Friday, September 02, 2011
It now seems that many of the condemnations issued by Levada's predecessor were done under obedience and at the direction of Pope John Paul. The Benedict XVI and Levada relationship has been gentler. Rather than condemning or imposing censures we have seen the CDF engaging with dissidents, either requesting clarification from them or making clarifications of doctrinal points. It is only occasionally, and normally after a long correspondence as in the case of the Australians Fr Kennedy and Bp Morrison, that recourse to law has been used.
There have been one or to fireworks under Levada's headship both extraordinary acts of the use of the Church's law: Summorum Pontificum and Anglicanorum Coetibus, both being imaginative scalpel-like cuts through endless discussion and both being essentially pastoral, in the interest of souls. Let us pray there will be a third such act before the end of the month.
The situation has changed in the Church, the old Dutch, Swiss and German dissidents have disappeared, almost. New one's have replaced them, more numerous but less of an academic force, no longer giants but dwarves, lots of them, but there is a new confidence in the Church and in orthodoxy. Rather than making martyrs we need to persuade, coax, cajole and above all teach, because the new dissidents arguements are pretty weak, for the most part they are no longer "intellectual" problems but pastoral ones.
Yes, "there is a need to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate". The Benedictine and Levadian way, the way of the teaching Church, is to challenge error, to ask it to explain itself, to point its folly, but is essentially a pastoral approach and should be a matter solved in parishes and dioceses before ever Rome gets involved.
Just a few thoughts - an invitation to a reception to meet him arrived in the post the other day.
Posted by Fr Ray Blake