Friday, January 12, 2018
PASTORAL THEOLOGY BECOMING DOCTRINE
Pastoral theology, which began to be taught in seminaries of the 1970's, is like limbo--it is a theology and has less clout than the longer standing theology of limbo. Neither are doctrines or dogmas.
However, it seems clear now that limbo will never develop into an actual recognized doctrine let alone dogma.
I am not sure about pastoral theology under Pope Francis. It seems to be cascading toward an actual doctrine or dogma such as those who have tried to dogmatize the Pastoral Second Vatican Council. I thought in the 1970's that the Church of the future would have same sex marriage, married clergy, female or male or whatever gender is available today and that the Mass would be as creative as the congregation that developed it just as long as the structure of the Mass resemble something of the past.
Thus I was taught in the seminary to be sensitive to the broken, maligned and those on the margins of society (read today the periphery). Priests were to be social workers changing laws and going to the heart of what is wrong with society and the Church. We were to be innovative and creative in theologizing and dogmatizing. I was to help those in irregular moral situation to feel good about themselves, council couples, gay or straight who were having relationship problems and show the kind face of Holy Mother Church to the broken and sinful without making them feel guilty as the bad old pre-Vatican II Church did.
When I was ordained in 1980 I felt it was my duty to prepare those under my pastoral care for the day that we would have married clergy, be they male or female to include bishops and one day the pope and all the other things I thought my theology professors knew would happen and infallibly predicted for the Church of the future.
And God forbid that anyone in the Church actually still believed the Baltimore Catechism because that was as outdated as fondue is today (although I hear it is making a come-back too!).
Thus I feel right at home with the recovery of the 1970's as we approach 2020! Life is good.