Pope Francis calls for a new theology not always ‘corresponding to the Christian face of God’
Draw from non-Christian images of God
Pope Francis’ new mode of theological study directed Catholic theologians to draw from, or promote, the “people’s common sense” in an “inductive method.”
Such a method would start from the “different contexts and concrete situations in which peoples are inserted, allowing itself to be seriously challenged by reality,” and all these contextual considerations would lead to theologians assessing “signs of the times.”
But in order to practice the new theological style, wrote Francis, theologians would have to prioritize “common” ideas found amongst people, even though such ideas reject the Catholic concept of God:
Therefore, it is necessary that the knowledge of people’s common sense, which is in fact a theological place in which so many images of God dwell, often not corresponding to the Christian face of God, only and always love, be privileged first of all.
Such an epochal change, argued Francis, requires an essentially different character and identity for the sacred science of theology. Citing his first ecological document, “Laudato si’,” Francis called for a “paradigm shift” in the Church’ approach to theology.
Francis further argued that theology would necessarily move away from a path of presenting and teaching truths, “into a culture of dialogue and encounter between different traditions and different knowledge, between different Christian denominations and different religions, openly confronting everyone, believers and non-believers alike.”
This argument, however, flies in the face of the unchanging teaching of the Church, regarding its God-given mission.
Pope Leo XIII writes in Satis Cognitum that the Church’s task is to teach the faith of Christ, not to look for knowledge from other traditions or religions. The pope wrote: “For what did Christ, the Lord, ask? What did He wish in regard to the Church founded, or about to be founded? This: to transmit to it the same mission and the same mandate which He had received from the Father, that they should be perpetuated.”