Theology without Anathemas
The object of the present essay is to establish the possibility of “theology without anathemas.” First, an argument is given for the conclusion that infallible knowledge in matters of theology is not now possible. Both the Protestant doctrine of claritas scripturae and the Roman Catholic understanding of the Magisterium of the Church are rejected. Then, an alternative, “fallibilist” ecclesiology is proposed, according to which (knowingly) to belong to the Church is a matter of (understanding oneself as) having been claimed by Christ as His own. When combined with a universal doctrine of election and a highly objective and actualized doctrine of the Atonement, such a conception of the Church makes it possible to understand theology as a collaborative and cooperative effort on the part of all to understand better this Christ to whom they all always already belong.