Saturday, August 16, 2014

Mindszenty on the paralysis that can result from an excessive preoccupation with the failures of the church

“During my years as a parish priest I had become convinced that in apologetic and ideological discussions it was always best to argue on the basis of facts.  I therefore spent much of my free time studying historical references and narratives.  This work proved very worthwhile; the knowledge I obtained served me splendidly in carrying out my tasks and duties.  Moreover, these historical researches taught me that in the struggle of ideas abstract reasoning and dry theory are of little use.  I also realized that uncertain leadership and perpetual weighing of every contingency stood in the way of success.  Especially when dealing with determined Communists, a hesitant, irresolute attitude could prove disastrous.  And I think to this hour that our position is seriously weakened by those Christians whose primary concern seems to be worrying about whether any of the charges brought against the Church may not sometime, someplace have been justified.  The excesses of modern ‘self-criticism’ often serve only the interests of our bitter enemies.  It takes people with carefully trained minds to see the ‘faults and weaknesses’ of the Church in the proper proportions and to fit them into the circumstances of the times.  Even a good many theologians and intellectuals cannot do that, for they lack the historian’s eye.”

     József Cardinal Mindszenty, Memoirs, trans. Richard and Clara Winston, and Jan van Heurck  (New York:  Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1974), 62-63.

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