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Church and SocietyThe Laurence J. McGinley Lectures, 1988-2007$
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Avery Cardinal Dulles

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780823228621

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: March 2011

DOI: 10.5422/fso/9780823228621.001.0001

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The Challenge of the Catechism

The Challenge of the Catechism

October 20, 1994

(p.157) 12 The Challenge of the Catechism
Church and Society

Avery Cardinal Dulles

Fordham University Press

This chapter argues that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is the boldest challenge yet offered to the cultural relativism that currently threatens to erode the contents of Catholic faith. According to a widely prevalent view, religious truth consists in an ineffable encounter with the transcendent. By confidently setting forth what the Church has taught down through the centuries, the Catechism by implication takes on modern scholars who have criticized the inherited patrimony on the basis of new methodologies in exegesis, historical research, and epistemology. The challenges may be seen as directed against four very popular tendencies: positivist exegesis, historicist dogmatics, revisionist speculation, and experience-based catechetics. The discussion holds that the challenges are mutual, since the Catechism is challenged by those it challenges.

Keywords:   Catechism, cultural relativism, exegesis, theological speculation, historicism

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