Spring 2023

The Church as Temple of the Spirit: Is There Room for Magisterial Error?

Matthew Levering

1. Introduction

This essay explores how a Church that is truly the temple of the Holy Spirit and is being led by the Spirit into the fullness of Christ’s truth can also be marred by errors. Let me be clear at the outset: I strongly disagree with the religiously liberal “reforms” proposed by theologians such as Hans Küng, Edward Schillebeeckx, and their followers—reforms that would destroy the Catholic Church by contradicting dogmatic truth. Such Catholic religious liberalism is exemplified by Hans Küng’s 2013 book, Can We Save the Catholic Church? Addressing the newly elected Pope Francis, Küng urges him to “[carry] out the long-overdue, radical structural reforms and the urgently needed revision of the obsolete and unfounded theology behind the many problematical dogmatic and ethical positions that his predecessors have attempted to impose upon the Church.” With unconscious irony, Küng places his hope in the power of Pope Francis to bring about the end of “the monarchical-absolutist papacy” and its domination of the Church.


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