03 February 2010

Recognize dissent for it is: corrosive

In his address to the bishops of England & Wales, the Holy Father challenged the prelates to "recognise dissent for what it is." 

Too often disguised as "dialogue," dissent endangers ecclesial unity and leads the faithful into serious error.  Lest anyone come away with the idea that calling out dissenters amounts to suppressing free speech or academic freedom, we must remember that the Holy Father himself is one of the best examples of how the Church can talk to a secular culture in a reasoned manner with fruitful results.  The orthodoxy of the Church is not a straitjacket nor it is a choir for parroting papal talking points.  As I have noted many times, a Church that boasts prominent theologians as diverse as Augustine, Bonaventure, Aquinas, de Lubac, van Balthasar, and Congar cannot be labeled an oppressive monolith of fossilized thought.  

There is a distinction to be made between the Truth of the Faith and how this Truth is understood and communicated.  Gregory of Nyssa in the 3rd century believed and taught the truth of the Holy Trinity.  Thomas Aquinas, a thousand years later, also believed and taught the truth of the Holy Trinity.  However, their approach in communicating this mystery couldn't be more different.

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