Monday, February 2, 2009

The Hermeneutic of Continuity

There is a brief yet very informative article by Dr. Jeff Mirus in the on the subject: "Benedict's Hermeneutic of Continuity".


- Hermeneutics is the branch of theology which deals with the principles of Biblical exegesis.

- When interpreting Scripture, one text cannot be preferred to another or played off against another. Since everything the Holy Spirit intends to teach in Scripture is true, all texts which relate to a given problem must be examined for what they say about it, and the correct understanding will necessarily be an understanding which permits every text to retain its full force

- Because the Magisterium of the Church teaches with the same authority as Sacred Scripture (after all, the same Holy Spirit inspires and guarantees both), a Catholic can properly understand a Christian teaching only if he takes into account everything that both Scripture and the Magisterium have said on a subject.

- Any understanding which fastens on what Scripture says to the exclusion of the Magisterium (as Protestants typically do) or which fastens on this or that statement of the Magisterium in preference to others (as Traditionalists typically do) is doomed to be incorrect. The proper interpretation will always be the one which allows for the truth of all the relevant Scriptural and Magisterial texts.

- Any new development in Catholic teaching, Catholic devotion, Catholic discipline and Catholic worship must be understood as a development which corroborates and confirms what has come before, even as it proposes a new and deeper insight, a more precise formulation, or an important emphasis that has either been overlooked or has special relevance to our current situation.

- This is the "hermeneutic of continuity". It must give rise to a culture of continuity among Catholics which will bear fruit everywhere in the Church.

- Benedict has been at pains to argue that everyone who has been guilty of a "hermeneutic of rupture" must rethink and reevaluate everything according to a "hermeneutic of continuity". This applies particularly to the project of recovering the true purpose of the Council, and it applies to all those who teach and act as if the Second Vatican Council (and all the reforms since that time) are a decisive break with the past, invalidating most of what came before.

- May Benedict succeed in restoring a hermeneutic of continuity within the Church, on all sides, and in all directions.
Amen. Read the entire piece here.

It is in this light that the lifting of the excommunication of the SSPX Bishops is best understood.

Also, here is a site devoted to the topic.

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