Friday, December 19, 2008

“Internal Solidification”

His Eminence Avery Cardinal Dulles, a Jesuit theologian who was made a cardinal in 2001, died one week ago today, at the Jesuit infirmary in New York, Murray-Weigel Hall. A cause of death was not released but he had been in poor health. He was 90 years old.

John L Allen Jr, the only columnist for the National Catholic Reporter worth reading on a regular basis, has just released a heretofore unpublished interview with the Jesuit prelate, who explains what he means by the initiative of the current and previous pope, toward the "internal solidification of Catholicism":

"Restoring clarity where there had been confusion in the period following the Second Vatican Council," Dulles said. "Rebuilding a strong sense of Catholic identity, including a clear repudiation of the notion that church history can be divided into a 'before' and 'after' Vatican II. You can see this working itself out today in theology, in liturgy, in religious life … both popes have emphasized the organic connection between the 'now' of the church and what came before."

[IMAGE: Cardinal Avery Dulles shakes hands with Pope John Paul II during the General Audience with the newly appointed cardinals in the Paul VI hall at the Vatican in 2001. (AP Photo)


Anonymous said...

Two my favorite Catholic writers, both converts and died with in weeks of each other, but 40 years apart: Cardinal Dulles and Thomas Merton.

dudleysharp said...

From the same interview:

"Interestingly, Dulles hazarded the guess that this "internal solidification," as it plays out over the next half-century or so, might carry the church back to different positions on some matters than those taken by the popes who unleashed it. Specifically, Dulles said, his hunch was that the church may ultimately return to a "more traditional posture" on both the death penalty and the idea of a "just war."

At least on the death penalty, the Churh should.

Pope John Paul II's death penalty writings in Evangelium Vitae were flawed and their adoption into the Catechism was improper.

(1) "Capital Punishment: New Testament Teaching", 1998, Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J., considered one of the most prominent Roman Catholic theologians of the 20th century. See bottom.

"There are certain moral norms that have always and everywhere been held by the successors of the Apostles in communion with the Bishop of Rome. Although never formally defined, they are irreversibly binding on the followers of Christ until the end of the world." "Such moral truths are the grave sinfulness of contraception and direct abortion. Such, too, is the Catholic doctrine which defends the imposition of the death penalty."

"Most of the Church's teaching, especially in the moral order, is infallible doctrine because it belongs to what we call her ordinary universal magisterium."

"Equally important is the Pope's (Pius XII) insistence that capital punishment is morally defensible in every age and culture of Christianity." " . . . the Church's teaching on 'the coercive power of legitimate human authority' is based on 'the sources of revelation and traditional doctrine.' It is wrong, therefore 'to say that these sources only contain ideas which are conditioned by historical circumstances.' On the contrary, they have 'a general and abiding validity.' (Acta Apostolicae Sedis, 1955, pp 81-2)."

about Fr. John A. Hardon, S.J.

(2) "The Death Penalty", by Romano Amerio, a faithful Catholic Vatican insider, scholar, professor at the Academy of Lugano, consultant to the Preparatory Commission of Vatican II, and a peritus (expert theologian) at the Council.

A thorough theological repudiation of Pope John Paul II's death penalty prudential judgements and of their improper inclusion into the amending of the Catechism.

"Amerio has the great gift of going to the heart of a subject in a few lines and very neatly distinguishes genuine Catholicism from imitations and aberrations." "What makes Amerio's analysis unique is that he restricts himself to official and semi-official pronouncements by popes, cardinals, bishops, episcopal conferences and articles in L'Osservatore Romano, from the time of Pope John XXIII to 1985 when the book was originally written." (1)

titled "Amerio on capital punishment ", Chapter XXVI, 187. The death penalty, from the book Iota Unum, May 25, 2007

About Romano Amerio

(3) "Christian Scholars & Saints: Support for the Death Penalty", at

(4) "Capital Punishment: A Catholic Perspective",
by Br. Augustine (Emmanuel Valenza)

(5) "Capital Punishment: The Case for Justice", Prof. J. Budziszewski, First Things, August / September 2004