- Editorial Island -
WHY WE CAN NOT TELL US
BUT EVEN progressives
Catholics who fight in different ideological factions reason and write about topics ecclesial with a language that makes sense only in sociological analysis in the service of political discourse, starting with the most used terms, as tradition in opposition and progress, conservation in opposition to reform, continuity in opposition to break up. Instead we reason and we write in terms only theological. We are convinced that, when it comes to fundamental issues concerning the life of the Church, no one can make a serious and constructive discourse that is useful to the people of God, except using the categories and principles of theological science.
The notes and comments on current ecclesial we dell 'Patmos Island go publishing in recent months may seem, for a reader who was somehow prevented, yet another contribution to the age-old controversy between Catholics "conservatives", or "traditionalists", both moderate extremists; and "progressive" Catholics, or "reformers", both moderate extremists. Quotes that I used for each of these labels are indicating that these ideological positions are qualifications Sociological - Sociology of culture and sociological religious - that some are mutually climax they hitch a rhetorical skirmish where scarce realism and theological abounds romancing idealistic. In fact none of these positions is actually located in the pure state, in a coherent and comprehensive, in a single person, in the consciousness of a believer in the flesh who cares about the fate of the Church in general and in particular for his soul. But unreality produced by visual sociologistic of things the Catholic faith tell you later.
Now I want to say that mistaken lovers place of us'Patmos Island from one side or the other this virtual fence. I and other writers of 'Patmos Island we are accused by some of being too hostile to Lefebvrians and sedevacantists, as well as others accuse us of not being sufficiently "bergogliani" - circulates in Italy this denomination tragicomic -, for the fact that we queued to the litany of who welcomes every opportunity to - alleged - reformist intentions and / or revolutionary Pope Bergoglio. Everyone feels entitled to label us, indeed claim that we ourselves self-schierandoci officially we label one side or the other; and since we claim our sacred right not to take sides at all, so then we are to be the target for criticism of the fanatics of either party.
Progressives like to resort to the old but still useful rhetorically Leninist reasoning by which "those who are not revolutionary is an accomplice of the ruling class'. In Italy we always prefer the version Gramscian, arguing that every intellectual has to be 'organic revolution'. However, this is an argument that, translated into “newspeak” Today, sounds so: "Equidistance is a sneaky way to support the party to which you belong secretly". Instead of traditionalists accuse us of being “normalisti”, to close their eyes to the terrible reality of the crisis afflicting the Church, reason why we felt it irresponsible and do not hesitate to throw us in the face reprimands that Scripture addresses the bad shepherds and false prophets: "Dumb dogs", "The blind leading the blind" etc..
We say again that does not take sides in any faction, because we are convinced that to be consistent Catholics do not need to be biased. Indeed its consistency in the Catholic faith suggests not adopt attitudes and languages that are proper of the factions, parties, ideologies. Many years ago a holy priest warned not to reduce the holy Church in one of the many cliques that always were formed within the Church and who tend to argue with each other or try to proselytize against each other: he said: "I am not a fanatic of any form of apostolate, even the one practiced by the work that I have founded " … The cliques harm the unity of the Church and is contrary to the demands of charity among its members, even when you are in real sect, the type of those sects that were formed already at the dawn of the Church, as evidenced by the recriminations that we read about it in the letters of St. Paul and in those of St. John. Each binnacle with a propensity to become sect arrogates to itself the interpretation of the infallible truth - by appealing to Tradition, spirit of the Council or directly to the Holy Spirit -, but fanaticism has nothing divine and instead is something "human, Too Human ", as Nietzsche said about something else. Fanaticism is produced from the worst miseries of the spirit - the presumption, ambition, the exaltation of their group, particularism, the esclusivismo, social envy -, miseries that the consciousness of the individual can easily recognize but which are then "sublimated", Freud would say, when the individual leans psychologically other and form the "team spirit", with which it is easy to find a thousand excuses for pragmatic unfair things that you think, you say and do.
