A bracing call from Catholic Culture to U.S. Bishops to remember their failure in protecting the Church from dissident theologians within the Church in the past, and not allow the failure to continue into the future.
“Fr. Thomas Weinandy caught my eye last week when he complained of a “crisis” in Catholic theology characterized by a rejection of Catholic faith and morals. Fr. Weinandy is the chief staff aide to the US bishops’ committee on doctrine. What are we to say about this crisis?
“The first and most important thing to say is that the crisis is of the bishops’ own making. I do not claim that the profound secularization of culture which has eroded Catholic theology on every side is primarily the fault of the bishops, but it is certainly their fault—including the fault of Rome herself—that a pitched battle was not waged in the 1960’s to keep Catholic universities and colleges from succumbing to this secular spirit. For the institutions of Catholic higher education are in fact the collective seat of theological studies, and what Fr. Weinandy rightly calls “a radical divide over the central tenets of the Catholic faith and the Church’s fundamental moral tradition” would far better have been nipped in the bud than allowed, for now nearly fifty years, to grow from strength to strength.
“Given the long percolation of Modernism in Catholic theological circles from the late 19th century and the rapid secularization of Western culture in the 1960’s, this battle would have been long and hard. But it is difficult to imagine that it would not now be over, instead of just beginning on far less favorable terrain. The key to victory would have been to make sure that heretics were clearly and forcefully declared to be where they belonged—that is, outside rather than within the Church, so that they could attack Catholic faith and morals only from secular institutions. You may recall that this was finally done with one premier dissenter, Hans Küng, who is no longer permitted to teach theology at any Catholic institution, with the result that nobody any longer cares what he thinks.”