Friday, April 29, 2005
Benedict XVI is a "conservative" not because he wants to return to an earlier era, and not because he thinks progress is impossible, but because he understands that for progress to take place it must build on what has already been learned rather than rejecting it. Progress implies a goal. And as Chesterton pointed out more than a century ago, you can't have progress if the goal keeps moving. We live in a society that has glorified change for its own sake. Suggest that a given change might possibly be bad, and you find yourself branded a "conservative." And in a society that has abandoned a shared vision of truth, slurs and labels are our most powerful weapons, because rational disagreement has become impossible.
by Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna
Faith and life, truth and life, I and we are inseparable, and it is only in the context of a life shared with a 'we' of believers in the 'we' of the Church that faith reveals its logic, its organic structure. Doubtless the question will arise here: Where do I find the Church? Where can I experience her as she really is, apart from her official teaching and her sacramental system? This question can cause genuine anguish. And yet-today, beside the parish, where the Church is normally so experienced, there are also arising in increasing numbers newly formed communities that are direct offshoots of the jointly held faith to which they give in return the freshness of immediate experience. Communio e Liberazione is one such group where the Church is experienced as Church where the way is laid open for a closer association with Jesus and a deeper understanding of his teaching. If such a movement is to remain healthy and become truly fruitful, two aspects must be held in equal balance. On the one hand, such a community must be genuinely Catholic, that is, it must bear within itself the life and faith of the universal Church of every time and place and must let itself be formed according to this model. If its roots are not deep in this common ground, it will become sectarian and meaningless. On the other hand, however, the universal Church will become abstract and lacking in reality if, here and now, in this time and place, she is not represented in a concrete living community. It is, then, the task of such movements to live a true and deep Catholicism in their individual 'communities', of whatever kind they may be, even if this necessarily imposes restrictions on what they regard as peculiar to themselves. If they do this, they will bear fruit because they will themselves be Church, a place where faith is born and, consequently, a place where it is also reborn into the truth.Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Auf Christus schauen, pp. 40-41
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
In Mary’s Yes to the birth of God’s Son from her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, Mary places her body, her whole self, at God’s disposal to do with as he pleases. Her Yes puts her will in perfect conformity with the will of the Son. Her Yes makes possible the Incarnation of Jesus. If God is to have entry into our world and be borne there, Mary’s Yes, this conformity of our will with God’s will, must be repeated again and again. On the Cross, this conformity of wills finds its definitive expression... On the Cross, this readiness is put to the proof and precisely the darkness in which Mary stands engulfed reflects the fullness of the identity of her will with that of Jesus. Faith is a community formed by the Cross, and it is only on the Cross that it achieves its full perfection.
Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Dresdener Katholikentreffen, July 10, 1987, Deutsche Tagespost, September 19, 1987
FT, The Public Square - While We're At It
“Oh, not that old line again.” Such is the frequent response when the claim is made that the demolition of the marriage-based family really began with the widespread acceptance of artificial contraception and its separation of sex from procreation. Now, however, “that old line” is getting new and more respectful attention. Soft Patriarchs, New Men: How Christianity Shapes Fathers and Husbands has been receiving well-deserved praise (see review, FT March). The author is W. Bradford Wilcox, a sociologist at the University of Virginia, and he connects his argument to the question of contraception in an article in the ecumenical magazine Touchstone, “The Facts of Life and Marriage: Social Science and the Vindication of Christian Moral Teaching.” He notes the well-orchestrated opposition to Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical on human sexuality, Humanae Vitae, and contends that current scholarship debunks the opponents and underscores the prescience of the Pope in foreseeing the consequences of contraception. From the Bible through the Didache and the sixteenth-century Protestant Reformers, Christians were unanimous in affirming the integral relationship between love, sex, and openness to new life. The first break in the tradition came with the approval of contraception by the Church of England in 1930. All these years later, Wilcox is encouraged by a changing scholarly consensus on marriage and family, but also by a rethinking of contraception among Christians. “There is a new openness among Evangelical Protestant scholars and leaders to the truth and wisdom of the ancient Christian teaching against contraception. Among others, Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Seminary, Reformed Theological Seminary professor Harold O. J. Brown, and Evangelical theologian J. I. Packer have raised serious concerns about the moral permissibility and social consequences of contraception.” He quotes Mohler who wrote in these pages: “Thirty years of sad experience demonstrate that Humanae Vitae [correctly] sounded the alarm, warning of a contraceptive mentality that would set loose immeasurable evil as modern birth control methods allowed seemingly risk-free sex outside the integrity of the marital bond. At the same time, it allowed married couples to completely sever the sex act from procreation, and God’s design for the marital bond. . . . Standing against the spirit of the age, evangelicals and Roman Catholics must affirm that children are God’s good gift and blessings to the marital bond. Further, we must affirm that marriage falls short of God’s design when husband and wife are not open to the gift and stewardship of children.” The radical destabilizing of sexual morality in recent decades, Wilcox notes, has had devastating consequences for the poor, for whom all of life, including family life, is precarious. This, he says, is the moment for Christian scholars and leaders of all kinds to take the lead in proposing a better way. “We must make it crystal clear that the church’s commitment to the poor requires nothing less than a vigorous proclamation of the church’s true and beautiful teaching about sex and marriage. In other words, we must make it clear that the preferential option for the poor begins in the home.”
Here is an address delivered at the C.S. Lewis Centennial Celebration, Seattle, Washington, June 1998.
This is one of the best, if not the very best, short introduction to the thought of C.S. Lewis that I ever have read. This is Kreeft at his finest.
I would love to compare and contrast the thought of Lewis, Balthasar, and Giussani. This will take a life-time of study and prayer. My limited intellect is not compatible of such a task, but with Our Lady anything is possible.
Another task, which I've been thinking and reading about over the last few years, is writing an academic article on Our Lady's role in the Universal Call the Holiness, Ecclesiology and Ecumenism. My own experience of leading School of Community in the Bible Belt and my own conversation with don Giussani on Our Lady is the reason why I feel this is so important for our time in these days.
