help in the construction of humanity if it manages to explain clearly the specific meaning of the gospel contribution. This situation constitutes a new Kairos for theology and, I believe, equality for Concilium.

The ‘Soul of Theology’: Hopes, Grief and Open Questions 50 years of Biblical Studies in Conciliu

Marie-Theres Wacker

Abstract

When Concilium was founded 50 years ago, there was no doubt that the Bible and Bible Studies would play a larger part once the II Vatican Council had referred to the biblical studies as the “soul of theology”.

This article traces the shifts and changes in dealing with the Bible in the five decades of the magazine, and carves out the basic problems of an exegesis, which considers itself a contemporary theological discipline.

The journal Concilium attributed the Bible and its theological position a central role when it was founded 50 years ago. The way in which Concilium deals with the Bible has also changed in the decades that followed, with the changes in scientific exegesis and its contexts. This article discusses both hopeful and critical perspectives on tracing distinctive positions and turning points, as they are visible in the journal, will come to discussion here, as well as open questions over an exegesis that desires ‘current’ theological relevance.

Theology: Hermeneutics for a Common Future

Luiz Carlos Susin

Abstract

The article recalls the hermeneutical turn in the 20th century that made possible the renewal of theology, its contribution to the Second Vatican Council and the foundation of the journal Concilium. Then, on the principle that ‘The whole is greater than the sum of the parts, ‘it examines key issues of our time as pointers to the next subject areas for theological hermeneutics: ecology, the human family, cultural pluralism, the sciences, and hospitality as characteristic of religion.

The Irreducible Cultural Pluralism and the Unity of Theology

Thierry-Marie Courau

Abstract

The unity of theology is a subject that can be approached from many angles. Is it possible to speak of unity when plurality and diversity are inescapable? When addressing plurality of culture, one often begins by searching for similarities. The concept of cultural pluralism is arrived at by approaching it from the opposite standpoint. It faces without disquiet the irreducible singularity of each culture while maintaining a certain distance from the confusion as well as from an illusory, one-sided grasp on the subject. It leads everyone to a working dialogue with the aim of arriving at a common understanding. The future of theology and its unity reside at the very heart of the difficulties arising from the meeting of the irreducible, which become a resource for a common theology.

Fifty Years for a Future that is Christian and Human

Jon Sobrino

Abstract

I want to describe the fundamental ways in which Concilium has had an impact on the way I live and think. I want to mention three: 1) honesty about real life, as I found it expressed in an article by J. B. Metz in 1960, ‘Unbelief as a Theological Problem’, 2) the civilisation of poverty in a 1982 article by Ignacio Ellacuria, ‘The Kingdom of God and Unemployment in the Third World’, and 3) martyrdom for justice’ sake, an idea launched eloquently by Karl Rahner’s 1983 article ‘Dimensions of Martyrdom’. These three ideas seem to me to open the door to many others that are being taken up by Concilium. Taken together, they push us towards a future of conversion and liberation. By coincidence, four days before I finished this article Archbishop Romero was beatified. For this reason my final words will be of happiness and hope: ‘Blessed is Archbishop Romero!’ and ‘Blessed is the people of the poor!’

Revisiting See-Judge-Act: Reflections from Asia

Daniel Franklin Pilario, C.M.

Abstract

This paper intends to revisit the see-judge-act method as it has traveled through the years and examine what contemporary contexts in Asia and other locations challenge it toward some revision and rethinking. First, beyond hard socio-economic analysis equated with Marxism, “seeing” (social analysis) has continually taken account of plural contexts of differing cultures, genders, and religions. Even as this “pluralization” was necessary, the present heartless system of globalization requires recovering the original critique of the “idolatry of money” already present in the first epochs of liberation theology. Second, “judging” has been classically viewed as the application of the so-called “Christian principles” in context. Contemporary reflexive sciences challenge the dominance of theory over praxis, thus, also pleading for the rethinking of the role of people's experiences and reflection in grassroots communities in the(re)formulation of Christian dogmatic statements and pastoral structures. Third, “acting” needs to reclaim the taken-for-granted everyday resistance among grassroots communities who themselves have been most brutally dislocated by the inroads of global capital.

Catholic Theological Ethics Beyond Vatican II

Lisa Sowle Cahill

Abstract

After the Second Vatican Council, Catholic ethics began to see personal morality more holistically, to give more attention to social justice, to employ a global lens when considering social problems, to prioritize the “preferential option for the poor” as key to the meaning of justice.   Four models of ethics can be correlated with these shifts: an ethics of personal morality, an ethics of the universal common good, liberationist ethics, and perhaps most importantly, empowerment ethics, representing the moral and political agency of oppressed peoples themselves.

