A journal of academic theology

The “Hierarchy” of Truths in a New Context

This article revisits the debate leading to the inclusion of the notion of a “hierarchy” of truths in the Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism to show that it not only concerns the presentation of Catholic doctrine in ecumenical dialogue but that it extends to all of Catholic teaching and practice and ought to serve as a guiding principle in the assessment of ecumenical agreements. Further, it argues that the soteriological criterion or horizon for properly weighing the truths of faith has yet to be fully received. The recent recognition of consensus on the basic truths relating to the doctrine of God’s saving grace between Lutheran, Anglican, Methodist, Reformed, and Catholic Communions represented by the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification has brought us into a new context, one that invites a more intentional application of this principle for the mutual recognition of shared faith.
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