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The Dialogue

Between the
Bible and Moral
Theology
A Continuation
3. JAMES M. GUSTAFSON
*sees the Bible as being used
by the Christian ethicist in
two different ways:

c. Revealed Morality
d. Revealed Reality
Revealed Morality
• Evangelical Protestants

• considers the Sacred Scriptures


as revealed will of God for
humanity (deontological model)
Revealed Reality
• Liberal Protestants

• Considers some Biblical notions


(e.g. The Kingdom of God) as
ideal or the goal for the social
life of humanity (teleological
model)
J. Gustafson has also pointed
out a revolution in Biblical
Theology. Inspired by the idea
of Karl Barth, he considers the
Bible not as the revelation of a
morality but the revelation of
the living God and His activity.
3. Relationality and
Responsibility Model
• Relationality = God and Man
Relationship

• Responsibility = « Man constantly


responds in his freedom to the
concrete action of God working in
this world. » (J. Gustafson)
Examples
Shifts towards the RR
Model approach
From Revealed Morality to
Responsibility-Relational Ethics
• 1. The Decalogue not as laws but as
expressions of personal commitment
and relationship with God.

• 2. Jesus’ Ethical Teachings not as


laws but in terms of conversion,
agape or the following of Jesus.
From Revealed Reality to
Responsibility and Relational
Ethics
• The Bible, as the witness of God and
of His saving deeds, does not picture
God as the Ultimate End but as a
Person who invites man to share in
the fullness of his life and through
the Paschal Mystery.
LIMITATIONS IN
THE USE OF THE
BIBLE IN MORAL
THEOLOGY
According to Charles Curran
in his work, Dialogue with
Sacred Scriptures, pp. 37-47
1. Biblical Ethics is not the
same as Christian Ethics
• Why?
2. Historical and cultural limitations of the
Sacred Scriptures
3. The SS is not really confronted with
many of the moral problems that we face
today
• Examples:
5. Eph. 5: 22-32
6. Eph. 6: 1-4
7. Eph. 6: 5-9
8. 1Pt. 2: 18-25
2. The Teaching of the SS is often
colored by Eschatological
Considerations

Examples:
• The Sermon on the Mount

• Marriage and Divorce

• Celibacy
1. Sermon on the Mount
• For the Liberal Protestant Theology,
the Beatitudes are the blueprint
about the presence of God’s Kingdom
here on earth.
• For Albert Schweitzer, the Beatitudes
are proposals for an interim ethic for
a short time before the coming of the
end of the world (parousia).
2. Marriage and Divorce
• For the Catholic
Teaching=INDISSOLUBILITY (ratum et
consummatum)
• For Charles Curran
« …. Indissolubility of marriage is proposed
as an ideal, but that in the world between
the two comings of Jesus, it is not always
possible to achieve the fullness of that
ideal. »
• Paul allowed divorce in 1 Cor 7: 12-16
3. Problems of Systematization
and Selection
• Fact: There is a great divergence
even within the Biblical message
itself which makes it most difficult to
arrive at a satisfying synthesis of
Biblical teaching/Biblical morality.
• There exists even within the SS a
plurality of misunderstandings of
moral life.
4. Subjective use of a
particular Biblical verse
• Examples:
2. Social Gospel Approach
3. Liberation Theologians’ Use of the SS
4. Focus:
e. OT (Teachings of the Prophets)
f. NT (Teachings of Jesus)
= common source for Social Gospel
Approach
A Proposed Methodology
Gaudium et Spes 4
« At all times the Church
carries the responsibility of
reading the signs of the times
and of interpreting them in
the light of the Gospel, if it is
to carry out its task. »
Gaudium et Spes 58
« There are many links between
the message of salvation and
culture. In His self-revelation to
His people culminating in the
fullness of manifestation in His
Incarnate Son, God speaks
according to the culture proper
to each age. »
Method of Gaudium et Spes
• Viewing reality in terms of
the Gospel and of Human
Experience
Reasons of the Advantages in using
the said GS Approach according to
Charles Curran
• SS allows us to reflect on who a Christian
is and what his attitudes, dispositions,
goals, values and decisions are.
• SS can never be used as a book of
revealed morality because of hermeneutic
problem.
• SS furnishes us with information about
self-understanding of the people who lived
in covenant relationship with God and hos
this helped shape their lives and actions.
The Dialogue
Between the
Magisterium and
Moral Theology
An Essential Component
in Moral Theology
MAGISTERIUM
•Latin «magiste» which
refers to « authority »

•Teaching authority of the


Church
To what group is this
authority placed on to?
1. All Baptized Christians have a prophetic
responsibility.
2. Those who have the authority to
proclaim and teach officially share in the
Church’s magisterium.
3. For the Catholics, this authority is placed
unto the COLLEGE OF BISHOPS and the
INDIVIDUAL BISHOPS who are united
with the Bishop of Rome.
TASK OF THE
MAGISTERIUM
«The task of the magisterium is to
authentically interpret the Word of
God, may it be written or handed on.
This authority is exercised in the
name of Jesus Christ. Thus,
magisterium is not above the Word
of God, but serves it, teaching only
what has been handed on.»
Dei Verbum 10
The Roman Catholic Church
claims her competence to
guide conscience with
authority regarding
morality.
A Clarification of the role of the
magisterium as authentic interpreter
of Word of God
According to Vincent Genovesi, SJ

« authentic » is not synonymous with


« being true or accurate ». The word
« authentic » originally means
« authoritative ».

