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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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True and False Reform in the Church

True and False Reform in the Church

April 23, 2003

Chapter:
(p.401) 29 True and False Reform in the Church
Source:
Church and Society
Author(s):

Avery Cardinal Dulles

Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fso/9780823228621.003.0029

This chapter looks at the reforms in the Church, examining the valid from the false ones. The idea of reform is as old as Christianity itself. Reform is by definition a good thing, and frequently is needed both on the personal and on the institutional level. Reform may be either restorative or progressive. Restorative reform seeks to reactualize a better past or a past that is idealized. Progressive reform aims to move ahead toward an ideal or utopian future. Either style can run to excess. Restorative reform tends toward traditionalism; progressive reform, toward modernism. In any discussion of reform, two opposite errors are avoided. The first is to assume that because the Church is divinely instituted, it never needs to be reformed. This position is erroneous because it fails to attend to the human element. The second error would be to assail or undermine the essentials of Catholic Christianity.

Keywords:   reform, progressive, restorative, traditionalism, modernism

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