Orthodoxy as Power

To talk of some kind of ultimate or universal orthodoxy as if it meant possessing a theoretical perspective from which the entire human world could be viewed and decisively understood, a system with pigeon-holes for every person and situation we might ever encounter — this is in fact the ultimate ideological sclerosis — orthodoxy as a power mechanism; and it is this which produces the sharpest revolts against traditional paradigms. All that a religious orthodoxy ought to claim is that it is a way of access to certain patterns of human living and dying that are — irrespective of even the most far-reaching shifts in historical understanding — ‘fundamental’ in concern and orientation. (15-16)

Rowan Williams | “What is Catholic Orthodoxy?” in Essays Catholic and Radical


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