Dogmatic or pastoral ?
In the Documents section of this issue of DICI, we have imagined a debate among various theologians on the subject of the Second Vatican Council. Taking as our point of departure a recent conference given by Msgr. Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Ecclesia Dei Commission, we did some research to find what the author of Iota Unum, Romano Amerio, might say in response. (A posthumous work by Amerio, published recently in Italy by his disciple Enrico Maria Radaelli, was introduced by the Vatican-watcher Sandro Magister on his website chiesa.) And to this imaginary disputatio we added the reflections of Msgr. Brunero Gherardini in his book, The Ecumenical Vatican Council II: A Much Needed Discussion.
Pastoral and not dogmatic: that is what the last council intended to be. As though one could choose to be one or the other, one without the other! Father Calmel, O.P., in his “Short Apology for the Church of all Ages”, dispels that illusion, and this is why we call on him to participate in the debate: “Some object that, for pastoral purposes, and to bring back into the fold those who have gone astray, defining and condemning is not the right method. Very well. Is there any other method that is true to the faith? In the absence of definitions you will only bring erring souls to a vague state of almost-believing. I fail to see how you can claim to be pastoral in this way, and to be seeking the good of souls—truth for the mind, and conversion for the heart.” (Brève apologie pour l’Église de toujours, Difralivre, 1987, p. 36). In short, it’s not a question of dogmatic or pastoral; practically speaking, it is a matter of being pastoral because one is clearly dogmatic.
Abbé Alain Lorans