Wednesday, March 09, 2005

The Eucharist and Homosexuality I

Dynamic

Act and Experience of Obedience -> Original Solitude [image of God: “I am”] -> Sin: Amnesia [forgetting] -> Faith as Act of Self-Gift [Baptism and Eucharist] -> “Anamnesis” [remembering]: Simon -> Peter: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matt. 16, 15) -> New Culture [3d Millennium]: each is ipse Christus..

“John Paul II argued for the priority of culture over politics and economics as the engine of historical change.” Concretely, George Weigel reported, “`1989’ was made possible by a prior moral and cultural revolution, which created the conditions for the possibility of the nonviolent political upheaval that swept Marxism-Leninism into the dustbin of European history.” From the outset of his pontificate, John Paul II has been about the business of producing a cultural transformation aimed at the year 2000, now with global dimensions.
By culture, John Paul understands “the dimension of self-determining subjects. Culture is basically oriented not so much toward the creation of human products as toward the creation of the human self, which then radiates out into the world of products.” The prototype of this cultivation is the Person of Jesus Christ who is no longer to be considered an exception to man in His Divinity, but the rule and revelation of man made in His image and likeness.

“In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear. For Adam, the first man, was a type of him who was to come, Christ the Lord, Christ the new Adam, in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals man to himself…”

The paradigm shift consists in experiencing man in terms of Jesus Christ instead of considering Him to be an “exception” to man. Until the Second Vatican Council, Jesus Christ was considered from above, while man was considered from below. Christ was a transcendent relational Person; man was an immanent person as an in-itself substance distinguished from the animals only by the specific difference of rationality. Ratzinger says,
“The second great misunderstanding [in mediaeval Christology] is to see Christ as the simply unique ontological exception which must be treated as such. This exception is an object of highly interesting ontological speculation, but it must remain separate in its box as an exception to the rule and must not be permitted to mix with the rest of human thought…. Scripture expresses this point by calling Christ the last Adam or `the second Adam.’ It thereby characterizes him as the true fulfillment of the idea of the human person, in which the direction of meaning of this being comes fully to light for the first time. If it is true, however, that Christ is not the ontological exception, if from his exceptional position he is, on the contrary, the fulfillment of the entire human being, then the Christological concept of person is an indication for theology of how person is to be understood as such. In fact, this concept of person, or simply the dimension that has become visible here, has always acted as a spark in intellectual history and it has propelled development, even when it had long come to a standstill in theology” (underline mine).

The goal of the buildup of documents to “Mane Nobiscum Domine,” as the explanation of a year of the Eucharist, is to create a new world culture that is built on the human person-working (subject), rather than on structures such as Capitalism or Socialism (object). The Liturgy is the Action of Christ the Person making the gift of Himself, instantiated in this moment in time and space by the sacramental transubstantiation of the bread into His Flesh and wine into His Blood. His Flesh and Blood are not objects but the Subject Himself – the “I” – of Jesus Christ, Who transcends time and space, and therefore the Action of His Self-gift is now. To live the Eucharist in ordinary life – in the street on the occasion of work – is to cultivate the human person into becoming an “I” as Jesus Christ is “I.” The Sacrifice of the Mass and the Sacrament of Communion establishes the person on a supernatural level and renders him/her capable of making the gift of self. Without Christ sacramentally engaged in, this is impossible.

