Cleansing Fire

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Fr. Charles Curran and the “plurality of magisteria”

August 3rd, 2010, Promulgated by Mike

I recently came across the following insight into the reasoning behind Fr. Charles Curran’s dissent from so many Church teachings.  It is from Social Ethics in the Making – Interpreting an American Tradition, by Gary Dorrien.  Google Books has it here.

Persistently [Curran] contended that the church had more than one magisterium and that a plurality of magisteria were needed as a brake on the Vatican’s belief in its absolute certainty: “There are many magisteria in the Church – papal and episcopal magisteria, the authentic magisterium of laity and the magisterium of theologians. Each of these has a creative service in the Church.” All faithful Catholics recognized the God-given role of the hierarchical magisterium, but its “teaching on specific moral questions cannot absolutely exclude the possibility of error.” Curran disliked the church’s tone of dogmatic certainty in claiming that human life began at conception (he believed it began at least 14 days after conception) and that euthanasia was always an abhorrent evil. On these subjects he dissented, “but my dissent is not all that great. Others might propose a more radical solution.” In his view premarital sex was usually, but not always, morally wrong; gay and lesbian sexual acts in the context of a committed relationship striving for permanency were objectively good, although short of the ideal; and the church needed to end its prohibition of divorce. Curran wanted to reconcile divorced Catholics to their church and curtail the pain and hypocrisy of the annulment traffic.

To this day Fr. Curran describes himself as “a committed Catholic, a priest in good standing.”

That he can call himself a “committed Catholic” is but a measure of the extent of his self-delusion.  For the fact that he remains a “priest in good standing” we can thank Bishop Clark.

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3 Responses to “Fr. Charles Curran and the “plurality of magisteria””

  1. avatar Dr. K says:

    “For the fact that he remains a “priest in good standing” we can thank Bishop Clark.”

    Exactly!

  2. avatar Anonymous says:

    He is Bishop Clark’s man. Total approval.

  3. avatar Nerina says:

    And thanks to Fr. Curran we have “Burger King theology” – Have it your way!


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