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Thoughts on hermeneutics

Do you know what ‘hermeneutic‘ means? If you do, Fr. Martin Fox has a reflection on the two hermeneutics used to view and interpret Vatican II that will provide interesting reading and fodder for thought and possibly even debate. If you don’t, Fr. Fox provides an explanation of hermeneutics as a part of the post. He is, as usual, well-informed and well-centered, reserved yet unflinching in his analysis. No matter which hermeneutic you find yourself using, there is ample feed for your intellectual chewing here. Something to whet your appetite:

The problem is, there is but One Church; or, there is No Church. I mean that the Catholic Church–if she is who we profess her to be, must be essentially one, or it is none. Meaning however apparent and interesting the “discontinuities” in relation to the Council’s impact, the continuities are vastly more significant. And we risk a grave misunderstanding of the Church and of Christ’s promises to the Church, if we miss that.

Personally, one thing I find both refreshing and edifying is his reminder that liturgy affects theology, although he makes the point in less confrontational terms than that. It is a great consolation to me when I hear a priest understand and put in practice the ancient law of “lex orandi, lex credendi” (literally, “the law of prayer is the law of belief”).

Very often the only grounding contact people will have with their faith these days is at Church on Sunday. If that experience is wishy-washy, influenced by New Age spiritualities or devoid of color and beauty it can only have a deleterious effect on their beliefs. If, however, that experience is straight-forward, allowing the inherent beauty of God who is the source of all beauty to flower forth, and has as its guide posts the faith handed on from the Apostles it can provide a source of light and guidance to all who participate. The former points in many directions weakly; the latter points in one direction strongly. A person can only travel in one direction at a time – offering the former allows them selection of any number of paths, some of which can lead to perdition, while offering the latter lays before them the road that leads to God.

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