As we saw above, culture is the cultivation of persons. And cultivation of persons means the emergence of the person as an “I.” Or better, it is the transition from the state of being an individual with the potency of being “I.” To be an “I,” as we have come to understand by Christ’s revelation about himself and the Trinity, is to be in relation. Ratzinger remarks: “`Father is purely a concept of relationship. Only in being-for the other is he Father; in his own being-in-himself he is simply God. Person is the pure relation of being related, nothing else…. Expressed in the imagery of Christian tradition, this means that the First Person does not beget the Son in the sense of the act of begetting coming on top of the finished Person; it is the act of begetting, of giving oneself, of streaming forth. It is identical with the act of giving. Only as this act is it person, and therefore it is not the giver but the act of giving… In this idea of relativity in word and love, independent of the concept of substance and not to be classified among the `accidents,’ Christian thought discovered the kernel of the concept of person, which describes something other and infinitely more than the mere idea of the `individual.’”
Therefore, To Be = To Be In Relation: Jesus is Christ = His Person is the Mission of Redemption. He does not redeem as an action that He performs. Rather, He is redemption. His Being is the Doing of self-gift for us:
“The words `Kaiser’ and `Wilhelm’ go so closely together that the title `Kaiser’ had itself already become almost a part of the name; yet everyone was still aware that the word was not just a name but denoted a function. The phrase `Christ Jesus’ is an exactly similar case and shows just the same development: Christ is a title and yet also already part of the unique name for the man from Nazareth… For what faith really states is precisely that with Jesus it is not possible to distinguish office and person; with him, this differentiation simply becomes inapplicable. The person is the office, the office is the person. The two are no longer divisible. Here there is no private area reserved for an ‘I’ which remains in the background behind the deeds and actions and thus at some time or other can be `off duty;’ here there is no `I’ separate from the work; the `I’ is the work and the work is the `I.’”
The Mass, as the Sacrifice of Christ, is this act where the “I” and act are one and the same. And since, the Eucharist is the One-Flesh-Union of the Bridegroom and the Bride whereupon they become One Whole Christ, Head and Body, the Act of Self-Gift of the Head must become the Act of self-gift of the Body. And so, in the recent Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum, it reads,
“The celebration of the Mass, as the action of Christ and of the Church, is the center of the whole Christian life for the universal as well as the particular Church, and also for the individual faithful,[87] who are involved “in differing ways according to the diversity of orders, ministries, and active participation.[88] In this way the Christian people, “a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy people, a people God has made his own”,[89] manifests its coherent and hierarchical ordering”.[90] “For the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial or hierarchical Priesthood, though they differ in essence and not only in degree, are ordered to one another, for both partake, each in its own way, of the one Priesthood of Christ”.[91]
[37.] All of Christ’s faithful, freed from their sins and incorporated into the Church through Baptism, are deputed by means of a sacramental character for the worship of the Christian religion,[92] so that by virtue of their royal priesthood,[93] persevering in prayer and praising God,[94] they may offer themselves as a living and holy sacrifice pleasing to God and attested to others by their works,[95] giving witness to Christ throughout the earth and providing an answer to those who ask concerning their hope of eternal life that is in them.[96] Thus the participation of the lay faithful too in the Eucharist and in the other celebrations of the Church’s rites cannot be equated with mere presence, and still less with a passive one, but is rather to be regarded as a true exercise of faith and of the baptismal dignity.
[38.] The constant teaching of the Church on the nature of the Eucharist not only as a meal, but also and pre-eminently as a Sacrifice, is therefore rightly understood to be one of the principal keys to the full participation of all the faithful in so great a Sacrament.[97] For when “stripped of its sacrificial meaning, the mystery is understood as if its meaning and importance were simply that of a fraternal banquet”.[98]
“(Abuses in the liturgy) hinder the faithful from `re-living in a certain way the experience of the two disciples of Emmaus: “and their eyes were opened, and they recognized him (Lk. 24, 31).”’

For Jesus Christ not to be the exception but the meaning, norm and rule for man, the act (praxis) that actualizes Christ in us is self-giving. And it is the Eucharist as Sacrament and Sacrifice that will be the medium that dynamizes a new global culture of the Third Millennium built on the human person
Homosexuality is the contradiction of the one-flesh union between the Church and Christ. Hence, the homosexual act is never a spousal act, and therefore the homosexual act never produces a true culture, but a counterculture.

Documents leading to “Mane Nobiscum Domine” as culture-forming directive:
1) Redemptor Hominis (1979): The Person of Christ at the center of the universe and of history: “The Redeemer of man, Jesus Christ, is the center of the universe and of history. To him go my thoughts and my heart in this solemn moment of the world …already very close to the year 2000” (#1).

2) Tertio Millennio Adveniente (1994): The “cosmic” centrality of the Person of Christ: “God created the world through the Word. The Word is Eternal Wisdom; the Thought and Substantial Image of God; `He reflects the glory of God and bears the very stamp of his nature’ (Heb. 1, 3). Eternally begotten and eternally loved by the Father, as God from God and Light from Light, he is the principle and archetype of everything created by God in time.
“The fact that in the fullness of time the Eternal Word took on the condition of a creature gives a unique cosmic value to the event which took place in Bethlehem two thousand years ago. Thanks to the Word, the world of creatures appears as a `cosmos,’ an ordered universe. And it is the same Word who, by taking flesh, renews the cosmic order of creation. (…)
“Christ, the Redeemer of the world, is the one Mediator between God and men, and there is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved (cf. Acts, 4, 12)” (#3, 4)

3) Novo Millennio Ineunte (2001): Meeting Christ and recognizing His Face: “Only the experience of silence and prayer offers the proper setting for the growth and development of a true, faithful and consistent knowledge of that mystery which finds it culminating expression in the solemn proclamation by the Evangelist Saint John: `And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father’ (1, 14)” (#20) (underline mine).

