Tuesday, March 21, 2017

VATICAN - Cardinal Filoni: "To advance firmly towards this process of listening, understanding, discernment and action"

The Pontifical Urbaniana University dedicated its main moment of scientific reflection of the academic year, to the deepening of the meaning of "discernment" in the Church and in the world today, through an International Theology Conference, which was held in Rome from 13 to 15 March.

Cardinal Fernando Filoni, Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples and Grand Chancellor of the Pontifical Urbaniana University drew the conclusions of the intense days of multidisciplinary study. 

Recalling that "it is a theme very dear to Pope Francis", Card. Filoni stressed the difficulty of "making a thorough summary of the many suggestions emerged", believing it helpful however "to try and identify some prospects that call us before the present reality without fear, in order to identify the most suitable means for ensuring an effective Christian presence in the world and witness of the Gospel message".

"Large portions of the world territories" recalled the Cardinal, are entrusted to the "pastoral concern" of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, who explained: "If it is true that often these are countries where Catholics are a minority, it is equally true that the peoples of those Countries are entirely entrusted to it, Christians and non-Christians, with an even greater and binding responsibility on precisely how many have not yet been reached by the proclamation of the Gospel".

The CEP cannot be regarded as any socio-economic or political institution, which focuses on the development of its own power, the growth of the areas of control, the organization of a network of officials, offices, agencies ... "For us, however, what makes us different - he stressed - is an inherently different reality: it is the sense of "communion". The logic of communion, in fact, makes it possible to "discern".

Citing the conciliar Constitution "Gaudium et Spes", the Prefect of the Missionary Congregation stressed that "from those joys and hopes experienced by entire peoples we must begin to discern the concrete ways in which to ensure that they meet with the message of Gospel and so they can find the authentic answer in Jesus and make it clear that his message has meaning also for them"... "The mission of our Congregation tends to this: to serve and to ensure that the life of Christian communities, starting from those more peripheral and apparently less relevant, may have that lifeblood which is so essential to the survival of the same Catholic ecclesial body".

The Congregation already focuses its attention on various issues: migration, the processes of formation and conflict resolution, the phenomena of radicalism and religious or ethnic fundamentalisms, the spread of pseudo-Christian sects, interreligious and ecumenical dialogue and cooperation with social and aggregative non-Catholic bodies, environmental issues and social justice.

Although on these and other issues a detailed and thorough knowledge already exists, "there is need that this knowledge triggers in the Congregation, and not only, processes of reflection and cultural, theological development and pastoral formation at a central and peripheral level", said the Cardinal, who continued by highlighting another aspect: "within the university environment as a place of synthesis of acquired knowledge and research of new prospects, it is necessary to operate the processing of a thought which draws lifeblood from that movement already described, to restore adequate nutritious food in it".

Finally, citing Pope Francis’ Evangelii gaudium, the Prefect of the Congregation noted that "the Pope's words encourage us to advance firmly toward this process of listening, understanding, discernment and action which constitutes for all of us, leaders, pastoral operators and of culture, clergy and laity, a great challenge of conversion and human depth". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 17/03/2017)