No, Thanks! If it is the Church
I prefer theology
The critique of ideology is born with Marx, and Marxists, even in the twentieth century - eg, French Louis Althusser - believed to fight and win the ideology of "bourgeois" with "science", that for them it was just Marxism. Failed project, because in politics - or in political economy - there is no possible science, and Marxism, as I had to write so many years ago, is nothing if not an ideology among others, "The ideology of the revolution" (1). But when it comes to the truth revealed, foundation of the faith of the Church, then science exists, and theology. And theology is the criticism of any ideology within the Church. It is indeed the theology the critical conscience of the Catholic faith, being based on the assumption by statute of the distinction between dogma and opinion, between truth common to all believers and a hypothesis of interpretation and / or application pastoral. Only those who examine the ecclesial reality with a theological criterion is able to distinguish opinion from dogma, and only from this distinction can and should criticize any opinion, also legitimate, who wants to pass himself off as absolute truth, thus identifying with the dogma. A theological opinion that ignores their limits devand be criticized, because it goes against the epistemological status of theology, absolutizing itself and excluding other opinions, ANCHe those that should be considered - because they are - just as legitimate.
In an essay published a couple of years ago I said that a grave sin against the common faith is precisely what many theological schools have done, in Church history, absolutizing its position and "excommunicating" those who support other (2).
But you can apply, in practice, this criterion so strictly theological? Certainly, we are applying us dell 'Patmos Island. We apply obtaining, note, good theology from the necessary distinction between “dogma“ and “opinion“. This distinction is classic, so much so that inspired the fathers of the Church to make this clear and useful program of ecclesial dialectic: “In necessary, Unitas; in doubtful, Libertas; in all charity!”. We stick to this policy to always act as Catholics without labels, as Catholics without blinkers, as Catholics but not dull open minded, that is really open with the mind and heart to appreciate every contribution which appears relevant to the understanding of revealed truth. For this we are used to propose all our reflection on faith and on human affairs of the Church as one opinion among others possible, ie as a thesis that aims to be really respectful of the other, and also cozy about other. For we do not fall into the error of making a bundle of all herbs, labeling as an author “friend“ the “enemy“ just because they belong to a certain theological current, in a newspaper or a certain group in the church, without screening, case by case, if what he says on a given occasion, is plausible. If it is, we do not hesitate to mention it or even post it, warning those who do not should understand that only pass a single argument of an author never means “marry” every opinion and every intention. Means even feel solidarity or accomplices of all the things that his friends or associates have done or want to do. It is “distinguish to unite” as Maritain parrying other (3): in this case, it comes to distinguishing dogma dall'opinione, help to unite in our common faith all those who are wrongly considered - or believe themselves - separated or marginalized or excluded because of adopting different views or different theoretical methods pastoral legitimate, that is compatible with the faith of the Church.
The criteria I have set out is the same policy that has brought me, even before participating in the company of apostolic’Patmos Island, writing prefaces or afterwords to books by authors of whom do not share the ideology but also write things that I think are worthy of being taken into account sine ira et studio. I am reminded that I wrote the foreword to a book on prayer liturgist Claretian Matias Augé, containing ideas shared, although elsewhere he has sided in favor of a more radical reform of the liturgy according to the prevailing, that is progressive (4); so how can I mention that I wrote prefaces for three essays ecclesiological Enrico Maria Radaelli, a scholar secular, disciple of Romano Amerio, instead declares traditionalist, even if, in the face of my reservations, saying he wanted to correct the diction “traditionalist”, which does not change the substance: it is always an ideology (5). But, as I said, in a global framework of ideology can be found and enhance value authentically theological thesis, and I really want to enhance them, because they are blinded by fanaticism nor pursue ideological purposes whatsoever.
The seriousness of theological themes
does not allow simplifications and generalizations
which are instrumental to ideology
In the reasoning of the traditionalists and progressives I see too much accuracy in data collection and in their interpretation, as I see too much water (Church events) brought to their mill (human interests, individual or group). We dell 'Patmos Island we refrain from making ideological discourses, about the events of the Church, because we want to do on the Church only theological discourses. Criticism or contempt for those who do not understand the reasons for our neutrality in relation to the great war between factions do not concern us, and we do not care. The issues that they face (the dogma, the pastoral, the liturgy, the ecumenical council, the synod of bishops, Episcopal Conferences, theologians etc.) certainly interest us, but do not want to face them “with” their (as faction), at least not “as” their (when they speak as representatives of a faction). They transformed a series of fragments of truth (historical and sociological surveys, by their very nature temporary and partial) in a global vision of worldly affairs, including external affairs of the Catholic Church. By dint of extrapolating from observed phenomena some general theory (which is epistemologically incorrect, because no science is allowed induction illegitimate), have created imaginary characters and events, inducing their audience to discouragement or the apocalyptic messianic hope. Everyone remembers the heartfelt reflections of Benedict XVI on media council, an imaginary event that did cheer for half a century fans Reform of the great pro-Lutheran and has plunged into despair the fans Tradition hard and pure.