Lastly I desire to write a book on the leading figures of the Ressourcement. One could give basic bios and then reference to their major works. It would serve as an introductory text to lead others to pick up and read these modern masters of Catholic thought. A library of books have been written about individual thinkers, but not one considering the whole body of thinkers. Nothing like this has ever been done (providing the big picture) that I am aware of, but it's needed in my opinion. Does this sound reasonable?
Monday, April 25, 2005
I disagree with this TIME's article. I'm glad that the funeral of don Gius was mentioned there, but it wasn't part of a campaign to be the next Pope. I was there in the flesh at the funeral... I could have touched Cardinal Ratzinger when he processed by our row, which was very near the front. My friend, in fact, did touch the casket of don Gius. The focus was not on Cardinals Ratzinger nor Tettamanzi, but on the memory of don Giussani. As the late Pope John Paul II told Msgr. Albacete, "There will be many more popes, but only one Fr. Giussani." If you want to know what really happened there and exactly who said what, read the current issue of Traces, which is entirely on-line.
'Ratzinger’s long religious life is literally an open book, since he’s written extensively. But two people who have read his works closely -- including University of Scranton theology professor James Brian Benestad, who met Ratzinger last year – warn that the works are subtle and deep. Highlighting a handful of statements and using them to reconstruct the new pope, they say, gives a false image.
As the Rev. Charles Parthum at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church in Wilkes-Barre noted, the conservative tone of one of Ratzinger’s writings “dismayed” him at first, but after review, he saw “the subtle distinctions that he intended. That may be a problem — a modern world of instantaneous communications is not accustomed to subtle nuance, and does not often provide the opportunity for second and third readings.”
Benestad, who has studied Ratzinger’s works for decades, is convinced Benedict XVI will surprise most people. “I think he will overwhelm you with his brilliance. You’re going to see how well-organized and well-ordered he is, and his goodness will come across too. This is an extraordinary human being.” '
My “conversion” to dialogue originated in a sort of “bottoming out.” It came with the publication of my biography of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, issued by Continuum in 2000 and entitled The Vatican’s Enforcer of the Faith. The first major review appeared in Commonweal, authored by another of my distinguished predecessors in this lecture series, Fr. Joseph Komonchak. It was not, let me be candid, a positive review. Fr. Komonchak pointed out a number of shortcomings and a few errors, but the line that truly stung came when he accused me of “Manichean journalism.” He meant that I was locked in a dualistic mentality in which Ratzinger was consistently wrong and his critics consistently right. I was initially crushed, then furious. I re-read the book with Fr. Komonchak’s criticism in mind, however, and reached the sobering conclusion that he was correct. The book – which I modestly believe is not without its merits – is nevertheless too often written in a “good guys and bad guys” style that vilifies the cardinal. It took Fr. Komonchak pointing this out, publicly and bluntly, for me to ask myself, ‘Is this the kind of journalist I want to be’? My answer was no, and I hope that in the years since I have come to appreciate more of those shades of gray that Fr. Komonchak rightly insists are always part of the story. (I will not embarrass Fr. Komonchak by asking for his evaluation of my performance!)
Sunday, April 24, 2005
Saturday, April 23, 2005
On the subject of Ratzinger's successor at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, at least four names have been suggested in recent days: Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, Austria, who was one of the proponents of Ratzinger's election to the papacy; Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone of Genoa, Ratzinger's former deputy at the congregation; Archbishop Bruno Forte of Chieti-Vasto, a well-known Italian theologian and frequent Vatican advisor; and Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, a widely respected intellectual.
George is considered something of a longshot, since Benedict XVI may prefer to leave him in the United States, where he is currently the vice-president of the American bishops' conference and will presumably become the president at the end of the current term. In that capacity, he would be positioned to perhaps the most important point of reference for the pope in the American church.
One other rumor making the rounds is that Benedict XVI may simply decide to direct the congregation himself, as Pius XII, a veteran of the Vatican diplomatic corps, did with the secretariat of state. Others regard this is a remote possibility, since the pope may not want to take on this responsibility himself.
* * *
Joseph Ratzinger recounts his ordination on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul in Freising, Germany, in 1951, and his first years as a parish priest and then completing his doctorate while teaching at the seminary.
Friday, April 22, 2005
This is, of course, in perfect continuity with John Paul's favored passage from Gaudium et Spes that Christ--who is the way, the truth, and the life--is the revelation of man to himself. If Christ is the truth about everyone and every thing, then the way forward is by following the way of Christ. This is the genuine progressivism proposed to the Church and the world by John Paul and by Benedict. The Church does not seek to be counter-cultural, but it is unavoidably counter to the modern mindset in proposing that fidelity and continuity, not autonomy and novelty, are the paths toward a more promising future...
In this respect, he will be carrying forward the work of John Paul the Great in bringing together again the great themes of the Second Vatican Council: ressourcement and aggiornamento. The reappropriation of the tradition and the conversation with the contemporary world are not two agendas, one dubbed conservative and the other liberal, but the two essential dimensions of the renewal of the Church.
And, if the Council is right in saying that the Church is the sacrament of the world, the renewal of Church is the way toward the renewal of the world, as the first Benedict believed and so powerfully demonstrated.
Thursday, April 21, 2005
I have all the transcripts from Msgr. Albacete's appearances on the Charlie Rose Show & multiple CNN shows (American Morning, Paula Zahn, Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees, Breaking News, & Insight) within the last week... The man must be sleeping in the CNN studios! E-mail me if you want them, 20+ pages of great material.
As a close friend and I were talking about on the phone today, stay alert to when Msgr. Albacete talks about Ratzinger's thought on "creative minorities."
