International Theological Commission…

…judges Francis’ idea on renouncing our own culture to benefit the refugees

  • However great the respect should be for the cultural heritage of a people, we cannot forget the transcendence of the Gospel in relation to all human cultures in which the Christian faith has the vocation to root itself and come to fruition

We cannot, however, forget the transcendence of the Gospel in relation to all human cultures in which the Christian faith has the vocation to root itself and come to fruition according to all its potentialities. However great the respect should be for what is true and holy in the cultural heritage of a people, this attitude does not demand that one should lend an absolute character to this cultural heritage. No one can forget that, from the beginning, the Gospel was a “scandal for the Jews and foolishness for the pagans” (1Cor 1:23). Inculturation which borrows the way of dialogue between religions cannot in any way pledge itself to syncretism. (International Theological Commission. Faith and inculturation, no. 14, December 1988)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Church’s rules on matrimony being ‘overly rigid’

  • The Church cannot claim for herself the right to dissolve a marriage

This Christological vision of Christian marriage allows one to understand why the Church cannot claim for herself the right to dissolve a marriage ratum et consummatum, i.e., a marriage that is sacramentally contracted in the Church and ratified by the spouses through the marriage act. In effect, the entire communion of life, which humanly speaking defines the marriage, evokes in its own way the realism of the Incarnation in which the Son of God becomes one with mankind in the flesh. In committing themselves to each other without reserve, the couple signifies by this act their effective transition to the conjugal life in which love becomes a sharing as absolute as possible of each other. They thus enter into the human behavior whose irrevocable character was recalled by Christ and which he made an image that reveals his own mystery. The Church cannot have any power, then, over the reality of a conjugal union that has passed into the power of him whose mystery she must announce and not hinder. (International Theological Commission. Propositions on the Doctrine of Christian Marriage, no. 13, 1977)

…judges Francis’ idea on renouncing our own culture to receive the refugees

  • However great the respect should be for what is true and holy in the cultural heritage of a people, one should lend an absolute character to it – the Gospel is always above all

We cannot, however, forget the transcendence of the Gospel in relation to all human cultures in which the Christian faith has the vocation to root itself and come to fruition according to all its potentialities. However great the respect should be for what is true and holy in the cultural heritage of a people, this attitude does not demand that one should lend an absolute character to this cultural heritage. No one can forget that, from the beginning, the Gospel was a ‘scandal for the Jews and foolishness for the pagans’ (1Cor 1:23). Inculturation which borrows the way of dialogue between religions cannot in any way pledge itself to syncretism. (International Theological Commission. Faith and inculturation, no. 14, December 1987)

…judges Francis’ idea on switching Christ for interconfessionalism

  • Jesus announces a new justice: imitation of the ways of the heavenly Father

This new and final Kingdom of God was preached by Jesus and in fact set in motion in his Person and in his activity. He demands a complete change of heart, metanoia, in his disciples and announces to them a new way of living, a new justice, in which they will imitate the ways of the heavenly Father (cf. Mt 5:48; Lk 6:36). (International Theological Commission. The dignity and the rights of the human person, no.2.1, 1983)

…judges Francis’ idea on the Church’s fault for the Anglican schism

  • The communities that emerged from the sixteenth-century Reformation deny the link between Scripture and Tradition. The proclamation of sola scriptura led inevitably to an obscuring of the older idea of the Church and its priesthood

The communities that emerged from the sixteenth-century Reformation differ among themselves to such an extent that a description of their relationship to the Catholic Church has to take account of the many individual cases. However, some general lines are beginning to emerge. In general it was a feature of the Reformation to deny the link between Scripture and Tradition and to advocate the view that Scripture alone was normative. Even if later on some sort of place for Tradition is recognized, it is never given the same position and dignity as in the ancient Church. But since the sacrament of orders is the indispensable sacramental expression of communion in the Tradition, the proclamation of sola scriptura led inevitably to an obscuring of the older idea of the Church and its priesthood. (International Theological Commission. Catholic Teaching on Apostolic Succession, VI, 3, 1973)

…judges Francis’ idea that Koran is a book of peace

  • The worrisome phenomenon of ‘religious violence’ is not devoid of connections with the politics of ethnic subversion and of terrorist strategy

We can understand the astonishment of Christians in seeing that a religious vocation of violence toward the faithful of other religions or also to the propagandists of criticism of religion is attributed to them: above all if we consider that, in many parts of the world, Christians are battered with intimidation and violence, simply because they belong to the Christian community. Even in the democratic and lay societies, the bond of belonging to a Christian community is often pointed out as a threat to social peace and free cultural comparison, even when the argumentations presented, in the support of the opinions that refer to the public sphere, appeal to the recourses of the common rationality. It certainly may not be denied that there exists a reawakening, on an international scale, of the worrisome phenomenon of ‘religious violence’ not devoid of significant connections with politics of ethnic subversion and of terrorist strategy. (International Theological Commission. God the Trinity and the unity of humanity, Ch. 1, no. 6-7, December 6, 2013)

