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Reports from European Theologians

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Reports from European Theologians


 

Prof. Dr. Gunter Prüller-Jagenteufel
University of Vienna
Vienna, Austria 

INSeCT Regional Report: Europe

To report on the state of (catholic) theology in Europe is a complex matter, because there are different developments going on, some of them even contrary to the others.

At first we have to realize that Europe is divided into 3 confessional regions:

  • the mainly catholic centre and southwest of Europe (Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium, Southern Germany, Austria, eastern part of Switzerland, Poland, Slovakia, Croatia, Hungary, Slovenia etc.);
  • the mainly protestant north of Europe (Northern Germany, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Scandinavia; western part of Switzerland, etc.)
  • the mainly orthodox east of Europe (Greece, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine etc.)

Among the catholic countries there are about 5 different regions to be named, where we find different traditions in philosophy and theology. We may roughly characterize as follows:

  • Southern Europe (Italy, Spain, Portugal, etc.)
    The philosophy of enlightenment does not play a big role here (similar to eastern European countries; which explains the tendency of the catholic church of that region to seek ecumenical contacts to the orthodox church). Theology in these regions seems to be strongly connected with the institutional church (at least on the surface) and reflects still the “traditional” (i.e. neo-scholastic) way.
  • Central-Western Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Netherlands, etc.)
    Here theology is strongly influenced by the philosophy of enlightenment, especially by German philosophy of the 19th and early 20th centuries, also from French philosophy of the late 20th The ecumenical dialogue is directed mainly at the protestant churches, hence the theology has accepted and integrated quite some ideas and perspectives that used to be considered as “typically protestant” in pre-ecumenical times.
  • France
    is a matter sui generis. I am sorry I cannot give any sufficient information, but I myself am not a French speaker and the colleagues I asked have not been answering. But as far as I know there is a strong tendency in pastoral theology to connect to the heavily secularized society of France (“proposer la foi”).
  • English Speaking Western Europe (Ireland, United Kingdom)
    Here Catholicism stands traditionally in opposition to the Anglican churches and has developed a rather traditional outlook. But since ecumenism is strong and the theological discourse with US theologians day-to-day practice the English theology is evolving manifold – from very orthodox to very progressive. A good witness for the broad centre mainstream is the magazine “The Tablet”.
  • Central-Eastern Europe (former Communist Countries)
    Theology in these countries has experienced quite some development since the fall of the communist regimes in 1989. But in many countries the bishops – and more or less also the theology professors – still live in a mindset of strong opposition against “the world” and have a fairly conservative, sometimes even Pre-Vatican-II stand vis-à-vis “the world”, which is considered mainly as atheist and decadent. So church and theology more or less still do not resemble a “house of glass” (John Paul II) but rather an anti-modernist fortress.

Thus is the background to understand the short answers to the questionnaire:

1. In the last decade or so, what is one theological development in your region and/or country that you consider promising?

Really promising is an ongoing and increasing readiness for dialogue among theologians, especially between theologians of different Christian churches, but also between theologians and church leadership (Rome, bishops). This dialogue has been very difficult, sometimes even impossible, between the middle of the 1980s and the early 2000s.

At the same time the pluralism within catholic theology grows; this leads to a growing gap between the different theological disciplines as well as within those disciplines. Bible studies, dogmatics, ethics etc. are so diverse within themselves that it is pretty hard for one theologian to be in theological dialogue with a colleague who represents another theological approach. The respective “schools” could be named as follows: (1) “historical-hermeneutical”, (2) “analytical-scholastical” and (3) “phenomenological-poetical”. But there is also hope, because we can see already some efforts of bringing these schools together for fruitful dialogue. We still cannot know the result; but if these attempts fail European theology might fall apart into different sectors that cannot understand each other any more – just like the Dominican and the Franciscan Theologies in the late Middle Ages.

In countries where Theology is situated in state universities (mainly the German speaking countries, but also Poland, Czech Republik, Hungary etc.) there is also the necessity of redefining the relationship between Catholic theology, other Christian theologies and religious sciences. Some consider the attempts of mutual dialogue and cooperation a threat, but it may well be one of the most promising developments towards a more integrated theology and hence a more integrated church. Theologians engaging in that kind of dialogue do not so much care about Catholic “identity” but about the relevance of theology in service of the world. The theology of Pope Francis gives this kind of theology a considerable boost, after years of discouragement from the side of the bishops who were more concerned about “Catholic identity”. This paradigm shift is a turn away from the ontological perspective asking what the church should be and a turn towards the topological perspective where the church should be.

