Rush addressed the synod members and Pope Francis on Oct. 23 before they review a draft of a document summarizing their conversations over the past three weeks. The assembly will vote to approve the document on Saturday, shortly before it is expected to be publicly released.
Speaking about discernment, the theologian told synod delegates they should strive to see with the eyes of Jesus. He also warned them of “traps” where they could be “drawn into ways of thinking that are not ‘of God.’”
“These traps could lie in being anchored exclusively in the past, or exclusively in the present, or not being open to the future fullness of divine truth to which the Spirit of truth is leading the Church,” he said. “Discerning the difference between opportunities and traps is the task of all the faithful — laity, bishops, and theologians — everyone.”
Rush spoke about a tension during the Second Vatican Council related to two approaches to tradition. Benedict XVI, then Father Joseph Ratzinger, was a theological consultant at Vatican II. He wrote about “a ‘static’ understanding of tradition and a ‘dynamic’ understanding,” Rush said.
“The former is legalistic, propositional, and ahistorical (i.e., relevant for all times and places); the latter is personalist, sacramental, and rooted in history, and therefore to be interpreted with a historical consciousness,” the theologian described. “The former tends to focus on the past, the latter on seeing the past being realized in the present, and yet open to a future yet to be revealed.”
Rush cited paragraph 8 of Dei Verbum, Vatican II’s dogmatic constitution on divine revelation, and the apostles’ development of the tradition of the Church with the help of the Holy Spirit: “There is a growth in insight into the realities and words that are being passed on.”