Warning: of us'Island - I in particular - do not despise or condemn any of these Roman observers who wanted to take sides by a side or the other. Sometimes it comes to smart people, educated and inspired by the best intentions of service to the Church. But I have never been able to share - from a theological point of view - the summary judgment that some authors have wanted and still want to make the life of the Church "as such”, believe they have been able to adequately assess the good or bad that certain events produce in the Mystical Body of Christ. In the works of these authors do not lack deep analysis and assessments largely shared, but i always known even the pretense of a synthesis impossible and therefore unfounded. I wonder: what is the real referent of their speeches? When they speak of "Church" or "Catholicism" in what concretely relate? We humans - we must admit if we theological notions basic - we know nothing of God's plans and its intervention in the secrecy of conscience of every man. This is a basic truth that all the authors which I refer in theory admit; but then, because they imagine they can know how it goes and where it goes the Church “as such”? They in fact are limited to analyze and evaluate a few things from those who outwardly appear in the conduct of men of the Church, and / or instruments of doctrinal and disciplinary, in the costume of the faithful in various parts of the Catholic world. They know to refer to a few meager empirical evidence, but then launch themselves as facing a momentous events and prophesy and yet another “New Pentecost“, or diagnose fatal diseases for the Church, believing that you have all the data needed to apply with certainty at this time on the prophecies of Revelation “great apostasy“.
The one and the others are free to speculate in a positive or negative the present and the future of the Church, but certainly not with the claim that such fantasies are theological certainties. Language is certainly theological, but the message is ideological, not theological. You should keep in mind that a theological message is if you can translate these precise terms epistemic: is "one thing that God has revealed”, or at least it follows logically from the one who revealed. Talk about the things of Revelation "with fear and trembling" is precisely the true believer and the true theologian. Instead, flaunt a security without any scientific basis is what you do in the world when it comes to politics - the language of politics is always done on the basis of rhetoric sociological - and that's what you do in the theological when’intensely deepened who deals with problems of the Church is more ideological than theological. Here then is up to theology, for a duty of fairness to the public Catholic, to distance themselves from that ideology as conservative, progressive.
Catholics who played in one of these ideological factions they think and write about topics ecclesial with a language that makes sense only in sociological analysis in the service of political discourse, starting with the most used terms, as “tradition“ in opposition and “progress,” “conservation“ in opposition to “reform“, “continuity“ in opposition to “break up“. Instead we - I repeat - we reason and we write in terms only “theological”. We are convinced that, when it comes to fundamental issues concerning the life of the Church, no one can make a serious talk and constructive - that is useful to the people of God - if not by resorting to the categories and principles of theological science. Study the current problems of the Church with the categories and the principles of theological science means to be humble - because theology undertakes to respect the limits of human understanding of the mysteries revealed, renouncing the claims of rationalism - but it is the only way to avoid superficial and frivolous speeches, instead to answer the needs of the apostolate. Why is the apostolate that to which we aim always, first with the priestly ministry, and then also with the writings. What moves us and guides us, as priests of Christ, is always and only our pastoral responsibility, the duty to contribute to the life of faith of the people with whom we come into contact directly or indirectly.
What is the theological approach
The first task of theological work is always indicate, on every occasion and on any subject, which are the “articles of faith”, ie those few and most certain truths that should guide the thinking and practice of all Catholics, regardless of free opinions regarding the scientific interpretation and application pastoral - in itself contingent - the dogma. This is why I said that the theological criterion is the only one capable of distinguishing, speeches on the ecclesial, dogma dall'opinione, avoiding to relativize the absolute out of dogma and opinion, as do the ideologies of any kind. We therefore do not take sides with the conservatives or progressives because theologically these names do not make sense. It would not make sense profess "traditionalist Catholics" or "progressive Catholics", because before God and before the people of God imports only profess the Catholic faith and be faithful to the doctrine of the Church. And loyalty to the discipline of the Church and its doctrine admits many different routes, many modes of expression and many variations operational. We are and we say simply "Catholic". He said that holy I mentioned before that "genuine gold does not admit adjectives", and in fact, if one sells gold with a few adjectives to say that he wants to sell gold is something else. Faced with problems of dogma and pastoral, the only thing that matters is to identify, profess and defend the truth of the Catholic faith, that is common to all, and in which there may be no divisions, factions or parties.
