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On Legitimate Theological Diversity

A lesson from Basil the Great, via Wei-Hsien Wan of Torn Notebook.

Although he himself was a proponent of the divinity of the Spirit, St. Basil refrained from proclaiming it directly for the sake of reconciling these separated believers to the Church. He was willing in his day to accept differences in something so essential as the nature of the Spirit, as long as there was a minimum adherence to the Nicene Creed.

Now, do we often find this kind of broadness of mind among Catholics who regard themselves as “faithful to the Magisterium”? My experience suggests the contrary. Rather, there is frequently a kind of theological maximalism in the Church today that is quite obsessed with distinguishing an orthodox remnant from the heterodox masses. How shall we, who are so eager to delineate divisions in the Body of Christ rather than mend them, find a good defense before the dread tribunal of Christ?

It’s an interesting reflection on what I mean by the term Mere Catholicity.

Update: Be sure to read the follow-up post on Gregory the Theologian.

Update 2: … and some thoughts about Christians’ will to unity.

Update 3: … and here are parts four and five.


2 Comments

  1. Wei-Hsien Wan says:

    Thanks for the link!

    Like

  2. roger mugs says:

    well said.. “He was willing in his day to accept differences in something so essential as the nature of the Spirit, as long as there was a minimum adherence to the Nicene Creed.” – oh that we could all be this way…

    Like

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