Msgr. Albacete goes on to say in several of these interviews that if you really want to understand Ratzinger's thought then you must go to his book, Introductions to Christianity. Wow, I just lead our CL Advent and Lenten Retreats off this exact book. The only way one can explain that is by a great undeserved gift of grace from Our Lady. Much like don Giussani's Trilogy, this book is his college lectures on the faith.
In this book he states the number one problem with Christianity today is that it is not convincing as a way of life that is fully human. And the church has nothing more to do than to deal with this problem... St. Benedict, the founder of western monasticism, is credited by everyone... of bringing out a new civilization of humanism, of bringing out of Europe a new humanism. And I think this is the man's obsession. This is his concern. And this is what I think he will promote: lifestyles of convincing humanism among Christian communities.
Avery Cardinal Dulles summarized the witness of John Paul in the phrase "prophetic humanism." The Ratzinger of the past gave--and the Benedict of the future, will, I expect, continue to give--voice to a more explicit and insistent Christocentric humanism. This is not to say that John Paul was not Christocentric. There were few passages from the Council that he quoted more often than declaration from Gaudium et Spes that Jesus Christ is not only the revelation of God to man but the revelation of man to himself. The suggested contrast between John Paul and Benedict is not a disagreement, but Ratzinger's accent has been more explicitly on the crucified Christ and the necessarily cruciform experience of the Church through time... It has been suggested that the different accents may reflect the fact that Ratzinger is more Augustinian in his theology while John Paul was more of a Thomist.Pope Benedict XVI did do his doctrorate dissertation on Augustine. Here is a Communio article by Pope B16 on Augustine.
Macleans - Toronto, ON, Canada
Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete, national spiritual director of the Communion and Liberation movement in the United States, offered a different view. For John Paul, he argued, the most important form of communication was live theatre, because it was an encounter not only with the words but with the body of the other.
John Paul, who as a young man had trained in the theatre, believed that the whole person was engaged in the encounter, which made it truly human. Later in life, John Paul lived his pontificate most fully not in his teaching documents, but in the "live theatre" of the liturgy, his audiences and his travels. As the crowds queued up to see his body, I was much taken with that insight.
TV keeps focus on white smoke
Orlando Sentinel - Orlando,FL,USA
On MSNBC, Chris Matthews saw an interesting sign in the new pope's choice of his name, because the last Benedict was a peacemaker during World War I. But on CNN, Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete pointed to St. Benedict as the probable inspiration.
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Both Ratzinger and then Karol Wojtyla were key architects of the Second Vatican Council. In this vein, Pope Benedict noted that, “With the Great Jubilee the Church was introduced into the new millennium carrying in her hands the Gospel, applied to the world through the authoritative re-reading of Vatican Council II.”
“Pope John Paul II”, he said, “justly indicated the Council as a 'compass' with which to orient ourselves in the vast ocean of the third millennium. Also in his spiritual testament he noted: ' I am convinced that for a very long time the new generations will draw upon the riches that this council of the 20th century gave us'.”
* * *
From John Allen Jr.
The year was 1987, and Jesuit Fr. Joseph Fessio was not in the best frame of mind for a reunion in Rome with his mentor and old friend, Joseph Ratzinger.
Fessio had sought out Ratzinger when the latter was a professor of dogmatic theology in Regensburg, Germany, in the 1970s, and under his direction wrote a dissertation on Hans Urs von Balthasar (a Swiss Catholic philosopher/theologian, and a hero to those who believe that liberals hijacked the church on a false reading of Vatican II).
The two men stayed in touch after Fessio returned to the United States and began working at the Jesuit-run University of San Francisco. Fessio's pugnacious style did not always endear him to his colleagues, and by 1987 he had been canned as the director of the university's St. Ignatius Institute.
Fessio was still director of the Ignatius Press, a publishing house. Its signature title was The Ratzinger Report, which sold 50,000 copies for the press.
The university had previously decided it didn't want to be affiliated with Ignatius Press, which likewise had no ties to the San Francisco archdiocese. That left Fessio to explain to Ratzinger that his publishing house -- the one to whom the cardinal had signed over all his American rights -- had no structural ties to the Catholic church at all.
Ratzinger, according to Fessio, listened sympathetically to the story, including Fessio's decision to incorporate separately from both the university and the archdiocese. At the end, Ratzinger's eyes twinkled as he said: "Ah, because of this double independence, you can remain orthodox." As a joke, the remark works better in German, but it speaks volumes about Ratzinger the man: his graciousness, his quick wit and, clearly, his concern with orthodoxy.
After the conclave, Benedict said, "'I'd like you all to stay for dinner and we'll have a convivial dinner together,' " Murphy-O'Connor said.
"And indeed we did ... and in he comes, all dressed up. I often wondered what he felt, really. So anyway, we gave him a great clap, we had a very pleasant dinner with some champagne to drink a toast. Then we tried some songs. It was very difficult when you have about a hundred different languages to get one song ... and then he went to rest."
Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete was on Charlie Rose tonight, talking about Pope Benedict XVI, and he did his usual, impressive, hillarious job. There are a few things that I'll probably comment on, but this will do for starters: Rose asked Albacete about the desire of many for a third-world pope, and Msgr (himself a Hispanic) acknowledged it. But then he offered this analogy: Imagine that you are a member of a large family, with a large family's bickerings, etc. At some point you or someone you are especially close to in the family develops a brain tumor; who are you going to call, the family counselor or the expert surgeon who knows brain tumors inside and out? The latter, of course. And that is Pope Benedict. We'll have to wait and see if he has a song & dance (we know he can play the piano!), but that's irrelevant right now: he is the man most capable of diagnosing and prescribing what is necessary for humanity at this time in history. Thus sayeth Msgr. Lorenzo Albacete, and I wholeheartedly agree with him.
Communio has created a special webpage of articles from Pope Benedict XVI. It's worth checking it out as well.
