POPE Francis has appointed UST Vice Chancellor Fr. Gerard Francisco Timoner III, O.P. as the lone representative of the Philippines to the International Theological Commission.

Timoner, prior provincial of the Dominican Province of the Philippines, was chosen along with 29 other theologians from different countries last Sept. 23. The new members of the commission will serve for five years, from December 2014 to 2019.

The International Theological Commission advises the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the in-depth study of Church doctrines. It was established by Pope Paul VI on April 11, 1969.

Timoner is the fourth Filipino to become part of the Vatican commission after the Jesuit Fr. Catalino Arevalo in 1980, Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle in 1997, and Don Bosco priest Fr. Francis Gustilo in 2009.

Timoner said being a member of the Vatican commission was a “humbling experience,” adding that there were “better and more qualified theologians in the country.”

“I know that the appointment is not a reward for something I have done, but a call to service too big for me. I believe my main work is to learn and to share with my students and others what I have learned,” Timoner said.

Timoner attributed his appointment to the international body to his five-year stint as the rector of the Central Seminary from 2007 to 2012. Life in the seminary, where the theological virtues of faith, hope and love are emphasized, prepared him for the position, he said.

“As seminary rector and faculty member of the Faculty of Sacred Theology, I worked and lived with those who were preparing for the ordained ministry, who do not just study theology as science but who strive to live a theological life,” Timoner said.

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The International Theological Commission will meet on December 1-5 at the Vatican.

Acknowledgement of the PH Church

Fr. Quirico Pedregosa, O.P., rector of the Central Seminary, said having a representative in the International Theological Commission was an acknowledgment by Vatican of the Philippine Church’s significance in Asia.

Pedregosa said there were two main qualifications for one to be appointed to the theological commission: scientific knowledge of theology and fidelity to the Magisterium or teaching authority of the Church.

“Being prior provincial, UST vice chancellor, and seminary rector gives you the reputation that you must be a man of the Church and of integrity. You can’t be appointed to these positions without having the qualities of faith in the magisterium and extensive knowledge in theology,” Pedregosa said.

Timoner obtained his bachelor’s degree in sacred theology in UST in 1994. He earned his licentiate in sacred theology and master’s degree in intercultural theology in the Katholieke Universiteit Nijmegen of the Netherlands in 2004.

Timoner served as rector of the Central Seminary in 2007. He started his four-year term as prior provincial of the Filipino Dominicans in 2012. Danielle Ann F. Gabriel

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