2. As you think about the coming decades, what do you foresee as a significant opportunity for the development of theology in your region and/or country?

Opportunities for theology are mainly the challenges of encounter with non-catholic ways of living and thinking. This includes the ongoing secularization in Europe, which during the last decade has become considerably stronger also in southern and eastern Europe. Many church leaders consider this development a threat, since they concentrate the decreasing number of priests and Catholics. On the other hand this gives the church the chance to develop a new missionary theology which might lead to a more open, more wordly theology which is more according the model of Jesus Christ and less to the model of clerical bookkeepers.

In Europe this kind of theology is urgently needed, since of the growing religious and ethnic pluralism and encounters with Islam might otherwise boost the tendency to racism, nationalism and violence. In that situation there is the great opportunity for the Catholic theology to build ecumenical and interreligious networks to get to know each other and to learn from one another – and thereby overcoming the nationalist and racist temptation.

3. As you think about the coming decades, what do you foresee as a significant threat to the development of theology in your region and/or country?

  1. Right now the European theology has not yet completely grasped the fact that it is only one style of theology in the worldwide plurality of theologies. So most theologians still tend to underestimate the quality of so called “Third-World-Theologies”. That attitude leads to a loss of contact and in the end isolation from other types of theology. The problem for the universal church is, that this European arrogance, that is found especially in German theology (of which I myself am a part), is finding safe harbour in Rome, esp. in the CDF, where the tendency is prevalent, to look at theologians, esp. those of the global south, like a super-professor at junior-grade students. If that style does not change soon there is the danger that the magisterium distances itself so far from Christian theology of other cultural contexts (esp. Asian and African) that dialogue becomes impossible.
  2. European theology suffers from a lack of young quality students because the number of Catholics is decreasing. This means that in future decades there will be only a small reservoir for choosing theology teachers and bishops, which can lead to a decline in quality but also in a decline of theological faculties and institutions. We right now can see in the Neatherlands how the closing down of theological faculties leads to a dramatic decline of theological presence in society – which also means, that public opinion does not listen any more to Christian perspectives.
  3. From the side of the magisterium and the more conservative theologians there is the danger that a certain apologetical style of theology is rising again – a style, which we considered outdated. This kind of apologetic goes together with a certain closedness vis-à-vis social and scientific developments. The great danger here is that in the end there is “the Catholic world” (a very small one) in radical opposition to “the secular world” with a growing culture-war mentality.

Right now we see this rising culture-war-mentality in the so called Gender-“ideology” debate. During the last 30 years western catholic theology has learned a lot from liberationist and feminist theologies and has become even willing to embrace the pluralism of ideas. Right now the recent works of Gabriele Kuby (a journalist who has some 10 years ago tried to convince us that Harry Potter promotes Satanism) are denouncing “the” gender studies as “demonic ideology” – we can see a tremendous conspiracy theory at work. Sincere theologians would not need to take this seriously, if it were not for the big money, that rightist Catholic Circles have invested in translating this book in many Central European languages and promoting it quite efficiently (including free copies for each bishop). This leads to a lot of fuzz about the Gender issue and a certain kind of paranoia is infecting the church leadership in Europe. This will not only lead to a big throwback for honestly researching theology in dialogue with different, also critical philosophies and human sciences but also to a definitive alienation of many intellectual women from the church. It might even be the trigger for a new catholic antimodernism in Europe, similar to the one we can already see in the religious-political culture-war in the USA.

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Dr. Stephen Bullivant
European Society for Catholic Theology
St. Mary’s University
Twickenham, UK

INSeCT regional report: Europe

The European Society for Catholic Theology exists to support the work of Catholic theologians, individually and collectively, throughout all the countries of Europe, and – in particular – to promote contact, understanding, cooperation, and collaboration between them. It is composed of over twenty national sections, each with its own President and local organization. 2014 is, in fact, the twenty-five anniversary of the Society’s foundation.