Yesterday when I got home from work, my Winter 2004 issue of Communio had just came in the mail. I looked at the Index and what did I see? An article from Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger - Funeral Homily for Monsignor Luigi Gissani (1922-2005). He is no stranger to Communio by any stretch of the imagination, but what is the chance of this issue arriving on the day he is elected to be Pope, not to mention, the content of his piece? This was no accident and I thank Our Lady for an overflowing amount of grace on this day.
I would like to quote a portion of the Introduction by Adrian Walker (Associate Editor 0f Communio)
We publish here the homily given by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger at the funeral of Msgr. Luigi Giussani, who died in Milan on 22 February 2005. Msgr. Giussani, founder of the ecclesial movement Communion and Liberation and longtime friend of Communio, was one of the most significant figures in the post-conciliar renewal of Catholic thought and life. Next is a brief 'Obituary for Louis Bouyer (1913-2004)' by Jean-Robert Armogathe, who notes the passing of one of the great pioneers of theological ressourcement in twentieth-century Catholic theology. Since 2004 is also the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Madeleine Delbrel, we have chose to publish her short 'Spiritual Will and Testament,' which sums up the themes of her thought and mission. In 'A Doctor Reflects on Suffering,' Daniele Alberti reflects simply and movingly on his experience with sick children, explaining how the challenge facing the doctor is not simply to make their pain go away, but to help them find meaning in their pain in union with Christ. Finally, Jean-Rodolphe Kars closes the issue on a note of joy in 'Joy in the Compositions of Olivier Messiaen,' which shows how the composer's life and work were possessed by a deep conviction that the great fact on which the world hangs is God's happiness in himself, in the trinitarian bliss that no evil can dim. It is joy that saves the world, as Luigi Giussani, Madeleine Delbrel, and Louis Bouyer testified in their different ways.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
The simplicity with which the new Pope Benedict XVI has presented himself to the Roman people and the entire world demonstrates the truth and humanity of his faith and his proposal: Christ.
Together with the entire Church, we accompany him, as he has asked us, entrusting ourselves to Mary, "who is on our side."
Fr. Julian Carron
Communion and Liberation
* * *
Pope Benedict's XVI's 1st Public Greeting
"A Simple, Humble Worker in the Lord's Vineyard"
VATICAN CITY, APRIL 19, 2005 (Zenit.org).- German Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, dean of the College of Cardinals, was elected Pope today, the second day of the conclave, and has taken the name Benedict XVI.
Here is a translation of his first greeting, which he gave from the balcony of the facade of St. Peter's Basilica.
* * *
Dear Brothers and Sisters:
After the great Pope, John Paul II, the Lord Cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble worker in the Lord's vineyard. I am consoled by the fact that the Lord is able to work and act with insufficient instruments and, above all, I rely on your prayers.
In the joy of the risen Lord, confident of his permanent help, let us go forward. The Lord will help us. Mary, his Most Holy Mother, is on our side. Thank you.
* * *
[Translation by ZENIT]
In August, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger sent a message to the Communion and Liberation (CL) Meeting at Rimini 24-30 August on the theme, 'The Feeling of Things, the Contemplation of Beauty'. Cardinal Ratzinger commented on the need for the Church to restore the beautiful to a central place. "I have often affirmed my conviction that the true apology of Christian faith, the most convincing demonstration of its truth against every denial, are the saints, and the beauty that the faith has generated. Today, for faith to grow, we must lead ourselves and the persons we meet to encounter the saints and to enter into contact with the Beautiful. Now however, we still have to respond to an objection. We have already rejected the assumption which claims that what has just been said is a flight into the irrational, into mere aestheticism. Rather, it is the opposite that is true: this is the very way in which reason is freed from dullness and made ready to act". Here is a translation of his message.
TRACES - The complete text of the interview with Pope Benedict XVI (formerly Cardinal Ratzinger) for the documentary on the fiftieth anniversary of CL. Pope Benedict XVI also gave the homily for Msgr. Giussani's funeral. An older piece of his is provided for you on this post - "Cardinal Ratzinger on Movements".
Monday, April 18, 2005
The New York Times has an interesting article on the first vote and the process leading up to it. The article has been changed since it was originally posted on the web. For example, one paragraph which was deleted stated "Alberto Monticone, a professor of modern history at Lumsa Catholic University in Rome, called [Cardinal Ratzinger's] comments 'a very clear indication of what in his view the attitude of the next pope should be - an an attitude of struggle against these evils of the world.'" Another paragraph that was deleted (it happened to be the most beautiful part in the entire article in my opinion) quoted Brother Felix who was in Rome for studies. He stated "the whole election is a prayer... They pray that their human voting is led from the Holy Spirit."
Ignatius Insight has posted another article by Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger entitled "On the Papacy, John Paul II, and the Nature of the Church". TCRnews has just posted an older article by Cardinal Ratzinger as well entitled "The Primacy of Peter In the Mystery of the Church."
An earlier post on this topic is here - "Three cardinals emphasize collegiality by John Allen Jr."
Sunday, April 17, 2005
From Called To Communion: Understanding the Church Today
Editor's note: This is the second half of a chapter titled "The Primacy of Peter and Unity of the Church." The first half examines the status of Peter in the New Testament and the commission logion contained in Matthew 16:17-19.
His Love for and Witness to Muslims and All Mankind
Legacy of a spiritual master who loved the desert
Spirituality of Brother Charles
Brother Charles' Apostle of Ecumenism
"Retreat" by Dorothy Day recounting life of Charles de Foucauld
Brother Charles' Prayer of Abandonment
Excerpts from the Pope's discourses in Tunisia
Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor... described the Holy Father as a "man of deep prayer" who "had a conviction of God's providence running through his life... He was always the still center, who radiated the serenity that comes from a life of prayer."
Cardinal Francis George... commented: "Karol Wojtyla was a person who held the office of the papacy in a way that transformed it." In trying to account for the impact that John Paul II had on so many people, Cardinal George explained: "He was a man steeped in the tradition that unites us to Christ; he was also a man of his own time, our time, who understood contemporary experience even as he subjected it to criticisms that echoed Jesus' own criticisms of his society 2,000 years ago."
