Friday, June 6, 2008

Could the Pope be Wrong?

Benedict XVI is a very smart theologian. Zenit has published this Benedictine papal piece on Gregory the Great. One great theologian on another great theologian is worth a look. But this paragraph particularly caught my eye:

'In wishing to consider these works briefly, we must note, however, that in his writings, Gregory never seems concerned to delineate "his" doctrine, his originality. Instead, he seeks to echo the traditional teaching of the Church, he wishes simply to be the mouth of Christ and of his Church on the way that must be followed to reach God.'

One of my theological ambitions is to not delineate 'my' doctrine but to teach what the church has taught. So mentally I am giving Benedict and Gregory a big tick in this paragraph ... until the last three words, 'to reach God'. Is there a way that must be followed in order to reach God? I understand enough Catholic theology to recognise that there are themes within it which support Benedict at this point. But is it true to say what he has said? Is not the thrust of the biblical message from Adam and Eve through to John the seer that God reaches us? Does Jesus teach 'the way that must be followed to reach God'?

I suggest its truer to the gospels with their stories of Jesus' call to the disciples, 'Follow me', and his great 'I am the way, the truth, and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me', to say that when we follow Jesus we have already reached God ... because God has reached us and drawn us to himself.

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