Reflections on Theology(s)

Having entered into a few conversations with Roman Catholics, I am beginning to sense that there isn’t a single unified theology in Roman Catholicism. The impression that I am getting is that Roman Catholics have a number of theologies and they can accept Orthodox theology as another acceptable theology alongside Scholasticism for example. (This reminds me of Hindus accepting Christ as another God among their own and they cannot see the problem with this.)

I am also getting the sense that the various theologies in themselves fail to give coherent frameworks within which to understand and fit the De Fide teachings of Roman Catholicism. This leaves an impression that the Roman Catholicism consists of a set of teachings that lack a true inner logic and coherency. It is rather a patchwork of teachings most maintaining on paper those Catholic teachings also held by Orthodox, although the inner understanding of these teachings may differ from the Orthodox understanding, but also some derived from the influences of certain theological or pietistic trends within Roman Catholicism, that are not necessarily connected by an inner logic of the faith.

So, Roman Catholicism seems to accept Orthodoxy in theology but cannot seem to understand the Orthodox refusing to accept its theologies. They believe that the Orthodox are deluded seeing irreconcilable differences between the two. Perhaps this may be understood from their own lack of an inner logic to the faith and a lack of expectation that such a logic can exist. Rather all theologies are human speculation about the De Fide teachings of Roman Catholicism. They are error prone and are not expected to provide an inner coherency to faith.

Although there are a variety of opinions expressed by a variety of Orthodox believers, I believe that there is one inner logic to the Orthodox Faith. It is not a matter of only a set of propositions and systems but rather much more holistic in character that can be manifested in “systems” but transcends these; it may be better explained by an intuition. This is not a vague intuition either because it leads to a remarkable consistency of thought and practice among Orthodox. More properly it may be explained by the inner unity of the Logos, and the guidance of the Spirit of Truth. God forms the heart of the theology and it finds its unity in Him. There cannot be a multitude of theologies because these are a product of human speculation but Orthodox theology is the expression in thoughts, words and practice that are manifestations of the Logos. Note: this inner logic applies holistically to all aspects of Orthodox Life. Faith and discipline are not divorced but derive from the same source and are tied to the same logic. Discipline in no more variable than dogma because both express the fulness and unity of the Logos.

For Orthodox some Roman Catholic teachings contradict this inner logic (not secret knowledge of Gnostics) and thus cannot be part of the Faith; they are heresies. There is no reinterpretation of them within another theological framework or even an argument that the contradictions occur because the logic is beyond man. This latter point is in part true but I believe that even though the logic of God transcends man when it is mapped, using this in analogy to, without equating to, mathematical techniques, onto human knowledge it maintains its consistency even in human terms. The logic transcends but does not oppose human logic.

Anyway, these are my impressions at present regarding Roman Catholicism.


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