Blog Template Theology of the Body: Wounded Body or Glorious Bride? A Humble Look at Radner's Crew

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Wounded Body or Glorious Bride? A Humble Look at Radner's Crew

The most interesting thing about being a Catholic in modern day Dallas/Fort Worth is that one finds herself situated in an arena of vivid ecclesiological questions. We have some of the largest and most vibrant Catholic parishes in the world here; we also have some of the most ardent proponents of the idea that Protestants can co-exist alongside these parishes in a form of Catholic life and devotion which is fully symbiotic with the Catholic tradition while remaining ensconsed outside of it. They may call themselves "anglo-catholics," "bapto-catholics," "metho-catholics," etc; one eminent French Vatican II ecclesiologist called them "parasites," but that is another topic for another day. At any rate, it's never a dull moment in Texas.

One particular issue which I have wanted to address for a long time is involved in the proposal of Ephraim Radner, an erudite Episcopalian theologian, who suggests that a fundamental construal of the Church should deal with her "woundedness." This idea is supposed to lead to ecumenical advances, in as much as we all can identify as victims of some sort of hurt or another. My unformed response to this kind of idea is that the proponent should immediately stop whining theologically, but of course, there is more to be said.

So, for the next few days I will be considering the idea of the Church relative to the construals of Radner and his following. Throughout the consideration, I will be keeping one central issue in mind: is the Church something which we create for ourselves? Or, on the other hand, is the Church (exclusively) Christ's creation? In other words, should the ecclesiological article of the Creed- in which we confess belief in "one, holy, apostolic Church"- be taken as referring to the only aspect of the Creed which is not God's unexacted self-gift to us? Should we rather treat this article as describing something which we form for our own use, via communal practices and covenants? The solution may help to clarify the dividing line between Catholic and Protestant ecclesiologies, which- I think- goes to the heart of every other divergence in understanding, and certainly addresses the question of how we might go about conforming ourselves to the Church which we confess.

I will be leaving the comments open in case any of our learned readers would like to weigh in. Thanks for your attention...