Speaking in Brazil, I am conscious that Europe is not really that big a place: excluding Russia, our whole continent would fit quite comfortably inside the country in which we are all sitting. And yet, for a variety of reasons, there has not always been a great deal of theological exchange among theologians in the different European countries. (My own country, Britain, has been – and still is – the worst culprit here: ‘modern European theology’ for students in Britain typically means a small number of theologians from France and Germany, and perhaps one each from Belgium and Switzerland – most of whom, I might add, died some time ago.) To a certain extent, this is understandable: Europe incorporates a great deal of linguistic, cultural, political, and religious diversity. It includes, for example, some of the most Catholic states in the world (Malta, Poland, Vatican City) as well as some of the most atheistic (Estonia, Czech Republic) – plus a good number of majority Protestant, Orthodox, and Muslim countries too. Even ignoring differences of language, it is no wonder that theologians speaking both from, and to, one particular context can seem to have little immediate common ground with their colleagues speaking from, and to, another: even when both are Catholics and Europeans. Overcoming this, I think, one of the biggest challenges facing the European Society for Catholic Theology. But it is also, of course, what makes its work so important for the future and vitality of theology in the lands that produced Irenaeus, Thomas Aquinas, Nicholas of Cusa, Francisco de Vitoria, John Henry Newman, and Joseph Ratzinger.

In these brief remarks I cannot, of course, hope to give a credible account of Catholic theology as a whole in my region – that is, within all the countries of Europe in which Catholic theologians may be found. So I will confine myself to describing some of the recent works of the European Society in forging and fostering links between the different national theological scenes.

Most notably, in August 2013 the Society held an international congress in the city of Brixen, in the northern, German-speaking region of Italy. Its topic ‘God in Question? Religious Language and Secular Languages’ addressed the issue of the new evangelization – that is, the preaching of the gospel to ‘those people who have already heard Christ proclaimed’ (St John Paul II, Redemptoris Missio, 30). 222 theologians attended, from 27 separate countries (25 European ones, plus Canada and the USA), with the eleven keynote papers simultaneously translated into English, French, German, and Italian. Sixty short papers were also presented, plus a further 24 papers by doctoral students at the Junior Conference held the day before the full congress began. These biannual meetings are the largest regular gatherings of Catholic theologians in Europe: comparable in size and scope to, say, the annual conventions of the Catholic Theological Society of America. The previous one was held in Vienna, Austria, in 2011; the next will be in Leuven, Belgium, in 2015.

In addition to these congresses, another important forum for theological exchange occurs at the annual meetings of the European Society’s ‘Curatorium’ – composed primarily of the Presidents of each of the national sections. Like the congresses, these too move around Europe. This February’s was held in Warsaw, Poland; the previous year’s was in Salamanca, Spain; the year before that in Strasbourg, France. It is customary that these meetings are joined to a conference of the national section that is hosting it. This tradition permits the leaders of the European Society as a whole to meet, not just with each other, but with all the members in a given country. In February 2015, for example, the Curatorium will join Maltese theologians to discuss the results of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family in the Light of the New Evangelization, to be held in Rome in October (itself, of course, another significant theological meeting being held in Europe).

These are far from the only activities of the Society – it publishes a prestigious, multilingual, peer-reviewed journal; it sponsors, aided by the Hünermann Foundation, a range of theological prizes and scholarships, especially those aimed at younger and emerging scholars – but they perhaps give you a sense of the serious efforts it is making towards nurturing and promoting not just Catholic theology, but indeed Catholic theologians, across Europe.

I would like to finish by commenting directly on one of the suggested questions which Nancy, very helpfully, put to us to help us formulate these reports: ‘As you think about the coming decades, what do you foresee as a significant threat to the development of theology in your region and/or country?’ My first instinct here was to talk about issues of personal concern and interest: the growing secularity and religious indifference of western European societies, say. But then I remembered something far, far more important.

At the Society’s meeting in March this year, the Curatorium enthusiastically approved the creation of two new regional sections: Romania and Ukraine. Both countries, of course, were under communist rule when the Society was founded in 1989. To quote from the most recent issue of the Society’s newsletter: ‘In the light of recent political events in Ukraine, the foundation of a Ukrainian section has symbolic significance and is a sign of solidarity with theologians in Ukraine. Roman Zaviyskyj [the new President of the Ukrainian section] reported that among those who lost their lives in the Maidan in Kyiv was a colleague in the theology faculty in Kyiv. He was killed by a sniper in an ambush.’ Murders of theologians are not, I am painfully aware, unheard of in the recent history of some of the countries and regions represented by my colleagues and friends in the International Network of Societies for Catholic Theology. I hope you will join me in praying for Europe, and for Ukraine especially, and for the next twenty-five years of the European Society’s mission of fostering genuine communion between the Catholic theologians of our troubled continent.