4) Rosarium Virginis Mariae (2002-2003): To exercise this prayer with and through the Virgin Mary: “In continuity with my reflection in the Apostolic Letter `Novo Millennio Ineunte, in which, after the experience of the Jubilee, I invited the people of God to `start afresh from Christ,’ I have felt drawn to offer a reflection on the Rosary, as a kind of Marian complement to that Letter and an exhortation to contemplate the face of Christ in union with, and at the school of, his Most Holy Mother. To recite the Rosary is nothing other than to contemplate with Mary the face of Christ” (#3).

5) Ecclesia de Eucharistia (2002): The prayer necessary to re-cognize the Face of Christ must become the “Action” of self-giving through the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass: “`The Lord Jesus on the night he was betrayed’ (1 Cor. 11, 23) instituted the Eucharistic Sacrifice of his body and his blood. (…) The Church has received the Eucharist from Christ…as… the gift of himself, of his person in his sacred humanity, as well as the gift of his saving work (underline mine)…. This sacrifice is so decisive for the salvation of the human race that Jesus Christ offered it and returned to the Father only after he had left us a means of sharing in it as if we had been present there” (#11).

6) Mane Nobiscum Domine (2004): To recognize the Face of Christ in the secular world of Emmaus on the occasion of walking the road of ordinary work. Living the Mass in the street – as the Sacrifice of self-giving - turns work into prayer, which produces the experience and consciousness of becoming “Another Christ,” and therefore re-cognizing Him. This harkens back to “Redemptor Hominis,” proposing Christ “as the center of the universe and of history.” “The Eucharist not only provides the interior strength needed for this mission, but is also – in some sense – its plan. For the Eucharist is a mode of being, which passes from Jesus into each Christian, through whose testimony it is meant to spread throughout society and culture… Can we not see here a special charge that could emerge from this Year of the Eucharist? (25) (underline mine). John Paul adds: “It is not by chance that the Gospel of John contains no account of the institution of the Eucharist, but instead relates the `washing of feet’ (cf. Jn. 13, 1-20): by bending down to wash the feet of his disciples, Jesus explains the meaning of the Eucharist unequivocally” (28).

The thrust of the above: One cannot perform the act of Christ without becoming one with Him.
“In reality it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear. For Adam, the first man, was a type of him who was to come, Christ the Lord, Christ the new Adam, in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals man to himself…”

The paradigm shift consists in experiencing man in terms of Jesus Christ instead of considering Him to be an “exception” to man. Until the Second Vatican Council, Jesus Christ was considered from above, while man was considered from below. Christ was a transcendent relational Person; man was an immanent person as an in-itself substance distinguished from the animals only by the specifica difference of rationality.
Ratzinger says,
“The second great misunderstanding [in mediaeval Christology] is to see Christ as the simply unique ontological exception which must be treated as such. This exception is an object of highly interesting ontological speculation, but it must remain separate in its box as an exception to the rule and must not be permitted to mix with the rest of human thought…. Scripture expresses this point by calling Christ the last Adam or `the second Adam.’ It thereby characterizes him as the true fulfillment of the idea of the human person, in which the direction of meaning of this being comes fully to light for the first time. If it is true, however, that Christ is not the ontological exception, if from his exceptional position he is, on the contrary, the fulfillment of the entire human being, then the Christological concept of person is an indication for theology of how person is to be understood as such. In fact, this concept of person, or simply the dimension that has become visible here, has always acted as a spark in intellectual history and it has propelled development, even when it had long come to a standstill in theology” (underline mine).

Now, we must understand the meaning of the human person in terms of Jesus
Christ, with whom we have become one flesh, initially in Baptism, consummately in the Eucharist. This propels us toward the creation of a new culture and civilization based on the Christological dignity of the human person. This dignity consists in self-giving as professed in Gaudium et spes #24:

“If man is the only creature on earth that God has wanted for its own sake, man can fully discover his true self only in a sincere giving of himself.”

One New Being with Christ by Spousal Union


“Transcendental Sexuality”

Identity of Two in One:
Man (male) becomes himself as image of God only by the one-flesh union with the female:

Spousal Relation: Radical and constitutive of the persons. It is the giving of the whole self whereby the self becomes self. The effect brings it about that the whole – the communio - is greater than the sum of the parts.

Scriptural Basis:

Old Testament: Spousal relation as the radical (because self-gift) template of imaging the Trinitarian Relations.

a. The imaging of God takes place primarily in the spousal relation of male and female:

“(W)e can then deduce that man became the `image and likeness’ of God not only through his own humanity, but also through the communion of persons which man and woman form right from the beginning. The function of the image is to reflect the one who is the model, to reproduce its own prototype. Man becomes the image of God not so much in the moment of solitude as in the moment of communion. Right `from the beginning,’ he is not only an image in which the solitude of a person who rules the world is reflected, but also, and essentially, an image of an inscrutable divine communion of persons.”

b. The relation between God and the People of God is spousal: Husband to wife.

