Critical Thinking Skills in Ministry

Pope_John_XXIII_-_1959_(cropped)Catholic theologians, like other scientists, are known for their ability to engage in critical thinking. Catholic theologians are not limited to the members of the Catholic clergy. Over the centuries, the Catholic Magisterium (meaning the Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, Priests and Deacons) have a long history of conflict with various theologians and scientists. This is nothing new. The greatest Catholics in the Magisterium were both honoring of tradition while effectively able to engage in critical thinking skills. Pope John XXIII was one of these great men.

Pope John XXIII saved Jews from extermination by giving them Catholic baptismal certificates. He didn’t demand that the Jews stop practicing their religion and convert to Catholicism in order to save their lives. Pope John XXIII engaged his critical thinking skills and advanced the Kingdom of God by bringing more peace into the world. Pope John XXIII saving Jews

The Petrine nature of the Catholic hierarchy (or Magisterium) is tradition bound. If the Magisterium is in error in anyway it is typically because they have taken their gaze off from God while transferring that gaze onto tradition. God is still God. Church Tradition is the cultural experience of God. It is very important for Catholic clergy to recognize their inherent blind spot.

The primitive man puts on blinders and chases after his prey. The primitive man can only see one thing, which is either his meal or his desired mate. He will do all kinds of senseless things to obtain his goal. Now, the Catholic Magisterium consists of males who have a goal to preserve Church Tradition. However, Church Tradition should never take the place of God. Every Catholic clergy member must make God’s Will their number one priority over all other things just as Jesus Christ obediently followed his Father’s will.

Most individuals with critical thinking skills are not drawn to Patriarchal ministry roles. Scientists are constantly responding to life with critical thinking skills while others are left reacting to whatever life hands them. Higher level thinking and problems solving skills are responsive, not reactive. World leaders, and Church leaders, must be willing to take off the blinders of the primitive man and utilize higher reasoning skills in order to advance the Kingdom of God. “The Good Pope” John XXIII is an excellent example of a man who embodied the presence of the absent Christ.

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