Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Message of the XXX Congreso de Teología: "Jesus of Nazareth"

Se puede leer el mensaje en español aquí. English translation by Rebel Girl.

At the end of the sessions of the 30th Congress of Theology about Jesus of Nazareth, held from September 9 to 12, 2010, which had more participants than in recent years, we want to make public a summary of the ideas that have emerged from this congress:

1. Following the Council of Chalcedon (451), and as accepted by the various Christian faiths, we affirm the doctrine that Jesus Christ is "perfect in divinity and perfect in humanity, truly God and truly man", so his two natures, divine and human, are united "without confusion." The historical Jesus and the Christ of faith are melded together.

2. From witness statements, from Christians of various denominations, committed in both the spiritual and the social dimension, it is asserted, and we assert the figure of Jesus in Christian experience, as the central object of faith and redeemer of humankind. We emphasized the full validity and relevance of the figure of Jesus.

3. To the question Jesus asked of his disciples, "Who do you say I am?", Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant believers, in a show of active ecumenism, have expressed the dimension of faith in a liberating Jesus, a traveling companion, fully relevant for a world suffering from violence, discrimination, intolerance, fanaticism, abuse towards the most disadvantaged classes, hunger ... A Jesus often invisible but still close to those who call upon Him, a Jesus who left an incorruptible heritage: "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid."

4. Women have played an important role, both by their presence and by women's interventions in various sessions of the Conference. Jesus maintained a friendship with women, a relationship in which the complicity and harmony that existed between them was evident; the capacity for dialogue and to live together in silence. The house at Bethany, with Martha and Mary, became a place of privacy and peace. Jesus of Nazareth opens a door of hope and offers security, respect and dignity to woman in the midst of a society that rejects her too often, and in which the organs of decision-making and power try to make her submit and turn her into an instrument of pleasure or service, reducing her to a subordinate level with respect to man; quite the opposite of the practice of stoning or the refusal to ordain women, cunningly deemed by the hierarchy a grave delict, on a par with pedophilia.

5. Young people have been active, also from the ecumenical perspective, at different times during the Congress, especially in the festive part and the roundtables. These young people live their faith in their places of work or study, working jointly on projects of witness and service, both in the education and social fields. They have also responded to the question "who is Jesus for me?" And given the difficulties of dialogue between generations, they have launched a challenge: It is more important to talk to young people than talk about young people. These are young people who are committed to faith beyond viewing religion as a mere social club.

6. The perspective of Jesus from other latitudes has not been lacking, as is traditional in these conferences: Africa, a continent at war, subject to exploitation at the service of multinationals, and Latin America, struggling mightily to get rid of the ruthless laws of the market at the service of the powerful. Jesus is presented as a path of liberation for the oppressed classes, announcing the Kingdom of God which, although a small seed, is affirmed against imperialism of all kinds; a reaffirmation of God's intervention in history to produce a profound transformation; a program to build an alternative society and contribute to the solution of social imbalances that exist between the first and third worlds.

7. Jesus' attitude of dialogue, friendly, peaceful and respectful towards dissidents, opponents and even enemies, is the alternative and the best antidote against the fundamentalism that is resurging violently and installing itself at the top of religions, the economy and politics. The voice of Jesus calls us not to forget interreligious dialogue as a means of approach and a way to resolve ideological conflicts.

8. We assert that hospitality is one of the fundamental attitudes of Jesus of Nazareth, one which radically questions the xenophobic and racist behavior of an important sector of the public and some European governments, which are expelling from their territories whole races and peoples.

9. From the 30th Congress of Theology, a challenge is launched to believers in Jesus: the time of silence is over. These are times of testimony, of commitment, of awakening the faith in Jesus of Nazareth, of following in His footsteps, of making our demands for service and solidarity with the most downtrodden, of helping to establish the Kingdom of God among us as a kingdom of justice, peace, freedom, equality and fraternity.

Madrid, September 12, 2010

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