Entering Fully into the Fabric of Society: Pope Francis and the Future of Catholic Social Discernmen

Johan Verstraeten, K.U.Leuven

Abstract

With inspiring metaphors, symbolic gestures and two extraordinary texts (the apostolic exhortationEvangeliigaudium, and the encyclical Laudatosi)Pope Francis leaves his mark on the further development of official Catholic social teaching.  Re-connecting his approach with the radical prophetic agenda of a significant group of bishops during Vatican II, he proposes a framework for discerning how members of the Church (in EG) and all people (LS, 3) can respond to the signs of our time. (EG 51, 53, 133). In what follows I will point out how his radical and reality oriented thinking opens new perspectives for Catholic social thought and practice. References to Laudatosiwill be limited to what is directly relevant for the understanding of Francis’ social thinking in general.

Journey of Hope and Liberation: What is Waiting for Us and What We Hope For

Cesar Kuzma

Abstract

The celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of the Second Vatican Council brings back the memories of the event itself and of everything that was both taking place around it and has happened since as a consequence. It also brings us to a renewed commitment to its proposals, to a re-reading of its initial premise, and to the ventures of an engaged Church at the service of the world in which it finds itself, being both a sign and a sacrament. The Council, in placing the Church as an extension of Christ’s labour, in furthering His mission, made flesh on earth, serving the world through the good works of the Kingdom, and for which it is shaped, took on a new restless stance in everything it believed; once again, in the here and now, we are led to this new way of being where we are pilgrims: a pilgrim Church journeying in hope and liberation. Assuredly, we are journeying to the full and tender meeting with the coming Christ, willingly open to the impact of doubts and human frailty, of hopes, of pains and sorrow. The Church will only succeed in its commitment to the kingdom of God, announced by Jesus. This longed for kingdom is neither utopic nor idealistic, not magical nor fleeting, but solid and real and makes itself known where love, peace and justice are manifest. Thus, committing yourself to the spirit of the Council is to commit yourself to the service of the Church in the world, the service of the kingdom which touches all in love, justice and peace.

Thinking from Below and With the Spirit

Diego Irarrazaval

Abstract

50 years of conciliar theology (anxieties on a Latin American journey). 1 – Questioning the God-event. 2 – What is marginal encourages hermeneutics. 3 – The priority of the theology of the Spirit. 4 – Crisis of paradigms and of desire. 5 – Sacralisations and Gospel. 6 – Theological silence and Church prophecy. Conclusion: walk in the catacombs of humanity, and with the Spirit.

Theology, Interrupted

Regina Ammicht Quinn

Abstract

Theology in interruption

Eduardo Galeano, writer, poet, journalist artist, experienced with all forms of exile, died a few weeks ago. He was the chronicler of the “nobodies”: “who are not, but could be”. And Galeano could be one of those sharp-witted and large-hearted people leading us theologians into the future.

In central Europe, Religion and Spirituality are again on public and individual agendas. In the eyes of many, however, the Church is not anymore recognized as the ultimate teacher of faith and morality, but on many levels as a moral problem itself. This puts theology in a new and special situation.

To deal with this situation, theology does not need to adapt a learning process (How to better communicate the truth we possess to the people); it has to become a learning process. Theology as a learning process will constantly examine and reexamine its language, its anxieties, its convictions and its “normalities”. Theology must be ready to allow itself “to be interrupted” (Bonhoeffer) – by God, by the world. To become a theology in and of interruption, it needs the virtues and competences of sensitivity, curiosity, phantasy, and resistance.

How Far has the ‘Unity of Ecumenical Grace’ got in the 20th Century?

Silvia Scatena

Abstract

This contribution will propose some reflections on the state of the "ecumenical temperature" 50 years after the end of Vatican II, in a season of the Church - that opened by the pontificate of Bergoglio - in which, after the "ecumenical winter" of the recent decades, "l'unité de la grâce œcuménique faite à notre siècle", in the words of Congar, can return on the horizon of expectations and as a crucial issue still waiting for its history.

Young People and the Church: From Paternalism to Intergenerational Co-Education

Solange Lefebvre

Abstract

Church Circles have always been concerned by young people. Two avenues appear favourable for drawing out renewed pastoral avenues. First, an examination of inter-generational dynamics can lead us to question the rather paternalist relationship which Catholic authorities can have with young adults. Second, given that the periods of adolescence and young adulthood increasingly lack important ritual stages, it is necessary to reflect on the rites and rituals which are part of this period of transition.