International Theological Commission

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The International Theological Commission (ITC) of the Roman Catholic Church advises the Magisterium of the Church, particularly the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), a dicastery of the Roman Curia.[1][2] Its memberships consists of no more than 30 Catholic theologians[1] appointed by the pope at the suggestion of the Prefect of the CDF[3] for renewable five year terms. They tend to meet annually for a week in Rome, where the Commission is based.[4]

The Prefect of the CDF is ex officio the president of the ITC.

History[edit]

The ITC traces its origins to an idea presented at the first General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in 1967.[5] It was established on an interim basis by Pope Paul VI on 11 April 1969.[6] His first appointments were announced on 1 May 1969. The first meeting of the ITC took place on 6–8 October 1969 and was presided over by Cardinal Franjo Šeper.[7] Four working groups were set up for the duration of the first term to explore: (i) the unity of the Faith, (ii) the priesthood, (iii) the theology of hope: the Christian Faith and the future of humanity, (iv) the criteria for Christian moral conscience.[8] The October plenary session of 1970 studied a paper on "The Priestly Ministry" prepared by the sub-commission on the priesthood.[9] At the October plenary session of 1972, the ITC studied the topic of Theological Pluralism prepared by the subcommission on the unity of the faith.[10] According to one historian, the ITC contributed the CDF's statement Mysterium Ecclesiae, issued in 1973, a wide-ranging defense of the Church in the modern world.[11][12]

In October 1969, at the first meeting of the ITC, Karl Rahner had produced a document on the principle questions which he felt should be addressed.[7] However, Rahner resigned after the first term, claiming that the ITC was "stewing in its own juices". His complaint was that the CDF, and in particular Cardinal Seper, were not prepared to seriously consult the ITC on questions of the day.[13] After five years, only thirteen of the original thirty theologians were reappointed. The plenary session of October 1974 addressed the topic of Christian Ethics.[14]

On 6 August 1982, Pope John Paul II issued Tredecim anni to confirm the institutional structure of the ITC.[15]

Leadership[edit]

Presidents[edit]

The Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is president of this Commission ex officio. They have been/are:[16]

Secretary General[edit]

The secretaries general have been/are:[17]

Reports[edit]

This Commission produces reports on an irregular schedule. In 2018 it released its 28th document.[21] Some address topics of broad interest and attract media attention, while others are little noted outside a scholarly and clerical audience.

In 1976, the ITC issued a report on liberation theology, titled "Human Development and Christian Salvation".[22] It warned that Marxist-Leninist analysis because it rests on dubious assumptions and privileges action over the understanding that is the foremost aim of theological inquiry.[23] In 1997, the commission produced the document "Christianity and the Religions", a discussion of religious pluralism.[24] In 2004, the document "Communion and Stewardship: Human Persons Created in the Image of God" considered the relationship between creation, evolution, and Christian faith.[25]

In "The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die without Being Baptised" in 2007, the Commission discussed the traditional belief that unbaptized children cannot enter heaven, but remain in limbo, denied access to the presence of God. It said this belief had no theological foundation, that revelation provided no clear guidance on the issue, and called it an "unduly restricted view of salvation", though it remains a possible view.[26] Popular media interpreted this as a rejection of the very concept of limbo.[27][28]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Motu Proprio, Tredecim Anni, 6 August 1982.
  2. ^ Apostolic Constitution, Pastor Bonus, 28 June 1988, I General Norms.
  3. ^ Vatican website: INTERNATIONAL THEOLOGICAL COMMISSION Provisory Statute (July 12, 1969) retrieved 8 March 2012
  4. ^ Motu Proprio, Tredecim Anni, 6 August 1982 and Ratzinger, "Foreword" to Michael Sharkey ed. International Theological Commission: Texts and Documents (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1989): vii.
  5. ^ Ratzinger, "Foreword", vii.
  6. ^ International Theological Commission. "Provisory Statute". Vatican website. Retrieved 14 June 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Final Communique on the First Session of the International Theological Commission" in Sharkey, Texts and Documents, 1.
  8. ^ "Final Communique on the First Session of the International Theological Commission" in Sharkey, Texts and Documents, 2.
  9. ^ Sharkey, Texts and Documents, 3.
  10. ^ Sharkey, Texts and Documents, 89.
  11. ^ {{}}Hebblethwaite, Peter (1993). Paul VI: The First Modern Pope. London: HarperCollins. p. 634.
  12. ^ "Declaration in Defense of the Catholic Doctrine on the Church against Certain Errors of the Present Day". Congregation for the Doctrine of the faith. 24 June 1973. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  13. ^ Peter Hebblethwaite, Paul VI (London: HarperCollins, 1993): 633.
  14. ^ Sharkey, Texts and Documents, 105.
  15. ^ John Paul II (6 August 1982). "Tredecim anni" [Thirteen years]. Libreria Editrice Vaticana. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  16. ^ "Presidents of the International Theological Commission". Vatican website. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  17. ^ "Secretaries General of the International Theological Commission". Vatican website. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  18. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 06.03.2004" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 6 March 2004. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  19. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 22.04.2009" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 22 April 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  20. ^ "Rinunce e Nomine, 17.12.2011" (Press release) (in Italian). Holy See Press Office. 17 December 2011. Retrieved 6 May 2018.
  21. ^ "List of the Documents of the International Theological Commission". Vatican website. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  22. ^ "Human Development and Christian Salvation". International Theological Commission. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  23. ^ Polario, Daniel Franklin (2005). Back to the Rough Grounds of Praxis: Exploring Theological Method with Pierre Bourdieu. Leuven University Press. pp. 284–5. Retrieved 8 May 2018.
  24. ^ "Christianity and the World Relisions". International Theological Commission. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  25. ^ "Communion and Stewardship: Human Persons Created in the Image of God". International Theological Commission. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  26. ^ "The Hope of Salvation for Infants Who Die without Being Baptised". International Theological Commission. 19 April 2007. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  27. ^ Pullella, Philip (20 April 2007). "Catholic Church buries limbo after centuries". Reuters. Retrieved 7 May 2018.
  28. ^ Pisa, Nick (23 April 2007). "The Pope ends state of limbo after 800 years". The Telegraph. Retrieved 7 May 2018.

Further reading[edit]

  • Malone, Richard and John R. Connery eds. Contemporary perspectives on Christian marriage: propositions and papers from the International Theological Commission (Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1984).
  • Sharkey, Michael ed. International Theological Commission: Texts and Documents, Volume 1, 1969-1985 (San Francisco: Ignatius, 1989).
  • Sharkey, Michael and Thomas Weinandy eds. International Theological Commission: Texts and Documents, Volume 2, 1986-2007 (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2009).

External links[edit]