Thursday, September 26, 2013

Traditionalism and academic censorship - a personal experience and a very grave episode

I recently had an experience that is very informative about the current status of tradition in the Church, and that deserves to be made public. Its importance lies in its revelation of the practice of silencing traditionalist theological positions, a practice that is usually carried out in private, but that is adhered to even by the most allegedly 'conservative' theological venues.

It will be helpful to provide some context for this episode. Fr. Martin Rhonheimer, an eminent theologian who is also a priest of Opus Dei, published an article in the Swiss edition of the theological journal 'Nova et Vetera' on the teaching of Vatican II on religious freedom (a translation can be found here: In it, he argued that this teaching did in fact reject prior magisterial teaching on the social kingship of Christ, but that this rejection was not an instance of the 'hermeneutic of discontinuity' condemned by Benedict XVI. Fr. Rhonheimer's position was found wanting by Prof. Thomas Pink of King's College London, and by the author of this piece, who contacted the editors of the English-language edition of Nova et Vetera and suggested that they might be interested in a reply to Rhonheimer. The editors welcomed this proposal, and encouraged me to submit a paper to them on this topic. An earlier version of the paper can be found here.

The paper disagreed with both Rhonheimer and Pink, and argued in favour of the traditional position on the relation between Church and State that was taught by Pius IX, Leo XIII, St. Pius X, and Pius XI. The editors reacted to the piece with enthusiasm. It was sent to referees, who reported favourably on it while recommending some changes. After these changes were made, the editors announced that the final product was of high quality and deserved publication, and stated that they would print it in Nova et Vetera. This was an important decision, because the traditional position on Church-State relations that was advocated by the paper has been denied a voice in Catholic academic circles for many years.  (more...)

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