"Are we prepared to promote conditions in which the living contact with God can be reestablished? For our lives today have become godless to the point of complete vacuity. God is no longer with us in the conscious sense of the word. He is denied, ignored, excluded from every claim to have a part in our daily life." - Alfred Delp, S.J.

Saturday, December 06, 2014

I like this: Stop making pronouncements in an "academic vacuum".

The Pope to theologians.

The Crux article I just read said, "Francis, whose near-disdain for theologians is well-known ..."

See - that's me too.  A priest friend once told me he was impressed by how many young people are really studying the faith, but said many seem to feel the theology degree is their ticket to heaven, yet very few understand ordinary life and simplicity, while even more seem to be wanting in prayer and devotion.  Another way of saying it is they lack humility and charity.  They know doctrine and dogma but neglect the interior life.

I remember reading someplace how a superior once counselled Fr. Hardon that his academic genius would make him a sort of tyrant rather than a pastor of souls - in so far as he lacked charity.  I wish I could find the exact wording of the anecdote as told by Fr. Hardon - it would help explain what I've said above.

That said - I very much like this article concerning what the Pope had to say to theologians:

Pope Francis urged the Catholic Church’s top theologians on Friday to listen to what ordinary Catholics have to say and pay attention to the “signs of the times,” rather than just making pronouncements in an academic vacuum. 
Francis, whose near-disdain for theologians is well-known, told the International Theological Commission that they must “humbly listen” to what God tells the church by understanding Scripture but also by taking into account how ordinary Catholics live out their faith. 
“Together with all Christians, theologians must open their eyes and ears to the signs of the times,” Francis said.
Francis has [...] spoken frequently about what he calls “theology on its knees” — a more merciful type of theology that isn’t focused so much on rules and regulations but meeting the faithful where they are to help them reach holiness. - Source

Some thoughts from St.Angela of Foligno ...

"I do repeat, therefore, that all the perfection of man and the knowledge of God and of himself that is to say, the understanding of the immensity of God in all perfection and goodness, and of his own nothingness this manifestation and knowledge of God and of himself is only granted unto the lawful sons of God, who do pray truly, and fervently do read and meditate in the Book of Life. Unto these true sons doth God the Father open and present the Book of Life, which is the life of Jesus Christ, God and Man, within which Book they will find all things that they can possibly desire to know." - Blessed Angela of Foligno

"When you come across flatterers, men or women, who tell you: 'Brother, your words have converted me to penance," do not pay any attention to them but rather turn to the Creator and thank him for this blessing. There are many preachers of falsehoods whose preaching is full of greed, and out of greed they preach for honors, money, and fame.'" -Blessed Angela of Foligno

“However much more you pray, ever more greatly will you be illuminated; however much more you are illuminated, so much more profoundly and intensely will you see the Supreme Good, the supremely good Being; how much more profoundly and intensely you see it, much more will you love it ... Successively you will arrive to the fullness of light, because you will understand not being able to comprehend." - Blessed Angela


  1. In referring to doing theology on one's knees, Francis is actually quoting Hans Urs von Balthasar - greatly admired by Benedict XVI and one of the most erudite and prolific theologians of the 20th century.

    With regard to the question of academic theology and sanctity, I keep on thinking of the (Greek Orthodox) Eldress Gavrillia, who once remarked that you never see a saint coming out of a lecture-hall or a library.

  2. What about St. Thomas or St. Bonaventure or John Henry Newman or dare I say it, Benedict XVI all holy men and theologians

  3. What does it mean to listen to ordinary Catholics? Listen to them regarding what? What question(s) is/are ordinary Catholics supposed to be answering?


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