Friday, May 9, 2003

John Allen writes his Word from Rome, offering the usual small feast of insight and human detail, this week, focusing on the Pope's trip to Spain, a lecture by an under-secretary of the CDF:

In this context, Di Noia cautioned against a particular reading of the idea of a “hierarchy of truths,” found in Vatican II’s Decree on Ecumenism. This idea is not meant to establish an “A list” and “B list” of doctrines, the second of which can be freely contested or disbelieved, Di Noia said. It was intended to show how the whole doctrinal system hangs together, illustrating how secondary doctrines depend upon core ideas such as the Trinity.Di Noia called for an effort to revitalize the classical understanding, while at the same time recognizing that “we can’t blink our eyes and pretend that modernity never occurred.”......

One intriguing moment came when Di Noia suggested that the emphasis on whether or not a doctrine is “infallible” that followed the First Vatican Council has in some ways placed the accent on the authority of a teaching rather than its truth. He said that when the New York Times called him upon the release of the papal encyclical Evangelium Vitae to ask if it was infallible, he responded that this was “the least interesting question to ask.”

“The better question is, is it true?” he said.

...clarifications of last week's interview with the outgoing Israeli ambassador to the Vatican...and other stuff.

The material on the Church in Spain, expanded in this article is interesting, emphasizing the role of "the movements" - Opus Dei, Regnum Christi, the NeoCatechumate Way and others in church life. Allen quotes one OD guy as saying that 40% of those who regularly attend Mass in Spain are associated with one of "the movements." An interesting European phenomenon - one wonders what need they fill and why a similar kind of growth and attachment isn't seen here - is it because the American Church fills the needs that the movements do at the parish level, or are we just behind the curve?