Part One, “The Life of Our People Today,” begins with a note on the methodology used in the document.
I commented on the methodology in a previous post.
But what is striking about paragraph 19 is the praise heaped on the methodology by the bishops, noting the support for the methodology from the faithful:
Many voices from the entire continent, offered contributions and suggestions along these lines, stating that this method has been helpful for living our calling and mission in the church with more dedication and intensity. It has enriched theological and pastoral work and in general it has been helpful in motivating us to take on our responsibilities toward the actual situations in our continent. This method enables us to combine systematically, a faithful perspective for viewing reality; incorporating criterions from faith and reason for discerning and appraising it critically; and accordingly acting as missionary disciples of Jesus Christ. Believing, joyful, and trusting adherence to God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and involvement in the church are preconditions for assuring the effectiveness of this method.
The method has been helpful in living the faith but also for enriching theology and pastoral work. It is not a question of stating the truths of the faith and then deducing conclusions for theology and pastoral practice.
In fact the bishops had sought input from the people of Latin America and the Caribbean and had taken that input into account in putting together the document.
In part one of the Aparecida document, then, the bishops will examine the situation of the church as missionary disciples and the reality of Latin America and the Caribbean (SEE), before going on to theological reflections in part two, ”The Life of Jesus Christ in Missionary Disciples” (JUDGE), and to offering suggestions for pastoral action in part three, “The Life of Jesus Christ for Our Peoples” (ACT).