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2 Catholic Viewpoints

March 14, 1988

How quaint of Father Cessario to argue for a Catholic Church speaking with one voice. How misguided is his appeal to Aquinas for support.

In his own day, Aquinas differed on some important points with practically every theologian alive. When he and his fellow Dominican friars arrived in Paris, the bishop's clergy pelted them with mud, stones, garbage and insults. When he gave his inaugural lecture at the university there, Louis IX called out the troops to preserve order. In 1277, three years after his death, some of his theses were formally condemned by the bishops of Paris and Oxford. At that time, bishops did not look to Rome for cues to crack their crosiers.

If Aquinas were alive today, he would be in his element with the likes of Fathers Charles Curran, Hans Kung, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Pope John Paul II. The portly friar would relish the thrust and parry of late 20th-Century theological debate.

In a sense, the Catholic Church always speaks with one voice, the voice of the Incarnate Word of God. But, by the church's own teachings, the unraveling of the mystery of Jesus Christ and its application to new times is never the prerogative of one man or group of men holed up in the Vatican.

DENYS HORGAN

San Diego

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