Novak (novak) wrote,

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Theology Notebook

Taking a "stretch break" by getting up and walking over to a different seat in the library. Reading Von Balthasar's The Office of Peter and the Structure of the Church, which is Ignatius Press' mysterious translation of Der antiromische Affekt. Go figure.

I'm finding myself curiously challenged by the book. In short, this 1974 work is challenging the anti-Roman attitude within Catholicism. Now while in general I tend to think that anyone who is all "right" or all "left" in politics is a bit of a simpleton--and it does seem we are surrounded by people who see one single left or right answer to every issue--I find that I have tended to take for granted some of the assumptions of the Catholic "left" appraisal of the flaws of Vatican "structures."

This is not to say that I'm beginning to think that there are no problems in the structure--or maybe better and more exact, the operation of structure--that can't be addressed and improved upon, nor is Von Balthasar arguing that. What he is arguing is that the belief that a change in structure will result in a new evangelical paradise--an idea with interesting Marxist parallels--is a naive and knee-jerk rejection of a structure that allows an astonishing interplay of tensions: a variety of seemingly-contradictory impulses that best allows the diversity and wildness of the gifts of the Spirit to play within the Church.

There's a lot more to it than this, of course, but I'm wrestling with a text that is challenging me and my assumptions, and that is both hard going and enormously exciting.

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