Monday, August 11, 2014

The 'befogging' of the Faith

The 'befogging' of the Faith

Sandro Magister wrote the following about the theologian Ino Biffi in February 2005.

http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/22372?eng=y

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Inos Biffi has seen the publication of a book with an eloquent title: "Christian Truths in the Fog of the Faith."

In Biffi's judgment, one symptom of the current "befogging" of the faith is the ideology of dialogue, “aggiornamento” (updating), ecumenism:

"This ideology has infected everyone to some extent: even the guardians of the faith, among whom the words 'dialogue' and 'aggiornamento' recur with excruciating monotony, habitually and obsessively coupled with the language of solidarity, welcoming, peace, the promotion of man, the preferential option for the ‘last’, the forgiveness to be asked for past sins within the Church, ecumenism, and, lately, even utopia. On the other hand, it is not so easy to find reminders of grace, the sacraments, the final end of man, what the loving vision of the Trinity is, hell and paradise, sin, and above all the wonderful divine mystery that is Jesus Christ, in whom every man has been foreordained from eternity."

Biffi is particularly critical of the tendencies of ecumenism:

"Ecumenism has frequently degenerated into a desire for harmony which has obscured the Catholic character of the creed. Even through imprudent or questionable actions, a widespread and practical conviction of the equivalence, or near equivalence, of the Christian confessions and the other religions is being created. One thing that contributes to this is the frequently repeated, equivocal appeal to the 'one God', who supposedly unifies the great monotheistic religions. Nothing could be more erroneous: the one true God is the God of Jesus Christ: the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the Christian Trinity, which, for example, is blasphemy for Muslims, an extremely serious offense against God."

His critique applies to both the theology and the pastoral governance of the Church:

"One thinks of the contents of certain episcopal programs, which are frequently reduced to plans of 'welcoming,' in which Jesus Christ – who is the First – is an occasion to speak above all of the 'last'. One thinks also of episcopates understood as a measure of the success of 'movements', or considered as rewards and honorific offices. [... One thinks] of the clamorous misinterpretations the world makes in trying to understand the Church, and also of the sometimes unacceptable, sometimes questionable historical blame accorded to the Church, which have elicited a vain and deleterious emphasis on forgiveness, and have created an image of the Church as sinful."

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