Page 4, 4th January 1980

4th January 1980
Page 4
Page 4, 4th January 1980 — Kung unity, freedom and truth

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Locations: Liverpool, Rome


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Kung unity, freedom and truth

1 121.1: )0M of choice k iul MI end in itself. 11 is a Mcialls to Ju cud

Man is free LO choose. lie has the right to choose. Because totally dependent on God. hc remains under obligation to set his choice within the contest or God's truth.

I sir the Catholic this means submission — free not I'oreed — to the teaching authority of the Church. which has the duty of upholding. gtimcling and proclaiming divinely re\ ealed truth.

I caching authority within the Church is not yested in the theologians, but in the Pope and Bishops in union with the Pope.

The latter would he doing less than his duty. therefore. if he failed to call to order theologians or others within the Church who called divine truth into question or denied it publicly. espressly or by implication.

Like any other member of the Catholic Church. the theologian is hound to the free acceptance of divinely revealed truth. 1 he honourable and logical thing for him to do if be rejects that truth is to leave the Church.

The dishonourable and illogical thing for hint to do k to remain within that Church whilst calling into public question the truth God has entrusted to it and which he, as a member. is hound to accept.

To claim licence for this stance in the name of "academic freedom" merely f.i-pusses the point -that dis fine truth is received. not made by

men Their duty and that of the theologians in particular — is to probe its riches.

Hall the theologians been faithful to this task during the past fifteen years, the Catholic Church would have heen spared the confusion and the heartbreak that beset d today.

Catholics can only thank God that Pope John Paul has begun so valiantly a task so long overdue. In his prosecution of it. all but a tiny dissident minority within the Church will give him the support of their prayers.

Meanwhile. they look to the Bishops. in particular, to follow his example: to see to it that those responsible for religious instruction at all levels within their dioceses respect the basic right to be given God's truth that belongs to each of the finhful. tI'r) Paul Crane SJ London SW I 1

THE Kung affair — and the sight of Herald readers taking sides — makes me wish to cry "Gentlemen, gentlemen, what is the point of preaching Christian unity and then demonstrating complete failure to understand that the Christian unity is a Trinity?"

Does neither side realise that the First Commandment of logic is, "Thou shalt not confuse the image with the fact"?

By their works we shall know them, indeed, but arc they so ignorant of elementary psychology as not to observe the play of threat and counter-threat? The threat of apathy to science, the threat of criticism to teachers, the reactionary threat of heresy with all its emotional overtones of excom munication and burning at the stake. The next stage is the reaction of withdrawal — schism — and if it happens, both sides disgrace the faith they profess. Consider first the position of the other side. gentlemen: respect their feelings, recognise and explain your own. Then forget the other side. Try and see the roles of scientists and teachers as different phases in the same great task of trying to know, love and serve God in the three persons of the Trinity,

Read Dorothy L. Sayers on The Poetry of Search and the Poetry of Statement — then read her on The Mind of the Maker. Study the wisdom of that great Catholic scientist-teacher A. N. Whitehead on The Aims of Education and cyclic rhythm through phases of discovery, formalisation and practical wisdom.

Rejoice in this philosophical tradition summed up in the Catholic Young Men's Society motto See. Judge and Act — and reflect on the fact that its different phases require very different attitudes of mind (compare, if you like, T. S. McLeod's Management of Research. Development and Design).

Gentlemen, before you start arguing again, immerse yourselves in the psychiatric devices of transactional analysis, designed as a common language for your situation. Learn to recognise the differences between child, parental and adult actions: realise it is easier to observe other's behaviour than your own then grow up.

Adopt the motto of Thomas D. Harris's I'm OK, You're OK" — and try to make it a self-fulfilling pro• phecy.

D. J. Taylor Worcestershire

WHEN Marx, following Feuerbuch, wrote that Religion is the opium of the people, he viewed a social milieu in which historically the Christian religion had played a major part in the suppression of popular uprisings against arbitrary power-structures and the idealisation to the point of ineffectiveness of such uprisings as had occured.

Today, in respect of advanced industrialised societies, it can no longer with any credibility be maintained that religion is a widespread opiate.

Indeed, in view of the growing secularisation of power-structures, there is no longer any balanced case to be made for the Church-clerical even attempting to develop and maintain essentially symbiotic relationships with the powerful of the secular order.

The Church is at last being faced with the possibility of becoming what Christ proclaimed it to be, and that is a vehicle for a revolution in values towards what is truly human rather than merely functional and utilitarian.

A key question therefore for the Church of the future is whether it is Prepared to discard. those structural forms which historically it has borrowed from the secular order,

The chief feature of this alienating structure is provided by the notion of Papal infallibility. An infallible Papacy is the ultimate and logical outcome of the bureaucratisation of the Churchclerical which stems from the clergylaity division expressed in the supplierconsumer relationship of the Eucharist.

It is perhaps about time that we acknowledged that Papal infallibility, as expressed in Unam Sanctum, was merely a political strategem and has no basis in the context of present-day political realities.

To argue for infallibility on the basis of biblical texts which rely for their authenticity upon infallible papal pronouncements to that effect is to heap tautology upon tautology, Further, as there can be no naturallaw argument for such an unnatural phenomenon as infallibility — even assuming that we were clear about just what was meant by the notion — then there would seem to he to strong case for discarding the notion and the bureaucratic edifice that goes with it.

Historically, it would be ridiculous for any Christian to deny the enormous debt of gratitude that we owe to the Papacy and bureaucracy in terms of preserving an image of the Christ which can still exert a magnificent magnetism that testifies to the permanent relevance of that image.

It is the image of man transcending his imperfections in history to become perfect, which is the central theme of hope that moves the image of the Christ from the historically particular to the transcendentally relevant,

of owes a tremendous debt of gratitude to Rome. Is it now too much to expect that Rome should in humility bow to the ideal it professes and discard the accidents of history in favour of man's liberation from alienation and ideology.

Dudley Smith Senior Lecturer in Sociology. Liverpool Polytechnic Warrington

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