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I s s ue 21 Tuesday Conference
Theology e-magazine To make humanity united in worshipping God

New Times, New Agenda Our Heavenly Patron
Tuesday Conference reaches you a reading experience on
priesthood titled “New Times, New Agenda: An Updated
Theology of Priesthood”. Here we have the challenges to
priesthood identified. The second part of the article will be in the
next issue. Our mission today is the service of faith, an apostolate
whose aim is to help people become more open toward God and
more willing to live according to the demands of the Gospel.
 It demands the justice of the Gospel shines out to recognize &
respect the rights of all, especially the poor and the powerless.
 It demands an openness and generosity to anyone in need,
even a stranger or an enemy.
 It demands towards those who have injured us, pardon; toward
those with whom we are at odds, a spirit of reconciliation.

The Gospel demands a life freed from egoism and
self-seeking, from all attempts to seek one's own
advantage and from every form of exploitation of
one’s neighbour.
The way to faith and the way to justice are inseparable
Page - 02 ways. It is up this undivided road, this steep road that
the priest must travel and toil.

Faith and What is it to be a Priest Today?
It is to engage, under the standard of the Cross, in the
justice are
crucial struggle of our time: the struggle for faith and that
undivided in
struggle for justice. We need to acknowledge with repentance
the Gospel our own failures in keeping faith and upholding justice, and
which asking our self before Christ crucified what we have done for
teaches that him, what we are doing for him, and what we are going to do for
him. We arrive at this decisive choice from several different
“faith makes
points of departure.
its power The service of faith and the promotion of justice cannot be
felt through simply one ministry among others for us. It must be the
love”. integrating factor of all our ministries; and not only of our
ministries but of our inner life as individuals, as communities,
and as a world-wide brotherhood. This is what our priesthood
means by a decisive choice today. It is the choice that underlies
and determines all the other choices embodied in our
undertakings.
New Challenges
They cannot The mission today is the service of faith, of which the
therefore be promotion of justice is an absolute requirement. There are new
divided in challenges in a fact without precedent in the history:
our  more than 2 billion human beings have no knowledge of God
purpose, yet feel an increasing hunger for the God.

our action,  a world, divided by injustice: injustice not only personal but
institutionalized: built into economic, social, and political
our life.
structures.

There are millions of men and women ,specific people with names & faces, who are
suffering from poverty & hunger, from the unjust distribution of wealth & resources
and from the consequences of racial, social, & political discrimination. Not only the
quality of life but human life itself is under constant threat.
From faith comes the justice willed by God, the entry of the human
Page - 03 family into peace with God and with one another.

Injustice must The fruitfulness of all our apostolic
endeavors to combat atheism is also at stake. The cult of
be attacked at its
money, progress, prestige and power has as its fruit, the
roots which are in
sin of institutionalized injustice condemned by the
the human heart by
Synod of 1971, and it leads to the enslavement not only
transforming those
of the oppressed, but of the oppressor.
attitudes and habits
1. New Challenges to Faith
which beget injustice Reconciliation with God roots us in gratitude &
and foster the opens us to joy, if we allow it. Announcing & sharing the
structures of Gospel continues to be the reason for our existence &
oppression. mission. Proclaiming the Gospel takes place in many
different contexts:

 Secularization is a major challenge, calling for creativity in attracting and
initiating younger generations into the Christian faith.
 In a pluralistic world, interreligious dialogue in all its forms remains a necessity,
one that is not always easy and that risks misunderstanding.
 We are called to respond to the challenge of believers abandoning the Church in
the search for personal meaning and spirituality.
 We must continue to give importance to theological and scriptural studies by
which we help people deepen their understanding of the Gospel .

2. New Challenges in Preaching the Word
Unfortunately faith in God is increasingly being used by some to divide people
and communities, to create polarities and tensions which tear at the very fabric of
our common social life. In our preaching, teaching, and retreat direction, we should
invite all people to appreciate more deeply our right relationships with God and one
another. It will help them to act accordingly in terms of political responsibility,
employment, family life, and personal life. Without faith, without the eye of love, the
human world seems too evil for God to be good, for a good God to exist.

This faith in God is inescapably social in its implications, because it is
directed towards the ways in which people relate to one another and how society
should be ordered.
Our faith in Christ Jesus demand a commitment to promote justice
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and to enter into solidarity with the voiceless and the powerless.

When a society has no moral and spiritual basis, the result is conflicting
ideologies of hatreds which provoke nationalistic, racial, economic and sexual
violence. To add the list further we may understand further that;
 preaching fundamentalism, It is not exploitative propaganda but
religious faith, as the inspiration of the
 ancestral curses,
human and social good found in God's
 generating undue guilt conscience,
Kingdom that alone can take the human
 sectarian teachings, family beyond decline and destructive
 prosperity gospel, miracles, conflict.
 wonders and emotionalism etc. violates the message of Gospel.

