Faith & Reason: February 2011 Archives
Cybertheology is not one of the sub-sections of systematic theology. At least not yet. But it is a promising idea that will likely have a positive influence in the lives of those who surf the web religiously and for those searching for God and who are not ready (willing?) to be personally involved in the Sunday celebration of the Mass or any other organized religious program that requires one to be physically present.
The originator of the Cybertheology project, Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, one of the editors at La Civiltà Cattolica, started a blog to investigate the new, dynamic and complex influence of the Net and the challenages it poses to our relationships with others, language, thinking and the Divinity. I take Father Spadaro's interest and work in this subject on the impact of the digital world to be wholly consistent with what Pope Benedict talked about in his January 2011 letter on social communications where he said "new technologies must be placed at the service of the integral good of the individual and of the whole of humanity. If used wisely, they can contribute to the satisfaction of the desire for meaning, truth and unity which remain the most profound aspirations of each human being." And, "This dynamic [the digital world] has contributed to a new appreciation of communication itself, which is seen first of all as dialogue, exchange, solidarity and creation of positive relations."
Carol Glatz of CNS wrote a fascinating article --at least fascinating to me because I can identify with what the new Prefect of the Congregation of Religious said of his own experience with Liberation Theology. To say that liberation theology terrorized vocations is likely an understatement. I believe the Archbishop is correct in saying that elements of liberation theology are credible, Pope Benedict has said as much, too, but the Marxist methodology is not fitting for the salvation of souls, at least how the Church conceives of salvation of souls. Liberation theology deconstructed religious and priestly life to social work, reduced essential theological concepts to ideology and rejected the authority as non-essential, among many things. Why would anyone devote their lives to a religious vocation under the rubric of liberation theology? Clearly this method of theological reflection needs to be scrutinized even more.
A very telling line in Glatz's article is the Archbishop saying: "'The lack of a theological and mystical experience of the Holy Trinity as the source of communion has brought negative statements about community life,' such as when some religious say the biggest penance they face is communal living." His other statements on one's experience of God viz. autonomy and obedience and love are interesting, too.
Archbishop Joāo Bráz de Aviz credits his relationship with the lay movement Focolare in saving his vocation from being aborted. Focolare, like other lay ecclesial movement focused on vertical and horizontal communion with the Trinity and others, and stressed the virtue of unity built on the Trinitarian life. I follow Communion and Liberation and I say that CL has kept me together in ways that other things did not or could not. Focolare is also a very worthy vocation to follow.