But then, you do not have freedom of thought? You just can not make an opinion about things that happen in the Church and that are on everyone's lips? It is not legitimate to express die value judgments about the current trends ecclesial whether reform of the papacy in a "synodal" or conservation of traditional structures? You can not be against the liturgical reform of Paul VI and in favor of "The old order"Or vice versa? In conclusion, Catholics have the right to think and to qualify as conservatives or progressives? The remarried to such questions is obvious: certainly has every right to judge the facts that happen and ideas circulating in the Church, but the important thing is not to turn the judgment on individual facts, verifiable and judged by criteria Christians, in a global assessment of people, doctrines and institutions, making a bundle of all herbs and systematically failing to charity and justice. Above all, you can not turn an opinion - by its nature, hypothetical and contingent - in a system of thought apodictic. You can not extrapolate from empirical observations of detail a general scientific law that goes beyond all limits of verifiability and every epistemic justification. In other words - in strictly logical terms - you can not go from opinions well circumscribed in matter and in time to an ideology. Ideology is the preferred weapon of politics but it is the denial of critical awareness that supports the work of all science, also and especially of theological science. So it can happen that an opinion, limited to a specific theme and therefore perfectly legitimate, so that anyone should consider it dispassionately examine the allowable and acceptable, then becomes, if who defends you put scriteriatamente to absolutize, totalitarian ideology, that generates fanaticism. (Passing, remember that "fanatic" is an adjective with which the theologians of Christian DESIGNATED pagans who celebrated their cults in sacred groves).
The standard starting point at the beginning of each argument regarding the Church - And then leave whenever things get complicated and lacks clarity - this is: must always maintain that by the grace of God we Christians as theological criterion absolutely certain, namely that "God wants all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth". But the knowledge of the truth revealed, faith that saves us, is never the faith "subjective" - Lutheran, Nouveau -, a truth that can be arbitrarily invented by someone: is always and only the faith professed by the Church, ie the dogma. In dogma - the "Apostles' Creed"Or"Nicene-Constantinopolitan”, namely "I believe"That we recite in the Holy Mass on Sundays - we all recognize fully agree and we are perfectly united. And then, from dogma, are possible and in fact historically produced many "interpretations"Teoretiche and"applications"Practices. Such interpretations and applications are always legitimate and even useful to the life of the Church if they remain absolutely faithful to the dogma, from which, otherwise it is corruption of the true faith (heterodoxy) or deviation from the right path shown by Christ (schism). The conceptual distinction between dogma and theological opinion, between truth and indisputable assumptions permissible, is difficult but necessary, and to illustrate it in strictly scientific terms I have dedicated my treatise on "True and false theology”, that believers accustomed to reading newspapers and magazines "Catholic" than the textbooks have deliberately ignored, while the theologians who in that book I criticized tried in every way to remove it from circulation (6).
Because it is useless or even harmful
purely sociological approach
the life of the Church
To clarify again what distinguishes the theological approach to the ideological the life of the Church, I note that the ecclesial ideologies of all kinds - from the extremes of anti-traditionalism and progressivism conciliarist conciliarist reformer, the many positions that present themselves as "moderate", as a "third way" - are based on surveys willingly sociological, even the statistical data. And the more the arguments are of this kind, the more authentically ecclesial criterion is clouded. I would like to draw the attention of those who speak and write of ecclesial problems of how useless, when it is not really harmful, the sociological approach to the life of the Church, because any account that is based on the data - empirical or scientific - of religious sociology can not even touch the surface of the actual reality of the life of the Church. The Church, indeed, is a supernatural mystery; his real life, that is the grace that sanctifies and saves individual souls in the reality of human history, we can not know anything and we must be satisfied of the meta-historical truth that God has revealed to us. We can not know for sure, beyond the appearances that are always deceptive, Who Belongsga actually, at this time, the mystical body of Christ is the Church, as we can not claim to know what concrete plans of Providence that really governs, "Everything coming together for good to them that love God", as it is written in "Letter to the Romans”. Of what really is a good or bad thing in the life of the Church, we believe we only have a clue through faith in divine revelation, and then some experimental verification in the examination of his conscience (that is, in the mystical, even ordinary, that enables the believer to detect, the light of faith, the effects of the sensitive Invisible graaunt Divina), as well as pastoral experience (that is visible in the results of apostolic time increase in faith of the next).
