In this article we intend to reflect on the dialogical style that – according to the Magisterium, starting with the Council – is at the heart of theology and theological formation. Then we will examine various forms of dialogue and renewal within a theological faculty. The reflection will culminate with dialogue as a style of theology docile to the Spirit.
Reflection on dialogue and renewal begins with the paradigm shift brought about in the Church by the Second Vatican Council. With the dogmatic constitution Dei Verbum (DV) the Church put an end to an attitude that for centuries had conditioned its way of doing theology. I am referring to the defensive attitude that, since the advent of modernity, had led the Church to conceive of itself as a stronghold besieged by internal and external enemies. Vatican II decided to diverge from this path that Catholic apologetics had traced from Trent onward. The Church therefore chose a more dialogical and constructive approach.
Vatican II was the first council in which no anathemas were pronounced. In it, God’s revelation was understood as God’s self-communication to humanity and as a call to communion with God. The Church now conceives of herself as a dynamic reality, called to spread the good news of the Gospel, addressing it to all people on earth.