Thursday, July 16, 2015

Theology of the Community of Believers

Progressivist rationale for altering Catholic Doctrine.

From the time of the Council and even before, numerous progressivist authors have been demeaning the importance of Scripture and Tradition as the only sources of Revelation, in order to promote the inner experiences of the ecclesial community as a valid font of the Truth. This of course is in keeping with the Modernist concept of immanence, whereby each person primarily hears and senses the word of God spoken from within and only secondarily may hear it from a preacher of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Thus, all people of any religion whatsoever have something to offer. Hence the call for an ecumenical dialog with these omnipresent elements of sanctity, and the need to consider the religious feelings of the believing community as indicators of God's ongoing revelation for the Church.

This progressivist rationale for modifying dogmatic Catholic doctrine has been brought to light in the well-researched and thoroughly documented study by prolific Catholic author Atila Sinke Guimarães. He asserts that along with Scripture and Catholic Tradition, and the dogmatic teaching of the Magisterium, progressivists consider that Faith as an object of belief will also encompass an ensemble of the 'divine experiences' of the community. In his book Will He Find Faith? (Inveniet Fidem?), Guimarães uses direct quotations from these thinkers to convincingly document their belief that salvation history as it unfolds in the religious experiences of the ecclesial community, is an additional criterion for determining doctrine.

As far back as 1970, Fr. Walter Kasper wrote:
. . . the charism of truth does not fall to the competence of a single individual, but to the unanimous testimony of the whole community of the faithful.” Kasper cites Lumen Gentium chapter 12, wherein we read:
The entire body of the faithful, anointed as they are by the Holy One, cannot err in matters of belief. They manifest this special property by means of the whole peoples' supernatural discernment in matters of faith when 'from the Bishops down to the last of the lay faithful' they show universal agreement in matters of faith and morals.”
It's a matter of dialog!

Kasper continues: “From this, a new, less static and more dynamic and dialogical conception of orthodoxy is born. The correct understanding of the Faith today must be periodically established through an open and public dialogue among all charisms, services and orientations existing in the Church, and by means of a communitarian listening to the Gospel”. [p. 339; Will He Find Faith?]
The Magisterium of the Diocesan Survey

According to Fr. Karl Rahner: [p. 321] “Catholic exegesis and biblical theology are seriously questioning themselves today regarding the words of Jesus, asking what can be literally considered an original word by the historic Jesus himself, and what …. is already a formulation of the 'theology of the community'.” “For not every word of the historic Jesus can be identified with the concept of an original revelation.”

Fr. M .D. Chenu: [p. 334] “As a consequence of the Council, theology is now conceived as 'salvation history'. Tradition is substantially qualified as living tradition.”

The Jesuit Fr. Alberto Franzini: [pp. 323-4] “Then one understands why the transmission of revelation is not confided only to preaching and teaching, but also to the witness of faith of all the believers.” “Finally, one understands how in the Church the Scripture is 'insufficient' to disseminate the revelation of Christ without the reality of the ecclesial community's living Tradition.” Franzini states that there must be a socially visible presence of salvation, “a presence that can be adequately assured by an ecclesial-communitarian form of believers. “

Thus it should not be a surprise that the Catholic understanding of marriage, the family, and reception of Holy Communion is now subject to the Magisterium of the Diocesan Survey, in the Pope Francis era. If this tactic succeeds in actually altering any traditional doctrine in the upcoming Synod or thereafter, then in this blogger's opinion, Modernism will have triumphed in the Vatican. The true Church, however, will persist like live coals under the ashes, even without the support of the hierarchy.

Guimarães' book, Will He Find Faith? (Inveniet Fidem?), from which the above quotes are taken, traces the history of the progressivists' influence on the Church and on the fruits of the Council. He demonstrates that to them, the Faith is subjective rather than objective, and is relative rather than absolute. After presenting an overview of Scholasticism, he turns to a consideration of modern thought from the Cartesian revolution and the French Enlightenment, through liberalism, modernism and existentialism. He quotes profusely from conciliar theologians such as Karl Rahner, Hans Von Balthasar, Yves Congar, Edward Schillebeeckx, and lesser known “lights.” The book is Volume VI of his indispensable eleven volume study of Vatican II.

Atila Sinke Guimarães' books on the Council are available Here.

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