Revista Studii Teologice


JA slide show

Ancorarea învăţământului teologic universitar la realităţile comunitare româneşti" // "Anchoring the Academic Theological Education in the Actualities of Romanian Society

Autor(i): Ionel Ungureanu
Theological education is dependent on a legislative system specific to Euro-atlantic democracies, themselves peculiar to a secular state. Therefore, within this ideological-legislative structure, religious life is confined to the private sphere. In Romania, beside the intense appropriation of Occidental forms, the state lacks interest in religious education. If the current stance, with its distinctive mimicry, were surmounted, then the true importance of the religious dimension could be perceived by the Romanian society. In the contemporary man’s crisis, generated by consumerism and materialism, it is a genuinely spiritual life, which obviously presupposes assuming the social aspect and not eluding it, that represents the chance to overcome the materialistic constraint.
Unfortunately, in the descriptions of religious and theological education provided from within, a triumphalist style, inflated with statistical data, is in fashion. Actually, theological education undergoes an identity crisis, while its main purpose is largely ignored. If the members of academic staff were questioned on this purpose, the answers would be vague and consist of stereotypical phrases, such as the mission of the Church, pastoral formation or academic prestige. What ought to be pursued is not, namely: encountering God. Notions and concepts, some of them better defined “scientifically” than others, are employed without experiencing the realities to which they refer. God, the Holy Liturgy, the Scriptures, are talked about in an outward manner. What prevails is an exterior, exclusively rational construct, with no attempt to find the living core of any theological approach. It is not a theology committed to direct experience.
There are other flaws as well. Interpersonal relationships are false, there is no true ecclesial spirit, a circumstance which affects, unfortunately, the church structures also. Moreover, there is corruption in our faculties of theology, as present in our theological environment as it is in the Romanian society at large, and the forms of corruption are manifold, involving not necessarily money or goods, but also influence peddling, nepotism, etc. All this has a disastruous effect on students, most of whom (and not the idle or weak ones) leave disappointed and with no enthusiasm for elevated church or theological work.
An ample, thorough debate on theological education is necessary, to be undertaken with lucidity and sincerity by both professors and hierarchs. It should define theological education, its purposes, in an open and informed dialogue, and the respective discussions might entail normative prescriptions at the Synod level. Then, the work of the persons involved in teaching should be regarded as church service in itself, not as an ancillary activity. Those concerned should commit themselves to it, assigning more of their preoccupations to it. With regard to the contents proper, a free, prophetic theological interpretation of our times is necessary. We need an ecclesial understanding of our time, bearing in our minds its pertaining to eternity.

Pagini: 111-119