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Prof Jan Jans
Tilbourg University
Netherlands

INSeCT Regional Report on the state of Catholic theology in ‘The Low Countries’

By way of introduction: next to the various Catholic institutions to be discussed below, it might be worthwhile to point out that especially in the Netherlands there is a strong tradition of the teaching of reformed theology in many varieties at Universities such as Leiden, Utrecht, Groningen, Kampen and Amsterdam. These faculties operated via the ‘duplex ordo’: part of the programme was academic theology, part was confessionally linked to the particular branch of a reformed church. Since 2007, the academic and pastoral programmes of most of the Lutheran, Reformed and Protestant churches have joined in the Protestantse Theologische Universiteit (http://www.pthu.nl/en/), located in Groningen and Amsterdam.

In Belgium, there are two rather independent faculties of Catholic theology, located in the cities of Leuven (in Flanders, the Dutch speaking part of the country) and Louvain-la-Neuve (in Wallonia, the French speaking part of the country); both have full civil and canonical recognition and grant ecclesiastical degrees. The first is part of the KU Leuven [Katholieke Universiteit Leuven] and is named Faculteit Theologie en Religiewetenschappen / Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies: it is a bilingual faculty with full programmes in Dutch and English (http://theo.kuleuven.be/http://theo.kuleuven.be/en/). The second is part of the Université Catholique de Louvain and named Faculté de Théologie; the teaching language is French (http://www.uclouvain.be/teco.html). Both faculties enjoy a very solid international academic standing, attract sufficient students from both Belgium and abroad and did not suffer to much from tensions between their respective Universities’ faculties of medicine and the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith over issues of medical research and assisted procreation. Currently, it looks like there is a mutual recognition and respect, including a tacit ‘agreement to disagree’. As far as I can see, both these faculties are solidly established within their universities and their future is secure.

In the Netherlands, as of January 2007, the only canonically recognized Roman Catholic academic theological education is located in the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology (http://www.tilburguniversity.edu/about-tilburg-university/schools/theology/) which forms part of Tilburg University. The School offers a full Dutch language bachelor (3 years) and master (3 years) programme in line with the requirements of Sapientia Christiana and an English language 1 year master programme called Christianity and Society. In collaboration with Tilburg School of Humanities, the School of Catholic Theology also offers an English language 2 years Research Master in Theology, aimed at PhD students. Unfortunately, and in line with the decreasing numbers of Catholic theology students before its inception in 2007, the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology struggles to attract sufficient students, also because not all of the seminarians in the Netherlands are students at this School.

In order to understand the current situation, a brief historical review might be helpful.[1]

Since 1923, the academic level of Catholic theology in the Netherlands was assured with the founding of the Catholic University of Nijmegen (since September 2004 called Radboud University Nijmegen). Shortly before and during the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965), various efforts were undertaken to broaden the access to catholic theological education in for example the cities of Amsterdam and Breda. However, the real sea-change came after the Second Vatican Council when the Dutch Bishops decided that in order to help implementing the key issues of Optatam Totius (Decree on Priestly Training, proclaimed on October 28, 1965), the existing diocesan seminaries would be closed and the theological training would be entrusted to various faculties of theology in close collaboration with or as part of Dutch universities. By the early 1970’s this resulted into 5 institutions (located in Amsterdam, Utrecht, Nijmegen, Heerlen and Tilburg) officially recognized by the Dutch government in terms of financing and practically by the Dutch bishops who were given a key role in the way the available public financial means were distributed. These institutions were known as KIWTO’s, being the abbreviation of Katholieke Instellingen voor Wetenschappelijk Theologisch Onderwijs (Catholic Institutions for Academic Theological Teaching). With the exception of Nijmegen, where the Faculty of Theology benefitted from the Catholic status of the university as a whole and therefore was granted the authority to confer ecclesiastical degrees, the other KIWTO’s also tried to obtain this recognition – a long and winding road without real results. By the turn of the century, the 5 faculties had been reduced to 3: Amsterdam being absorbed by Utrecht and Heerlen by Nijmegen.

