Author: Nick Trosclair
Comment: Etienne Gilson (A Gilson Reader, essay “Wisdom and Time”)
Since it refused the authority of the Church, which is Christ Himself, interpreting for us His own word, Protestant theology had to take refuge in philology, as though the teaching of our Savior, having died with Him, was reduced to the meaning of certain words pronounced once upon a time and definable with the aid of grammars and dictionaries. The outcome of this undertaking is well known, and the work of the learned Adolf Harnack is its permanent model: beginning with the Gospels, Christianity is thought of as forming a departure from the teaching of Christ, the whole theology of the Fathers is a contamination of that teaching at the hands of the Hellenic spirit, and the Scholasticism of the middle ages is its final corruption. A strange historical method, surely, whose last word is that the history it is recounting is devoid of meaning and strictly without object! . . . .
Certain that the word of the Church is the word of the living God, the Catholic theologian knows very well that the unfolding of the divine deposit of faith of which the Church is the guardian will come to an end only when time does, and even then the infinite richness of this deposit will not be exhausted. But the Catholic theologian likewise knows that this work of developing, which does not belong to any one man of whatever holiness or genius, belongs in fact to the Church, of which Christ is the head and he is a member. The teaching voice of the Church is alone the judge of the understanding of faith.
Gilson was "one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century". Couple of things to note:
* According to Gilson (a reliable "interpreter" of Roman teaching), "The Roman Catholic Church" = "Christ Himself".
* "... the word of the Roman Catholic Church is the word of the living God".
* The "divine deposit of faith", as spoken by the Apostles, will continue to be "unfolded" (more Roman accretions).
* The teaching voice of the Roman Catholic Church [with its guaranteed clarity provided by "Pope Francis"] is alone the judge of the understanding of faith.