Is Catholicism ‘Inadequate’?
There’s an old philosophical distinction about conditions that are necessary, but not sufficient to make something true. You might assert, for example, that the Church is a “field hospital,” and therefore it’s necessary for Her to have the intention of caring for the wounded and dying. But without necessary medical knowledge as well – and in this scenario full and accurate understanding of what the battle is all about, and how and why casualties are occurring – you won’t have an adequate course of treatment.
This distinction came to mind reading a recent interview with Archbishop (soon to be Cardinal and head of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith ) Víctor Manuel Fernández, who was asked directly what he thought about St. John Paul II’s encyclical Veritatis splendor, “The Splendor of Truth.” As anyone who follows Catholic matters will know, that encyclical sought with great sophistication and force to show how the truths delivered to us via both reason and revelation undergird human freedom and moral acts. No solid truth, no true human dignity.
Archbishop Fernández’s response bears careful attention on several fronts since he will now run the Vatican’s doctrinal office:
Veritatis splendor is a great document, powerfully solid. Obviously, it denotes a particular concern – to set certain limits. For this reason it is not the most adequate text to encourage the development of theology. In fact, over the last decades, tell me how many theologians can we name with the stature of Rahner, Ratzinger, Congar or Von Balthasar? Not even that which they call “liberation theology” has theologians at the level of Gustavo Gutiérrez. Something has gone wrong. [Emphasis added.]
Except for the initial perfunctory bow to a great recent pope and saint, the rest of his comment is so wrong . . .