True and False Reform in the Church

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:
True and False Reform in the             Church

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This chapter looks at the reforms in the Church, examining the valid from the false ones. The idea of reform is as old as Christianity itself. Reform is by definition a good thing, and frequently is needed both on the personal and on the institutional level. Reform may be either restorative or progressive. Restorative reform seeks to reactualize a better past or a past that is idealized. Progressive reform aims to move ahead toward an ideal or utopian future. Either style can run to excess. Restorative reform tends toward traditionalism; progressive reform, toward modernism. In any discussion of reform, two opposite errors are avoided. The first is to assume that because the Church is divinely instituted, it never needs to be reformed. This position is erroneous because it fails to attend to the human element. The second error would be to assail or undermine the essentials of Catholic Christianity.

Keywords: reform; progressive; restorative; traditionalism; modernism

Chapter.  4992 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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