Unsettled Christianity

Gloria Dei homo vivens – St Irenaeus
May 25th, 2015 by Joel Watts

St. John Paul II on Orthodoxy and Orthopraxy

English: Pope John Paul II at a Papal Audience...

English: Pope John Paul II at a Papal Audience on 17 July, 1985—St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City. Behind him, Camillo Cibin, former Inspector General of the Vatican Gendarmerie. Français : Jean-Paul II, Pape de l’Église catholique romaine, à la place Saint-Pierre en 1985) Italiano: Giovanni Paolo II in Piazza San Pietro per l’audizione del 17 luglio 1985. Dietro di lui Camillo Cibin, Ispettore Generale della Gendarmeria Vaticana. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thought I might share a few of these quotes about orthopraxy before I say something.

Catechesis and Life Experience

22. It is useless to play off orthopraxis against orthodoxy: Christianity is inseparably both. Firm and well-thought—out convictions lead to courageous and upright action, the endeavor to educate the faithful to live as disciples of Christ today calls for and facilitates a discovery in depth of the mystery of Christ in the history of salvation.

It is also quite useless to campaign for the abandonment of serious and orderly study of the message of Christ in the name of a method concentrating on life experience. “No one can arrive at the whole truth on the basis solely of some simple private experience, that is to say, without an adequate explanation of the message of Christ, who is `the way, and the truth, and the life’ (Jn. 14:6).”

Nor is any opposition to be set up between a catechesis taking life as its point of departure and a traditional doctrinal and systematic catechesis. Authentic catechesis is always an orderly and systematic initiation into the revelation that God has given of Himself to humanity in Christ Jesus, a revelation stored in the depths of the Church’s memory and in Sacred Scripture, and constantly communicated from one generation to the next by a living, active traditio. This revelation is not however isolated from life or artificially juxtaposed to it. It is concerned with the ultimate meaning of life and it illumines the whole of life with the light of the Gospel, to inspire it or to question it.

John Paul II, Catechesi Tradendae (Apostolic Exhortations; Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1979).

Joel Watts
Watts holds a MA in Theological Studies from United Theological Seminary. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians, as well as seeking an MA in Clinical Mental Health at Adams State University. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

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