Page 11, 31st October 2008

31st October 2008
Page 11
Page 11, 31st October 2008 — Needing elbow-room

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Needing elbow-room

From Mr Tom McIntyre SIR — Gimmicks like chocolates after Communion (Report, October 24) may obscure the meaning of the liturgy quite as much as operatic Masssettings. But is James Preece right to dismiss "a chap named Edward Schillebeeckx who has regularly been accused of denying the divinity of Christ"?

Christ the Sacrament, Schillebeeckx's lucid exposition of the mystery of Christ in the Church, is unequivocal on that point: "As God, Christ is equal in all things to the Father"; and I know no book that better illuminates Our Lady's essential part than Schillebeeckx's equally orthodox Mary, the Mother of the Redemption.

True, as a theologian, the later Schillebeeckx did argue extreme positions; that is how understanding develops. We do not dismiss St Thomas because he went beyond Augustine in using the categories of pagan philosophy or fof his false ideas on the Immaculate Conception. As Newman said: "That is no intellectual triumph of any truth of religion which has not been preceded by a full statement of what can be said against it"; and elsewhere in the same lecture spoke of "the circumstance, which has sometimes caused surprise, that so many great Catholic thinkers have ... incurred the criticism... of theologians or ecclesiastical authority"; and again "Great minds need elbow-room, not indeed in the domain of faith, but of thought."

Yours faithfully, TOM McINTYRE Frome, Somerset

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