I would like to propose an extension to Pope Emeritus Benedict’s “Hermeneutic of Continuity:” a Hermeneutic of Love.
Here’s my working definition: I will not pretend to understand any text I read until I can be sure that I am striving to love the author and treat the author as a real person, potentially my brother, my eternal friend.
The Hermeneutic of Suspicion was needed, to learn to interpret texts as human things (as distinguished from the Word), to pull the veil back from a Hermeneutic of Credulity. To interpret texts based merely on some posited authority is to engage in power.
The problem with Nietzsche’s insights, and those of Marx, Freud and the rest, is that the interpretation is still based in power. And the power is shifting: away from the Church, away from Western culture, at the “sagging end and chapter’s close [David Jones].” But to some extent, we Churchmen are simply getting what we dished out first.
It will perhaps take a very long time for Western culture to identify all of the evasive half-truths that the habit of empire has planted in us. Love will speed this up.
Today, Progressives take great care not to act imperiously toward other cultures, except toward our own, and especially our own in the past. So Progressivism escapes one type of imperialism but engages instead in a temporal imperialism, empowering its adherents to consider everything that happened yesterday as done by enemies worthy of spite or even silencing.
You can attend Catholic Masses that make use of five different languages from four continents.
But Ecclesiastical Latin is frequently verboten. Isn’t this just a type of exclusion, of silencing those who cannot defend themselves? Isn’t the rejection of the past, of continuity, simply an exercise of brute power over the utterly powerless?
What if the use of Ecclesiastical Latin could be an act of love, akin to the courtesy we show the speakers of Polish, Tagalog and Vietnamese?
Love your enemies. This makes you like God.