3. New Challenges to Social Justice & Human Rights
As priest we have to help each of us overcome the reluctance, fear and
apathy which block us from truly comprehending the social, economic, and
political problems which exist in our city or region or country, as well as on the
international scene. Among these suffering, the following require our urgent
attention.
a) The displacement of peoples b) The injustices and inequalities
(refugees, migrants, and internally experienced by marginalized peoples:
displaced peoples): our faith invites us Along with an enormous growth of
to promote everywhere a more generous wealth and power in the world comes an
culture of hospitality. We need to enormous and continuing growth of
recognize the necessity of promoting inequality. The present dominant
the international articulation of our models of development leave millions of
service to migrants and refugees, people, especially the young and the
finding ways of collaboration with such vulnerable, without opportunities for
organizations. integration into society.

c) Indigenous peoples and communities, like the Dalits and tribals,
represent a paradigmatic case of these groups. In many parts of the world, women
especially experience such injustice. We are called to support these communities
in their struggles, recognizing that we have much to learn from their values and
their courage. We must accompany and remain close to the most vulnerable.
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4. New Challenges from Our Poor Brethren
“Mercy,” Pope The poor challenge us to return constantly to what is
essential to the Gospel, to what really gives life, and to recognize
Francis
that which merely burdens us. As Pope Francis reminds us: we
reminds us, “is
are called In our communities we
not an
 to find Christ in the poor, hear the call to rediscover
abstraction but
hospitality to strangers, to
a lifestyle  to lend our voice to their causes,
the poor, and to those who
consisting in  to be their friends, are persecuted. Christ
concrete  to listen to them, himself teaches us this
gestures rather  to understand them, hospitality.
than mere
 to embrace the mysterious wisdom which God wishes to
words.”
share with us through them.

The question that confronts us today is;
 Why do not the spiritual exercises change us as deeply as we would hope?
 What elements in our lives, works, hinder our ability to let God’s mercy
transform us?
We reaffirm that attending to the needs of migrants, including refugees,
internally displaced, and trafficked people, continue to be an apostolic
preference of our life.

5. New Challenges of Interreligious Dialogue
Vatican II has exhorted all Catholics to a dialogue which:
In a world where Christians comprise
 will acknowledge,
less than 20% of the population, it is
 preserve
imperative that we collaborate with
 promote the spiritual & moral goods , others to achieve common goals.
 the values in their society and culture in order to join hands with them to work
towards a world of peace, liberty, social justice and moral values.
We need to relate positively to believers of other religions because they
are our neighbours.

To be religious today is to be interreligious in the sense that a positive
relationship with believers of other faiths is a requirement in a world of
religious pluralism.
Many committed Christians in Asia feel a split between their
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Asian cultural experience and the still-Western character of
what they experience in the Church.

Our 6. New Challenges of Inculturation
intuition is Particular challenges must be faced today in order to
that the enable an existential dialogue with the range of cultures. The
Gospel great cultures of Asia, in spite of centuries of missionary
resonates activity, still do not regard Christian faith as a living
with what is presence at the heart of the Asian experience. In general, it
good in each is inseparably linked with a Western culture ; they distrust it.
culture. We  We acknowledge these mistakes.
acknowledge
 Seek to profit from the cultural diversity and complexity.
that we have
 Realize the process of inculturation is difficult Yet
not always
progressive.
followed this
 We recognize that, we have often contributed to the
intuition.
alienation of the very people we wanted to serve.

 Our preaching have often failed to insert themselves into the heart of a culture,
but instead have remained a foreign presence.
 Our mission, have failed to discover the treasures of humanity: the values,
depth, and transcendence of other cultures, which manifest the action of the
Spirit.
 We have sometimes sided with the “high culture” of the elite: disregarding the
cultures of the poor and sometimes, by our passivity, allowing indigenous
cultures or communities to be destroyed.

In addition, we cannot speak to others if the religious language we use is
completely foreign to them. The theology we use in our ministry cannot ignore the
vista of modern critical questions within which we too live. Only when we make
sense of our own experience and understanding of God, can we say things which
make sense to contemporary agnosticism. We shall not ignore the Christian
mystical tradition that repeatedly treats of the wordless and imageless experience
of God which surpasses human concepts: Si comprehendis, non est Deus, said
Augustine.
7. New Challenges of Religious Fundamentalism Page - 07

The phenomenon of religious fundamentalism which is found in all religions,
including Christianity, poses serious difficulties. The history of oppression of one
religion by another dominant one has produced animosities and prejudices which
add fuel to such movements. Often religious feelings and structures are manipulated
by political, economic, cultural or ethnic power groups in order to safeguard their
vested interests. All this results in fundamentalist ideologies and movements within
religious communities. Our responsibility is to
Fundamentalism, intolerance, and ethnic-
understand why the
religious-political conflicts as a source of
violence and polarization are in increase. members of a revivalist
These are motivated and justified by distorted movement have taken their
religious convictions. In such situations, we are particular stance, and to
along with all who seek the common good, are
discover in an unprejudiced
called to contribute from their religious-spiritual
manner their legitimate
traditions towards the building of peace, on local
and global levels. intentions and hurt feelings.
We have not always recognized that aggression and coercion have no
place in the preaching of the Gospel of freedom, especially in cultures which
are vulnerable to manipulation by more powerful forces.

8. New Challenges of Ecology
Pope Francis has emphasized the fundamental connection between the
environmental crisis and the social crisis in which we live today.
 Poverty, Our theologians, philosophers, & other
intellectuals and experts should contribute to
 social exclusion,
the rigorous analysis of the roots of and
 marginalization solutions to the crisis.
are linked with environmental degradation. These are not separate crises but one
crisis that is a symptom of something much deeper. We are called to help heal a
broken world, pr om oting a new w ay of pr oducing and consum ing,
which puts God’s creation at the center.

To Conclude: It is in this ligh t w e ar e asked to r enew our dedication to
the properly apostolic dimension of our life. Our consecration to God is, a prophetic
rejection of idols which the world is tempted to adore, wealth, pleasure, prestige,
power. The response we propose to each of these challenges will be in the next issue.

Editor: Tony Maliyekal VC. Published from Vincentian Vidyabhavan, Aluva.