Sunday, September 20, 2015

Bouyer on biblical humanism

"The actual notion of reformation in itself holds nothing heretical. . . . But, if we are to understand by the term ['pre-Reformation'] that the movement of biblical humanism, precisely because it was biblical, prepared the way for schism and heresy, then it is completely mistaken.  We see proof of this in that Erasmus never agreed to associate himself with the Protestant movement once it had taken on these two characteristics, that Saint Thomas More was one of the first and most clear-sighted opponents of the Anglican schism and, above all, that the numerous Spanish bishops who had studied at Alcalá, under the inspiration of Ximenez de Cisneros, constituted at the Council of Trent the group of theologians most perceptive in their constructive opposition to the new heresies.  There is another example, even more typical, that of Cardinal Cajetan, the earliest and most determined opponent of Luther when the latter had adopted doctrinal positions that placed him under the Church's censure.  This, however, did not prevent Cajetan holding, more and more explicitly, that the only effective means of reforming the Church, while at the same time rooting out Protestant errors, was to redevelop, on solid foundations, the biblical movement from which the Reformation, now grown schismatic and heretical, had originated."

     Louis Bouyer, The word, church, and sacraments in Protestantism and Catholicism, trans. A. V. Littledale (San Francisco:  Ignatius Press, 2004 [1961, 1960]), 25-26.  Cf. the contrast Bouyer draws between Caraffa (later Pope Paul IV) and Pole on pp. 27-28.

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