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"Can the church become more people friendly?"

Ignatius Desmond Sullivan (Oxford, England)


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Theology Today

Since the Council world theology has moved on. Left behind is the idea of the Council as a past event needing correction. It sees the Council as a process which has and will continue in a growing lively church.

Four main insights into theology have developed over those last thirty years.

First: the transcendental dignity of the human person.

Second: the pastoral nature of the gospels and scripture as "the soul of theology".

Third: a person to person loyalty to the person of Jesus Christ transcends all other loyalties (to church, traditions laws, etc.)

Fourth: fostering the growth to full maturity in Jesus Christ of each and every adult as the focus of the servant church.

These insights have a solid basis

1. The recognition of "person" as of transcendental value has been affirmed, replacing the traditional stress on human nature of the scholastic philosophy. This was suppressed, as too subtle, when Scotus lectured about "haecietas", and was ignored, when Rosmini went on about "Personhood", and was seen as an oddity in G.M.Hopkins poems.

2. Sacred Scripture, so long given only lip service by the church has now officially become "the soul of theology", and the gospel texts are now pastoral documents rather quarries for theological disputations.

3. Defining church as the work of Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as a sacrament of Christ, as the living vulnerable people of God rather than an institutional structure.

4. "A person to person" commitment to the Person of Christ, and a real meeting with him is at the heart of every sacrament and of all church activity as illustrated in the gospels, in the Council documents and the lives of the people of God throughout the centuries.