Sunday, January 07, 2007

The herme... what?

her-me-neu-tics [hur-muh-noo-tiks, -nyoo] Noun (used as a singular verb)
1. The science of interpretation, esp. off the Scriptures.
2. the branch of theology that deals with the principles of Biblical exegesis.

Hermeneutics of Continuity, a great blog by an English priest, Father Tim Finigan, parish priest of Our Lady of the Rosary, Blackfen, UK (somewhere southeast of London). I'm an unabashed Anglophile and I pray for the resurgence of Roman Catholicism in England as much and as often as I do in my native United States (especially New England). The English Catholics have suffered worse in many ways than the Americans but that tells me that their recovery may outstrip and lead ours. The U.S. is a religious country but a thoroughly Protestant one. Britain teeters on the edge of secularism as the Church of England has whithered like a salt-sprayed slug ... there's a vacuum there. The choice, for England, will be clear in the not so distant future: The Church or Islam.

A little on this hermeneutic of continuity vs. hermeneutic of disocntinuity from the site, quoting Pope Benedict XVI:
Why has the implementation of the [Vatican II] Council, in large parts of the Church, thus far been so difficult? (note for our non-Catholic readers: The Second Vatican Council was a grand meeting of all the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church held in the mid-sixties, changes that flowed or allegedly that allegedly flowed out of that Council have been a matter of grave concern for participants like Pope Benedict XVI and for humble parishioners born after its close.)

Well, it all depends on the correct interpretation of the Council or - as we would say today - on its proper hermeneutics, the correct key to its interpretation and application. The problems in its implementation arose from the fact that two contrary hermeneutics came face to face and quarrelled with each other. One caused confusion, the other, silently but more and more visibly, bore and is bearing fruit.

On the one hand, there is an interpretation that I would call "a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture"; it has frequently availed itself of the sympathies of the mass media, and also one trend of modern theology. On the other, there is the "hermeneutic of reform", of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us. She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God.

In keeping with my working class, street Catholicism perspective here's my take on all this stuff:
Hermeneutic of Discontinuity: pure evil, aka diabolical disorientation.
Hermeneutic of Reform: probably seemed like a good idea at the time but it is kinda like re-arranging deck chairs, it needs to make way for steering away from iceburgs.
Hermeneutic of Continuity: necessary to combat Modernism, the syntheseis of all heresies, to combat Satanism and all other evils.... call it a strategic re-depolyment, not a rejection of reform but a re-emphasis on fundamental and unchangeable truths which needs to precede any reform.

It is my guess that a traditionalist should pick the third hermeneutic ... a hermeneutic of continuity. I won't put words into the blogmaster's mouth and, to be frank, I have avoided subtle theological issues on this blog for several reasons but ... ultimately ... I like this hermeneutic of continuity and I think I like this blog.

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