John XXIII (of happy memory) made familiar the Italian word, 'aggiornamento' - a bringing up to date. The word has become synonymous with reading the 'signs of the times.' One can only imagine if he was pope as long as John Paul II where 'aggiornamento' would have taken the Roman Church. Since Vatican II there have been attempts to update the ...
John XXIII (of happy memory) made familiar the Italian word, 'aggiornamento' - a bringing up to date. The word has become synonymous with reading the 'signs of the times.' One can only imagine if he was pope as long as John Paul II where 'aggiornamento' would have taken the Roman Church. Since Vatican II there have been attempts to update the liturgy but none to update the theology of the Roman Church. There is possibly a greater attrition of members because of a theology in which increasingly educated people reject. According to the Pew Forum on Religion, one out of every three adult Americans raised Catholic left the church. The reasons are varied. For thinking, questioning adults, the current theology is suspect. Emmett Coyne, 46 years a Catholic priest, revisits the theology to which he was exposed and expected to reinforce and finds it filled with fear: devils, mortal sins, an eternal hell replete with torture, blind obedience to a hierarchy which does little to lift burdens but seeks to control members not liberate them, etc. In the Kingdom teaching of Jesus, he sought to exorcise fear but the Roman Church reinforces it through its current theology. Cardinal Newman, referred to as the "absent Council Father" of Vatican II, wrote an "Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine." He represents a view that life is dynamic, not static. Humanity is continually discovering new insights in everything that affects life on this planet. Theology should not be immune. Roman theological doctrine and morality desperately needs an updating, a makeover. Previously held suppositions need to be revisited without fear of retaliation. While Augustine argued for a 'just war, ' today, more persons argue war is altogether obsolete. Conflict resolution offers more sane solutions than resorting to devastating warfare. Currently, the Roman Church claims it is being persecuted in the USA. Yet it persecutes its own members who exercise freedom of inquiry. Fr. Coyne contends a rediscovery of a theology based on the Kingdom teaching, centered in the Sermon on the Mount, the Beatitudes, and the praxis of love, and would be new wine for humanity. He believes if the Roman Church focuses on these healthier seeds in its tradition, it will produce new growth, a more abundant future. The Theology of Fear reflects the spirit of John XXIII's 'aggiornamento' and Newman's dynamic view of things theological. In exorcising fear from its current theology, seeking the Kingdom first when reading the 'signs of the times, ' the Roman Church can yet offer hope for humanity. This was the hope of Vatican II which unfortunately has turned into a winter of discontent.
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The author pulls together many aspects and details concerning the scare tactics and violence, both mental and physical, used by the RCC in its misguided attempt to keep people on the straight and narrow. An insightful eye opener. But having read it, one must go beyond it and live one's life within that imperfect organization and all the other human organizations that run through authoritarian control, as well as dealing with every human being who tries to control others around him/her. In addition to that there is fear inside every human being which is ever present and just under the surface. The late JC would have liked the book and the direction in which it seeks to shine light!
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