Monthly Archives: April 2017

Bruno Forte: God in Motion?

I’ve been reading Archbishop Bruno Forte’s The Trinity as History. The title itself is certainly provocative.

Archbishop Forte has had some interesting things to say lately about dogma and moral teaching. Some have understood him to imply that mortal teachings can evolve away from the prior doctrine. Evolution, in short, not organic development. Organic development is the refined articulation of organism. Evolution is the jettisoning of the old and the creation of the new.

As a matter of Catholic Dogma: Dogmas do not evolve. They are refined articulations of the already revealed. Thus, nothing about a dogma is false. Exactly what was once declared one must forever hold. Never to be watered down or diluted, much less altered or denied. (But these are the same errors in the end.)

If the above reading of Abp. Forte is correct, it is not surprising, given his Trinitarian theology. He writes, “Christian monotheism is not one among many but is Trinitarian monotheism!” Caution: That sounds great. But in fact, it often constitutes a jettisoning of reason and prior dogma. That seems true here. He continues: “It is this aspect that the development of thought, esp. in the West, has left in the shadows.”

What development? Do you mean by “west” the Catholic Dogma that God has one divine essence, numerically identical? If so, you think we need to get beyond, to evolve past, to jettison, that dogma?

Forte: “Divine unity in this approach [namely, Forte’s approach] is considered not as static essence but as dynamism, process, life, as the history of Trinitarian love.” (All the above, p. 148).

Would it be a surprise, then, to find a theologian — who thinks that God is moving, in process, developing a love relationship — also thinking that dogmas evolve and change? Would it be a surprise to find such a theologian laboring for change in moral doctrine?

Catholic Teaching in Contradiction to Penal Substitution

From Yesterday’s Liturgy, Preface of Palm Sunday:

For, though innocent, he suffered willingly for sinners and accepted unjust condemnation to save the guilty.

From Leo’s Tome:

“What was taken from the mother of the Lord was the nature without the guilt” (adsumpta est de matre domini natura, non culpa) Leo’s tome, Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, 1.79

John IV, pointing to what is true in Pope Honorius’s infelicitous words:

“[The Son] Assumed all that is ours without bearing any guilt of the sin arising from the inheritance of the transgression…. There was no sin at all in him when he was born and lived….” (DH 496, Ignatius Press edition).

Vatican II,

    • Gaudium et Spes, 22: “As an innocent Lamb, freely shedding his blood, he merited life for us.”