By Sr Bernadette Mary Reis, fsp
The Pontifical Lateran University’ Chair for the Theology of the People of God will soon be offering a distance learning program to English speakers. It’s content and structure make it perfect for ongoing education, for the common Christian who wants to deepen their faith, permanent deacons or those thinking about pursuing that vocation, religious educators.
Summa of Theology
In an interview with Vatican News, Rev Dr Rudolf Kutschera, Tutor of the Distance Learning Program, summarizes the distance program as “a small Summa of theology”. Anyone wanting to get to the “roots of the theological questions” may find the program interesting.
The program has an ecumenical focus motivated by the reality that Christianity is rooted in “the olive tree, Israel”, Fr Kutschera explains. In the program, this common root is explored through the “biblical history of both the Old and the New Testament”, he says. A lesson on ecumenism itself is also included in the syllabus through the paradigm of getting “back to the root”.
The interdisciplinary nature of the program seeks to create unity among the various theological disciplines which may otherwise remain fragmentary, Fr Kutschera says. “We are working on a defragmentation. So there’s not one topic in Dogmatics, and another topic in Church History, and a third topic of Biblical Theology, but they all work together. Thus the biblical root remains the golden thread weaving through the other theological disciples included in the program directing it toward pastoral care. “Pastoral care has to be rooted in theology”, Fr Kutschera affirms.
This conscious link between theology and pastoral care inserts the program into the paradigm of the New Evangelization. Through the program, the faculty hopes to “enliven faith, enliven Church practice.” With this in mind, Fr Kutschera says that the courses have been developed for those directly involved in pastoral care, such as “people who prepare homilies”.
Rooted in Vatican II
Lastly, Fr Kutschera describes how the program is rooted in Vatican II. “It has been inspired by the many documents of the Second Vatican Council…. We read fascinating things in those texts, beginning with Nostrae Aetate”.