An acknowledgment of the spiritual role of John Paul II also came from Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne Jr. [He] observed that "If John Paul stood for one large thing, it was primacy of the spiritual over the material." Commentators on the Pope, Dionne noted, "will inevitably debate the meaning of his legacy in the secular terms that so dominate our times. We should try to remember that these were not the terms on which he lived his life."
GODSPY - John Paul II, a religious poet and lifelong man of the theater, was passionately convinced that poets, writers, sculptors, painters, architects, musicians and actors had a crucial role to play in “the new evangelization” of the world by David Scott.
Saturday, April 16, 2005
April 15: Papal Odds - Rome Diary ~ Richard John Neuhaus Reports from Rome
As of this writing, Ratzinger is, according to the rumor mills, very much in the lead, with 40 or 50 electors indicating their support. The main mills are run by the Italian newspapers and especially by Corriere della Sera. It is reluctantly admitted by other reporters that the Italian papers have the edge in getting inside information, the claim being that they are on the good side of a talkative cardinal or two.
This Hemisphere of Liberty: A Philosophy of the Americas
(Washington, D.C.: AEI Press, 1990 & 1992)
To call attention to the distinctive complex of mental tendencies that speaks to the... American condition, in this book Michael Novak coins the phrase "the Catholic Whig tradition." Lord Acton called Thomas Aquinas the first Whig. The ancient Whig pedigree, far older than the now defunct British and American parties of that name, includes Bellarmine, Alexis de Tocqueville, Acton himself, Jacques Maritain, Yves R. Simon, and others. Catholic Whigs, like Progressives, believe in the dignity of the human person, in human liberty, in institutional reform, in gradual progress. But they also have a deep respect for language, law, liturgy, custom, habit, and tradition that marks them, simultaneously, as conservatives. With the conservatives, the Catholic Whigs have an awareness of the force of cultural habit and the role of passion and sin in human affairs. With the liberals, they give central importance to human liberty, especially the slow building of institutions of liberty. The Catholic Whigs see liberty as ordered liberty - not the liberty to do what one wishes, but the liberty to do what one ought.In 1990 (or 89?) there was Communio conference at Notre Dame entitled "Nature, Grace and Culture: On Being Catholic in America." Our Sunday Visitor Books published a book of essays edited by David L. Schindler from this conference. It's title is Catholicism and Secularization in America, but unforunately it's out of print. It's an incredible book with essays from Louis Bouyer, Louis Dupre, Walter Kasper, Glenn W. Olsen, Kenneth L. Schimitz and of course David L. Schindler. Michael Novak also gave a paper at this conference (it's included in the book as well) entitled "Priority of Person, Priority of Community." In this paper he also specifically addresses the Catholic Whig Tradition.
Considering this is Novak's own term describing "his" tradition, why not use this term (Catholic Whig or Whig Thomist) to describe those who favor the positions which he and many others (i.e. Frs. Richard John Neuhaus & Robert A. Sirico, George Weigel, etc.) advocate for? The Acton Inst. picked up this term and uses it regularly since Novak first "coined" it. I think it's more appropriate than Neocon or Theocon. When describing Schindler's camp, I agree with Tracey Rowland that we should use the term "Augustinian Thomists" in lieu of Dr. Lowery's term of "Cultural Radicals."
Would you not agree? I would like to set this as the ground-rules for discussing these two camps of orthodox Catholic thinkers for this blog.
The Confession of the Saints by by Adrienne von Speyr. In this excerpt from her classic book Confession, the Swiss convert and mystic Adrienne von Speyr contemplates the sacrament of confession in light of the Cross and the example of several great saints.
Pittsburgh station fires talk host for caller's questioning papacy
Just how crazy in love with John Paul II are evangelical Protestants? They're punishing people for questioning the papacy. Pittsburgh's WORD, an affiliate of Salem Broadcasting, has announced the firing of afternoon drive talk show host Marty Minto. His offense? He "entertained a caller's question about whether the late Pope John Paul II would go to heaven."
"WORD-FM needs to function in this city in support of the entire church — that means everybody — and not focus on denominational issues," general manager Chuck Gratner explained to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.
Minto told the paper, "I made it clear that the discussion was not an attack on the character of the pope but, rather, a look at the teachings — not only of John Paul, but the Catholic Church in general." Shows last week had discussions on Marian devotion, purgatory, and other Catholic doctrines. It was the kind of stuff that pretty much everyone was talking about.
But WORD was apparently distressed mostly about that heaven question.
"I said the question of whether a person is born again is something personal, something between an individual and the Creator," said Minto, who also pastors a small storefront church. "I believe it was a legitimate topic to discuss. … As far as I'm concerned, I was doing what I've always done on the radio — look at events around the world from a biblical perspective. I've always been willing to talk about controversial subjects."
His bosses disagreed. "I was called into the office after my show Friday and told that I was being let go because I was alienating the listeners."
The Tribune-Review notes that the archdiocese didn't complain, but that WORD did call to let them know that Minto had been fired.
During CNN's coverage before the pope's death, Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete said that he told John Paul II that he had agreed to speak to the network about the pontiff when he died. The pope replied: "How do they know I'm going first?"
Friday, April 15, 2005
The book End of Democracy also dives into this topic on a couple of different occasions, specifically the chapter entitled "Neocons vs. Theocons?" Refer to the comments on this post.
The Neoconservative Persuasion by Irving Kristol
Are you a Neocon?
What the heck is a Neocon?
The Definition of Paleoconservative
The New Conservative Divide: Paleocons versus Neocons
For me, I am Catholic.(period) The important question to ask a fellow Catholic is "Are you faithful to the teachings of the Magisterium?" It's not about being put in a box either as a conservative, liberal, neocon or paleocon. Was PJII a liberal, a conservative, what? The important thing to consider is do you believe what he taught about Christ? Do you believe what he taught about sexual morality? Do you believe... I refer you to my earlier post "Paleo-con? Neo-con?… None of the above!"
