19 December 2020
19 Dec 2020

Theological issues in times of the pandemic

A conversation with Fr. Manuel Antonio Teixeira about the status of the Dehonian Theological Commission.

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What was the guideline of the international commission meeting?

The meeting of the International Theological Commission had four important moments. After the reading of the minutes from the last meeting of the International Commission, we went on to share the life of each of the commissions. This pleasant moment was to discover the strengths and weaknesses of each continental commission. The strengths must be strengthened and the weaknesses must be accompanied. The meeting served to encourage the leaders of each commission to continue working in theological reflection. The second moment was dedicated to our experiences around the Covid-19 pandemic. The sharing was very rich and interesting. We all did not live it in the same way and we all did not have the same perception of the pandemic. The richness of the plurality of visions committed us to write a small contribution for the congregation’s blog and to study the possibility of a more restful study of the post-pandemic. In the third moment, the seminar on Sint Unum was evaluated. In this regard, we believe that it is necessary to make further reflections on what has already been worked on. Indeed, it is necessary to respond on how to overcome the obstacles that prevent Sint Unum. At the last moment, Fr. Arthur proposed themes that the General Government is interested in having the members of the CTDI and the continental commissions study. After days of meetings, we noted that there is still a lot of work and many challenges that need to be responded to. We are happy to see that the International Commission and the continental commissions are sustained during this time. The work in communion contributes to broadening the theological reflection in the Congregation.

Did the pandemic situation affect the work of the commission during the year?

No doubt the pandemic changed everyone’s work rhythms. The continental theological commissions and the International Theological Commission did not escape this reality. I must, however, say that work continues as commission teams and that the objectives proposed at the beginning of the year have been achieved. This is a great achievement and a window to new ways of working and meeting in the future.

What topics are underway? What are the future projects?

Without a doubt, the reflection on Sint Unum did not end with the seminar. It is now up to the local commissions to disseminate the material they have worked on and to propose ways to overcome the obstacles to Sint Unum. Sint Unum is a reflective task, which must be verified in the community and the mission.

We are challenged to reflect on the future of the post-pandemic era. It is not so much a question of urgency or a feeling of powerlessness, but rather the study of new ecclesial forms that emerged in the pandemic, a new understanding of sacramental theology, and the challenges of a society of solidarity in the future, among others. The pandemic does not end with the discovery of the vaccine; we must be attentive to a future that may leave many brothers and sisters abandoned by the wayside.

The third great challenge is proposed by the general government: a Dehonian reading of the world and the church based on important documents of the magisterium of Pope Francis. The work is immense, but the desire to do the best is also immense. With personal effort and the assistance of the Spirit, we will be doing our bit with timely and meaningful theological reflection.

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