The sickness is “the secularization within the Church”: a widespread loss
of faith caused in part by “theological propositions that have in common a
deformed presentation of the mystery of Christ.”
The cure is precisely that of
restoring life to the profession of faith: “You are the Christ, the Son of the
living God” (Matthew 16:16), in the four areas where it is most seriously
- the interpretation of Scripture,
- Jesus Christ as the only savior of all men,
- the Church as the Body of Christ,
- moral life.
The instruction is organized under these four main headings. In each section, the
document first presents the features of correct Christological doctrine, and
then denounces the theologies that deform it. It denounces the theologies, not
the theologians. The instruction does not target particular authors, but limits
itself to denouncing erroneous tendencies. The names found in the notes that
accompany the text are simply those of theologians already marked out in the
past by doctrinal condemnations and disciplinary sanctions by the Vatican
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith or by the Spanish bishops’
And from the actual document:
2. They are not few who, in the shadow of a nonexistent Council, in terms of both letter and spirit, have sown agitation and disquiet in the hearts of many of the faithful.
13. From the denial of one aspect of the profession of faith, one passes to the total loss of the faith itself, in that by selecting some aspects and refuting others one does not respect the testimony of God, but rather human reasoning. When one alters the profession of faith, the entire Christian life is compromised by this.
19. In some instances the biblical texts are studied and interpreted as if these were nothing more than ancient texts. There is also the application of methods that systematically exclude the possibility of revelation, miracles, and intervention of God. Instead of integrating the contributions of history, philology, and other scholarly disciplines with the faith and the Church’s tradition, frequently the ecclesial interpretation itself is presented as the problem and considered as extraneous, if not opposed, to “scientific exegesis.”
25. The historical-critical method has been abused without a recognition of its limits, and this has gone so far as the assertion that the pre-existence of the divine person of Christ is a mere philosophical deformation of the biblical evidence. [...] The mission of Christ has been understood as a merely earthly event, if not political-revolutionary, thus denying his voluntary death on the cross for mankind.