Foreword by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger
This is one of a two-volume collection of texts and documents issued by the International Theological Commission (ITC), a body of theologians that advises the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The texts and documents of the ITC address pressing theological issues, drawing upon theological experts from around the world who represent differing branches of theology yet who share a common commitment to authentically-Catholic theological reflection.
Volume 1, 1969-1985, includes texts and documents exploring the following themes: reflections on the objectives and methods of the ITC, priestly ministry, theological pluralism, apostolic succession, Christian ethics, the relationship of theology to the Magisterium, human development and human salvation, Christian marriage, Christology, penance and reconciliation, the dignity and rights of the human person, ecclesiology, and the consciousness of Christ.
"The special contribution of the Commission is to gain a hearing for the common voice of theology amid all the diversities that exist. For notwithstanding the legitimate pluralism of theological cultures in the Church, the unity of theology must remain, and empower theologians to offer some common account of their subject. In these pages, therefore, one will not find the exciting theses of innovative individuals. If there is excitement here, it lies in the discovery that even in our contemporary situation it is possible to say something together despite all our differences and so to take part together in a further exploration of the one faith of the Church. All the texts which follow are the fruit of a long and often difficult dialogue. In that dialogue, not only have various disciplines, methods and ways of thought found a common path. Over and above that, the wider dialogue of theologians with the bishops, as well as between bishops and the Petrine office in the Church, has found a voice. It is precisely for this reason that the Theological Commission represents an authentic continuation of the great experience of the Council and a clarification of its true bearing."—Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger from the Preface to Volume One