Emerging Trends in Theology  by Bro. Simolin SDB
    Chennai, Jul. 14. 2017 The preparatory document for the Synod of Bishops 2018 on Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment avers that the present day youth either live without God and Church or become victims of sects or spiritualities due to various reasons. The document goes way further and states that the Church has to initiate a process to evaluate her pastoral activities and find ways and means to communicate Christ in a more appropriate and meaningful way at the present scenario. Don Bosco Theological Centre (Kavarapettai) has already initiated this process in the field of Theology by inaugurating the Theological Reflection for the Academic year 2017-2018 with the topic `Emerging Trends in Theology`.
    Don Bosco Theological Center has four Theological Reflection sessions organized in a year for providing a better forum for the budding students of Theology to cultivate a steady, critical and holistic comprehension of Theology. The inauguration of the Theological Reflection for the academic year 2017-2018 was held on 11 June 2017 in the premises of the same institution. Fr. Anthony Pancras; the editor of New Leader and a renowned journalist and a practical scholar was the chief guest and the speaker of the day.

    The inaugural session of the Theological Reflection began with a prayer service invoking the presence of the Holy Spirit; the one who could illumine our minds to engage in `God-Talk`. Rev. Fr. Antony Sebastian SDB, the Coordinator of Theological Reflections welcomed the speaker of the day: Rev. Fr. Antony Pancras, and the gathering. The annual report of the Theological Reflections for the year 2016-2017 was read by Br. Charles Grace: the President of Theological Reflections. Rev. Fr. Antony Pancras, the chief guest and the speaker of the day, presented his paper on the topic `Emerging Trends in Theology`.  

    As the Church is on the threshold of initiating a process of evaluating her pastoral activity in order to communicate Christ effectively, the topic that the speaker of the day had chosen was indeed pertinent. His presentation was a synthesis of the valuable thoughts of three renowned and significant theologians of India:  Rev. Fr. Michael Amaladoss SJ, Rev. Sr. Shalini Mulackal and Mrs. Astrid Lobo Gajiwala. The speaker presented the essence of theologizing today by travelling the path of love justice and peace.

    The speaker highlighted the crucial elements that should form an essential part of new trends in Theology.  Theology is essentially a `God-Talk` and it is a meaning making system. It has to be ortho-praxis rather than remaining in the realm of mere speculation. Theology should pave a way for equality and unity, especially in view of gender, and be relevant to the context in which it intends to be rooted. When we speak of emerging trends in Theology there has to be three fundamental shifts that have to be made. The three essential and fundamental shifts are: shift from dialogue to collaboration, shift from abstract universal and black and white laws to personal discernment based on conscience and shift from preaching to being witness. There is no possibility of authentic new trends in Theology without incorporating the above mentioned essential elements that should necessarily be part of theologizing today.

    Fr. Bellarmine Fernando SDB, the Rector and Secretary of Don Bosco Theological Centre, chaired the panel discussion that followed the presentation of Fr. Antony Pancras. The students and staff interacted with the guest speaker and it was indeed a meaningful, educative and well utilized panel discussion. While answering to various questions posed by the audience Fr. Anthony Pancras, the guest speaker of the day, stated very clearly that the pastoral approach of Pope Francis is an effective and practical way and it in itself is a emerging trend in Theology. Br. Anto Belevandiran SDB, the secretary of Theological Reflection proposed the vote of thanks and the Inaugural function of the Theological Reflection was concluded with a short prayer.
    Posted by MATTHEWS Dominic