Monday, February 21, 2005

zenit news agency - the world seen from rome: fr. roger haight, submitting the content of catholicity to critical scrutiny, etc.

Zenit News Agency - The World Seen From Rome: "In the Preface of his book 'Jesus Symbol of God,' the Author explains that today theology must be done in dialogue with the postmodern world, but it also 'must remain faithful to its originating revelation and consistent tradition' (p. xii), in the sense that the data of the faith constitute the norm and criteria for a theological hermeneutic. He also asserts that it is necessary to establish a 'critical correlation' (cf. pp. 40-47) between these data and the modes and qualities of postmodern thought, characterized in part by a radical historical and pluralistic consciousness (cf. pp. 24, 330-334): 'The tradition must be critically received into the present situation' (p. 46).

This 'critical correlation,' however, results, in fact, in a subordination of the content of faith to its plausibility and intelligibility in postmodern culture (cf. pp. 49-50, 127, 195, 241, 273-274, 278-282, 330-334). It is stated, for example, that because of the contemporary pluralistic consciousness, 'one can no longer claim [...] Christianity as the superior religion, or Christ as the absolute center to which all other historical mediations are relative. [...] It is impossible in postmodern culture to think [...] that one religion can claim to inhabit the center into which all others are to be drawn' (p. 333).

With particular regard to the validity of dogmatic, especially Christological formulations in a postmodern cultural and linguistic context, which is different from the one in which they were composed, the Author states that these formulations should not be ignored, but neither should they be uncritically repeated, 'because they do not have the same meaning in our culture as they did when they were formulated [...]. Therefore, one has no choice but to engage the classical councils and to explicitly interpret them for our own period' (p. 16). This interpretation, however, does not in fact result in doctrinal proposals that convey the immutable meaning of the dogmas as understood by the faith of the Church, nor does it clarify their meaning, enhancing understanding. The Author's interpretation results instead in a reading that is not only different from but also contrary to the true meaning of the dogmas. "

(The above quote comes from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and its condemnation of Fr. Haight's book, "Jesus Symbol of God.")

(Thank you Fr. Harding.)

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