“For your Maker is your husband, the Lord of hosts is his name, and the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; the God of the whole earth he is called. For the Lord has called you like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, like a wife of youth when she is cast off, says your God. For a brief moment I forsook you, but with great compassion I will gather you. In overflowing wrath for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting live, I will have compassion on you, says the Lord, your Redeemer.”

c. New Testament: The relation between Christ and the Church is spousal: Husband to wife.

“Wives, be subject to your husbands as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the Church, his body, and is himself its savior. As the Church is subject to Christ, so let wives also be subject in everything to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, that he might present the Church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish…. This is a great mystery, and I mean in reference to Christ and th4e Church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.”

2.) Eucharist is the one-flesh union of the Church and Christ as “One New Man,” the “Whole Christ.” The Genesis of the “New Man” and Divine Filiation: There is only one Son of God.

a) Only One Offspring of Abraham: “The promises were made to Abraham and to his offspring. He does not say, `And to his offsprings,’ as of many; but as of one, ~and to thy offspring,’ who is Christ.”

b) “Just as the body and the various members interact, the same is true of Christ.”

Ratzinger comments: “(Paul) uses the common comparison of the body and its members, which was used in ancient social philosophy. In the transfer of this metaphor to the Church, however, there is a surprising change, which is overlooked by most commentators. To miss this change inevitably leads to an incorrect grasp of Paul’s entire understanding of the Church. He does not hesitate to use comparisons with the sociology prevalent at this time, but he does so in a way, which shows that his conception of the Church is entirely different from his view of society. In fact Paul does not say: `Just as in an organism there are many members interacting with one another, so it is with the Church,’ (emphasis mine) as if he were proposing a purely sociological model of the Church. But at the very moment when he leaves behind the ancient simile, he shifts the idea to an entirely different level. He affirms, in fact, that, just as there is one body but many members , `so it is with Christ’ (1 Cor. 12, 12) (emphasis mine). The term of the comparison is not the Church, since, according to Paul, the Church is in no wise a separate subject endowed with its own subsistence. The new subject is much rather `Christ’ himself, and the Church is nothing but the space of this new unitary subject, which is, therefore, much more than mere social interaction. It is an application of the same christological singular found in the Letter to the Galatians. Here, too, it has a sacramental reference, though this time it points to the Eucharist, whose essence Paul defines tow chapters before in the bold assertion: `Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body’ ((10, 17). `One body:’ in accordance with the biblical significance of some, this may be translated as `one subject,’ provided we are sensitive to the connotations of bodiliness and historicity belonging to this word.”
c) “It is now no longer I that live, but Christ lives in me;” “There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor freeman; there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ’s, then you are the offspring of Abraham, heirs according to promise.”


Ratzinger comments: “It is important to note that Paul does not say `You are a single mass,’ in some collectivist sense, but `You are one.’ You have become a new subject, unique in Christ, and thus, by means of the fusion of the subject, you are now within the realm of the Promise” (bold mine).

Conclusion:

Christ and Church relate sexually as Bridegroom and Bride. They form one new man, the Whole Christ in the one-flesh union of the Eucharist. Christ is in the Church as the Church is in Christ.
The “template” of this relationship is the “original sacrament” of the conjugal union of man and woman “from the beginning.” Adam, alone, could not fulfill himself as human – i.e. image and likeness of God Who is “We.’ Once Adam had come to the experience of self-gift in the obedience of naming the animals, he felt alone, and it was revealed that as image it was “not good” for Adam to be alone. Recreated as male and female, the dyad of man and woman entered into a communion of persons becoming one-flesh. In that communio, God was imaged and the each achieved the fulfillment of the humanum.
Person in the Trinity: the Father is the act of engendering the Son, and the Son is the act of obeying and glorifying the Father. To be = to be for the other. The Father is not finished substance and then engenders the Son, but is the very act of engendering the Son. The same dynamic applies analogically to human persons (see below “Remember”: p. 9-10).
The prototype of this type of sexual-personal union is the union of Christ and the Church that is not so much a “bond” as an “identity.” This “identity” comes from the totality of the self-gift that is the Sacrifice of the Cross and that comes to us as Baptism and Eucharist. Such is the transcendental grounding and meaning of the sexuality of male and female.
“Man, who `from the beginning’ is male and female, should seek the meaning of his existence and the meaning of his humanity by reaching out to the mystery of creation through the reality of redemption. There one finds also the essential answer to the question on the significance of the human body, and the significance of the masculinity and femininity of the human person.”

