Opuscula

A collection of personal reflections. Copyright © 2005-2011 K. Gurries

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Fr. Giovanni Cavalcoli On Rupture Theology

Sandro Magister once again presents us with a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate on the question of continuity vs. rupture with respect to Vatican II.  The latest contribution is by Fr. Giovanni Cavolcoli O.P. and it addresses two critical distinctions that I have previously explored here and here.  Let's take a brief look at these.


The first point deals with the distinction between analogy and univocality.  If one applies a univocal conception to theological and pastoral questions then every kind of development or reform will appear as a substantial rupture.  On the other hand, the classical conception of analogy is proper to all vital phenomena - including the knowledge of metaphysical and spiritual realities (Cf. Thomistic theses IV, XX).  This distinction highlights the contrast between Aristotle and Descartes.

The second point deals with the distinction between matters of Faith (per se) and practical-pastoral dispositions.  Often times both elements are comingled and it is necessary to properly distinguish one from the other.  With respect to matters of Faith, and in consequence of the promise of Our Lord,  "we can suppose a priori that the Council cannot teach us something that is false or contrary to what the Church taught before."  Therefore, in the field of dogma, there is never a question of rupture but only (organic) development in continuity.  With respect to practical-pastoral directives, there can and ought to be discontinuity periodically as a consequence of legitimate reform.  It is important to note the possibility of error in this field (practical prudential order).  While changed circumstances may dictate reform it could also happen that reform is undertaken to correct mistaken practical-prudential decisions of the past.  

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