Saturday 12 November 2016

Henry Bonetti's proposal to introduce a strong spiritual theology component into the theology curriculum

Here there is something precious!
Without knowing yet the work since it has just published last year in Italian is going exactly in the same direction of Rupnick (‘vedo un ramo di mandorlo’ …about the renewal of religious life).
If not for other reason surely the following will convince you:
But even Lonergan says that the pre-condition for theological study is “orientation to transcendental mystery.” I would say that this alone distinguishes theology from other subjects. Theology must be pursued with humility, docility and asceticism (for it is a “training”, askesis). It requires metanoia, for some ideas (of God, the scriptures, etc.) must be dropped. Everything is brought to the light and scrutinized. One must die to oneself. Theology can be an uncomfortable study. (The bible is not free of errors?! Dogmas are not free from culture?! etc., etc.) If theology is not uncomfortable, then maybe we haven’t yet studied it deep enough. Getting rid of the false self and building up of a true self, a true priest, is the work of theology that can only be accomplished through a heavy dose of spirituality.
I think we have to get him involved in some way in our effort to help the Congregation to rediscover our religious identity, especially the one of Salesian Priests…..

I have gone through what Bonetti wrote to the Curatorium, perhaps an older version. He makes a good point, though it would need balancing a bit. 

the point that Lonergan makes is well known: at the heart of theology is the spiritual, moral, cognitive, emotional expereince - "interiority" in all its dimensions - of the person in community - as illuminated by the history of the world with its many cultures and traditions, in which God has intervened in different ways, and most especially through the Son...

Which work are you talking about, published in Italian last year?

I would add to Bonetti's proposal - which still remains academic, with the addition of spiritual theology to what we are already doing - though reading in a meditative way the spiritual classics can itself be transformative - I would add, really, some effort to touch the hearts of formators and teachers. formators with the capacity to LISTEN to their own experience, so that they will grow in the ability to listen to the experience of their formees. "fare esperienza" dei valori della vocazione salesiana... la capacità di imparare dall'esperienza, di ascoltare la voce dello Spirito negli eventi di ogni giorno...

Perhaps another great point is that made by Karl Rahner many years ago: he pleaded for a distinction between two types of theology curriculum: (1) preparing researchers and scholars, (2) preparing pastors. All the official recommendations - including Vatican II, I guess? - call just now for the first: "scientific study of theology" - and all our centres, led by the UPS, are totally sold on this model. I think we need to move in the diretion of preparing pastors and, for us, pastors-educators. In a similar way, but different perhaps, the specific formation of the SB.

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Rupnik, “E se l’evangelizzazione chiedesse una novità nella vita consacrata?” English summary