Saturday, 27 November 2010

Face to Faith - The Changing Church

I have written the Face to Face column in today's Guardian, exploring the relationship between the Church's teachings on social and moral issues, which are subject to reason and can and do change, and its core beliefs which are matters of faith and cannot be known by reason alone: Can the Church Change its Mind?

As always, some level of informed debate is struggling to emerge from the tirades of the bigots. Most but not all of them are anti-Catholic  - there's at least one Catholic bigot in there too.


  1. Somebody tell the bigots please to spot the difference:
    "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and with all thy soul and with all thy might..."
    Deut. 6.5.
    Jesus's version:
    "...with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with ALL THY MIND and with all thy strength..."
    Mark 12:30; Luke 10:27.

    Vital addition. Of course we change our minds, that's what minds are for.

    Vatican document Nostra Aetate (1965) reversed two thousand years of Christian opinion by acknowledging the correct translation of Romans 9:4-5 from the past tense into "Theirs IS the adoption..." The Jewish Covenant had never been abrogated in favour of the Christian dispensation.

    I'm no biblical scholar but if the Church had used and changed its mind earlier, the twentieth century could have been very different for our elder brothers.

  2. I trust Radio Ears knows by now that "elder brothers" was CHANGED to "Fathers in the Faith" this week.(The Light of the World).
    I bet the Limbo Babies are glad of the change of mind too.

  3. Thank you Anon.

    I regret using "elder brothers" (what about our elder sisters?) but is it preferable to "Fathers in the Faith"?

    We have some pretty good Mothers in the Faith too,for example a young Jewish girl who we will be thinking about quite a lot this month.

  4. Quote from Guardian Comments.

    "Catholicism does not base itself upon the givens of scripture and tradition. The use of reason and conscience (understood by catholic theology as applied reason) is a duty for Catholics."

    Opinions on the article are now shown as closed but this edited extract taken from the Guardian Comments seems a good summary of one position. The writer has,(perhaps wisely) not summed up her views on the Comments. Perhaps she would like to so here? Thankyou.

  5. I'm never sure whether or not to comment on blogs like the Guardian Comments page. My main reaction was one of astonishment that, on a beautiful winter day, people had nothing better to do than sit in front of their computers blogging, particularly since the main purpose seemed to be not to dialogue in order to listen and learn, but simply to spout invective. Unfortunately, the main culprits are usually the so-called rationalist atheists, although a couple of their religious equivalents do show up now and again on the Guardian Comments page.

    In the end, unless people are willing to study, reflect and enter into informed and reasoned debate, I see no point in attempting to respond to or comment on their opinions. They seem a pretty closed-minded bunch to me, and I've always thought a closed mind is the very opposite of reason, understanding and the quest for truth, which must of necessity remain open-ended and intensely curious about the world, its meanings, and its opening into transcendence - whatever we understand by that.


Comments and contributions are welcome so long as they respect the rules of courtesy and respect, which is not to inhibit robust disagreement.