Two years ago, I think, I posted a quotation from Henri de Lubac that Margaret sent me as a Valentine.
This year, she’s studying de Lubac in her doctoral program, and she regularly sends me clippings from her reading. This week, she excerpted some words from Catholicism, the 1950 translation of the French edition of 1947:
“Just to imitate primitive Christianity or the Middle Ages will not be enough. We can revive the Father’s all-embracing humanism and recover the spirit of their mystical exegesis only by an assimilation which is at the same time a transformation.
For although the Church rests on eternal foundations, it is in a continual state of rebuilding, and since the Fathers’ time it has undergone many changes in style; and without in any way considering ourselves better than our Fathers, what we in turn have to build for our own use must be built in our own style, that is, one that is adapted to our own needs and problems.”
De Lubac proposes two conditions on those who would take up, perpetuate, and renovate the Fathers’ teachings:
“We must recognize in the first place the great diversity of the theories which have been professed in the course of Christian history on those innumerable subjects where religious truth comes in contact with our human preoccupations. Secondly, we must realize to how great an extent these theories depend on social, intellectual or cultural conditions in a state of contstant development.”
“For although dogma is essentially unchanging, the work of the theologian is never ended.”