The comment of Fr. Alessio Magoga – published also on the site of the Triveneto Faculty of Theology – on the conference held by Piero Coda on 30 January with the professors of the Seminaries and the Institutes of Religious Sciences of Triveneto.
«The most appreciated report focuses on four points: the “style” theology is called to assume in modern society; the need to “rethink thought;” “reforming the Church;” and “seeing God and letting God be seen.” As to the first point, theology should focus on the times we are living in, characterised by an epoch-making and effective transition and the novelty of Vatican Council II. Going back to Rosmini’s ideas and his distinction between the “rallying” periods and the “quiet” eras in the history of the Church, Coda retains that by living the reality of the Church’s accelerated “rallying” period with all of humanity, the Holy Spirit is asking theology to assume with courage the task of discerning «between what edifies and must be edified and what destroys and must be destroyed,» and to rediscover and renew that supreme and demanding style which characterized the Church’s most fruitful seasons.
To be able to “rethink thought” Coda cited some of Edgard Morin’s suggestions, by which «it is preferable to have a well structured mind than having one that is packed.» Today we experiment on forms of specialized and mutually independent knowledge that appear, however, to be “esoteric, anonymous, fragmented and disappointing.» On the other hand, there is a growing awareness that we are living in an interdependent and global world, so much so that rethinking thought has now become a necessity and a resource. Only wisdom – T. S. Eliot said – gives unity to the various forms of knowledge. All this provokes the quest for a new paradigm to access knowledge and demands a new pact between the various forms of knowledge. Theology’s entry into this process implies undertaking a real role-playing game towards unity, with humbleness and courage, learning to sustain scientific dialogue and expertly guiding one’s own specific contribution to the trails of wisdom.
The third point regards the “reform of the Church.” In line with Vatican II, Pope Francis insists on the need to evangelise in order to overcome autoreferentialism: this is the Church’s undergoing reform. The mission is not only an intra-ecclesiastical need but a task and a responsibility towards history. Also in this case we are dealing with a change of paradigm and theology that should humbly serve the reform of the Church and offer the necessary tools to make this occur in accordance with the principles of Vatican II. A fundamental point of the reform regards the “synod figure” of the Church. Pope Francis is pointing out the figure towards which the synod procedure should converge and is actualising it in various ways: for one, the Family synod, created by the Pope in two different phases with the participation of the people of God, and the reform of the Roman Curia. The reform of the Church in the light of the synod’s spirit, however, does not consist in submerging the principle of evangelical unity and authority in the Church: theology is thus entrusted the task of understanding in a relevant way, the subtle relationship between “ecclesiology of communion” and “hierarchical communion.”
To see God and let God be seen is the last point of Coda’s proposal. Theology is called to the vision of God and this is its essential aim. If the vision of God passes through Christ, particularly Christ forsaken on the cross, this would also include the vision of man, through Christ: contemplating God leads us to the contemplation of God’s people starting from the wounds and the existential outskirts of history, as Pope Francis continues to stress. The issue of God, on the other hand, is a burning issue today especially for the youth, that precious section of God’s people which is awaiting new forms of transmitting the Christian message. And even more, the reconsideration of language and communication of the Christian experience of God.
Socio-religious studies on the youth underline that the sensors that intercept God’s signal are not rigid, but run the risk of not capturing its wavelength in the field of ecclesiastical languages today. The quest for self-fulfilment in our present times, in terms of spiritual, psychic and corporal unity, the relationship with others conceived as the place of one’s own becoming, and beauty rediscovered as a place where mystery is revealed, are three aspects the youth are looking for and that, though intrinsic to the Christian mystery, today the Church is struggling to “restate” – and this is another task of “outgoing” theology.»