Benedict Circles the Wagons
CNS reports on the ad limina visit of the bishops of England and Wales. Among other things, the Pope strongly defended the right of Catholic prelates “to participate in national debate through respectful dialogue with other elements in society.”
But there is only ONE Catholic voice. Money quote: “To bring a coherent, convincing message to the people, the church must ensure the Catholic community speaks with one voice, he added. In a culture that encourages the expression of a wide variety of opinions, the pope said, ‘it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate.’”
The catch is, our tradition has been enlivened time and time again by dissenters who voiced positions in tension with that of current magisterial teaching. I’m not referring to mere cranks, but informed and faithful dissent which serves to call the Church to reexamine itself on matters of importance.
Dismissing all dissent within the Church as immature and unbalanced hardly contributes to our reputation as a tradition of fearless inquiry. Rather, we are seen as people who think in mindless lockstep. Why should people outside the Church engage in dialogue with a magisterium which disallows dialogue and respectful disagreement internally?
HT: Tony LoPresti