Gabriel Daly on the Reformation

I am currently reading, and greatly enjoying,Gabriel Daly’s book, Church, Always in need of Reform. It is both erudite and very readable. The following extract gives a flavour of the book. It is part of a chapter on ecumenical relations, and here he is reflecting on the Protestant Reformation:

“When in the sixteenth century western Christians became divided from one another, it was not only mutual love and unity that were damaged. Truth and the integrity of faith were fractured too, because the self-righteous hostility resulting from division suppressed any inclination to examine the truth in the other’s position. Each side in the divide between Protestants and Catholics proclaimed itself to be unquestionably right and the other side in mortal error. One of the most unfortunate – we can properly call it sinful – result of historical developments following the Reformation and Counter Reformation was the institutionalising of difference. Exclusion of the other became part of the self-understanding and self-definition of both sides. Each defined itself with self-conscious virtue in terms of what it rejected in the other. Loyalty was to one’s own church rather than to the truth.”