Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Be advised that (ab)normal service is gradually being resumed

Cari amici, hopefully the immediate future will see a resumption of semi-frequent, quasi-regular ‘blogging. I’m still away from Rome, but hope that I’ll be able to rustle up some interesting morsels from my somewhat eclectic reading programme. Expect snippets on Newman, Kierkegaard, legal and commercial blunders and literary teasers.
However, keeping to the general theme of returning after a break, I’m reminded of an incident in the life of the late Fr Herbert McCabe, OP, one of the more eccentric theologians of the last century. He formed part of a Cambridge-based and Dominican-dominated group of theologians who disdained the various Kantian or Existential influenced schools of Thomism that arose on the Continent, preferring an approach to the Angelic Doctor coloured by the philosophy of Wittgenstein. (Incidentally, I understand there to be a persistent rumour that Wittgenstein died within the Church.) McCabe was by far the most readable and entertaining of these theologians. In 1967 McCabe was caught up in one of the ‘aftershocks’ of the post-conciliar period. Upset with the manner in which the council was being implemented, the English theologian Charles Davis left the Church on the grounds of the Church being corrupt. In his role as editor of the New Blackfriars periodical, McCabe argued (sensibly enough) that whilst the Church may well be manifestly corrupt, this was no reason to leave the Church. Unfortunately, the ecclesiastical powers-that-be found this line of argument to be unpalatable and McCabe was unceremoniously removed from the editor’s chair. Indeed, he even had his faculties suspended for several days. Things eventually settled down, and a few years later, he was editing New Blackfriars again. He resumed his work with an editorial that had one of the aptest openings ever to grace a theological journal:
As I was saying before I was so oddly interrupted, ecclesiastical authorities can behave in some fairly bizarre ways

No comments: