Josemaría Escrivá Obras
23

Turning to another topic, we would like to know your opinion regarding the present situation of the Church. How would you describe it? What role do you think can be played in these times by the tendencies which in general terms have been called 'progressive' and 'integrist'?

As I see it, the present doctrinal position of the Church could be expressed as 'positive' and at the same time 'delicate', as in all crises of growth. Positive, undoubtedly, because the doctrinal wealth of the Second Vatican Council has set the entire Church, the entire priestly People of God, on a new supremely hopeful track of renewed fidelity to the divine plan of salvation which has been entrusted to it. But delicate as well, because the theological conclusions which have been reached are not, let us say, of an abstract or theoretical nature. They are part of a supremely living theology, which has immediate and direct applications in the pastoral, ascetic and disciplinary fields and which touches very deeply the internal and external life of the Church: liturgy, organisational structures of the hierarchy, apostolic forms, Magisterium, dialogue with the world, ecumenism. And therefore at the same time this theology touches very deeply the Christian life and the very conscience of the faithful.

Both aspects affect us deeply: both Christian optimism, the joyful certainty that the Holy Spirit will draw fruit from the doctrine with which He has enriched the Spouse of Christ; and also prudence on the part of those who study and govern because, now especially, immense harm could result from a lack of serenity and consideration in the study of these problems.

As regards the tendencies which you call 'integrist' and 'progressive', I find it difficult to give an opinion on the role which they can play at the present moment, because I have always rejected the suitability and even the possibility of making classifications or simplifications of this sort. This division is, at times, taken to great extremes and perpetuated as if theologians (and the faithful in general) were destined always to be circling these opposite poles. As far as I can see, it seems to derive ultimately from the belief that progress in the doctrine and in the life of the People of God is the result of a perpetual dialectical tension. I, on the other hand, prefer to believe wholeheartedly in the action of the Holy Spirit, who breathes where He will and upon whom He will.

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