Homosexuality:Homosexuals relate as individuals (substances-in-self), not as persons-in-relation because the sexuality is the language of the body expressing the relationality that is person. If William B. Smith remarks:

“Same-sex union is not truly unitive sex `ordered to the well-being of the spouses’ (here, partners) because the exercise of sexuality here is not a `gift of self’ to the other but rather and simply masturbatory sex, a gift (if you will) of self to same self. Thus, the use of words here; `love’ (love that is not marital) or `lovers’ is quite misleading and simply not true.
“Same-sex expression – be it oral, anal or manual – is not and cannot be marital love since the complementary unitive dimension of human sexuality is absent. Masturbatory sex is not self-giving, it is, perhaps, self-getting and, in truth, it is self-indulgent lust.”

Without considering the dimension of procreation (nor denying it), homosexuality is deviant at the core meaning of personality because it violates the language of self-giftedness, which is the person expressed in the body as male or female.

Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith: “Considerations Regarding Proposals to Give Legal Recognition to Unions between Homosexual Persons:”

“The Church’s teaching on marriage and on the complementarity of the sexes reiterates a truth that is evident to right reason and recognized as such by all the major cultures of the world. Marriage is not just any relationship between human beings. It was established by the Creator with its own nature, essential properties and purpose. No ideology can erase from the human spirit the certainty that marriage exists solely between a man and a woman, who by mutual personal gift proper an exclusive to themselves, tend toward the communion of their persons. In this way, they mutually perfect each other, in order to cooperate with God in the procreation and upbringing of new humana lives…
There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family…. Homosexual acts…do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity… (H)omosexual acts are intrinsically disordered … The homosexual inclination is,… `objectively disordered,’ and homosexual practices are `sins gravely contrary to chastity” (underline mine).

Abstractive Ideologies Afoot:
1) “Close Relationship Theory:” “a relatively new model or relationships that explicitly focuses on the `common’ dynamics in all close sexually bonded relationships. The underlying principle of close relationship theory is that all close dyadic relationships operate according to the same dynamics and values. Close relationship theory bleaches out the significance of embodied sexual difference and argues that all committed sexual bonds should be subsumed under the broader construct of close of primary relationships.’”
“One of the most prominent perspectives in contemporary courtship research is that of "close-relationships" theory. In 1988, Steve Duck edited a major anthology, Handbook of Personal Relations, which marked the tenth anniversary of a new discipline, "the science of close relationships." Current research in the field continues at the "incredible rate" of expansion that Duck celebrated in 1988. This work has been spearheaded by a diverse group of scholars who have formed professional associations, such as the International Society for the Study of Personal Relationships and the International Network on Personal Relationships. They have also launched two journals, the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships and Personal Relationships, as well as a number of major publication series, such as the Sage Series on Close Relationships and Advances in Personal Relationships. The field employs a variety of research methodologies, from standard social-science surveys to intensive one-on-one and small-group interviews.
The dynamics of initiating and developing close, sexually based relationships are a major preoccupation of close-relationship theory. Articles and monographs cover a very wide range of topics: "falling in love," romantic love, attachment patterns, "love styles," interracial and interethnic dating, physical attractiveness (body shape, health status, hair length, height, voice intonation), age preferences, jealousy, love triangles, dating infidelity, fatal attractions, family-of-origin influences, socioeconomic status, self-disclosure processes, topic avoidance, deceit, nonverbal signals, the use of humor, coping with peer and parental criticism, relationship dissolution, and romance grieving processes.
This complex body of theories probing a baffling array of topics might appear to resist general commentary and review, but certain common themes do emerge: Marriage is knocked off its pedestal, and its purpose of child-rearing gets short shrift. And the transcendent ideal of love is replaced by the "love styles" of individual selves seeking sexual satisfaction in episodic relationships. Courtship, rather than leading to marriage, becomes just one damn relationship after another.”
2) Re: The Bond of Matrimony: “The Indissolubility of Marriage: Reasons to Reconsider:”
“Over the years the human matrix of marriage has been variously described, but at Vatican II it was characterized as the intimate sharing of life in a loving partnership. If that relationship between the spouses has broken down in a total and irretrievable manner then to what is indissolubility attached? What is the reality that possesses the quality of indissolubility? The answer according to present teaching is the bond of marriage. But what is this bond? Can it exist apart from the human reality of the spousal covenant? Ladislas Orsy, like Kasper, asks if the bond is some `new physical reality, independent from the persons’ and answers that it cannot be. In his words, `one could not even conceive what such a physical reality could be.’ Nor, he continues, is there any evidence for a bond existing in the order of grace. Nor has the tradition ever described the bond as a `sacramental character’ as with baptism. For Orsy the only option is that the marriage bond `signifies a relationship.
Michael Lawler has explained the significance of this claim, using traditional Scholastic philosophy.

