Reflection moral honesty of language: the Church has always had its own clear and precise language

REFLECTION honesty MORAL OF LANGUAGE: THE CHURCH HAS ALWAYS BEEN A CLEAR AND PRECISE YOUR LANGUAGE

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The Church, with workings of centuries, thanks to the works of scholastic theology who have studied the Doctrine of the Faith, He has developed a technical vocabulary of theology and Catholic doctrine, merged with some of the dogmatic formulas. This vocabulary, to its perfection, perspicuity and precision, in principle should not change it.

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Author
John Cavalcoli, o.p.

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The Church it's a societas that has a specific language. The language is very sensitive issue that involves so very serious prestige, honesty and credibility of the shepherds, theologians and preachers of the Gospel. For when it comes to the Word of God, of Scripture, Tradition, Dogma, doctrine, of preaching, Catholic culture, training, evangelizing and missionary work, practice of sacramental and liturgical, biblical exegesis, of theological criticism and moral and theological education of the clergy, at stake is the salvation of souls, so it is a sacred duty to use an absolutely clear language, clear and honest, such as to avoid exploitation, misunderstandings or misinterpretations, a language free from any flattery or impairment against the worldly language.

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With all that you certainly can not avoid the problem of interpretation, if it is true that it also arises to interpret the same bright and mysterious words of Christ, Light of the World. But here is where it is essential to the work of the Magisterium, with its own language. In this regard it is therefore to be deplored the trivialization, to say the corruption of the language in the current documents of the church due to too reckless in ecclesiastical language, as part of the doctrine and the pastoral, of words extraneous to it, drawn from worldly mentality, therefore misleading, or at least ambiguous and improper.

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It is a misunderstanding of the renewal of ecclesial language promoted by Vatican II. This it is stating that the Council rightly became a promoter of an upgrade and modernization of the ecclesiastical language, in order to make it more understandable and attractive to men of our time, waves more effectively convey the unchanging truths of the faith and make them more credible, overcoming and abandoning certain expressions, formula, languages ​​and ways to say deemed outdated and antiquated, or not more understandable or acceptable by man today. The same language of the Council adopted this principle and strives to put into practice. So many new expressions, He is taken from modern everyday language, They are undoubtedly guess and had a deserved success.

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However, It should be borne in mind that a language can be more or less perfect, more or less appropriate, more or less suitable to express what you have to communicate. The Church, with workings of centuries, thanks to the works of scholastic theology who have studied the Doctrine of the Faith, He has developed a technical vocabulary of theology and Catholic doctrine, merged with some of the dogmatic formulas. This vocabulary, to its perfection, perspicuity and precision, in principle should not change it, if not with great caution and for good cause, avoiding the pretext of facilitating the understanding of the content of faith, recognizing, however, that all things considered, the ways of language, They are not immutable, but evolve for various cultural reasons, social and psychological throughout history.

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Unfortunately,, at a certain point there has been a serious misunderstanding that, under the pretext of changing and updating the language, It has ended in many cases to change and warp or abolish certain concepts of faith, falling into what already was the modernist errors condemned by Pope Pius X. known and exemplary case of this misconception is the position of the Edward Schillebeeckx [1], which confuses the concept of faith in the language, so, changing the language, It is to change the concept.

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Edward Schillebeeckx is right in claiming that the matter of faith can conceive and express in different types of language and according to different "models of interpretation" and that a date dogmatic formula became less expressive, It can be changed in some way, in order to better express the same fact of faith at that time and in that particular culture. But the trouble is that Schillebeeckx has been revealed or faith is not in the dogmatic concept, which for him is changing and its, but in a so-called "pre-conceptual experience athematic", of which the concept would not be dogmatic that a questionable, fleeting and subjective interpretation, it was also the doctrine of the Church.

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The Schillebeeckx error It is to believe that the concept is a form of language, whereby, as it can mean the same thing with different languages, He believes it is possible and necessary to mean the same thing revealed and the mystery of faith with different concepts. But this is false, because every concept is that date and what corresponds to a thing only his concept, whereby, changing the concept, it may not be the same, but changes.

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But we come to the Council proposal, yes prescribing a new language to express and explain the same immutable truths of faith, but it does not change the concepts of faith, which may continue to be expressed in educational concepts, as they had done the previous Councils. The Council, therefore, uses a modern language; but it is clear that in the background there is the traditional language school, that sometimes emerges, so much so that the Council goes so far as to recommend, as it is known, the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas.

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The Council therefore proposes a language synthesizing the school with the modern. It collects the advantages that come from one and the other: authoritativeness, dignity, the formality, the accuracy, accuracy, the specificity and subtlety of the language school and today's comprehension; popularity, ease, directness, ductility, the efficacy and pastoral nature of the modern language.

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The task now requires the Church's preaching It is to maintain this method proposed by the Council, without giving: one part, the temptation to return to a needlessly subtle scholasticism and away from the way of thinking and expression of our time; other, without succumbing to the temptation to abandon the Scholastic, leaving from infecting those modern modes of expression that are affected by the errors of modernity, or best of Modernism.

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The good shepherd strives to be a part of making understandable the people with expressive ways familiar to him and examples suitable to the contents of faith to be transmitted, while you take care of educating the people to the understanding and familiar with those terms that most schools the Church uses for the explanation of dogma and of God's Word.

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Varazze, 11 November 2018

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NOTE

[1] Cf. my article The criterion of truth in Schillebeeckx, in sacred Doctrine, 2, 1984, pp.188-205; item EDWARD SCHILLEBEECKX, in DICTIONARY PRIMARY THOUGHT OF DANGEROUS, Institute of Apologetics, Milan, 2016; EDWARD SCHILLEBEECKX. A CONFRERE ACCUSES, Chorabooks Editions of Aurelio Porfiri, Hong Kong 2016.

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