Friday, December 12, 2008

Avery Cardinal Dulles, R.I.P.

ON THIS FEAST OF MARY, under her title Our Lady of Guadalupe, Avery Robert Cardinal Dulles, S.J., passed to his reward.

Click here for writings by and about Cardinal Dulles.

From Cardinal Dulles' article True and False Reform, in First Things:
In any discussion of reform, two opposite errors are to be avoided. The first is to assume that because the Church is divinely instituted, it never needs to be reformed. This position is erroneous because it fails to attend to the human element. Since all the members of the Church, including the Pope and the bishops, are limited in virtue and ability, they may fail to live up to the principles of the faith itself. When guilty of negligence, timidity, or misjudgment, they may need to be corrected, as Paul, for example, corrected Peter (Galatians 2:11).
The second error would be to assail or undermine the essentials of Catholic Christianity. This would not be reform but dissolution. Paul rebuked the Galatians for turning to a different gospel (1:6). The Catholic Church is unconditionally bound to her Scriptures, her creeds, her dogmas, and her divinely instituted hierarchical office and sacramental worship. To propose that the Church should deny the divinity of Christ, or retract the dogma of papal infallibility, or convert herself into a religious democracy, as some have done in the name of reform, is to misunderstand both the nature of Catholicism and the nature of reform.
Anyone seeking to reform the Church must share the Church’s faith and accept the essentials of her mission. The Church cannot take seriously the reforms advocated by those who deny that Christ was Son of God and Redeemer, who assert that the Scriptures teach error, or who hold that the Church should not require orthodoxy on the part of her members. Proposals coming from a perspective alien to Christian faith should be treated with the utmost suspicion if not dismissed as unworthy of consideration.

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