Pope Francis Calls for 'Paradigm Shift' in Catholic Theology, Emphasizing Engagement with Science and Culture Pope Francis has issued a motu proprio titled "Ad Theologiam Promovendam," signaling a bold vision for the future of Catholic theology. The document, which revises the statutes of the Pontifical Academy of Theology (PATH), emphasizes the need for theology to engage deeply with contemporary science, culture, and people's lived experiences, in response to "profound cultural transformations." In this apostolic letter, the pope advocates for a "courageous cultural revolution" towards a "fundamentally contextual theology" that moves away from reiterating past formulas to actively interpreting the Gospel in the diverse contexts of modern life. He criticizes "desk bound theology" and insists on an "inductive" and "transdisciplinary" approach that dialogues with other disciplines and recognizes the wisdom in people's "common sense." This shift aims to better equip the Church's evangelizing mission and to make theology more "outgoing" and "pastoral." Pope Francis envisions a theology that transcends traditional boundaries and addresses the "signs of the times," turning faith into a "culture" and a "proposal of human and humanizing beauty." The new statutes of PATH reflect this vision, focusing on promoting "transdisciplinary dialogue" and serving academic and cultural institutions to reach individuals in their specific life contexts. PATH's president, Bishop Antonio Staglianò, has welcomed this new mission. In alignment with Pope Francis's magisterium, the revamped PATH will prioritize "intellectual charity" and address the needs of those in "existential peripheries," promoting dialogue not only with various Christian confessions and religions but also with nonbelievers, in a process described as "wisdom dissemination."
Nov. 1, 2023