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WHAT IS DOING CATHOLIC THEOLOGY ALL ABOUT?

* Doing Theology is an invitation to do some serious thinking about our faith - How we see, perceive, and understand our faith in God - How we actually live it is another thing to consider * Folk Catholicism - Unconscious, automatic and deeply-ingrained cultural habits: Traditions: Christmas and Lent Beliefs: Christ's saving passion and the Trinity Rituals: Mass and Baptism Institutions: the Heirarchical Church Practices: sign of the Cross Devotions: the rosary - We take our faith for granted and do not question it - "A social fact more than personal conviction" - Horacio de la Costa, S.J., historian Catholicism was simply what men and women believed. It was the established religion, rather religion itself. It has always been there, a landmark by which we steered, but which we took for granted. - Most are Christians because their parents and culture were Christian, and not because of personal choice. "We accepted God not because of our own experience but because of our parents' or teachers' experience of him. * Faith is a personal decision. No one simply inherits faith, no matter how important religious "socialization" is, in terms of a base level Christian community, or of a family, helping one elicit this personal act of faith. No can continue to live a healthy life of faith simply by custom or routine. * The act if faith must be an act of the believer's own self, through which one personally decides to accept the person of Christ and his message, and commits oneself to Christ's person and work. * Our relationships, particularly our faith in God will never mature and grow unless we undertake a serious deliberate examination of the realities. Our faith in God will suffer and so will our lives as well. ---------* Practical Atheism - categorical denial of faith in God and of his existence * Split-level Christianity - co-existence within the same person of two or more thought-and-behavior systems which are inconsistent with each other. * Spiritual blindness - these exploiters deny God in practice by rejecting the God-given rights of their victims. ---------* Secularization - shift from faith in God in the face of human ignorance and powerlessness, to faith in humanity and its powers, harnessing science and technology to deal with its problems. - We rely more on the science more on God. ----------* Pluralism

- Society today is no longer the local village, which had a single, monolithic, in our case "Catholic," worldview and life. - Experience of having so many choices and alternative lifestyles can be enriching and liberating. - What is reality for one is not necessary reality to another. What is right for one may not be right for another. - Gives us the sense that making choices and decisions in life is as easy, unconstrained and guilt-free as choosing which shop to go to in a mall or clicking a mouse button while surfing the Web. "We may claim to be Christians, but do our lives manifest that faith?" FAITH SEEKING UNDERSTANDING - Fides quaerens intellectum - Process of understanding God and one's own faith - The effort to understand their faith in the God revealed in Jesus Christ who is present with us through his Church. - Subject matter of theology: FAITH - One has to have both faith and reason - There can be no theology without faith for as theology is faith seeking understanding. Theology presupposes faith in the one doing theology. Theology is not the interpretation of someone else's faith but of our own, or more properly, of our community's faith. Theology is not just talk about God. To do theology is to understand our own faith in God. - Theology starts from faith, is guided by faith, and aims to enhance faith. - Gerald O'Collins - Doing theology needs faith as the motivation and the possibility of knowing God. It is not that understading leads to faith but rather it is faith that leads us to understanding. - Theology done with "Christian faith" means that theology is done within the faith- commitment of the believing community, the Church. - Reason is said to make realities clear and lucid; faith is supposedly for obscure realities that are impenetrable to reason. - Faith and reason are both indispensable partners in the task of doig theology, interacting in creative tension towards the truth that is God. METHODOLOGY - Integral faith is one that is lived out in daily life through one's convictions, actions and hopes. 1. Life Integration - Theology aims to unify Christian faith with daily life - Personal experience of the believer 2. Contextual Integration - doing theology should not be divorced from the concrete local context of the believing community with its progress and problems, hopes and anxieties - Theology looks at these "signs of times" with the aim of discerning how the Gospel can illuminate the preset situation, possibly utilizing elements of that context or culture. 3. Source Integration - Theology must go back to the sources if Christian teachings: Sacred Scriptures - original, foundational experience of Jesus Christ Church teachings - subsequent authorative interpretations 4. Doctrine, Morals and Worship Integration - understands Christian faith as having three essential and inseparable dimensions:

Doctrine - convictions of faith wc directly influence moral decisions and actions and prayer life Morals - not just do's and dont's. Rather principle and decisional skills needed in living out the life of faith Worship - not an escapist ritualism, but the prayerand sacramental life of the Christian comm. based on the convictions of Christia faith. - "doctrine-moral-worship integration" means that any theological investigation of any one dimension of the Christian faith should include its relation with the other two dimensions.