In the Spring of 2004, at the occasion of the ad limina visit of the Dutch bishops, the Congregation for Catholic Education suggested the fusion of the remaining faculties of Catholic theology into 1 faculty, to be located in Utrecht and under the supervision of the local archbishop who would ensure that profile, mission and vision, teaching programmes and research, and above all the members of staff were in line with the requirements of Sapientia Christiana and needed therefore not only the missio canonica but also the nihil obstat. In the consultations and negotiations which followed, the faculties in Nijmegen, Utrecht and Tilburg tried to come up with a plan which would satisfy the requirements of the Bishops’ Conference but after the Radboud University in September 2005 withdrew from this, the remaining faculties in Utrecht and Tilburg came to an agreement which resulted in the situation as described above since January 2007. Rest to note that for the members of staff who did not obtain the nihil obstat (or did not apply for it), an appointment was arranged at Tilburg University in the newly established Faculty of Humanities (now Tilburg School of Humanities), where over the next couple of years they were practically absorbed into the Department of Culture Studies – and are currently largely being phased out. Next to the joined Research Master mentioned above, the Tilburg School of Humanities offers a 1 year Master in Religion and Ritual; Radboud University continues to offers a full programme in Catholic theology (although its authority to confer ecclesiastical degrees was suspended at the end of 2006) next to a full programme in religious studies. As with the Tilburg School of Catholic Theology, all of these are under constant pressure due to low student numbers and related financial burden. As far as I can see, the future does not look bright.

  • [1] For a detailed account, see Nico Schreurs, Entwicklungen in den katholischen theologischen Ausbildungen in den Niederlanden, in: Bulletin ET 17 (2006/2) 110-119.

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Prof. Martin M. Lintner
Philosophisch-Theologische Hochschule Brixen, Italy
President of ESCT

25 Years ESCT and the Diaologue with the Magisterium

The European Society for Catholic Theology celebrates its 25th anniversary later on this year, on December 1st. When ESCT was founded 25 years ago, European theologians faced some major challenges and these are worth recalling not simply as a lesson in recent history but because they help us to understand the goals and purpose of the ESCT. In addition, and many of the challenges still exist today.

In November 1989 the Berlin Wall came down. This opened up new possibilities for networking and building up relationships between countries in Western, Central and Eastern Europe at various levels: political, cultural, economic, in terms of research and, of course, at ecclesiastical and theological levels. Although even in the era of communism some exchanges were possible, these were limited, and the fall of the Iron Curtain opened up new possibilities.

The opportunities were enormous, but so also the challenges, and these had to be faced from the beginning. For one thing, theheterogeneity of theology became clear.

Under communism, many Central and Eastern European countries developed a form of theology that had a very strong sense of its Catholic identity, so much so that many Western European theologians viewed it as closed, self-concentrated, sometimes even pre-conciliar and anti-modern in its content and approach. At the same time, theologians in Central and Eastern Europe were concerned to defend their approaches from Western influences which they saw astoo liberal, pluralist or critical of the Magisterium. The ESCT set out to negotiate these differences through creating an intensive dialogue and exchange across the continent.

In the 1980s two other issues emerged as areas of concern, leading to tension between theologians and the magisterium. These were in regard to the appointment of bishops and the process of granting the nihil obstat/mandatum to theologians to teach. In 1989 a number of theologians issued the so-called Cologne declaration which was very critical of the Holy See and was signed by several theologians in and outside of Germany.

The result of this declaration was not entirely constructive, and many theologians who agreed with the critique nonetheless questioned the appropriateness of the approach taken. The ESCT set out to find a way to promote and defend theological freedom while at the same time doing so in a spirit of dialogue and mutual respect. Building up a climate of mutual trust, initially through dialogue between the founder and first president of ESCT Peter Hünermann and then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzingern was a painstaking process

From 1998, it became customary to have regular meetings between the presidium of ESCT and various Roman congregations, and these meetings helped to overcome misunderstandings and build the personal relations that have opened up new possibilities for co-operation and collaboration. Negotiating difference both within the ESCT and between the ESCT and the magisterium remain priorities for the society.

