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Crisis in the Church-Henri de Lubac



Henri de Lubac - Crisis in the ChurchThe concluding section from an address given by Henri de Lubac, SJ, at the University of St. Louis on May, 29, 1969


"....The second fundamental condition (for true renewal according to

the intent of Vatican II) is the love and concern for Catholic unity. It

is closely liked with the first condition: personal love of Jesus



The shop-worn contrast which some still delight in making

between the Church and the gospel of Christ is an easily exploitable theme because it is all too evident that the Church seen in her members is never completely faithful. Sin, which is to be found everywhere, does not spare the Church--neither sin nor all the other marks of human

frailty. It is no less true, however, that is is still the Church which

brings us the gospel of Christ and, still more important, more true today

than ever before that the generalized criticism of the Church is linked

to a movement that draws away from the gospels.


I would not be so concerned if this were something from outside

the Church. But when each one takes as his mission to criticize

everything, when each one sets out to rewrite dogma and morality

according to his own wishes, the Church disintegrates. When the center

of unity becomes the target of the most impassioned attacks, each one

feeling that he has the right to criticize the successor of Peter before

the whole world on any point whatsoever, the Church herself is therefore

wounded. Those who take this liberty do not fully realize what they are

doing. Regardless of what pretext they may invoke, however, they are

turning their backs on the gospel of Christ, and they scandalize, in the

fullest sense of the word, many of their brethren.


Whether they wish to or not, they encourage the formation of

small groups whose sectarian pretensions are equaled only by the poverty

of their spirituality. The weakening of faith is coupled with the

decomposition of the Christian community. They insult all those who hold

on to what their faith requires of them as Christians. Inasmuch as it

depends on them, they ruin the Church. A Church in which this form of

disorder exists and where such morals are accepted is doomed, for it

cannot be efficacious; it will have no missionary zeal, no ecumenical force.


In conclusion I would like to refute these excesses--excesses

disguised under impressive titles--with a very simple witness, the

witness of an exceptionally intelligent woman who spent her life helping

the poor in a hostile and atheistic milieu. Since her death in 1964,

some of the notes and papers of Madeleine Delbrel have been published.

Whoever reads them will be able to recognize and learn what an authentic

Christian spirituality is and be able to compare it with the refined

purity of certain cerebral spiritualities in whose name ordinary

Christianity--the only one familiar to the saints and to the ordinary

Christians for the past twenty centuries--is criticized. This what

Madeleine Delbrel wrote in 1952:


"Inasmuch as I have, for the past eighteen years, shared the life

of a people not only without my faith but with no memory whatever of

Christianity; inasmuch as I feel intimately connected to what the Church

in France brings to me both nova et vetera (old and new); and inasmuch as

I am convinced that our fidelity requires an ever more ardent missionary

zeal as well as a stronger rooting in obedience, I decided to go to Rome

in the name of all....and so that this would be an act of faith and

nothing else, I arrived in Rome in the morning, I went directly to the

tomb of St Peter....I spent the entire day there and left for Paris in

the evening."


There is nothing grand about so simple a gesture. Yet it will do

more to maintain the cohesion of the Church than so many opposite

gestures which merely dig away at this very cohesion. Such a sense of

the necessity of Catholic unity is prior to and subsequent to all

legitimate discussion--within the limits of divine institution and

without unduly forcing the Church's hand--of the best means of governing

the Church at a given time and in given circumstances.......


Speaking before this noble assembly in this great University of

Saint Louis, I am conscious of not having spoken--as some of you may have

expected me to do--as a learned man. Perhaps I should ask your

forgiveness. I do feel, however, that I have spoken as a theologian.

And is it not necessary, when the seriousness of the hour requires it, to

suspend for a moment his historical studies or his personal

constructions--to which he would be wrong to attach an exaggerated

importance--to recall that his entire existence as a theologian and all

the authority that his profession gives him are rooted in the task that

he has received: the defense and the explanation of the faith of the


Henri de Lubac, S.J.


Pope Leo XIII, Vatican IIVatican II: The Real Story

By: Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio


Some in the Catholic Church love Vatican II because they think it finally brought the Catholic Church out of the dark ages.  Some suspect the Second Vatican Council because they fear it sold out faithfulness to the truth in favor of current opinion. Who called for the beginning of Vatican II, what happened when he suddenly died? This 4 CD set will answer this and so much more!


Entertaining.  Fascinating.  Energizing.  When you’re done with these tapes, you’ll have a clearer picture of where the Catholic Church has come from and where it is going in the first years of the new millennium.


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