Priest urges Church to reject the “heresy of triumphalism”


Fr Tomáš Halík, a renowned Czech theologian and philosopher, says the Catholic Church should shed the “heresy of triumphalism” and foster a more synodal approach to evangelisation in today’s secular climate.

Halík recently participated in a synodal gathering convened by the Vatican, highlighting concerns over parish priests’ exclusion from previous synodal sessions and stressing the importance of their involvement in decision-making processes.

“We see ourselves as a societes perfecta”, a perfect society that is too self-sufficient, said Halík.

Addressing the prevalent culture of clericalism, Halík commends Pope Francis’ efforts. But he also drew attention to what he sees as “ecclesial triumphalism”.

“Ecclesial triumphalism” he said, is a prideful, widespread attitude defined by a Catholicism that is closed off from the world around it.

In an address to the parish priests attending the synodal gathering, Halík lamented that “some Christians, alarmed by the rapid changes of the world, want to make the church an island of unchanging certainties”.

“There are still places where the parish priest sees himself as the pope of his parish.

“The church confers the gift of infallibility on only one of its members, and then only under strictly limited conditions” he continued.

“And if even a pope relies on several consultative councils to help him make his decisions, how much more should a parish priest listen to those he has been sent to serve?”

Self-castration of the Catholic Church

Underscoring the diverse perspectives within the Church, Halík encouraged candid discussions on various contentious issues including LGBTQ inclusion and married priests.

Halík stressed the importance of embracing diversity and engaging with secular society. He criticised calls for withdrawal from the world as anti-Catholic, advocating for openness and universality.

“No wonder these people have an affinity for [Vladimir] Putin, [Viktor] Orban etc.” he added.

“This type of closed Catholicism always has an affinity with totalitarian and authoritarian systems. To choose this way is the self-castration of the Catholic Church.”

The synod process initiated by Francis, Halík said, takes incredible courage.

“He is not a progressive theologian, but he is a very wise pastor. He has empathy and humour, and an open heart, combined with the Jesuit strategy to go step by step.”

Halík said there are those throughout the church, including in his home country, who are simply waiting for another pope to succeed Francis in hopes of a course correction.

“I think it is not possible” he said. “They are changes that are unchangeable, and he has opened the way.”


National Catholic Reporter

CathNews New Zealand


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