2008 Conference - The Battle for the FaithDeep in History

Reconstructionism: A Look at Non-Catholic Traditions – Fr. Ray Ryland

August 3, 2017 No Comments

In a lecture from the 2008 Deep in History Conference, Fr. Ray Ryland looks at the relationship between separated Eastern Churches and the Catholic Church- what they share in common regarding apostolic succession and the sacraments, as well as what barriers to unity exist among them. He looks at how attempts to repair the relationship between Catholicism and Eastern Christianity can serve as a paradigm for efforts toward apostolic unity with other Christian denominations.

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Study Questions:

-Fr. Ryland says that all non-Catholic traditions are essentially Reconstructionist. What problems occur as the result of Reconstructionism?

-Why is the “gist” or “essence” of Catholicism continuity? Why does Fr. Ryland believe the “gist” of all non-Catholic Christian traditions discontinuity? Has the desire for a church with “historical continuity” made a difference in your faith journey?

-Why does Fr. Ryland conclude that “Eastern Orthodoxy” has no united church?

-What is the result of sola scriptura, according to Fr. Ryland? Why does Divine Revelation necessitate authority?


Reconstructionism: The appeal of believers to a “Golden Age” of authentic Christianity, which they have chosen to recapture (Utopianism). Reconstructionists are highly selective in what they retain from the “Golden Age” they have chosen, appeal to a new and unfounded authority, presuppose a decay or corruption in the church which they claim to have corrected, include innovations and features that were not present in the “Golden Age” to which they appeal, and appeal to discontinuity (a break with the past to blaze a new path).