Religion Without Dogma…

Great article from Patheos     (H/T to @BruvverEccles )

…is like playing tennis without a net.

It results in a certain formlessness, the reduction of an intellectually vigorous and astringent faith to something sentimental and shallow–nothing but a religion of ‘spirituality’ and good works.

Pope Francis criticized this type of religion in his recent speech concluding the Synod on the Family. He spoke of various temptations that distort the fullness of the faith, mentioning a religion of niceness “that in the name of a deceptive mercy binds the wounds without first curing them and treating them; that treats the symptoms and not the causes and the roots. It is the temptation of the “do-gooders,” of the fearful, and also of the so-called “progressives and liberals.” The Pope went on to criticize “the temptation to neglect the deposit of faith, not thinking of themselves as guardians but as owners or masters [of it]; or, on the other hand, the temptation to neglect reality, making use of meticulous language and a language of smoothing to say so many things and to say nothing!”

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7 Responses to Religion Without Dogma…

  1. johnhenrycn says:

    A summation of the Synod on the Family:

    We are the hollow men
    We are the stuffed men
    Leaning together
    Headpiece filled with straw. Alas!
    Our dried voices, when
    We whisper together
    Are quiet and meaningless
    As wind in dry grass
    Or rats’ feet over broken glass
    In our dry cellar…


  2. In the full article, Fr. Dwight Longenecker writes:

    “The articulation of this ‘faith’ without dogma becomes a sad, ridiculous struggle with words which cannot have any meaning other than the ‘re-interpretation’ of that meaning according to each person’s preferences, and about which no one can argue because all have agreed that there is no such thing as objective theology.”

    And that’s fine, that makes sense. I think most faithful Catholics will agree with that.

    But then at the end of the article, Father Lonenecker criticizes “the so-called ‘traditionalists’ and…intellectuals’.”

    Is there a contradiction or am I missing something here?


  3. johnhenrycn says:

    RJB, I don’t think Fr L was criticizing traditionalists. The passage you mention is him quoting what Pope Francis had to say at the end of the synod, and he quotes it without necessarily or entirely agreeing with it. But, like Toad, I could be wrong.


  4. Yes, JH, you may be right. Father L perhaps doesn’t agree with Pope Francis about “traditionalists and intellectuals.”

    For me it’s discouraging, though, to think that the Pope finds fault with those two groups. A Jesuit pope finding fault with people simply because they’re intellectuals? No, surely that can’t be right. The confusion being generated seems endless.

    As for Toad, well, could he be wrong? I don’t know. The first few of his comments that I read a year or two ago were so odd (and “odd” is a euphemism here) that I started just skipping over them, together with the comments on his comments, and I’ve continued to do so. I don’t think anything will ever change that.


  5. Tom Fisher says:

    A Jesuit pope finding fault with people simply because they’re intellectuals? No, surely that can’t be right

    There was no criticism of intellectuals simply for being intellectuals. There was criticism of those who come to regard the (important and necessary) dogmatic structure as a self contained end unto itself.


  6. I can only hope you’re right, Tom.


  7. toadspittle says:

    You are wise to ignore Toad’s “odd” comments, Robert John.
    , God knows what.
    But, as you won’t read this anyway, there’s not much point in me writing it.
    Keep your head firmly buried in the dogmatic sand – is my advice (which you also won’t read.)


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