In Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis offers a few things that will not be a surprise to his watchers. Let’s read:
133. It is not enough that evangelizers be concerned to reach each person, or that the Gospel be proclaimed to the cultures as a whole. A theology – and not simply a pastoral theology – which is in dialogue with other sciences and human experiences is most important for our discernment on how best to bring the Gospel message to different cultural contexts and groups.[Cf. Propositio 30]
What do you see here? I’m sensing that we’re not talking about taking a traditional expression of theology and adapting, watering down, or making adjustments of vocabulary. I’m reading that we need a theology of the family, of the child, of the teen, of the addict, of the scientist, of the worker, and so on. Every human experience, every human niche: this is open to the formulation of a theology that is particular, effective, and open.
We are not talking about a head trip undertaken while leaning back in a desk chair:
The Church, in her commitment to evangelization, appreciates and encourages the charism of theologians and their scholarly efforts to advance dialogue with the world of cultures and sciences. I call on theologians to carry out this service as part of the Church’s saving mission. In doing so, however, they must always remember that the Church and theology exist to evangelize, and not be content with a desk-bound theology.
Theology is not the end result, but only the beginning of evangelization. Just right.