…judges Francis’ idea on good-will replacing theological investigation

  • The way of dialogue between religions cannot in any way pledge itself to syncretism

We cannot, however, forget the transcendence of the Gospel in relation to all human cultures in which the Christian faith has the vocation to root itself and come to fruition according to all its potentialities. However great the respect should be for what is true and holy in the cultural heritage of a people, this attitude does not demand that one should lend an absolute character to this cultural heritage. No one can forget that, from the beginning, the Gospel was a ‘scandal for the Jews and foolishness for the pagans’ (1Cor 1:23). Inculturation which borrows the way of dialogue between religions cannot in any way pledge itself to syncretism. (International Theological Commission. The faith and inculturation, no. 14, December 14, 1987)

…judges Francis’ idea on family

  • The dynamism towards procreation is intrinsically linked to the natural inclination that leads man to woman

The dynamism towards procreation is intrinsically linked to the natural inclination that leads man to woman and woman to man, a universal datum recognized in all societies. It is the same for the inclination to care for one’s children and to educate them. These inclinations imply that the permanence of the union of man and woman, indeed even their mutual fidelity, are already values to pursue, even if they can only fully flourish in the spiritual order of interpersonal communion. (International Theological Commission. In Search of a Universal Ethic: A New Look at the Natural Law, no. 49, May 20, 2009)

…judges Francis’ idea on studying theology

  • The life of the theologian cannot fail to be affected by the sustained effort to know the living God

The object of theology is the living God, and the life of the theologian cannot fail to be affected by the sustained effort to know the living God. The theologian cannot exclude his or her own life from the endeavour to understand all of reality with regard to God. Obedience to the truth purifies the soul (cf. 1Pet 1:22), and ‘the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without a trace of partiality or hypocrisy’ (Jas 3:17). It follows that the pursuit of theology should purify the mind and heart of the theologian [Cf. ITC, The Interpretation of Dogma, B, III, 4: ‘the theological interpretation of dogmas is not an intellectual process only. At a deeper level still, it is a spiritual enterprise, brought about by the Spirit of Truth and possible only when preceded by a purification of the ‘eyes of the heart’’]. (International Theological Commission, Theology today: Perspectives, principles and criteria, no. 93, November 29, 2011)

  • The proper place for theology is within the Church

The proper place for theology is within the Church, which is gathered together by the Word of God. The ecclesiality of theology is a constitutive aspect of the theological task, because theology is based on faith, and faith itself is both personal and ecclesial. The revelation of God is directed towards the convocation and renewal of the people of God, and it is through the Church that theologians receive the object of their enquiry. (International Theological Commission, Theology today: Perspectives, principles and criteria, no. 20, November 29, 2011)

  • Theology implies a striving for holiness

As it strives for true wisdom in its study of the Mystery of God, theology acknowledges God’s utter priority; it seeks not to possess but to be possessed by God. It must therefore be attentive to what the Spirit is saying to the churches by means of ‘the knowledge of the saints’. Theology implies a striving for holiness and an ever-deeper awareness of the transcendence of the Mystery of God. (International Theological Commission, Theology today: Perspectives, principles and criteria, no. 99, November 29, 2011)

…judges Francis’ idea on sects forming part of the Church

  • Our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant to the Church

First of all we should call to mind the ‘fullness of grace and truth entrusted to the Catholic Church’ (Unitatis redintegratio 3). In this the Church is a beneficiary of the fact that ‘it was to the apostolic college alone, of which Peter is the head, that we believe that our Lord entrusted all the blessings of the New Covenant, in order to establish on earth the one Body of Christ into which all those should be fully incorporated who belong in any way to the people of God’ (Unitatis redintegratio 3). (International Theological Commission. Select themes of Ecclesiology, Ch. IX, no. 2, October 7, 1985)

…judges Francis’ idea on human suffering

  • The Cross is a liturgy of obedience

The sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross was not only passio, but also actio. The latter aspect, the voluntary self-offering to the Father, with its pneumatic content, is the most important aspect of his death. The drama is not a conflict between fate and the individual. On the contrary, the Cross is a liturgy of obedience manifesting the unity between the Father and the Son in the eternal Spirit. (International Theological Commission. Select Questions on the Theology of God the Redeemer, no.12, 1995)

…judges Francis’ idea on the indissolubility of marriage

  • The Church cannot have any power over the reality of a conjugal union, which evokes in its own way the realism of the Incarnation

