Yesterday the International Theological Commission issued a 35 page document titled “Theology Today: Perspectives, Principles and Criteria” in English. The document was authorised for publication by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The document makes a very important point, which I believe many theologians today seem to have forgotten. It states that: “Catholic theologians should recognise the competence of bishops, and especially of the college of bishops headed by the Pope, to give an authentic interpretation of the Word of God handed on in Scripture and Tradition.” It goes on: “Theology cannot substitute a judgement coming from the scientific theological community for that of the bishops.”
I can think of a number of Catholic theologians, and sadly also priests, who have quite evidently forgotten this truth. They have allowed their intellectual prowess to deceive them into believing that they are the ones who have the authority to “proclaim th(e) faith and authentically interpret it.”
The document makes it clear that “a mere formal and exterior obedience or adherence on the part of theologians is not sufficient.” Theologians, it says, “should strive to deepen their reflection on the truth proclaimed by the Church’s magisterium.”
Let us hope and pray that this document will play some role in getting the dissident theologians and priests to reconsider their position and change their ways.