Monday, 10 October 2011

Praxis and Doctrine

It seems to me that I have found what I wanted. When I try to pull it all into a phrase I say 'Man can embody truth but he cannot know it.' I must embody it in the completion of my life.

Yeats wrote this in a letter some days before he died. There is a truth in it that surpasses the theological wittering about Praxis and Doctrine. The meanings that are mined out of the ground of Religion or Yoga, words which have union as their root, are finally abstractions. Even the eternal truths of mathematics are abstractionst according to Bergson who held that lived duration, is real. Duration is merely gestured towards by a recognition of the paradoxes generated by conventional truth. We can always disagree about the meanings that we take out of stated doctrine but the embodied reality comes out of a fundamental union. This is implicit even in the theological acceptance of the basis of doctrine.

However, in the event that the Church might not yet have enunciated a decision, consequent to the conclusions of some universal council, the principles of ecumenicity, antiquity and agreement are to be invoked. In other words, the reliable standard for orthodoxy must be what has been believed in the Church everywhere, always and by all.
(from Cardinal John Henry Newman and the development of doctrine by Fr. Peter Waters)

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