Pope Francis as Historian

The pope’s historical formulations—about Luther and Jesuit missions—makes this historian wince.

The pope has admitted that he isn’t a theologian while deferring that responsibility to others such as Cardinal Kasper. Actually his teaching experience was in literature and psychology so it makes sense that his historical comments and references are a little sketchy too.

Here’s what Newman said about history.

It is difficult to complete, to finish from history … the living image of Christianity. Confused, inaccurate knowledge is no knowledge. It is the very fault we find with youths under education that they use words without meaning, that they are wanting in precision and distinctness, that they are ignorant of what they know and what they do not know. … Now our difficulty lies in getting beyond this half-knowledge of Christianity, if we make history our teacher; in obtaining from it views serviceable, ready, for belief and practice, whole views, definite answers … measures of its meaning. History is not a creed or a catechism; it gives lessons rather than rules; it does not bring out clearly on the canvass the details which were familiar to the ten thousand minds of whose combined movements it treats. Such is it from its very nature; nor can the defect ever be fully remedied.

Source: Pope Francis as Historian | Bronwen Catherine McShea


About Rob Brock

A Catholic convert with a fire for discipleship, catechesis, and formation that leads to transformed lives in Christ. View all posts by Rob Brock

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