Gregory Baum responds with a resounding “yes,” exploring and analyzing key areas where, over the past fifty years, the Church has done just that. Affirming the universality of God’s grace, human rights and religious liberty, the option for the poor, the validity of the ancient covenant with the Jews and a new openness to religious pluralism, official Catholic teaching has undergone profound transformation. Affected by a new historical situation and new reflection on scripture and tradition, the Church’s official teaching has evolved in an extraordinary way.
The Catholic people are beginning to take for granted that the hierarchical Church is a learning as well as a teaching Church: it continually reviews its inherited teaching in dialogue with creative thought summoned forth by the Spirit. For Baum, inconsistencies in the Church are not reason enough to mute his admiration of the development of its official teaching — a Catholicism that is truly at the service of humanity.
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