Saturday, September 14, 2013

Church in Crisis by Martin R. Tripole, S.J.

Catholic - Dr. Jeff Mirus
Church in Crisis: What is wrong? Why? Can we fix it? How?
If you had to pick one central factor to explain both the collapse of Western civilization and the contemporary crisis of the Catholic Church, what would it be? For Martin R. Tripole, SJ, that factor is the shift in the modern world from the primacy of faith over reason to the primacy of reason over faith...

Church in Crisis traces the loss of the primacy of Faith through four major sections. Part One presents the “Data of Impending Crisis”, offering a thorough review of the various contemporary studies which have demonstrated the gulf between what the Church teaches and what Catholics actually believe and how they act...

Part Two covers the preceding “History of Crisis in the Enlightenment”. While the focus is squarely on the intellectual history of relativism, the Enlightenment, liberalism, modernism and post-modernism, the author is not unmindful of more pragmatic causes, such as the excessive entanglement of the Church with the political order in Christendom, which bred its own less rarified reaction in Protestantism, the rise of secular states, and de-Christianized conceptions of human liberty...

Part Three explores the relationship between “Enlightenment and Crisis in the Contemporary Church”. Here, since Fr. Tripole can take advantage of a shorter timespan to sink deep wells rather than merely flooding the plain of our knowledge, he does some of his best work. The four major chapters explore the following areas: (1) The intellectual, as in the modern collapse of Catholic education; (2) The social, that is, the rise of secularized concepts of social justice to replace the Christian emphasis on transformative love; (3) the political, by which I mean the confusions attendant upon our American concept of the separation of Church and State; and (4) the ecclesiastical—the disarray which followed the Second Vatican Council, and the clerical abuse crisis, including its hierarchical cover-up...

In Part Four, Fr. Tripole presents his “Solution to the Contemporary Crisis”. This solution has two major parts. First, it is necessary to reunite faith and reason. Fr. Tripole’s prescription is largely drawn from Pope John Paul II’s brilliant 1998 encyclical Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason). This is the problem with which we began, and I intend to return to it in greater depth in a future commentary. Suffice it to say, by way of answering our introductory questions, that Fr. Tripole is right when he asserts that the Christian faith must have primacy in the relationship between faith and reason, because only faith can open us to the full dimensions of reality. Or, as Pope John Paul II explained, only through faith can we overcome the barriers to knowledge that have been erected in the modern age.

This is a concept that stands the whole modern world on its head.

The second part of the solution is to restore the unity of the Church. The author insists that this must be done along the lines proposed at the Second Vatican Council. The Council saw that the unity of the Church has its source in the Eucharist, the body of Christ; it realized that the very mission of the Church requires unity (which means that those willing to disrupt that unity must perforce place little value on the Church’s mission); it recognized that the pre-eminent servant of unity in the Church is the successor of Peter, especially in the exercise of his Magisterium; and it follows from all this that fidelity in self-giving love is the key to the recovery of unity, as it is of all authentic reform and renewal... TO READ MORE CLICK HERE.
Why should faith have primacy over reason?
In my review of Fr. Martin Tripole’s excellent book, Church in Crisis, I mentioned that I would return to his insight that we must reunite faith and reason. In fact, to escape the current crisis in the Church (and, to be sure, in Western civilization as a whole), we must stop viewing faith as subordinate to reason, and instead restore the primacy of faith over reason... TO READ MORE CLICK HERE.
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