There is a pressing pastoral need to recognise the hopes and dreams, the disappointments and frustrations of all those Catholics who had believed that Vatican II would bring about reform and renewal in the church. This is the need which Gabriel Daly sets out to address, out of a lifetime given to the study and teaching of theology, in The Church: Always in Need of Reform.
Gabriel Daly writes out of a passionate commitment to the belief that theological diversity is an enrichment of the unity of the church. This leads to a conviction, shared with Yves Congar, that ‘one must always protest when one feels by conscience or conviction that there are grounds for doing so’. It leads also to a profound understanding of how Catholic substance and Protestant principle can enrich each other; of how being open to faithful criticism can lead to a more compassionate church; of the need to recognise and accept that we are members of a sinful but increasingly forgiven church, not a triumphant society.
Everything in The Church: Always in Need of Reform is written out of an unshakeable belief that Christians should, under grace, be able to disagree with each other on non-essential matters while maintaining bonds of love, tolerance and open-mindedness towards the truth to be found in each other’s positions.
Gabriel Daly, O.S.A., taught theology for over 30 years at The Milltown Institute, The Irish School of Ecumenics, and Trinity College Dublin.
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