quinta-feira, agosto 12, 2004

The Institutional Church and Institutionalism

A propósito de carta que leitor deste blogue me fez chegar, relembro hoje um extracto do artigo que publiquei aqui pela primeira vez em finais de Março de 2004, da autoria de Dietrich von Hildebrand, a quem o Papa Pio XII cognominava de "Doutor da Igreja do século XX". O artigo em causa - "The Institutional Church and Institutionalism" - é parte integrante da magnífica obra desse autor intitulada "The Charitable Anathema":
"Legalism consists in neglecting the spirit and adhering only to the letter. It is an overemphasis on what is juridically accessible at the cost of moral values. It approaches all moral commandments as if they were positive commandments; and it approaches the positive commandments of God and His Holy Church as if they were profane laws.

The secularism of legalism and bureaucratism appears, for example, when more emphasis is placed on disciplinary obedience than on orthodoxy and moral integrity. If a bishop does not intervene effectively when a theologian or a teacher is spreading heretical speculations or when a priest is inventing new rites for holy Mass, but immediatly suspends a priest for a disciplinary infraction, he is putting a higher value on institutional discipline than on his apostolic mission. This is institutionalism, properly so called.

Both a breakdown of discipline through yelding to wordly interests and an emphasis on discipline at the expense of fidelity to the spirit of the Gospel are betrayals of the institution Christ founded.The holy authority of the Church is based on the fact the Church is a divine institution, that it possesses an infallible magisterium, and that, therefore, all of its defined dogmas are valid and true. If the Church were merely a human institution, if the deposit of Catholic faith could be transformed in the course of history, the religious authority of the institutional Church would lose its basis. Thus, the legitimacy of disciplinary loyalty is undermined whenever, through laxity or immanentism, the Church as an institution is detached from faith in her divine foundation or whenever the articles of faith are doubted or "re-interpreted"."

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