Synodal renewal planned by the Pope with unforeseen consequences. On the verge of a new Reformation

Theologian Halík: Christianity faces new reformation

Pope Francis' planned synodal reform of the Catholic Church could have a much deeper impact than previously thought, says renowned theologian Tomáš Halík - and speaks of "a new Reformation".

Christianity is on the verge of a new reformation, according to Czech theologian Tomáš Halík. The synodal reform of the Catholic Church planned by Pope Francis could have a much more profound effect than previously assumed, Halík told the General Assembly of the Lutheran World Federation in Krakow. "I am convinced that we are dealing here with the possible beginning of a new reformation of Christianity, building on both the Second Vatican Council and the Pentecostal revival of worldwide Christianity." A reform of the Church must go much deeper than a mere reform of institutions, the theologian said. What is needed is a rediscovery of the spiritual and existential dimensions of faith.

Halík, who was ordained a priest in the underground during the Cold War, is considered one of the most important Catholic intellectuals and writers in the Czech Republic. He was an advisor to Vaclav Havel, the first Czech president after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Today, Halík is a Professor of sociology and head of the Faculty of Religious Studies at Prague's Charles University. He has received numerous international awards for his commitment to human rights, religious freedom and interreligious dialogue.

Proclamation as a central church task

Addressing delegates from the 150 member churches of the Lutheran World Federation, Halík said populists, nationalists and religious fundamentalists exploit people's fear of losing their identity. In countries like Russia, where "the last communists became the first capitalists", there is an economic, moral and demographic crisis, he said.

The theologian condemned Russia's attack on Ukraine, a "national messianism" by President Vladimir Putin and the pro-Kremlin stance of leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church. Churches that are corrupted by a political regime are depriving themselves of their future.

Halík stressed that new ways of proclaiming the Gospel were among the most important tasks of the Church. "But we cannot approach others as arrogant possessors of the truth," he pointed out. Only Jesus himself is the truth. The goal of mission is not to recruit new church members and force them into existing structures. Much more important is a mutually enriching dialogue - not least with people of other faiths or without faith.


Cathcon: Reformation II would be/ is being every bit as destructive as Reformation I.