By Christopher Wells
Pope Francis has penned a letter to Father Joachim Rego, the Superior General of the Passionist order, on the occasion of an International Theological Congress on “The Wisdom of the Cross in a pluralistic World.”
The Congress, sponsored by the Gloria Crucis chair of the Pontifical Lateran University, “is one of the initiatives of the Congregation of the Passion of Jesus Christ (Passionists) to celebrate the Third Centenary of its foundation.”
Proclaiming the Paschal Mystery
In his letter, the Holy Father says the Congress corresponds to the desire of St Paul of the Cross – the founder of the Passionists – “to ensure that the Paschal Mystery, the centre of the Christian faith and the charism of the Passionist religious family, is proclaimed and disseminated in response to divine charity, and that it addresses the expectations and hopes of the world.”
He says that in contemplating Jesus on the Cross, “we see every human dimension embraced by God’s mercy.” God’s love, he continues, extends to every human person, and “reaches the extremes of the human condition,” joining our vertical relationship with God to the horizontal relationship among all human beings.
The seeds of the Word
The Cross, says Pope Francis, shows us the importance of uniting reason with humility of heart. Theology, therefore, is invited “to address the most fragile and concrete conditions of men and women,” avoiding polemics and agendas to “confidently” seek “the precious seeds that the Word scatters amidst the jagged and sometimes contradictory plurality of cultures.”
The Pope insists that the Cross is “a source of salvation for people of every place and every time,” and especially at times, like our own, when humanity is at a crossroads.
Facing contemporary challenges
Finally, Pope Francis expresses his hope that the Theological Congress “will contribute to a renewed understanding of contemporary challenges in light of the Wisdom of the Cross, in order to foster evangelization faithful to God's design and attentive to humanity.”