Authentic Reform, Without Schism, by Eduardo J. Echeverria

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Fathers Ratzinger and Congar, 1962

By Eduardo J. Echeverria, The Catholic Thing, Oct. 16, 2021

Eduardo J. Echeverria is Professor of Philosophy and Systematic Theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Detroit. His publications include Pope Francis: The Legacy of Vatican II (2015) and Revelation, History, and Truth: A Hermeneutics of Dogma. (2018).

NOTE: Readers will want to watch two segments from Thursday’s ‘The World Over’ with Raymond Arroyo: The first is with the Papal Posse: TCT’s Robert Royal, Fr. Gerald Murray, and Mr. Arroyo on the opening sessions of the Synod on Synodality (and more); the second is an interview with San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone on Eucharist coherence, Nancy Pelosi (and more).

Eduardo J. EcheverriaIn Pope Francis’ opening address to the Synod on synodality, he referred, in passing, to the book of the French Catholic ecclesiologist and ecumenist, Yves Congar, OP (1904-1995), True and False Reform in the Church. Without explanation, Francis gives an abridged quote from Congar, “’There is no need to create another Church, but to create a different Church.’ That is the challenge.” What is the difference between “another church” and a “different church?” I presume Francis is emphasizing ecclesial sameness, such that the Church remains the same even through authentic reform. Still, unlike Congar, Francis makes no reference to the conditions for authentic reform, without schism.

Francis is somewhat sensitive to the criticism that synodality runs the risk of treating a listening and dialogical Church as an end in itself – an open-ended series of discussions about the normative content of Christianity – rather than as an instrument in the service of the teaching Church, deepening our understanding of the Church’s normative faith. …

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