The Defense of Dogma
W. H. Marshner
REASONS FOR HOPE
© Christendom Educational Corporation 1978
Christendom College Press
In today’s world especially since the advent of Modernism, it is insufficient to simply define the authority of the pope and leave the faithful to follow his teachings. It is unfortunately fashionable to deny that Church teachings are to be taken literally, fashionable in other words, to retain the precise wording of dogmatic formulations while interpreting them in purely symbolic or metaphorical terms. Therefore, a further defense is necessary, a defense which is at times technical, but nonetheless indispensable: it is the defense that Church teachings mean what they say. And in order to appreciate the ways in which dogma is under attack today—some of them quite subtle—and to meet those attacks, we must begin by taking special pains to be fully clear about exactly what dogma is.
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CRITERIA FOR DOCTRINAL DEVELOPMENT IN THE MARIAN DOGMAS: AN ESSAY IN METATHEOLOGY
By WILLIAM H. MARSHNER
MARIAN STUDIES, Vol. 28 (1977)
University of Dallas
Irving, Texas 75061
As a critique of recent proposals by E. J. Yarnold, S.J., and R. E. Brown, S.S., to re-think the “meaning” of certain Marian dogmas, a method is proposed for establishing the sense and reference (hence verifiability conditions, falsifiability conditions, axiomatic connexions, and metalinguistic “properties”) of these and other dogmas. It is shown that such a method forms an integral part of a general criteriology for doctrinal development. At the outset, then, the possibility and necessity of such a criteriology is defended against certain “theological theories” of doctrinal development, especially that of K. Rahner, S.J. Finally, the relevance of Henri Bouillard’s problematic of “reconceptualization” to the here proposed method and general criteriology is evaluated. Several philosophical and theological issues closely related to the main thesis are handled in footnoted discussions.
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