Saturday, 27 June 2009

Luca Badini on Ecclesiology

Luca Badini Confalonieri is a young Italian, completing his doctorate on ecclesiology at the University of Durham, England, and currently a Lonergan Fellow. He shared his findings at the Lonergan Workshop yesterday in a paper entitled "The Critical Use of Socio-Political Categories in Ecclesiology." An extremely well-delivered paper; Luca has the gift of making a connection with the audience. However, my impression is that he has forgotten to take into account the 'wisdom that comes from the Holy Spirit,' and that there is a way down in addition to the way up. The way I heard him, he seems to have said (especially in his responses to questions) that the magisterium has no right to make any doctrinal decisions apart from the findings of theologians. I do think a man like Aquinas was clear that there is a light that is different from the light of intellect, and that prophecy and magisterium are instances of such light. I also remember Lonergan clearly making a distinction between the theological process and the doctrinal or dogmatic process.... And I think this position does transpose, though not simplistically, into Method in Theology.

Luca relies much on the work of Komonchak on ecclesiology. Komonchak is a Lonergan scholar who uses Lonergan's insights for his work on ecclesiology. But I think he does forget that, besides the inner word, there is also the outer word. Catholic theology is marked by the complex interaction between inner and outer word: the inner word of the Spirit enabling the recognition of the outer word of revelation, and of the Word that is Jesus; and the fact that this recognition is an ecclesial rather than an individual recognition. But I have to do more work to get clear on this. All I remember now is that, at the end of the Rome Lonergan Conference, Fred Lawrence had passed this comment: people are forgetting the outer word....

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