Fall 1965

Page 6


George /. Dyer

Doctrine: Growth or Betrayal The vital proceS5 of doctrinal development is not the exclusive function . of the magistery or of theologians but of the entire people of God.

The priest on the contemporary American scene must occasionally feel himself on the verge of theological bankruptcy. His hard-won capital of propositions, proofs and theological notes seem to shrink with each translation he reads from the restless scholars of France and Germany. He watches uneasily as a new spirit of inquiry pages impatiently through the theological manuals, bringing dozens of ideas out of his theological pantheon and into the market place for re-appraisal. Malaise of a sort is easily discernible in the ranks of the clergy. We find it most trenchantly expressed perhaps in that querulous little question born of equal measures of anxiety and curiosity: what next? The answer to the question is beyond me, but an antidote for the malaise that prompted it does suggest itself. What we are witnessing today is a stage in the development of doctrine-a never ending, but sometimes nerve-wracking process in the life of the Church. If the contemporary develop227