Links - sort of - for 11/20/15

by Michael Sean Winters

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I would like to use this space to address some issues raised on twitter. I do not tweet, but some friends were kind enough to send along tweets challenging the point I made on Wednesday regarding the misquoting of Pope Benedict XVI's 2005 address to the curia. Both Archbishop Leonard Blair and Cardinal Daniel DiNardo cited Benedict's "hermeneutic of continuity" in defending the draft text of Faithful Citizenship. I pointed out that Pope Benedict XVI actually referred to a "hermeneutic of reform" involving both continuity and discontinuity and that it was the usual neo-con suspects who distorted what Benedict had said by changing the phrase to "hermeneutic of continuity."

John Thavis tweeted that Pope Francis did use the phrase "hermeneutic of continuity" in a 2012 address to the Italian bishops, but when you follow the link to the text, you see that Benedict said "hermeneutic of continuity and reform" which mildly changes the emphasis but leaves his essential point - and mine - unchanged. 

Innocent Smith, OP, tweeted that Pope Benedict XVI used the phrase "hermeneutic of continuity" in a footnote to his 2007 document Sacramentum Caritatis. So he did. If you go to the text, in footnote 6, Benedict did use the phrase "hermeneutic of continuity." But, I would suggest that had either Archbishop Blair or Cardinal DiNardo altered their comments to say, "As Pope Benedict said in footnote six of the document...." they would have been laughed out of the room. If all you have to prove that you can ignore the magisterium of Pope Francis is a footnote, you are on even thinner ice than you are with an address to the curia.

More importantly, I would not that both the footnote and the address to the Italian bishops were subsequent to the address to the Roman Curia and therefore both citations should be understood - dare I say it - with a hermeneutic of continuity with the earlier 2005 address. 


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