(Rome, October 3) With a warm ‘welcome to everyone’ and with the desire to start the studies in the Alphonsian Academy, the representative of the students M. Ferrari has inaugurated the day devoted to the students of the Alphonsian Academy in the new academic year 2017-18.
The President prof. A. Wodka warmly welcomed the students by presenting the institution and staff, structures and resources of the Institute, inviting them to take full advantage of the cultural opportunities that a unique place such as Rome can offer. He then presented a video of the Congregation for “Catholic Education – Educating for Wholeness.” The teaching of Pope Francis that highlight the current pedagogical priorities are very important today: the need for a renewed educational risk that offers students a credit of confidence in their abilities; the challenge of constantly transforming difficulties into opportunities; the innovative didactic strategies that allow students’ emotional and concrete, not just intellectual, involvement; the promotion of an integral humanism open to transcendence; and the construction of a society capable of accepting identities and differences, excluding any form of violence.
Then followed a session of prof. S. Majorano: Studying morality in the Alphonsian spirit, that has clarified how in the Academy morality is taught “in the light of the mystery of Christ” with the objective of forming students in research, teaching and ecclesial ministry in the contemporary world. Thus, Alphonsus’ inspiration does not end in the repetition of the answers already given by the Holy Doctor and not even in the use of his own cultural instruments. Rather, it is about developing the fundamental perspectives that have led it into the elaboration of a Moral Theology, characterized by pastoral practicality, historically and culturally placed, attentive to being understood by people in their daily experience. Reflecting on some of St. Alphonsus’ texts, he identified five fundamental characteristics for the elaboration of a Moral Theology that is adapted to the needs of our time: PRACTICE (attention to real life that is always superior to theories); SALVIFICITY (Benevolent and merciful look towards people so that they can progressively progress toward salvation in Christ); ECCLESIALITY (theological services to the Church and in the Church, excluding any temptation to be “intellectual adventurers”); DIALOGICITY (the structural dimension of any research that must be compared frankly with the opinions of others); SCIENTIFICITY (intellectual honesty, assiduous and serious work, without following modes or honours, taking the consequences of their own freedom and openness to the truth). Only such a Moral Theology is capable of embodying Truth in history to save it and not to judge it, conceiving in a “therapeutic perspective” that not only offers the right medicine but knows how to dispose it according to the needs of the sick person! In short, a theology that is not elaborated “at the table” but which places charity in the first place through constant attentive, benevolent and inclusive discernment, as indicated by Amoris Laetitia, nn. 311-312.
The day was then continued with separate programs for the various course years. At the first year of the license, Secretary General D. Gros explained the procedures and administrative services of the university; the Vice-President Prof. A. Amarante and the other Academic Advisers have illustrated the overall planning of the two-year programme for the personal study plan; the Director G.R. Mandiangu Makonko and the staff of the Library explained about the library that is the indispensable resource and through a first visit they began to explain how to use it. Second-year students together have prepared the solemn inauguration of the academic year (October 9, 2017) with prof. J. Mimeault; have focused on how to conduct discussions of the theme, some aspects of the licentiate faculty in Topics on Moral Theology (Prof. G. Del Missier) and the elaboration of the final thesis (Prof. E. Casadei). Finally, the PhD students met with the testimonies of some colleagues already engaged in the PhD program and received the first counsel of the professor A. Fidalgo, in view of the next Doctoral Seminar.
An intense and productive day, held in a climate of cordiality and care that left hope for a peaceful continuation of the academic year just begun.
Giovanni Del Missier