Teaching Is Not Governance

When we conceive of the teaching ministry of the church as governance we will naturally look to our teachers to “police” the faith, and we will imagine the appropriate response to such teaching less as understanding and more as obedience. Whereas early Christian thought presented revelation as a divine pedagogy aimed at the transformation of humankind, the reduction of teaching to governance has reduced the richness of the Christian faith to a “digital genre,” as Juan Luis Segundo put it. This “digital” presentation of the Christian story purges dogma of its imaginative character within an eschatological horizon and renders it strictly informational – a collection of truths subject to mere intellectual assent.

Richard A. Gaillardetz, “Power and Authority in the Church: Emerging Issues”, in A Church with Open Doors: Catholic Ecclesiology for the Third Millennium, Richard R. Gaillardetz and Edward P. Hahnenberg, eds. (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2015): Loc 2230-2235.

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