It's important to note that little o-orthodox Catholics can disagree about prudential matters, not in regards to matters of faith or doctrine. When lines are drawn in the sand between these orthodox Catholic camps, one can side with either side for a variety of good reasons. One can choose to set on the fence as well, which Dr. Lowery chose to do in his analysis in Communio. One can take a "middle road or path." I refer to you to an earlier post "Slave Wages Condemned by Pope John Paul II". More to follow in future posts.
Thursday, April 14, 2005
MEXICO CITY, APRIL 13, 2005 (Zenit.org).- Mexican philosopher Rodrigo Guerra López is regarded as one of the major experts on Karol Wojtyla's thought.
Guerra López holds a doctorate in philosophy from the International Academy of Philosophy of Liechtenstein. He is coordinator of the Bioethics Interdisciplinary Group of the Pan-American University in Mexico City, and director of the Social Observatory of the Latin American bishops' council.
He became known in Latin America with his works on John Paul II's philosophy: "Return to the Person" (Caparros, Madrid, 2002) and "Affirm the Person for Himself" (CNDH, Mexico, 2003).
In this interview with ZENIT, Guerra López speaks about Wojtyla's intellectual legacy...
On one side, Ratzinger, Ruini, Bergoglio, Scola with their proposal for a new “Papal Revolution.” On the other side, the list of their opponents, with Tettamanzi as the man for all seasons...
`John Paul II is not a man with faith. His identity is faith,' one of his closest friends, Spanish Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete, told one of his biographers.
Salem Statesman Journal, OR
...Pope John Paul II was an unwavering champion and tireless crusader for the moral causes he upheld. He provided that most sought-after commodity in tumultuous times: steadfastness in the face of adversity. This moral steadfastness, one that asked us to meet it with a steadfastness of our own, reinforced a basis for appeals to action on a shared moral identity and revealed what Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete has so aptly noted: Pope John Paul II was not a man with faith; he was faith personified.
Contestants would compete in round after round of grueling auditions as viewers vote for the next pope. As the Vatican prepares to choose a new pontiff, Roman Catholics worldwide are aghast at the brazen suggestion by Fox network executives to cast aside centuries of tradition by selecting the next pope through an American Idol-style television series.
"Instead of the College of Cardinals meeting in a secrecy-shrouded conclave, contestants would be drawn from open auditions at malls, civic centers, and cathedrals around the world," said Vaughn Wagner, Fox Executive Vice President for Exploiting Religious People. "Each week, they would showcase their talents as they administer sacraments, bless things, maintain balance while waving to crowds from a careening pope-mobile, and of course, the all-important vestment competition. (Tip: It never hurts to show a little leg.)"
Not to be outdone, CBS has asked the Anglican Church to consider stranding its next batch of candidates for Archbishop of Canterbury on a desert island, to be eliminated one by one through a televised series of physical challenges, endurance of disgusting and terrifying ordeals, and resistance to sexual temptations in a no-holds-barred conglomeration of Survivor, Fear Factor, and Temptation Island. The winner will then be rewarded with marriage (because Anglicans can) to a supposed wealthy aristocrat who will turn out to be an adulterous fraud - sort of Hosea meets My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance. Their handling of this final ordeal will demonstrate whether they are capable of honoring the sanctity of marriage in the spirit of the original big fat obnoxious fiance and founder of the Church of England, King Henry VIII.
Personally I like the term "Panzer cardinal" considering my background, but most people who do use this description of Card. Ratzinger are using it in a pejorative way. I think there is a reasonable chance that we could have our very first "Panzer Pope." I leave that up the Holy Spirit though. Let us pray to Our Lady that His will be done.
Wednesday, April 13, 2005
Worldly commentators often acknowledge John Paul's pluck in surviving Nazism and helping to overcome Communism in Europe. However, they usually view the Holy Father as just another political actor among many. While the challenge of twentieth century totalitarianism is the jumping-offpoint for Memory and Identity, the book is actually a sustained meditation upon salvation history generally. As such, this topic occasions some of the Pope's most striking suggestions.
Pope John Paul was not just a Pole who was proud of his country the way any citizen might be. Instead, he found Polish history to have profound significance for all of Europe and, thereby, for the whole world. And he didn't merely ascribe a general importance to his being a Polish cardinal who became the successor of Peter. When John Paul meditated on providence, he thought with the greatest specificity. One might summarize the Pope's argument in Memory and Identity with a series of theses.
1) The twentieth century saw several abominations: Nazism; communism; and, in democratic societies, a shallow conception of freedom that authorizes even abortion (p. 11).
2) The evil that was nazism and communism was overcome, limited, in Europe by a greater good. "The limit imposed upon evil by divine good has entered human history, especially the history of Europe, through the work of Christ" (p. 15).
3) The truth of man's redemption through Christ's death and resurrection isn't just a fact frozen in time 2,000 years ago. "The entire twentieth century was marked by a singular intervention of God, the Father who is'rich in mercy'--dives in misericordia (Eph 2:4)" (p. 50).
4) In His wisdom, God used the Polish nation in two ways in the twentieth century to manifest his merciful will. First, through the private revelations to Sister Faustina Kowalska about the Divine Mercy, Christ taught that "'Evil does not have the last word!' The Paschal Mystery confirms that good is ultimately victorious, that life conquers death andthat love triumphs over hate" (p. 55). Second, the resistance to Communism of the Church in Poland, through sacrificial suffering rather than the resort to force, was successful and "seems to me to have a universal value" (p. 55).
5) In a further "scandal of particularity," the Holy Spirit installed a Polish cardinal as leader of the Catholic Church. And when evil manifested itself in the attempted assassination of Pope John Paul in 1981 (May 13, the feast of Our Lady of Fatima) by the Turk Mehmet AliAgca--who "knew how to shoot, and he certainly shot to kill"--"it was as if someone was guiding and deflecting that bullet" (p. 159).