"The essence of substance is to be in itself, esse in se: the essence of accident is to be in another in which it inheres, esse in alio tamquam in subiecto inhaesionis. Relation is not a substance, an esse in se… therefore, it does not have autonomous existence. Relation is an accident, an esse in alio; it is being in an other. As an accident it requires a subject in which to inhere, else it would have no existence. Since the bond arising from a valid marriage is a relation, it is an accident, requiring for its very existence a subject in which to inhere.” This view is in accord with the teaching of Gaudium et spes that the bond arises out of the `covenant of irrevocable personal consent,’ whereby the couple pledges to live as husband and wife. It is the relationship of husband and wife that gives life to the bond and as such the bond inheres in the human persons who make up the relationship.”
The article builds its argument on the bond being the relation of the persons, but with a grounding in a metaphysics of substance and accidents where the bond is an accident, it certainly cannot be perduring beyond the intention of the grounding being of the substance. Hence, the authors conclude, “that demand as an exceptionless norm for all consummated, sacramental marriages is unrealistic, incoherent, and injurious.”

Critique:


Reminder: As of yet, unless we take the Magisterium of Vatican II and John Paul II seriously concerning the human person as a subject who images the Trinity by “the sincere gift of self” (GS #24) we have not explained the meaning of male and female person. Hence, we cannot defend against the onslaught of homosexual reasoning with only the received metaphysical anthropology of substance and accident.

Remember: The Trinitarian meaning of Person: “`Father is purely a concept of relationship. Only in being-for the other is he Father; in his own being-in-himself he is simply God. Person is the pure relation of being related, nothing else…. Expressed in the imagery of Christian tradition, this means that the First Person does not beget the Son in the sense of the act of begetting coming on top of the finished Person; it is the act of begetting, of giving oneself, of streaming forth. It is identical with the act of giving. Only as this act is it person, and therefore it is not the giver but the act of giving… In this idea of relativity in word and love, independent of the concept of substance and not to be classified among the `accidents,’ Christian thought discovered the kernel of the concept of person, which describes something other and infinitely more than the mere idea of the `individual.’”

Critique of Daniel Cere: “The real heart of the debate at the symposium was the contention that our social policy and theorists do not have an adequate language to speak to the thick complexity of marriage as the unique form tailored to the social ecology of heterosexual love, permanent bonding, procreation, and nurturing of children. So our social and legal theorists are now applying very narrow and distorting conceptual frameworks such as `close relationship theory’ and social constructivism’ to the discussion of marriage and sexual intimacy. These mind-sets simply so not do justice to, or make sense of, the deep social ecology of male/female bonding. They do not and probably cannot explain the role of marriage as a unique cultural context for the multilayered dimensions of heterosexual bonding. We need a new vision, we need a new language.” Conclusion:

The Magisterium of the Church in Vatican II and John Paul II are presenting Jesus Christ as Person – I AM – as “the center of the universe and of history.” As Trinitarian God, He is constitutively relational. Otherwise, the Three could not be One. He is not the exception to the human person, but the revelation of who he is. The human body is the enfleshed expression of person, and therefore has a language of relation that we understand as sexuality. As the Father is irreducible to the Son, so the male as enfleshed person is irreducible to the female. The one-flesh union is the act of imaging the Triune God. John Paul II calls that union the “primordial sacrament” as sensible sign of the mystery of the union of Persons.
The prototype of the “primordial sacrament” is the union of Christ with the Church, which is the one-flesh union of Bridegroom with Bride. That one-flesh union is the Eucharist. It reveals the meaning of human matrimony as the total gift of self for bridegroom and bride. Its totality renders it indissoluble. The relation is the persons themselves where the relation is not accidental but “substantial.” They become one as Christ and the Church in the Eucharist. To dissolve the giving of self is to dissolve the very personhood of the spouses.
The thrust of the papal documents listed above is to create a new culture built on the Person of Christ and joining in His Act of self gift that is given to us to exercise in the Mass as Sacrifice, and as solidarity of being one Flesh with Him, and therefore with each other. It is a culture of the working person in a communio of persons. These are the conditions of the new global culture.

