April 28, 2005

Remedial Theology
Whenever heresies arise, the Church must treat dogma in a way that does not give due proportion to the whole truth. Instead, theologians must emphasize precisely the points that heretics deny. For example, because the Protestant reformers emphasized faith sometimes at the expense of works, post-Reformation Catholic theology has tended to emphasize works more than faith. Because Protestants have preached "Scripture alone" apart from tradition, Catholics have had to emphasize sacred tradition to a greater degree than before.

All of this was necessary in a remedial way. Yet its lingering effect has been to produce a theology that majors in relatively minor points. After all, tradition itself teaches the primacy of Scripture, and Catholic authorities from St. Paul onward have taught the priority of faith over works. In classical theology, faith and works, Scripture and tradition, all receive their due, because all belong to one essential reality...

-Scott Hahn, in foreward to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger's Many Religions - One Covenant

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