Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dogma Is The Ace, Moral Theology Is The King, Canon Law Is The Queen And Scripture Study Is The Jack

Before Vatican II dogma was Ace, moral theology was King, canon law was Queen, and Scripture study was Jack. That certainly was the case at Innsbruck, Austria, where I studied and where both Rahners taught and also the famous liturgist, Josef Jungmann, S.J..
In the USA before the Council in some theologates moral theology was Ace because priests were being prepared to hear confessions, while preaching was a secondary goal.
As a result of the emphasis in the seminary on the importance of dogma and morals, priests were well-schooled in those subjects and were prepared to preach on them. There was emphasis on dogma, and also morals, because of the certitude connected with them.
Each thesis had a “note” of doctrinal certainty, with the authority of the Church behind it from defined definitions in the previous twenty ecumenical councils.
Catholic dogma gives the student certitude about what the Church holds and also offers different levels of certitude, for example: a defined dogma, a matter of Catholic faith (de fide catholica), theologically certain, common opinion and so forth.
Scripture study, on the other hand, does not offer the certitude that dogma does. 
Yes, the text of the Bible is without error, but every text has to be interpreted and that is where the problem is. As you know, there are thousands of different interpretations of the meaning of passages in the Bible. The sola scriptura of the Protestants has resulted in thousands of different Protestant groups.
Link (here) to the full piece entitled In Defense of Dogma by Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J. at Homiletic and Pastoral Review.

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