Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Danger of Universal Theology

When I was a young priest I was reminded by my rector and mentor that the Catholic faith is that which has been believed everywhere, always and by all. I still think that this is a good definition, but I see a danger is an uncritical appropriation of this definition.

The danger is that we will mistake some theological formulation of the faith for the faith itself. In our attempt to avoid being "blown about by every wind of doctrine," we may find ourselves tied to theology of past generations, even past centuries, theology that fails in some measure to speak to our present contexts.

I believe that theology is always contextual, that it is the theologian's vocation to describe the faith as it is to lived in the theologian's time and place. To pretend, as some have appeared to, that any theology can be non-contextual, a pure theology for every time and place, is arrogant. To recognize that one's theological thinking is influenced by one's context, both personal and communal, leads, I think inevitably, to a modest presentation of one's theology and to a greater openness to new insights from theologians from different contexts.

No comments: