Saturday, July 29, 2006

More on the Spanish instruction ...

[The one that Sandro Magister mentions in his newsletter below.] I read through the thing. 200 footnotes, 69 paragraphs. Despite what Magister seems to imply, there's no subsequent section listing any "cures" or pastoral strategies of how to deal with this. As Amy put it, "What I don't see (and might be there - he's got a link to the full document, but I don't, obviously, read that level of Spanish) is the next step of the critique, which is a hard look on how this ends up working itself into the ministry of the Church on the ground." Well, as far as I can tell (unless there's some section of the document hidden somewhere), it's a long list identifying the "sickness" -- incorrect theology and lits what the correct belief is and what the erroneous ideas floating around are.

Most of it isn't new. The document quotes liberally from Vatican II, and the writings of Pope John Paul II, and to a lesser extent from the Catechism, Vatican I, Benedict XVI, the Fathers, and various CDF instructions, and is peppered with appropriate Scriptural quotes. Some stuff that I hadn't quite seen put together quite so clearly in a Magsiterial document: such as the promotion of a culture of dissent in the Church, the idea that the people of God are oppressed by the hierarchy and that religious life is a witness of prophetic action against the hierarchy.

I must say that after going through it (and there was nothing in there that I really had a problem with. Perhaps that repetitious solicitiousness regarding "confusion among the faithful" was a little tiresome. Let's acknowledge some intelligence out there, maybe?), I was a little disappointed (Of course, the Spanish bishops were addressing their people, not me!) Well, I'm glad that the Bishops are being forthright about the problem. But "secularization" isn't just about bad theology, or about erroneous philosophical assumptions, even though identifying these is good. But, simply repeating the errors is not going to convince anyone, I don't think.

And just who let all these ideas in, anyway? (Not that ideas can somehow just be stopped at the gate.) Why is religious education what it is? Is there anyway things could have been different? What about the witness of the Church? Of the laity, yes, but the clergy? The Bishops? The alliance between the Church and State? Why are these secular philosophies so attractive, and the Church's message seemingly so archaic and boring or, worse, evil?

What to do? Where do we go from here?

Oh I'm sure there are as many answers as there are questioners ...

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