The Church’s wish for the students of Theology is that they relate in-depth to what they are studying. As Vatican II says: “The theological disciplines […] should be so taught that the students will correctly draw out Catholic doctrine from divine revelation, profoundly penetrate it, make it the food of their own spiritual lives, and be enabled to proclaim, explain, and protect it in their priestly ministry.” (Vat II, OT 16) This too was the deep desire of Pope Benedict in his magisterium. He also reminded us of the existence in the past of a “Monastic Theology” (see here). Pope John Paul II used the expression “Sapiential Theology” (see here). It is vitally important for each student in Theology to see the connection between these more spiritual ways of theologising and the actual way now used. “Prophetic Theology” or “Integral Theology” is the bridge between the two theologies and encompasses both of them.
Proposal for Integral Theology formation
Jean Khoury and I propose to set up an Institute, under the patronage of Mary “Mater Theologorum”, in which Catholic teaching would be presented, in its entirety and with academic rigour, in a way that fully integrates theology and spiritual theology.
Until the early Middle Ages spiritual life and academic theology were inseparable, but have become distanced since then in a way that does harm to both. The combination of academic teaching and formation in spiritual life will make the Institute distinctive and new in the contemporary field.
Courses will be offered at different levels, from short units taught over a few weeks in a parish to first cycle degree level. It would be offered in suitably adapted forms to all those who are looking for formation: catechists, Catholic teachers, RCIA candidates, those being confirmed as adults, parishioners seeking more formation for themselves, parents, those wanting to go deeper in the spiritual life, novice-masters/mistresses, those seeking formation as Spiritual Directors, and seminarians.
Teaching and formation would be offered in the five areas of: Bible, Dogmatic theology, Sacraments, Moral Theology, and Pastoral Theology For a schematic presentation and examples of how the integration between dogma and spiritual life would be achieved in each area, please see the accompanying sheets.
Validation will be sought for courses from appropriate institutions at each level.
Jean Khoury has a Masters in Theology from the Institut Catholique in Toulouse and the Teresianum, Rome, and is researching a PhD in Spiritual Theology at the Angelicum. He has written books and articles on prayer and mysticism, and is currently teaching spiritual theology at several venues in London and elsewhere. His website is: http://www.schoolofmary.org and he can be contacted on: jeancyrille @ gmail.com
Mgr. Keith Barltrop is parish priest of St. Mary of the Angels, Bayswater, and is a past rector of Allen Hall seminary and director of the Bishops’ Conference Agency for Evangelisation. He can be contacted on: firstname.lastname@example.org
Topics for a Formation in ‘Integral Theology’
Introductory course presenting “Integral Theology”.
Course on the “Call for holiness”.
Inner line of formation
Outer line of formation
Mgr Keith Barltrop
Pdf version (click here)
What to Do?
Practically, students in Theology can start complementing their studies in theology with the lacking topics and courses. The School of Mary does recommend two sets of Courses (for the individual courses see here):
1- Courses in Spiritual Theology: Solid Foundations Course is a minimum (SF000).
2- Courses that act as a bridge between the five main areas of Theology and Spiritual Theology :
a- “Bible and Spiritual Life” (SF102), “St. Luke and Spiritual Life” (SF104), “St. John in Spiritual Life” (SF302).
b- “Dogma and Spiritual Life” (SF204)
c- Liturgy and Spiritual Life – Mass and Spiritual life (SF206): “Lectio Divina” and “Prayer of the Heart” (included in Solid Foundations SF000).
d- Moral Theology and Spiritual Life : “Sermon on the Mount” (SF103) – “The Commandments and Spiritual Life” (SF208)
e- Pastoral Theology : Ministry and Spiritual Life (SF308). Blessed Marie Eugene “I am a Daughter of the Church”, chapter : Growth in Love and Ministry.
Examples of Integral Theology: Dogma and Spiritual Life
The following videos give us examples on how to see the connection between “Dogma” and “Spiritual Life”.
– Lectio Divina & Theology Important
– The Method in Theology. How can be the method for the future generations. Video.
– Joseph Ratzinger, “The theology of History in St. Bonaventure”, Franciscan Herald, 1989.
– Pope Benedict XVI, “Monastic Theology and Scholastic Theology”, Papal Audience
– Moving From one Theology to the Other
– Hans Urs von Balthasar, “Thelogians and Saints”
– Victoria S. Harrison, “Holiness, Theology and Philosophy: von Balthasar’s Construal of Their Relationship and Its Development”
– “Sapiential Theology“, Pope John Paul II
– “Divini Amoris Scientia” by Pope John Paul II declaring St. Thérèse Doctor of the Church
– Dom Jean Leclercq OSB, “Love of Learning and the Desire for God: A Study of Monastic Culture”, Fordham University Press; 3Rev edition 1983.
– Inos Biffi, “La costruzione della teologia. La filosofia monastica: ‘sapere Gesù'”, JacaBook, 2008.
– François-Marie Léthel OCD, “La luce di Cristo nel cuore della chiesa. Giovanni Paolo II e la teologia dei santi”, Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2011.
– M. M. Philippon OP, “The Spiritual Doctrine of Sister Elisabeth of the Trinity”, 1955.