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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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Should the Church Repent?

Should the Church Repent?

April 15, 1998

(p.262) 19 Should the Church Repent?
Church and Society

Avery Cardinal Dulles

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines Pope John Paul II's proposals for repentance. The idea of acknowledging the faults of members of the Church, and especially of persons acting in the name of the Church, had been with John Paul II ever since his election to the papacy in the fall of 1978. The pope's proposals for repentance raised some very difficult theological questions that were debated by experts all over the world. The discussion points some common objections and replies under seven headings: the holiness of the Church, collective guilt, judging the past, apologizing for the faults of others, the risk of scandal, exploitation by hostile critics, and benefits to be expected. The chapter concludes that the program of contrition and reconciliation initiated by John Paul II was therefore charged with hope and promise.

Keywords:   repentance, holiness, collective guilt, forgiveness, scandal, reconciliation

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