Progress or involution of whom speak much, in sociological, progressives and the conservatori are at best hypothesis worthy of respect - if the intentions are really good - but they are never to be taken too seriously, because - I repeat - lack of scientific seriousness, observe only the mass phenomena, judge situations that can not evaluate in depth, in existential concreteness of the Christian life, where you fight the daily battle between grace and sin. Even for progressives and conservatives, locked in their ideological schemes, that is the admonition of the Holy Ghost by the mouth of the Apostle: "They talk about what they do not know '. We dell 'Patmos Island, knowing that we only speak of what we know - St. Paul says: "I believe, and that's why I speak "-, we do the spokesmen of those prophets sad announcing a schism imminent, and even of those prophets hilar announcing the coming of the Kingdom through a new Church "ecumenical synod". We devote ourselves to remind everyone that the sociology of religion and ecclesiastical politics provide information of little interest to the Christian life of individual believers, to which must be announced, in every age and in every circumstance sociopolitical, the truth of the Gospel sine glossa, as St. Francis. Or better, with all the glosses necessary to be able to distinguish what is the essential (the dogma) from what is accidental (theological opinions).
The constant reference to any properly theological discourse are not the movements of the masses anonymous detectable sociologically: is the faith life of every single person, directly or indirectly accessible by the message, which has to hold in his heart the truth revealed, that is the only hope of salvation. For this all talk properly theological must be based only ever on the dogma, on certain doctrine of the Church that is expressed in formal statements (dogmatiche the formula), that do not give rise to doubts and are not likely to contradictory interpretations. Thank God, though they may be or seem disconcerting ecclesiastical events of the last decades, all of us Catholics continue to have as a reference point and most certain topical dogma, prepared by ecclesiastical tradition with evolution homogeneous part by the Apostles and come down to the last ecumenical council; a dogma that everyone can find clearly exposed and appropriately synthesized in "Catechism of the Catholic Church”, which is one of the historical merits of the pope who wanted (St. John Paul II). To those who say that it is foolishly "passed" - rejoices or is worried - it must be remembered that this is a document of the post-conciliar magisterium which has not been repealed by any official act of the magisterium, nor ever can be. The Church of Christ is, Benedict XVI recalled the time to give up the Petrine ministry, and for this reason it is unfailing, ie will never succumb to the "gates of hell". It will always be Mater et Magistra. Priests John Cavalcoli, Ariel S. Levi Gualdo and I we are sure why he said he, not because we have heard from some theologian, conservative or liberal it.
Entrance Sunday of Advent
The authors of the Island of Patmos promote the protection of the heritage of good singing and Latin liturgical
(1) See Antonio Livi, Louis Althusser: “For Marx”, Issued, Madrid 1973; Fernando Ocariz, Marxism, ideology of the revolution, edited by Antonio Livi, Ares, Milan 1976.
(2) See Antonio Livi, Interpretation or re-formulation of the dogma?, theNo truth of faith. What to believe and who, by Gianni Battisti, Leonardo da Vinci's publishing house, Rome 2013, pp, 21-94.
(3) Jaques Maritain cfr, Distinguish to unite, The knowledge and Degrees, Desclée Brewer, Paris 1931.
(4) Antonio Love, Presentation, Matias in Augé, A mystery to be rediscovered: prayer, Pauline, Cinisello (Milan) 1992.
(5) See Antonio Livi, Presentation, in Enrico Maria Radaelli, The mystery of Sinogoga blindfolded, Effedieffe, Milan 2002, pp. I-IX; The same, Introduction. The misadventures of a Christian philosopher, in Enrico Maria Radaelli, Romano Amerio. Of truth and love, Costantino Marco Publisher, Lungro of Cosenza 2005, pp. VII-XXVIII; The same, Foreword, in Enrico Maria Radaelli, The Church overturned. Survey aesthetic theology, on the form and language of the magisterium of Pope Francis, Gondolin Editions, Verona 2014, pp. I-XX.
(6) See Antonio Livi, True and false theology. How to distinguish the authentic "science of faith" from an equivocal "religious philosophy", Leonardo da Vinci's publishing house, Rome 2012. See also The truth of theology. Threads of logic aletica from "True and false theology" of Antonio Livi, by Marco Hounds and John Covino, Leonardo da Vinci's publishing house, Rome 2014.