Friday, October 15, 2010

Dissent in the Church

In the heated debate on the Reproductive Rights Bill, a Jesuit theologian came out in the open to express favor for the bill. He teaches in his classes that in this issue, the Church is divided between the Vatican and the Moral Theologians. First, I disagree that the Church is divided on this issue because Moral Theologians do not consist a parallel Magisterium to that of the Pope and the Bishops in Communion with him. Theologians must remember that "the task of authentically interpreting the Word of God, whether in its written form or in that of Tradition, has been entrusted only to those charged with the Church's living Magisterium, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ." (Dei Verbum, 10; Veritatis Splendor, 27.)

Pope John Paul II had this to say about dissent in the Church:

"While exchanges and conflicts of opinion may constitute normal expressions of public life in a representative democracy, moral teaching cannot depend simply upon respect for a process: indeed, it is no way established by following the rules and deliberative procedure typical of a democracy. Dissent, in the form of carefully orchestrated protests and polemics carried on in the media, is opposed to ecclesial communion and to a correct understanding of the hierarchical constitution of the People of God. Opposition to the teachings of the Church's Pastors cannot be seen as a legitimate expression either of Christian freedom or of the diversity of the Spirit's gifts. When this happens, the Church's Pastors have the duty to act in conformity with their apostolic mission, insisting that the right of the faithful to receive Catholic doctrine in its purity and integrity must always be respected. 'Never forgetting that he too is a member of the People of God, the theologian must be respectful of them and be committed to offering them a teaching which in no way does harm to the doctrine of the faith.' "

John Paul II, Veritatis Splendor, 113.

No comments:

Post a Comment