I became aware today of a letter from the pope released on Nov. 1, 2023, titled Ad theologiamPromovendam. [Note: the letter was published in Latin and Italian only. I am working from a translation provided by my Firefox browser. If you can’t translate it yourself, here is an unofficial version.] It calls for a revision of the basis of Roman Catholic theology using inductive reasoning based not on a single axiom of Jesus Christ as the son of God and his teachings in the gospels, but on an axiomatic basis which is pantheistic and secular including humanism and communism. As he describes it (Ad theologiamPromovendam, para. 3), “to an epistemological and methodological rethink“.

This is the pastoral “timbro” [stamp] that theology as a whole, and not only in its particular sphere, must assume: without opposing theory and practice, theological reflection is urged to develop with an inductive method, which starts from [axiom] the different contexts and concrete situations in which peoples are inserted, allowing themselves to be seriously challenged by reality, to become discernment of the “signs of the times” in the proclamation of the salvific event of the God. agape Therefore, it is necessary first of all to give priority to the knowledge of the common sense of the people who are in fact a theological place in which so many images of God dwell, often not corresponding to the Christian face of God, alone

Ibid, para. 8.

For those not familiar with inductive reasoning, one starts from a base case assumed to be valid (i.e. an axiom). One then uses logical reasoning from this basis to create a larger argument which in this case is to be the church’s theology.

From this paragraph, the primary instruments of reasoning are to be “common sense” and “concrete existential (see para. 3) situations”, neither of which has any basis other than ambiguity, i.e. “signs of the times”.

The central means to achieve this new theology is through dialogue using

… a synodal form, promoting among themselves the ability to listen, dialogue,
discern and integrate the multiplicity and variety of the demands and contributions”.

Ibid, para. 6.

The traditional form of synod is an assembly of bishops (includes cardinals as high bishops) only. The pope, in his recent synod on synodality included lay people (including women) and representatives of the Eastern Church.

Lay people may be informed but will lack the theological depth of understanding and history that bishops have due to their years of training and education. Moreover, lay people may be more prone to introducing humanistic and other political or philosophical ideologies that clergy would likely not introduce. Of course this is what the proposed change is intended to accomplish.

The pope is proposing the development of a theology whose axiomatic basis includes teachings of all religions. This will lead to a universal theology and a universal church which is anti-Christian because its base axioms include those that are anti-Christian.

… the Pontifical Academy of Theology is called to develop, in the constant attention to the scientificity of theological reflection, transdisciplinary dialogue with other scientific, philosophical, humanistic and artistic knowledge, with believers and non-believers, with men and women of different Christian confessions and different religions.

Ibid, para. 9.

He institutes the change “in perpetuity, [in] the Statutes of the Pontifical Academy of Theology” (para. 10) and ends his letter implementing this change by saying “I order that it has a stable and lasting value, in spite of anything contrary.” So effectively, the implementation cannot be argued against or amended.

Articles in This Series

Refer to the series index in A New Direction.


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