Why the church cannot dissolve a marriage that is ‘ratum et consummatum’ this Christological vision of Christian marriage allows one to understand why the Church cannot claim for herself the right to dissolve a marriage ratum et consummatum, i.e., a marriage that is sacramentally contracted in the Church and ratified by the spouses through the marriage act. In effect, the entire communion of life, which humanly speaking defines the marriage, evokes in its own way the realism of the Incarnation in which the Son of God becomes one with mankind in the flesh. In committing themselves to each other without reserve, the couple signifies by this act their effective transition to the conjugal life in which love becomes a sharing as absolute as possible of each other. They thus enter into the human behavior whose irrevocable character was recalled by Christ and which he made an image that reveals his own mystery. The Church cannot have any power, then, over the reality of a conjugal union that has passed into the power of him whose mystery she must announce and not hinder. (International Theological Commission. Propositions on the Doctrine of Christian Marriage, no. 13, 1977)

…judges Francis’ idea on divorcees as Godparents

  • Changing the Church’s doctrine would be transforming Her into a countersign and a counterwitness of Christ

The approach of the divorced and remarried to the Eucharist is plainly incompatible with the mystery of which the Church is the servant and witness. In receiving the divorced and remarried to the Eucharist, the Church would let such parties believe that they can, on the level of signs, communicate with him whose conjugal mystery they disavow on the level of reality. To do so would be, moreover, on the part of the Church to declare herself in accord with the baptized at the moment when they enter or remain in a clearly objective contradiction with the life, the thought, and the being itself of the Lord as Spouse of the Church. If the Church could give the sacrament of unity to those who have broken with her on an essential point of the mystery of Christ, she would no longer be the sign of the witness of Christ but rather a countersign and a counterwitness. (International Theological Commission. Propositions on the Doctrine of Christian Marriage, no. 12, 1977)

…judges Francis’ words that it was not an offense accepting the Cross in the form of a communist symbol

  • The philosophical assumptions of Marxist anthropology are erroneous

In every instance these theories must be tested for their degree of certitude, inasmuch as they are often no more than conjectures and not infrequently harbor explicit or implicit ideological elements that rest on debatable philosophical assumptions or on an erroneous anthropology. This is true, for instance, of significant segments of analyses inspired by Marxism and Leninism. Anyone who employs such theories and analyses should be aware that these do not achieve a greater degree of truth simply because theology introduces them into its expositions. In fact, theology ought to recognize the pluralism that exists in scientific interpretations of society and realize that it cannot be fettered to any concrete sociological analysis. (International Theological Commission, Human development and Christian Salvation, 1976)

…judges Francis’ idea that the Pope should not judge

  • The dynamism towards procreation is intrinsically linked to the natural inclination that leads man to woman and woman to man

The good of the species appears in this way as one of the fundamental aspirations present in the person. We become particularly aware of it in our time, when certain issues such as global warming revive our sense of responsibility for the planet, as well as for the human species in particular. This openness to a certain common good of the species is already an assertion of certain aspirations proper to the human person. The dynamism towards procreation is intrinsically linked to the natural inclination that leads man to woman and woman to man, a universal datum recognized in all societies. It is the same for the inclination to care for one’s children and to educate them. These inclinations imply that the permanence of the union of man and woman, indeed even their mutual fidelity, are already values to pursue, even if they can only fully flourish in the spiritual order of interpersonal communion (cf. Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 16). (International Theological Commission, In search of a universal ethic: a new look at the Natural Law, no. 49, May 20, 2009)

…judges Francis’ idea on eternal condemnation

  • The Church believes that the definitive state of damnation awaits those who die burdened with grave sin

 The Church believes that the definitive state of damnation awaits those who die burdened with grave sin (cf. LG 48). It is categorically important to avoid any too close assimilation of the purificatory process which precedes our meeting with God with the process of damnation, as if all that lay between them was the opposition of eternal and temporal: the postmortem purification is ‘straightforwardly other than the pain of damnation’ (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Recentiores episcoporum Synodi, 7, p. 942.) (International Theological Commission. Some current Questions in Eschatology, no. 8,2. 1990)

…judges Francis’ relations with  ‘ordained’ women of the christian churches

  • Dialogue between religions cannot in any way pledge itself to syncretism

We cannot, however, forget the transcendence of the Gospel in relation to all human cultures in which the Christian faith has the vocation to root itself and come to fruition according to all its potentialities. However great the respect should be for what is true and holy in the cultural heritage of a people, this attitude does not demand that one should lend an absolute character to this cultural heritage. No one can forget that, from the beginning, the Gospel was a ‘scandal for the Jews and foolishness for the pagans’.  Inculturation which borrows the way of dialogue between religions cannot in any way pledge itself to syncretism. (International Theological Commission, Faith and Inculturation, no. 14, 1988)

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