Sao Paulo, Brazil (Tuesday, 05/12/2015, Gaudium Press) At the Auditorium of the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo (PUC-SP), on Friday, May 8, the Prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, lectured. The cardinal, who was arriving from Rome, spoke to more than 200 people, including deans, professors, teachers, Catholic schools directors, religious and students on the subject of the specific characteristics of “Doing Theology”.
This lecture was delivered in the context of the “Theological Week” held at PUC-SP between 11 and 15 May, under the theme of “Sacrosanctun Concilium.”
The event was chaired by the Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Catholic University of Sao Paulo, Cardinal Odilo Pedro Scherer, who was accompanied by the Rector of PUC-SP, Professor Anna Maria Marques Cintra, as well as by the Auxiliary Bishop of São Paulo and Vicar for Catholic Education and Universities, His Excellency Carlos Lema Garcia, among others.
Bishop Carlos Lema Garcia, who spoke before the cardinal, said that the bishops gathered in the Fifth General Conference of the Latin American and Caribbean Bishops held in Aparecida in 2007, spoke on the need of a profound renewal in Catholic schools: “We need to rescue the Catholic identity of our educational centers” (n. 337).
Referring to the issue of education in today’s context, Bishop Carlos Lema Garcia addressed the issue of the high percentage of people of other religions in Catholic educational institutions. He said that Pope Francis, in February 2014, clearly recognized the challenge: “(…) Schools and Catholic universities are frequented by many students who are not Christians, or are even non-believers (…) but nevertheless they are also called to offer to everyone – with full respect for their freedom – the Christian proposal, namely Jesus Christ as the one who gives the meaning of life, of the universe and of history.”
He also referred as being a temptation the desire to “compete with the market and hide the Catholic identity” in encourage teachers and other educators to “not be afraid of losing students by giving a clear Catholic identity.” “What cannot happen is what was said to a student’s mother: ‘Madam, do not worry: your child will never hear of Catholicism in this school.'”
“I have always insisted,” continued Don Carlos, “on visits to our Catholic schools and universities that the reason for its existence is given through the life of a saint or a holy founder, who received a charisma from God in order to transmit their faith to the new generations. If it wasn’t for their faith, their fidelity to their vocation and their mission within the Church, these schools and these universities would have never existed.”
Cardinal Scherer introduced the Cardinal reminding his extensive experience in ecclesiastical matters, having spent almost 50 years working in the Roman Curia, serving three Popes and being a great jurist.
Cardinal Grocholewski spoke about some specific elements that should characterize the theological work based, to a large extent, in the Apostolic Constitution Sapientia Christiana on Universities and Ecclesiastical Faculties, written in 1979 by St. John Paul II.
Summing up the features in six points:
First: Fidelity to the Magisterium of the Church. Referring to the Dogmatic Constitution Dei Verbum on Divine Revelation of the Second Vatican Council, he said that the magisterium is not above the Word of God, but it serves it and teaches what it was entrusted to it by divine mandate (Dei Verbum 10).
Second: The witness of faith and Christian life. Quoting “Sapientia Christiana”, he said that one of the requirements for teaching in ecclesiastical faculties is to give witness with their own life. (See Sapientia Christiana article 25, paragraph 1 … CIC 810 & 1, canon 818);
Third: To be aware of their participation in the Church’s evangelizing mission. “The theological faculties should be aware of their broad participation in the Church’s mission, for their edification and for the good of the faithful” remembered the Cardinal. (See “Sapientia Christiana” IV, paragraph 3)
Fourth: Union with God through prayer. “In regard to the methodology of the theological work, one cannot omit the fact that knowledge of the divine mysteries are drawn not only from study and scientific research, but, and mainly, from close inner bond with God in prayer, and above all in contemplation “, Cardinal Grocholewski explained. (See New Millennium Ineunte, 20, also 27 and 33.)
Fifth: Enculturation. In this topic, the cardinal noted that “the explanation of revealed truths, without being adulterated, must be adjusted to the nature and the character of each culture, taking particular account of the philosophy and wisdom of the people, excluding any form of syncretism and of false particularities. “(Sapientia Christiana See art. 68 to 1)
Sixth: Collaboration. On this subject, the cardinal said that there is “a need for collaboration between the various centers of theological thought. This collaboration, in fact, as mentioned in “Sapientia Christiana”, will be of great value to promote scientific research by the teachers and the best understanding of students, as well as to achieve what is commonly called “interdisciplinary relationship.” (See Sapientia Christiana art. 64. CIC 820)
Cardinal Grocholewski concluded by saying that these are “some thoughts that are always useful to have them in mind so that our work in the ecclesiastical faculties maybe fruitful for the good of the Church and of society, and in your specific case, for growth of the Christian life and for the good of your apostolate in your beloved Brazil. My wish for you is that this contribution, supported by the enthusiasm and the dynamism of your love, be always more fruitful” the cardinal concluded.
After answering some questions, Cardinal Scherer thanked Cardinal Grocholewski for his participation in this meeting. It was followed by refreshments in the garden where people could greet each other and exchanged impressions.
By Deacon Arthur Hlebnikian, EP