Last month an international academic symposium was held at the Catholic University with representative theologians from seven countries: Italy, France, US, Philippines, Mexico, Australia, and Korea. The subject was the teachings of Pope Francis and the acceptance and challenges in the local church. Both Catholic papers gave reports on the symposium. It commemorated the fifth year of Pope Francis as the leader of the church.
How the pope looks at the world and what his actions have taught and how each local church has embraced the teaching, overall, they agreed the pope urges changes on the basis of gospel values. Clear also that he has changed the church. Renewal begins placing Christ at the center of the church and our lives. Repentance and mercy are necessary to have success in our actions.
The pope has gone out to the excluded and marginated and brought them to the center of society and the church and asks that we accompany them. He is showing us a new pastoral theology. Doing things together.
The issue of consensus, the importance of synodality in the thinking of Pope Francis. Common consensus is an important keyword to understand when the pope speaks about church renewal. This collective consensus is not only the bishop's synod but the way all the people of God live their lives with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the spirituality of fellowship. To the question: How do we walk the path of renewal can be answered with the need of collective consensus.
The difference between boundaries and limits was a subject of one of the presenters. The pope has attempted to change boundaries of the universal church and the local church and stresses the oneness and turns our attention to the kingdom of heaven.
Another presenter mentioned the boldness of his words and the humility of listening to all without any rush to solve problems. Many see the pope's actions of breaking rules as in no hurry to see change, with a great belief in the Holy Spirit's leading the church. The sexual scandals within the clerical ranks are helped by the pope's words and actions.
Others mentioned that in South America he has led a common consensus to defend human rights and make social justice a reality. We need to respect the spirit of walking together. At the end was mentioned that local churches around the world are facing various crises. We should not turn all the problems into problems of the universal church nor would we leave all the problems to be solved by the local church. We cannot limit ourselves to just one principle but on many principles in search of realistic solutions. For the pope unity is not uniformity but a respect for diversity.