Why Are Dogmatic Pronouncements So Difficult to Make Today?
THE UPSHOT of the discussions of the first schema, on Revelation, proposed by the theological preparatory commission to the Second Vatican Council -- wearisome discussions, marked by strongly opposed positions -- has been a postponement of the debate. A new schema has got to be worked out, taking more account of the demands of the times in which we live, and of the Church and theology as they are today. In particular, the new schema is to differ from the old by its ecumenical spirit; it is to aim at making reunion easier rather than more difficult. For this purpose, the Pope has formed a new commission, drawn from the theological commission (elected as to its majority by the Council) and the Secretariat for Christian Unity, with whom the theological preparatory commission (selected exclusively by the Curia, and strongly dominated by conservative elements) had rigidly declined, from the start of the preparations for the Council, to co-operate in any constructive way. Even this new commission will have no easy task, for ecumenical discussion in particular has brought home to us afresh the difficulties involved in dogmatic formulation. The problem of dogmatic statement, and especially of infallible statement in the Catholic sense, can be seen and has to be seen, on the basis of the present theological situation, in a more delicately nuanced way. And the Catholic concept of revelation in particular, which is to be stated in the first theological