Reflecting the Mind of the
Vatican Since 1850

June 2023 Issue
Francis’ Vision for a Renewed Theology

Pope Francis’ simple pastoral and colloquial style has led many to consider him a ‘pastor-pope’ rather than a philosopher like St. John Paul II or a theologian like Benedict XVI. His vision of theology and the need for renewal that he feels will more effectively serve the Church’s mission in the contemporary world, deserves greater recognition. James Hanvey outlines this broad program in Francis’ Vision for a Renewed Theology.

 

Renewing and Realizing the Social Doctrine of the Church, by Cardinal Michael Czerny and Father Christian Barone draws on the importance of the work done by the five General Conferences of the Latin American Episcopate (CELAM) about the reception of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council. By deepening the link between the Aparecida Final Document and Evangelii Gaudium they revisit Francis’ social, cultural, ecological and pastoral visions.

 

From April 28-30, Pope Francis visited Hungary. From Budapest, as our director Antonio Spadaro tells us in The European Soul and the Spirit of Prophetic Reception, the pontiff called for a rediscovery of the European soul, for unity that does not mean uniformity  –  that avoids the risks of populism and supranationalism. To the people, he appealed for solidarity and care for those in need, asking the Church to meet today’s challenges, to live them with a spirit of welcome, with prophecy and speaking the language of sharing and inclusion.

 

Giancarlo Pani recalls the life and the works of Don Lorenzo Milani, Priest and Prior of Barbiana. Visiting Barbiana, Pope Francis recognized Don Lorenzo’s exemplary way of serving the Gospel, the poor, the Church. Born Jewish, his agnostic mother made it clear: “If one does not really understand the priest that Lorenzo was, one can hardly understand the rest about him,” his passion for teaching, obedience to the Church and love for the Gospel.

 

As a young theologian, Joseph Ratzinger expressed appreciation for Teilhard de Chardin’s grand vision of man in the world, from an evolutionary perspective oriented toward fulfilment in Christ. Several pages of Ratzinger’s Introduction to Christianity are explicitly dedicated to Teilhard, as is a passage from The Spirit of the Liturgy. Joseph Ratzinger: Reader Of Teilhard de Chardin by Andreas Lind, focuses on other profound affinities between the Ratzingerian and Teilhardian visions, for example the experience of beauty as a way to God.

 

A recent conference “The Global Aesthetics of the Catholic Imagination,” organized by our magazine and Georgetown University, brought together more than 40 poets, storytellers, screenwriters and filmmakers from around the world who identify as Catholic, or who feel that Catholicism has been a formative dimension of their artistic development. On Saturday, May 27, the participants were received in an audience by Pope Francis, who delivered a speech: An Experience That is Always “Overflowing.” He spoke of “the Catholic imagination of our time,” which is “not to ‘explain’ the mystery of Christ,” but “to make us touch it, to make us feel it immediately close, to deliver it to us as a living reality, and to make us grasp the beauty of its promise.”

 

Also in the issue:

Jacob and Esau, from Conflict to Repairing a Wounded Relationship, Vincenzo Anselmo
‘Little Brother’: A Journey to Find the Truth, Claudio Zonta
China’s Role in the Reconciliation Between Iran and Saudi Arabia, Vladimir Pachkov
Arab Jews, David Neuhaus
Michelangelo and the Theology of the Book of Esther, Giancarlo Pani
Women in the New Taliban State, Giovanni Sale
The Tragedy of War and Curzio Malaparte, Diego Mattei

 

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