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PLURALISM, THEOLOGICAL

The multiplicity of theological positions present within the Catholic Church. These positions vary according to which premises or postulates are used in reflecting on the sources of revelation, according to the methodology employed, and according to the cultural tradition within which theology does its speculation. On the first bases, the two principal philosophical premises are the Platonic, stressed in Augustinianaism; and the Aristotelian, emphasized in Thomism. On the second level, theologies differ in terms of their mainly biblical, or doctrinal, or historical, or pastoral methodology. And on the third basis, the culture of a people helps to shape the theology they develop, as between the more mystical East and the more practical West, or the more reflective Mediterranean and the more scientific Anglo-Saxon. The Church not only permits these diversities but encourages them, always assuming that theologians who are Catholic are also respectful of the rule of faith and obedient to the magisterium of the hierarchy under the Bishop of Rome.

All items in this dictionary are from Fr. John Hardon's Modern Catholic Dictionary, © Eternal Life. Used with permission.

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