Should the Church Repent?

Avery Cardinal Dulles

in Church and Society

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print April 2008 | ISBN: 9780823228621
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823236619 | DOI:
Should the Church Repent?

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This chapter examines Pope John Paul II's proposals for repentance. The idea of acknowledging the faults of members of the Church, and especially of persons acting in the name of the Church, had been with John Paul II ever since his election to the papacy in the fall of 1978. The pope's proposals for repentance raised some very difficult theological questions that were debated by experts all over the world. The discussion points some common objections and replies under seven headings: the holiness of the Church, collective guilt, judging the past, apologizing for the faults of others, the risk of scandal, exploitation by hostile critics, and benefits to be expected. The chapter concludes that the program of contrition and reconciliation initiated by John Paul II was therefore charged with hope and promise.

Keywords: repentance; holiness; collective guilt; forgiveness; scandal; reconciliation

Chapter.  5536 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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