6) Even the Pope's suffering and near death were not simply evil. "Thereis no evil from which God cannot draw forth a greater good" (p. 167).
In Memory and Identity Pope John Paul didn't hold himself up as the vehicle through which God has drawn great good from evil. We may make that inference by recognizing in him a pre-eminent example of one upon whom evil was visited "so as to awaken our love, our self-gift ingenerous and disinterested service to those visited by suffering" (p.168). The self-gift of John Paul--as vigorous world traveler or speechless teacher--was a providential confirmation that gloria Dei vivens homo--the glory of God is man fully alive (p. 25).
John Traffas holds a M.A. in Theology from the University of Dallas (UD) and his master's thesis was on Fr. John Courtney Murray. He studied along side a fellow student and friend at UD by the name of Michael Waldstein who is now the President of the International Theological Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family in Gaming, Austria.
An Interview with Thomas Howard
A longtime friend of Touchstone and himself a model of the “ecumenical orthodoxy” and “mere Christianity” we strive to represent, Professor Thomas Howard has brought many—Catholics as well as Evangelicals—to a deeper understanding of the treasures of the historic church through his writings and personal influence.
A graduate of Wheaton College and New York University, Professor Howard taught for many years at an Evangelical college until he became a Roman Catholic in 1985. From then on until his retirement he taught English at St. John’s Seminary College, the seminary of the archdiocese of Boston.
He has written several books, on both religious and literary subjects, beginning with Christ the Tiger, a sort of spiritual autobiography, in 1967. Since then he has written seven more books, including Evangelical Is Not Enough; Lead, Kindly Light, the story of his conversion to Catholicism; and most recently On Being Catholic. He has also written studies of the novels of Charles Williams and C. S. Lewis, notably The Achievement of C. S. Lewis and C. S. Lewis, Man of Letters. Ignatius Press, the publisher of On Being Catholic, also distributes a videotape series of 13 lectures by Professor Howard on “The Treasures of Catholicism.”
Professor Howard was interviewed by senior editors Patrick Henry Reardon and David Mills while at Trinity Episcopal School for Ministry to teach a weeklong course on the novels of C. S. Lewis. The interview has been edited for clarity and completeness, but the oral style has been retained.
The Catholic Ethic in American Society: An Exploration of Values
Catholic Ethic and the Spirit of Community
A non-Catholic, but multiple Pultizer Prize winner for his commentary over the years is Thomas L. Friedman. He has written numerous articles and three books on the issue of globalization, which I recommend. His books are clearly presented on his homepage. He is a regular on the major networks including NBC's Meet the Press.
I encourage a discussion on these topics.
There has been an internal dialog within the Church on this topic, which has reached the highest levels. Two intellectual giants of the Church, Cardinals Ratzinger and Kasper, made several public statements on this topic over the last couple of years. A sampling of this dialog can be seen on the below link. Go about half-way down the page to a special box with this title.
SPECIAL COMPILATION: The Ratzinger-Kasper Debate
Christianity is an event - When Cardinal Hamer died in Decemebr 1996, don Giussani wrote in L’Osservatore Romano that he was «mindful of the great teaching received on the communional nature of the Church and deeply grateful for the ensuing personal meeting full of true ecclesial affection». For this reason also we republish the text written for Il Sabato in 1993 by Cardinal Jean-Jérôme Hamer
Memory of encounters by Don Giacomo Tantardini
Charles de Foucauld ~ The mission in the desert of today. An interview with Cardinal Walter Kasper, on the Christian who, in the early years of the twentieth century, built tabernacles by himself "to bring" Jesus into the Algerian desert by Gianni Valente
Tuesday, April 12, 2005
London Free Press --- Canadian cardinal moves up
Cardinal Ouellet is also a regular contributor to Communio.
...I am here in Rome to co-host with Raymond Arroya the daily broadcasts of EWTN, the international television network founded by the formidable Mother Angelica whose biography Raymond has just completed. (It is a remarkable story and should be out from Doubleday this fall.) My agreement with EWTN is not exclusive, so I am working also with other print and broadcast media.
George Weigel, author of the definitive biography of John Paul, Witness to Hope, is here under exclusive contract with NBC and is largely responsible for that network's generally excellent coverage. Rome in my experience is endless conversations over lunch and dinner, mainly with media types and with friends and acquaintances in the worlds within worlds of the universal Church variously connected to the nerve center that is the eternal city. The plan is to stay here through the conclave which begins April 18 and is expected to produce a new pope within two to four days. We may stay through the installation a few days later. EWTN is broadcasting from a jerry-built booth atop the North American College with a magnificent view overlooking St. Peter's. Other networks had to be satisfied with the roof of the Urbano, an institute for mission churches, next door.
Q: To what degree is today's theology at the service of humanity?
Bishop-designate Berzosa: More than ever, theology has become aware of what Cardinal Danielou expressed in his day: namely, that conciliar and post-conciliar theology should return to the genuine sources to be renewed; it should be in touch with the thought and culture of its time; and, above all, it should be very pastoral. In this connection, the theologian should regard himself as a servant of the believing community and of humanity, to offer the only thing that is important: Christ and the Good News.
Fr. Richard McBrien hired as consultant to "Da Vinci Code" flick
From Sandra Miesel, this note that the Spring 2005 edition of Notre Dame Magazine reports the following:
"The Producers of the upcoming movie version of THE DA VINCI CODE have hired Father Richard McBrien, Crowley-O'Brien Professor of Theology to consult on the script. Tom Hanks has been signed to play the lead character, who in the best-selling novel airs a number of provocative theories, including that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalen and His divinity was fabricated centuries after He lived." Sandra observes: "The capitalized 'He' looks droll in the context of its sentence." Perhaps some folks at ND, including Father McBrien, are still conflicted over reports that Jesus may have indeed been divine. I'm not sure why Father McBrien would be hired to help with the script. After all, as this notice points out, the novel emphatically denies the divinity of Jesus, gets very little right about the Catholic Church, and spends much time condemning Church leadership and authority.
