BY A STAFF REPORTER THEOLOGY is quite un
like any other study because it requires not only literary effort but also spiritual effort, Cardinal Heenan told the London Newman Circle last week. He was speaking on "The Laity in the Developing World of Theology."
A musician. for example. could he quite devoid of character and morality, and yet be a first-class musician. A judge might lovingly dispense justice and yet lead a private life of complete depravity. An atheist could he just as good an engineer or doctor as a believer.
"I don't want you to read more into that than I have put." commented the Cardinal. He said that a theologian without spiritual life could amass
knowledge in any amount. but cannot he a real theologian. Eric Gill had insisted that an artist was not a special kind of man. but that every man was a special kind of artist. If the word theologian were substituted for artist, the statement was equally valid.
The Cardinal recalled how theology had been used to crystallise what the teaching of the Church was. In fact, it had been through the heretics that we had been able to build up the teaching of the Church. Definitions of these doctrines had also resulted in splitting the Church. as in the case of the Fi/o.aue controversy which had split Christendom.
The solution of having a theology without God was in effect a return' to the original Modernism, which thought that you could have theology without faith. The Cardinal stressed that the discipline of philosophy was necessary for the understanding of theology. He compared this to a doctor who, having had training in anatomy, might not he able to remember half the names of the various bones in the hod!, but nevertheless retained a strong instinctive knowledge which helped him in his practice of medicine.
"Moreover it is quite impossible for you to he a theologian unless you are a man of God." saal Cardinal Heenan. A theologian who did not pray was worse than useless. "If people are not close to God they are not safe to talk to people about God.
-The biggest menace in the Church is the theologian who is not a man of God." he said. The Cardinal gave the examples of Teilhard de Chardin and Congar as being men of God as well as theologians and who had been in trouble with the Church. In time they were vindicated, asall right men are vindicated. but they did not vindicate themselves.