Friday, October 02, 2009


I feel a strong embarassment in reading Gaudium et spes. It is true that it is classified as a "pastoral constitution", not "dogmatic", and this frees me of any concern about being in line with Church teaching.

And though, simply for its being a Council's document it should carry a certain authority for me. But what it says actually doesn't.

Nothing to object to the specifically theological side of it. Too bad that it is purporting to provide a description of the state of the world it is addressing with an appeal to dialogue. And here I find it weak.

To the point of perceiving in it a certain demise of intellectual authority.

Just one short example. It speaks, almost at the outset, of the weight granted in our world to the mathematical, physical and human sciences. Over again it returns to the latter, up to the point of speaking of the great progresses made in psychology, sociology and philosophy. And here I am astounded.

OK, physical sciences are well enough established to allow to speak for them as "science" without much ado, in spite of the fact that what is scientific in them was then, and still is today, open to question. I cannot pretend that it enters into such epistemological disputes.

However, what about human sciences? Did psychology and sociology, let alone philosophy, exist then, or do they exist today, as unitary disciplines, save for University departments that go under their name?

The answer is no! There are as many psychologies and sociologies, let alone philosophies, as there are schools. And they say everything and its opposite. So, what is Gaudium and spes talking about? Some schools are rationally true, and in accord with Christian teaching, some are rationally false, and enemy to it.

Nothing of all this in our Council's document.


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