Oh, nevermind—I just answered my own question.
History Test by Michael Sean Winters
It is difficult to overstate the theological importance of the grace-versus-nature debate--an argument akin to that between the Federalists and the anti-Federalists on the creation of a powerful central government. That is to say, depending on how you resolve this one issue, every other theological issue is affected, altered, colored, changed. Precisely because of the radical challenge de Lubac's thought represents, implementing it has been slow going, even for a man as forceful as John Paul. Patterns of interreligious dialogue, moral reasoning, and even core notions of what it means to be a Christian priest or a spouse are affected. This theological experiment is still in a very early stage, and conservative opposition to it has been effective. Much work remains to be done in applying de Lubac to moral theology. Because "natural law" theory has been the basis of Catholic moral teaching for several centuries, and because de Lubac's thought throws the whole idea of a "natural law" distinct from notions of grace into question, it is obvious just how experimental this theological experiment is. The previous legalism may have been dry and not specifically Christian, but it had this advantage: You can dispense from a law, but not from a truth.
What is clear about the de Lubacian agenda, carried forward by Swiss theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, is that it issues in a radicalized sense of Catholicism. This theological radicalism was at the heart of the "new evangelization" John Paul called for, an evangelization aimed at the secularized religion of the West but even more at the Third World. This was not a call to a "culture war" in the vulgar manner of contemporary right-wing U.S. politics, but it was clearly a call to a Catholic cultural renaissance. The de Lubacians see modernity's paradigms collapsing, and they seek to provide the theological soil from which a different, more mystical, and more Christocentric culture may be born. John Paul's embrace of a more Christ-centered theology is exciting and accounts for some of the dynamism of Catholicism in the Third World. But there have been costs. For example, the parameters of interreligious dialogue are more constricted when you posit that creation itself is ordered to Christ...
That humanism, which once underpinned and shaped the Enlightenment values of Western societies, seems so utterly absent from the spread-eagle capitalism of the West today, in which the market is the sole vehicle for assigning worth and resources. If the good of concrete human persons is not the criterion for social, political, and economic life; if the value of subjective freedom is so predominant as to trump all other values; if the moral life of the human person is consistently evaluated in utilitarian terms, is humanism still even possible? John Paul's consistent solidarity with the poor could not stand in sharper contrast to the predominant cultural ethos of the West.
Nowhere was the Pope's disappointment on social justice issues more obvious than in his native Poland after the collapse of Communism. There, the very same people who had flocked to see the Pope on his pilgrimages, who had sustained Mass attendance records unparalleled in Europe, who had produced the greatest share of Europe's priests--those same people ignored the Church's teachings on birth control, divorced in record numbers, and, given the chance, flocked to purchase CDs and BMWs and cell phones. The disheartened pontiff turned his gaze from Eastern Europe to the impoverished southern part of the globe, trying to stem the tide of Western materialism and utilitarianism. John Paul's numerous visits to the Third World were attempts to demonstrate the Church's solidarity with and presence among the peoples of Asia, Africa, and Latin America. It is on these continents that the Church is now looking for its springtime.
Indeed, Catholicism is becoming a Third World religion, and the structures and priorities of the Church will have to change even more than they did under Pope John Paul to accommodate this basic shift. In Africa and Asia and Latin America, the Gospel--with its call for solidarity with the poor and the suffering and for understanding the Church as a community of solidarity between God and man--has a different ring from Western Catholics' call for sexual liberation: It is the ring of authenticity. For all of its traditionalism, there is a whiff of newness in the Church today, a newness that was emphasized again and again in the writings and policies of Pope John Paul II. He was fascinated by the approach of the Third Millennium and wanted desperately to live long enough to usher it in, believing that it would herald a new day for the Church, a Church he tried to reawaken to its radical vision of God and the dignity of the human person.
The Blessed Evangelical Mary - Why we shouldn't ignore her any longer by Timothy George
Christian History & Biography Magazine - entire issue dedicated to Our Lady
The TIME's cover story - "Hail, Mary"
Mary: A Catholic, Evangelical Debate
Evangelicals & Catholics Together (ECT): The Christian Mission in the Third Millennium - 1994
The book ECT
ECT - The Gift of Salvation - 1997
ECT - Your Word Is Truth - 2002
The book Your Word Is Truth
ECT - The Communion of Saints - 2003
ECT - The Call to Holiness - 2005
Evangelicals & Catholics - The state of play by J. I. Packer
The Lion and the Lamb - Evangelicals and Catholics in America by William M. Shea (Front Matter, Chapter 1, and an Index are avaliabe on this page.)
An Interview with Thomas C. Oden about the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture
Challenging Catholics: A Catholic Evangelical Dialogue
Dr. Timothy George
Dr. Thomas C. Oden
Dr. Glenn Kreider
In future posts I will explore the improving relationship of Catholics and Evangelicals.
Monday, April 11, 2005
Here are some historical articles and books of Gregory and Suzanne Wolfe that you should find interesting. At the bottom is the writing program that he leads at SPU.
Beauty Will Save the World
Intruding Upon the Timeless: An Editorial Statement
Why I Am a Conscientious Objector in the Culture Wars
The Culture Wars Revisited
An Interview with Gregory Wolfe
The Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program at Seattle Pacific University
I first met Gregory in the flesh nearly three years ago (summer of 2002) while attending the Int'l Assembly of Responsibles for Communion and Liberation in La Thuile, Italy. I remember it distinctly because he was setting outside smoking a cigar. We began a conversation and from there a friendship began. I had no idea who this man was nor any of personal history (and it's quite impressive)! Five months later he came up to me in the hotel lobby where the the National CL Diaconia was being held and handed me a copy of Image. Here is his most recent Editorial Statement, which is specifically on don Giussani.