Yes we need more intellectuals, but that means that the church must not be anti-intellectual and should facilitate the free dissemination and discussion of thoughts and theses. The anti-modern tendancies within some of the church is inherently anti-intellectual.
I suppose freedom is always freedom within due limits. Who sets those limits?Must there be a conflict between "academic freedom" and the authority of the magisterium?
Read the instruction on the ecclesial vocation of theologians, and there are also documents on Catholic education and universities - haven't got the references handy. Fidelity to the Truth and the Magisterium brings about True freedom. So, study with the right intention, and be not afraid.Fr. A.M.
As an academic, my impression is that the Catholic Church (at least in England) is simply not interested in academics.I sometimes write as a Catholic about the moral implications of my own academic subject, and get plenty of interest from protestants and even Jews, but none from Catholics.And yet Bishops write about my subject with clearly no understanding of it, and without any sign of having ever read any serious book about it.And it's not just me. When did you last meet a liturgist who has read Prof. Duffy, for example?Although an individual bishop might quote an academic who supports what they want to say, in general bishops and other senior figures in the Church do not seem willing to even try to understand anything other than theology - even when they pronounce on those other subjects.Why, I don't know. But it does make one think that there is no point in being, in any real sense, a Catholic intellectual - the Church is simply not interested.
Out of curiosity, I looked up the education of our English bishops.It seems that seven of the twenty-odd bishops attended a general university (i.e. one other than a specifically theological college or similar).That includes both those who studied something entirely different (such as Bishop McMahon, an engineering graduate of UMIST before finding his vocation) and those who studied a theological topic but at a general university (such as Archbishop Nicols, who gained a Masters in Theology from Manchester).Now seven is a minority, but a fairly large minority, and most of the seven went to fairly decent universities, so there is clearly no lack of experience of broader intellectual study amongst our bishops.So why do they collectively seem to have a complete lack of interest in intellectual life or output?
Look at the congregation and see howhard they are concentrating on what the pope is saying. This was also the case when the Pope was in England.Then compare this with the concentration during the sermon during an average parish Mass. This pope has excrptionsl powers of communication, and the reason probably is that he talks sense.Here is a little test for everyone. Can you remember what was preached at last Sunday's Mass.
et expecto - yes, I can remember what was preached at last Sunday's Mass (actually the Sunday before last; we have been snowed in here for the last 4 days), but only because the subject was so surprising.The need of Confession during Advent!
The Catholic Church in England seems to be exceptionally well off for historians, but except for Duffy and Scarisbrick they are converts from the C of E rather than cradle products. Duffy's comments on the Church in England before the 1960's accuse it of lack of intellectual culture. He himself learned his craft from an Anglican, Owen Chadwick. I wonder how Duffy would have fared during the time of Pius X of whom he writes so eloquently, subjecting him to historical examination rather then producing a panegyric. The limits Pius X set were very narrow indeed.
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