Sunday, June 03, 2007

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French theologian Yves Congar OP, once sanctioned and disgraced, later rehabilitated and eventually elevated to cardinal

Recent and noteworthy posts on other blogs with regard to living and thinking in the Church... Please see Cura Animarum on Freedom and Dissent, and Steve Bogner on Irritation and Obedience.

From the link above on Congar:
The road to such high ecclesiastical honors, which he never personally sought, however, was filled with much private pain and public humiliation. In a 1956 moving letter to his mother, he poured out his heart in writing about the toll that the silencing took on him personally: “Practically speaking, they have destroyed me as far as it was possible. Everything I believed and had worked on has been taken away…They have not, of course, hurt my body; nor have they touched my soul or forced me to do anything. But a person is not limited to his skin and his soul. When someone is a doctrinal apostle, he is his action, he is his friendships, he is his relationships, he is his social outreach; they have taken all that away from me. All that is now at a standstill, and in that way I have been profoundly wounded. They have reduced me to nothing and so they have for all practical purposes destroyed me. When, at certain times, I look back on everything I had hoped to be and to do, on what I had begun to do, I am overtaken by an immense heartsickness.”

Congar had a great appreciation for the virtue of patience and the role of the cross in the life of the would-be reformer which rings true even today: The cross is the condition of every holy work. God himself is at work in what to us seems a cross. Only by its means do our lives acquire a certain genuineness and depth…Only when a man has suffered for his conviction does he attain in them a certain force, a certain quality of the undeniable and, at the same time, the right to be heard and respected.”

Congar also appreciated the crucial role of history as it shapes the Church and its teachings over the ages: Congar believed that a knowledge of history was the best way to ensure confidence in the Church. “Acquiring knowledge of history,” he wrote, “is the surest way of acquiring confidence in the church. History teaches that nothing is new and that the church has survived sadder and more difficult situations. History is a school of wisdom and of limitless patience.”

7 comments:

crystal said...

History really gives perspective :-) Over time, people thought to be dissenters have helped mold the church into a better version of itself.

Winnipeg Catholic said...

I need to learn more about Congar. Seems like the nastiest ultra-trad-conservative sites are so anti-VII, and it seems like a lot that was good about VII came from people like Congar.

Jeff said...

Hi B.,

Here is a really good article about Congar and the rest of the "ressourcement" guys and what they were trying to accomplish.

Winnipeg Catholic said...

BTW - here is the traddy site that just has me convinced that conservatives might be the worst dissenters of us all. Am I just being critical of the opposing view? Um, in this case I don't think so. Amidst the pictures of piles of dead babies gay pride parades, and marines with flame throwers, I really think these guys are schismatic in a rightward direction. Strange thing is, that seemingly normal catholics think they are alright but 'liberal' dissenters are evil. Go figure.

Jeff said...

Hi B.,

Strange thing is, that seemingly normal catholics think they are alright but 'liberal' dissenters are evil. Go figure.

Actually, if you read there and a lot of those other types of sites, they consider the liberals to be hardly worth their breath. Their real problems are with those they consider "conservative neo-caths" like Scott Hahn, EWTN, Fr. Neuhaus, George Weigel, Pope John Paul II, etc...

Winnipeg Catholic said...

Yeah, what's up with that? I thought Scott Hahn was super orthodox, and yet these ranting conservative types think he is the devil reborn because of one sentence on youtube where he utters the slightest hint that one could be too traddie to the detriment of charity. Some of these foaming-at-the-mouth trads are a bit psychotic IMHO... one gets the feeling that they are plotting the murders of abortionists and have secret closets filled with dead people's heads and stuff.

Jeff said...

..,

The kind of ultra-traditionalism I've seen on the web in the last 3 years has nudged me towards a much more sympathetic hearing towards progressivism. It's the whole reason I do this thing.