Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Friday, 12 August 2011

Understanding Dignitatis Humanae

A post by Joe Shaw entitled Religious Liberty: a fresh approach pointed me to an important article by Prof. Thomas Pink, Professor of Philosophy at King's College London, on the interpretation of Vartican II's 1965 statement on Religious Liberty Dignitatis humanae which can be read on Rorate Caeli.

The background to the passing of the declaration can be read here. The question of whether there was a hermeneutic of rupture or continuity in this conciliar statement with what the Church had previously taught has been a vexed issue for many Traditionalists, and apparently still remains a sticking point in the discussions between the Holy See and SSPX. Prof. Pink appears to offer a way forward, and argues that Dignitatis Humanae should be read with a hermeneutic of continuity in the Church's teaching. Here is another article from 2009 by Peter Kwasniewski entitled Dignitatis Humanae which looks on first sight to be offering a similar analysis.

If this is so then it must devoutly be hoped that this can enable discussion to be carried forward on the full reconciliation of SSPX to the Holy See.

I do rather wonder, assuming Thomas Pink is right, why it has taken so long for people to see what he sees. Has there been a hermeneutic of blindness on this topic for far too long?


Titus said...

"Has there been a hermeneutic of blindness on this topic for far too long?"

This is almost certainly the case. There are colleges worth of serious Catholic academics who devote a great deal of time to being just giddy over the idea that the Church teaches that everyone has a First-Amendment-style right to free exercise. The oddity of their insistence, when placed in any historical context whatsoever, does not seem to occur to them. It's rather unfortunate, because some of them are otherwise quite insightful.

derek the dog's little bib said...

The best work on this subject has been done in French, by members of the reconciled (former SSPX-affiliated) bodies like the "traditional Dominican" Saint Vincent Ferrer community.