Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Andrés Torres Queiruga at the Congresso Continental de Teologia - I

Spanish theologian Andrés Torres Queiruga gave two presentations at the Congresso Continental de Teologia at Unisinos in São Leopoldo, Brazil in October 2012. This is the first one.

by Graziela Wolfart (English translation by Rebel Girl)
Unisinos (in Portuguese)
October 10, 2012

Invited to reflect on "Theology and new paradigms", Dr. Andrés Torres Queiruga of the University of Santiago de Compostela, opened his lecture yesterday morning, October 9th, at the Continental Theology Congress by warning the audience that he would be talking about "Theology and the Church after the Second Vatican Council."

The lecturer divided his speech into three points: the objective direction of the Council, the big themes of post-conciliar theology, and future tasks and hopes.

For Queiruga, Vatican II has an epochal importance that can only be seen within the long range framework in history.

For many people, the focus of Vatican II was the constitution Gaudium et Spes, the speaker noted.

Then he lamented that the Church has "missed the beat" in cultural accompaniment. "We note that the Church stood against culture, demonstrating the institution's inertia, a tendency towards power over culture, opposition to modernity, democracy and freedom." However, he said that the whole Church didn't take that position. "There were people who thought differently. Despite the cooling of Vatican II, there were people who tried to renew the debate."

Luckily, he continued, "theology did not resign itself, but had to hide a little. Hence, positive theology was born as an alternative to official, abstract and scholastic theology."

So, in 1950, Pope Pius XII would have stopped with this current. "All that we're saying today -- this event -- would have been impossible at the time of Pius XII."

According to Queiruga, the Spirit continues to blow in the Church and this is a source of hope.

And he continues, recognizing that some of the protagonists of the Council were unable accompany the later process, they couldn't go beyond their renovating efforts. "It was the only universal council that didn't define anything dogmatically." The speaker continued, throwing the following question to the audience: "Has the Council been the cause of all evils in the Church today?".

For Queiruga, modernity put theology face to face with a radical situation. "That is the legacy that theological reflection can not ignore," he said.

In addressing the great issues of Vatican II, Queiruga recalled the problem of evil in humanity, as well as the challenge of food distribution in the world. "The council gave us autonomy in the face of earthly realities, which are finite, and showed us that evil is inevitable. God could have not created the world, but He created it and evil appeared within it. God calls us to fight evil. He needs our hands to stop evil. God isn't in hunger or disease; He's in the hungry and the sick. We should think about this," he said.

Then the theologian stated that liberation theology dared to say "blessed are the poor." And he explained his statement: "Despite everything, God is in the Church. We should not despair but have hope that united, we are strong. The world will go on, because God is with us." Thus, on a hopeful note, he concluded his talk.


Answering written questions from the audience, Queiruga emphasized that "if God creates us out of love and is within us, urging us towards fulfillment, He has revealed Himself to each and every one since the creation of the world. Limits are set by us and sometimes we don't want to listen when He speaks."

Then, he said that religion means realizing that God is present in reality. "You have to be respectful and understand that every religion is a manifestation -- more or less perfect -- of God. There will always be elements of other religions that could be offered to me. The key is to understand that, in Jesus, the utmost of what could humanly be achieved, was reached. So we can improve, but not go beyond Jesus."

The speaker responded emphatically to a question by saying that, if Vatican II hadn't happened, the situation would be much worse today. "The Council was a great blessing," he added.

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