Church Magisterium is « authentic » in so far


as this refer to the hierarchy who received
the authority.
Thus, the magisterium’s
task to authentically
interpret the Word of God is
also equivalent to being
authoritative.
TWO BASIC WAYS IN WHICH THE
MAGISTERIUM PERFORMS ITS
TASK:
1. SOLEMN/EXTRAORDINARY MAGISTERIUM =
Ecumenical Council and by a Pope speaking «ex
cathedra»
2. ORDINARY UNIVERSAL MAGISTERIUM
a. Pope’s letters, speeches, encyclicals and
declarations from the Vatican Congregations
b. Teachings presented by bishops in their own
dioceses, regional synods and in national
conferences
c. When bishops around the world (not in
ecumenical council) are in conscious and
deliberate agreement with one another and with
the Pope about a particular teaching.
concern
The MAGISTERIUM,
in exercising her
teaching authority,
claims to be
INFALLIBLE.
INFALLIBILITY
• The freedom from the possibility of
error in matters of faith and morals
• This understanding goes back to the
13th century
• 1870=Vatican Council I solemnly
defined this teaching as a dogma of
faith
• Concentrated in the Office of the
Papacy
When can the Pope exercise
his teaching authority in an
infallible manner?
Four Conditions
According to Avery Card. Dulles, SJ
1. The Pope must be speaking as a
« public » person; as a supreme pastor
and teacher of all Christians.
2. The Pope must appeal to his Supreme
Apostolic authority as Successor of Peter.
3. The Pope must be teaching within the
sphere of faith and morals.
4. The Pope must propose a doctrine as
something having a universal obligatory
force.
QUESTION
How can the
magisterium’s ability to
teach infallibly be
possible?
HOLY SPIRIT
• Magisterium as a CHARISM
• Magisterium is being assisted by the
Holy Spirit whenever it exercises its
teaching authority
• Magisterium in its very essence is a
GIFT
Another Dimension
For Daniel Maguire, the
Magisterium is not only
a GIFT but it is also a
TASK.
Mysterium Ecclesiae 3
«…… strive painstakingly
and by appropriate means
to inquire properly into
that revelation and to give
apt expression to its
contents. »
Reactions by
most moral
theologians
Concerning the Infallibility of
the Magisterium in terms of
Faith and Morals
Vincent Genovesi, SJ agrees
with Richard McCormick, SJ
that even in the sphere of
ordinary universal
magisterium, the Church
has never taught infallibly in
moral concerns.
V. Genovesi, In Pursuit of Love, p. 72
Karl Rahner
(Theological Investigations Vol. 14)
«…. apart from wholly universal moral
norms of an abstract kind… there are
hardly any particular or individual norms
of Christian morality which could be
proclaimed by the ordinary or
extraordinary authority of the Church in
such a way that they could be
unequivocally and certainly declared to
have the force of dogmas. »
Charles Curran
«There has never been an infallible
pronouncement or teaching on a
specific moral matters; the very
nature of specific moral actions
makes it impossible, in my
judgment, to have any infallible
pronouncements in this area.»
How should we
regard
authoritative
non-infallible
moral teachings?
A Question
2 Ways of Responding to
Authoritative Non-Infallible
Teachings
1. We are basically called to
responsible assent and obedience.

3. But given certain conditions, we are


permitted responsible disagreement
and dissent.
V. Genovesi, SJ states:
« As such, these moral teachings do
not require that we simply respond
to them in an attitude of divine faith,
as we are expected to do when
presented with infallible teachings.
Rather, in response to fallible
teachings what is called for is an
‘internal religious assent’.
Possibility of Dissent in the
Church
• A Venue for dialogue in which
enlightening ideas may evoke.

• A context where the scenario may


be bleak.
Ismael Ireneo Maningas on
the Positive Side of Dissent
« If not for this dissent the
Church would have probably
remained complacent and
would not have thought
reading the signs of the
times. »

I. I. Maningas, Filipino Christian Morality, p. 56.


« The Other Side » by
Joseph Card. Ratzinger
« For the Church this office is
indispensable today, too, and
where her competence is
challenged as regards essential
decisions for or against an
interpretation of morality
following upon grace, the
fundamental form of apostolic
tradition is itself shaken. »
Joseph Card. Ratzinger, Magisterium of the Church, Faith, Morality, in Readings in Moral Theology
Vol. 2 (eds. Charles Curran and Richard McCormick,SJ), 186-187.
For Cardinal Ratzinger…
the magisterium is first and
foremost an apostolic
teaching that must defend
the fundamental principles of
human knowledge that is
purified, deepened and
amplified by FAITH.
Conclusion
In the midst of ambivalent attitude
among Christians toward the
possibility of the dialogue between
the SS and the Magisterium,
constructive ways and means are
encouraged.
Theological Level of
the Dialogue
between SS and
Magisterium
Dialogue between faith and life
should be enhanced.
This proposal is drawn from GS 4.
The Pastoral Level of
the Dialogue
between SS and
Magisterium
Co-responsibility
This idea is drawn from GS 62
and PCP II 1OO.