___________________________________

Unnumbered endnotes:

George Weigel, “John Paul II and the Priority of Culture,” First Things February 1998, 19.
George Weigel, “John Paul II and the Priority of Culture,” First Things, February 1998, 19.
Karol Wojtyla, “The Constitution of Culture Through Human Praxis,” Person and Community Lang (1993) 265.
Gaudium et spes, #22.
J. Ratzinger, “Concerning the Notion of Person in Theology,” Communio 17 (Fall 1990) 449-450.
J. Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity, Crossroad (1988) 131-132.
Ibid. 149.
Redemption Sacramentum, Instruction, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacrament, March 25, 2004, #6.
The development of the point is in the previous #19 and #20: “Jesus asks his disciples what `people’ think of him, and they answer him: `Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets’ (Mt. 16, 14). A lofty response to be sure, but still a long way – by far – from the truth… ‘But who do you say that I am?’ (Mt. 16, 15. Only Peter… `You are the Christ, the Son of the living God’ (Mt. 16, 16).
“How had Peter come to this faith? (…) A grace of `revelation’ is needed, which comes from the Father(c. 16, 17). Luke gives us an indication which points in the same direction when he notes that this dialogue with the disciples took place when Jesus `was praying alone’ (Lk 9, 18). Both indications converge to make it clear that we cannot come to the fullness of contemplation of the Lord’s face by our own efforts alone, but by allowing grace to take us by the hand” (#20).
Ratzinger’s theological and epistemological efforts are important here:

Like is known by like. The Person of Christ is revealed to us as prayer to the Father. When the apostles see Him in prayer, they see who His Persona is. Therefore, to experience the Person of Christ, one must experience oneself exercising self as Christ. Therefore, to pray is to experience what it means to be Christ, and the consciousness that accrues to that experience is the “knowledge” of Who He is. When reflecting on this consciousness, one can say, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Cf. Ratzinger’s Behold the Pierced One Ignatius (1986) 25-27.
Gaudium et spes, #22.
J. Ratzinger, “Concerning the Notion of Person in Theology,” Communio 17 (Fall 1990) 449-450.
St. Josemaria Escriva heard it on August 7, 1931 during Mass: “a voice, as always, perfect, clear: “Et si exaltatus fuero a terra, omnia traham ad meipsum” (Jn. 12, 32). And the precise concept: not in the sense in which Scripture says it; I say it to you in the sense that you put me at the summit of all human activities; that, in all the places of the world, there may be Christians with a personal and most free dedication, that they be other Christs.”
John Paul II, The Theology of the Body (henceforth TOB), Pauline Books and Media (1997) 46.
“(The text) indicates not merely the social nature of marriage in the Old Testament, but also the very character of the gift, which is the love of God for the spouse-Israel – a gift which derives entirely from God’s initiative. In other words, it indicates the dimension of grace, which from the beginning is contained in that love. This is perhaps the strongest declaration of love on God’s part, linked with the solemn oath of faithfulness forever” (underline mine); TOB, 328.
Isaiah 54, 5-8.
Ephesians 5, 21-33.
Eph. 2, 15.
“And thus, just as the head and members of a living body, though not identical, are inseparable, so too Christ and the Church can neither be confused nor separated, and constitute a single `whole Christ,’” Dominus Iesus August 6, 2000, 16.
Galatians 3, 16.
1 Cor 12, 12.
J. Ratzinger, “The Spiritual Basis and Ecclesial Identity of Theology,” The Nature and Mission of Theology, Ignatius (1995) 52.
J. Ratzinger, The Nature and Mission of Theology, op. cit. 53-54.
Gal. 2, 20.
Gal. 3, 28-29.
J. Ratzinger, op. cit. 52.
“Marriage is the primordial sacrament, reborn in a certain sense in the spousal love of Christ and of the Church” (350).
“We find ourselves in the domain of the great analogy in which marriage as a sacrament is presupposed on the one hand, and on the other hand, rediscovered. It is presupposed as the sacrament of the `beginning’ of mankind united to the mystery of the creation. However, it is rediscovered as the fruit of the spousal love of Christ and of the Church linked with the mystery of the redemption” (351).
“Addressing spouses directly, the author of Ephesians exhorts them to mold their reciprocal relationship on the model of the spousal union of Christ and the Church. It can be said that – presupposing the sacramentality of marriage in its primordial significance – he orders them to learn anew this sacrament of the spousal unity of Christ and the Church: `Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her…’ (cf. Eph. 5, 25-26)” (351). This invitation which the Apostle addressed to Christian spouses is fully motivated by the fact that through marriage as a sacrament, they participate in Christ’s saving love, which is expressed at the same time as his spousal love for the Church. In the light of Ephesians… marriage as a sacrament of the human `beginning’ is confirmed and at the same time renewed” (352).
“The Pauline image of marriage, inscribed in the `great mystery’ of Christ and of the Church, brings together the redemptive dimension and the spousal dimension of love. In a certain sense it fuses these two dimensions into one. Christ has become the spouse of the Church. He has married the Church as a bride, because `He has given himself up for her’ (Eph. 5, 25). Through marriage as a sacrament (as one of the sacraments of the Church) both these dimensions of love, the spousal and the redemptive, together with the grace of the sacrament, permeate the life of the spouses. The spousal significance of the body in its masculinity and femininity was manifested for the first time in the mystery of creation against the background of man’s original innocence. This significance is linked in the image of Ephesians with redemptive significance, and in this way it is confirmed and in a certain sense, `newly created’ (352).
“This is important in regard to marriage and to the Christian vocation of husbands and wives. The text of Ephesians (5, 21-33) is directly addressed to them and speaks especially to them. However, that living of the spousal significance of the body with its redemptive significance is equally essential and valid for the understanding of man in general for the fundamental problem of understanding him and for the self-comprehension of his being in the world. It is obvious that we cannot exclude from this problem the question on the meaning of being a body, on the sense of being, as a body, man and woman (underline mine) (352-353).
Msgr. William B. Smith, “Same-Sex Unions,” Homiletic and Pastoral Review, January 2004, 62.
“`This first expression of the man, “flesh of my flesh,” also contains a reference to what makes that body truly human. Therefore it referred to what determines man as a person, that is, as a being who, even in all his corporality, similar to God.’ The biological order is abstract because it prescinds from the totality of what is human to regard only that which pertains to certain aspects of its organism.” Adrian J. Reimers, “Karol Wojtyla on the Natural Moral Order,” The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Vol. 4, no. 2, Summer 2004, 321.
SCDF, Declaration Persona Humana (29 December 1975), n. 8.
“The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, in the Audience of 28 March 2003, approved the present Considerations, adopted in the Ordinary Session of this Congregation, and ordered their publication, June 3, 2003, I. The Nature of Marriage.
Daniel Cere, “Redefining Marriage? A Case for Caution,” McGill University, 2, 12/03, Web.
Daniel Cere, “Courtship Today: The View from Academia,” Institute for the Study of Marriage, Law and Culture, Web.
Kenneth R. Himes, O.F.M., and James A. Coriden, Theological Studies 65 (2004) , 485.
J. Ratzinger, Introduction to Christianity, Crossroad (1988) 131-132.
Daniel Cere, “Wars of the Ring, Revisioning Marriage in Postmodern Culture,” Montreal Gazette, March 30, 2002.
Cf. Jn. 8, 24, 28, 58.

