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CHICAGO STUDIES

patibility with revealed teaching, but it also serves to place the theologian in touch with the historic patrimony of Christian reflection. Up to this point there is nothing astonishing or exciting. But, Colombo continues, the function of the theologian is special-he is more than a believer, since by vocation and office he is also a scholar rendering a precious service of re· search. Such research must be free. He then describes his concept of this freedom which is so necessary for true theological research: .· "In this moment of research one is not obliged to start from the teaching of the authentic non·infallible magistery as from a certain definitive dmum: one can place it in discussion, using methodical doubt, as in any scientific discussion, and one is not obliged to arrive at conclusions always and under every aspect conformed to the teaching of tradition expressed in the ordinary magistery. One could indicate in it some insufficiencies or per· haps even some errors of interpretation of divine truth. (Think of the literal interpretation and common presentation for so many centuries of the first chapters of Genesis). In such a case, which is not a daily occurrence, one would have the right and the duty not only of suspending his religious assent as a believer, but also of proposing the reasons which lead to doubt· ing some truth of the common teaching, in order to aid the entire Church, and particularly its teachers, to attain a more exact knowledge of the truth (pp. 528·529)." Let us pause for a moment to reflect upon these remarks and their implications. First of all, in Colombo's judgment the theologian can and, by implication, should subject the teachings of the authentic non·infallible magistery to questioning and methodical doubt. Such teachings should not be regarded as certain and definitive data. In other words, the theologian must guard .against what some have called a "creeping infallibility'' -a tendency to assign greater doctrinal weight to positions than they actually deserve. Secondly, depending upon the results of his research, the theologian has "the right and the duty" of suspending his own religious assent. Most older

Profile for Chicago Studies

Spring 1968  

Volume 7:1

Spring 1968  

Volume 7:1

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