By Linda Bordoni
Pope Francis has encouraged members of the Pontifical Academy of Theology to continue to go forward promoting a fruitful encounter between faith and the ever new challenges posed by a changing world.
He was addressing some 50 Academy members whom he received in audience in the Vatican’s Consistory Hall.
Three centuries of history
Remarking on the Academy’s 300th anniversary this year, Pope Francis said that this constitutes a significant milestone as well as an opportunity to look ahead with renewed awareness of its identity and the wish to re-launch its mission in the Church.
Pointing out that the Pontifical Academy of Theology has undergone various changes of structure and organization in order to meet the ever new challenges posed by the different social and ecclesial contexts, the Pope noted that it was conceived as a “place for theological formation of the clergy at a time when other institutions were deficient and inadequate for this purpose”.
Open to the challenges of a changing society
He said beyond the various changes there is, however, a constant element that characterizes the Academy: to be at the service of the Church promoting faith, supporting the teaching of the Church and being open to the demands and challenges of culture.
“It is a place of confrontation and dialogue for the communication of the Gospel in ever new contexts” he said, always impacted by the needs of a suffering humanity and offering the contribution of faith.
Enriching culture exchange with other institutions
The Pope remarked on the Academy’s relationship with other Rome universities and educational institutions, praising the mutual cultural exchange that exists between them and that, he said, has ensured that the Pontifical Academy of Theology has never considered itself as an isolated entity, but plays its role within a web of relationships that has enriched all interlocutors.