With the arrogance of youth, I determined to do no less than to transform the world with Beauty. If I have succeeded in some small way, if only in one small corner of the world, amongst the men and women I love, then I shall count myself blessed, and blessed, and blessed, and the work goes on. -- William Morris

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Henri de Lubac Quote

You may say: You paint the Church in fine colors, you behold it in its ideal form, such as it should be, such as God desires it to be--such as it is in your dreams....

To which I answer: No. I depict her--far from well indeed--such as she is in her mystery, that is to say, in her most real reality--but as faith sees her. I do not deny the ills of various orders, the moral order or any other, which at all times have affected her, which affect her today in each one of us. Indeed, I affirm them, I proclaim them, I declare the paradox and scandal to which they give rise and which are inherent in her very constitution.

As for describing these ills in detail, exhibiting these wounds, that would contribute nothing to our knowledge of the mystery of the Church. That must be left, then, in so far as their particular task demands it, either to historians, to deal with the past, or to preachers to deal with the present, if they think it useful, or to investigators, "sociologists" or other reformers. Much more should it be left to good spiritual advisers--they are not in the habit of shouting aloud in the main squares. Anything else would only be facile scandal-mongering and ill-considered criticism.

And then, the Church is all of us. So she is I as well. By what right should I leave myself out of the picture? Now, I have no desire to make a public confession.

--Henri de Lubac (1896-1991), Paradoxes of Faith, translated by Ernest Beaumont (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1987), 233-234. This selection comes from de Lubac's Nouveaux Paradoxes (1955). I have altered the translation of pronouns referring to the Church in order to capture better de Lubac's own approach towards the Church.

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