It is evident from the reports of my ESCT colleagues Gunter Prüller-Jagenteufel and Stephen Bullivant that the current heterogeneity of theology in Europe means that the various approaches and “theological schools” don’t interact sufficiently and sometimes not at all. The reasons for this vary, and reflect differing historical and cultural factors: for instance, whether or not there was an in-depth confrontation with the Enlightenment; or whether the theological locus required engagement with other Christian confessions, and so on. The various languages present a further particular challenge to theological debate and cross-fertilization in the European context.

The ESCT provides a platform for dialogue between the different theological disciplines as well as between theologians from different regions and with differing theological approaches.

This platform is uniquely valuable in enabling theologians across Europe to confront and address common issues that affect us all. In particular, we can mention the ongoing process of secularization, the need for a new evangelization, the confrontation with the ideology of secularism and new forms of (often very aggressive) atheism, the loss of public credibility of the Church due to the sexual abuse scandal in almost every country etc.

The last International Congress of ESCT, held in Brixen in 2013, attempted to address some of these questions. The next Congress will take place in Leuven in September 2015 and has as its theme: The Bible as Soul of Theology. The congress will reflect on the identity of Christian Theology in a pluralist context and at the same time face up the question of the link between spirituality and academic theology. Perhaps this last point is yet another challenge for academic theology today in Europe. European theologians have to reflect together on social, cultural, political and religious developments in all European regions in order to avoid to being “lone wolves” confined within their own disciplinary boundaries, Instead, ESCT enables them to combine their energy, competence and knowledge.

Now I’d like to share with you a short reflection on the dialogue between ESCT and the Magisterium. This is viewed by some members with a certain reserve if not suspicion, whereas others consider it very valuable. I don’t want to enter into details (I’ll do this in an article in the next number of ET-Studies 2/2014, which is dedicated to the 25th anniversary of ESCT), but only to emphasize how necessary this dialogue is. There are still many tensions between theologians and the magisterium due to the different nature, responsibility and tasks of both parties. Therefore, these tensions are almost natural, but both sides have to find a constructive and mutual respectful way to deal with them.

In the situation we find ourselves today, intra-ecclesiastical skirmishes are a “luxury we cannot afford”, a waste of energy, and of credibility in the eyes of many people. This is why we need the dialogue. There will remain tensions, of course, and this dialogue is not easy and at times it will be asymmetrical (cf. e.g. the report of Jan Jans). For this reason, the dialogue must happen in a fair, open, and transparent form. Theologians and the magisterium must be aware that both sides need each other, but still more that both sides have to serve people by proclaiming the Gospel. Theologians have the responsibility to mediate between people and the magisterium by reflecting in an academically rigorous form on the practice and the content of the faith, by exploring and explaining the depositum fidei of the Church, and also by taking into consideration positive developments within secular society. Theologians play a role in “opening the eyes” of the Magisterium to these positive aspects and integrating them into magisterial reflection and doctrine.

One example is in regard to the forthcoming Synod. When in November 2013 the questionnaire in preparation of the extraordinary Bishops Synod 2014 was published, the presidency of ESCT wrote an invitation to all its members to collaborate with bishops in responding to the questionnaire and to make their competence and expertise available to bishsops’ conferences. In a first draft I argued that especially for moral and pastoral theologians this could be a great opportunity to come into a dialogue with bishops and the Roman Magisterium on difficult questions of marital and sexual ethics that in the past led to many tensions. I had to redraft the proposed letter because my advisors, especially from Eastern Europe, told me that even mentioning these issues could be an obstacle to many bishops accepting the assistance of theologians. So we wrote a very general, but at the same time clear invitation without mentioning these problems from the past. However from many colleagues I got the feedback that their bishops were not interested in their help: not only did they not ask for it; they did not even not respond to their offer. There will be a very interesting upcoming issue of INTAMS Review in Autumn 2014 with many reports from different European (and extra-European) regions that convey the same impression. I see this as a clear indication that there is a big need to intensify the dialogue between theologians and the Magisterium, not only in order to overcome tensions like those mentioned before (e. g. the Nihil Obstat ecc.), but also to enable theologians and the Magisterium to be in service of the people by proclaiming and witnessing the Gospel.

These are only a few reflections from my point of view as President of ESCT that I wanted to share with you. As I mentioned before, with this reflections I wanted to close up to the reports of my colleagues Gunter, Stephan, and Jan, who signed already a great picture of the situations and challenges of Theology in Europe.

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