Rorate Caeli

German theologian H. Hoping: "The Synodal Way changes the architecture of the doctrine of knowledge"

German theologian H. Hoping: "The Synodal Way Changes the Architecture of the Doctrine of Knowledge"

Translated from Die Tagespost, March 30, 2022

The Synodal Way recognizes "the signs of the times" as a third source of revelation alongside Scripture and Tradition: this is what the "orientation text" says that was adopted at the third synodal assembly in a second reading with the required quorum of episcopal two-thirds majority. The text speaks of "times of theology" that "allow the 'today' of God's voice to be discovered in different contexts in each case." Finally, the signs of the times are expressly described as places of revelation: "The signs of the times stand for moments in which something significant reveals itself and forces a decision."

Various theologians interpret Church doctrine and correct it when necessary, notes Helmut Hoping, professor of dogmatics and liturgical studies at the University of Freiburg, in the upcoming Welt&Kirche synod supplement of the Tagespost. Thus, the theologian Christoph Böttigheimer sees in the signs of the times a "source of divine self-communication"; the theologian Christoph J. Amor calls them "real places of revelation." Hildegund Keul, who sympathizes with the Synodal Way, even called the recent #OutInChurch initiative "theologically a revelation." Hoping summarizes: "The Synodal Way, supported by individual theologians, changes the architectonics of theological epistemology by measuring Scripture and Tradition against the signs of the times as new places of revelation."

The pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes does say that "everything truly human" should "find its echo" in the hearts of Christ's disciples. All the same, in the signs of the times, it is necessary "to discern precisely what in them are true signs of the presence or counsel of God." Hoping emphasizes: "The voices and the various 'languages of our time' cannot simply be equated with the voice of God and his will." After all, the hermeneutics of faith would otherwise mean always conforming the faith to the particular time in which it is to be proclaimed.