Have you noticed that one side of the ongoing debates in the Church today want to close down dialogue and avoid having the arguments that are screaming to be had? By avoiding real debate – just as nature abhors a vacuum – discourse is devolving into incivility.
Card. Müller has something to say about that.
But first, something fun and, surprisingly, appropriate!
The other day I systematically worked the Prado in Madrid, where I spotted wonderful canvases by Pedro Berruguete (+1504). In one painting, we see a dramatic moment of a theological debate between Dominicans and heretical Cathars in which books are being put to the test… by fire. Books are tossed into the flames. The bad books burn. The good books reveal their goodness by leaping out of the fire!
Note the book which has ejected itself from the flames in mid air. Action shot!
There is a high res version HERE.
In the Middle Ages there were organized theological debates, called Disputationes, with strict rules, intended to get at the Truth of disputed questions.
This, from the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Gerhard Ludwig Card. Müller as reported by the best English language correspondent working in Rome right now, Ed Pentin of the National Catholic Register. Some excerpts to get you thinking…
Cardinal Müller Suggests Pope Francis Appoint Group of Cardinals to Debate His Critics [I like it.]
The prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith says the Pope deserves ‘full respect’ and his ‘honest critics deserve a convincing answer’ as the Vatican declines to comment on a filial correction of the Holy Father, made public on Sunday.
To resolve the impasse between Pope Francis and those who have grave reservations about his teaching, Cardinal Gerhard Müller has proposed that one solution to this “serious situation”[growing more serious by the day] could be for the Holy Father to appoint a group of cardinals that would begin a “theological disputation” with his critics. [It should be PUBLIC, right? Fat chance. Fat chance that it will happen, too.]
In comments to the Register Sept. 26, the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said such an initiative could be conducted with “some prominent representatives” of the dubia, as well as the filial correction which was made public on Sunday.
Cardinal Müller said a theological disputation, a formalized method of debate designed to uncover and establish truths in theology, would be specifically about “the different and sometimes controversial interpretations of some statements in Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia” — Francis’ apostolic exhortation on marriage and the family. [It sounds positively medieval, like the debates between Franciscans and Dominicans.]
The Church needs “more dialogue and reciprocal confidence” rather than “polarization and polemics,” he continued, adding that the Successor of St. Peter “deserves full respect for his person and divine mandate, and on the other hand his honest critics deserve a convincing answer.”
“We must avoid a new schism and separations from the one Catholic Church, whose permanent principle and foundation of its unity and communion in Jesus Christ is the current pope, Francis, and all bishops in full communion with him,” he said.
[…]Vatican: Response Unwarranted
The Register has learned that senior officials believe a response is not warranted, partly because they say it has been signed by only a relatively small number of Catholics they consider not to be major names, and because one of them is Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X, whom they view as a renegade in charge of a priestly fraternity not in full communion with Rome. [They’ll dialogue with the likes of Paul Ehrlich. They’ll put a pro-abortion Anglican on the Pontifical Academy for LIFE. But… SSPX Bishop Fellay? Nope. That’s a bridge too far.]
Check out the rest there.
It’s a great idea.
I just had the flash of Pope BENEDICT presiding over the Disputation!
Let’s have a POLL.
Choose your best answer. Anyone can vote.
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