Vatican Council: The Uses of Ambiguity

In seeking to resolve the arguments of its progressive and conservative forces, the Second Vatican Council has frequently pressed into service that invaluable tool of consensus, ambiguity. Last week the bishops approved two major documents that show the strain of compromise and revision: the schema on revelation and the declaration of religious liberty.*

The decree on revelation was intended to resolve one of the most troublesome of Roman Catholic theological issues: whether God's word is contained wholly in Scripture or whether some truths are also found in "tradition," the teachings passed down orally in the church from...

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