Ibid.
“The Lord Jesus, the only Saviour, did not only establish a simple community of disciples but constituted the Church as a salvific mystery; he himself is in the Church and the Church is in him (cf. Jn. 15, 1 ff.; Gal. 3, 28; Eph 4, 15-16; Acts 9, 5). Therefore, the fullness of Christ’s salvific mystery belongs also to the Church, inseparably united to her Lord. Indeed, Jesus Christ continues his presence and his work of salvation in the Church by means of the Church (cf. Col. 1, 24-27), which is his body (cf. 1 Cor 12, 12-13, 27; Col. 1, 18). And thus, just as the head and members of a living body, though not identical, are inseparable, so too Christ and the Church can neither be confused nor separated, and constitute a single `whole Christ.’ This same inseparability is also expressed in the New Testament by the analogy of the Church as the Bride of Christ (cf. 2 Cor. 11, 2; Eph. 5, 25-29; Rev. 21, 2,9).
Therefore, in connection with the unicity and universality of the salvific mediation of Jesus Christ, the unicity of the Church founded by him must be firmly believed as a truth of Catholic faith. Just as there is one Christ, so there exists a single body of Christ, a single Bride of Christ.”
Galatians 3, 16.
1 Cor 12, 12.
J. Ratzinger, “The Spiritual Basis and Ecclesial Identity of Theology,” The Nature and Mission of Theology, Ignatius (1995) 52.
J. Ratzinger, The Nature and Mission of Theology, op. cit. 53-54.
Gal. 2, 20.
Gal. 3, 28-29.
J. Ratzinger, op. cit. 52.
John Paul II, Dominus Iesus, SCDF, August 6, 2000. “The Sovereign Pontiff John Paul II, at the audience of June 16, 2000, granted to the undersigned Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, with sure knowledge and by his apostolic authority, ratified and confirmed this Declaration, adopted in plenary session, and ordered its publication. (23).
“The redemption was to become the source of man’s supernatural endowment after sin and, in a certain sense, in spite of sin. This supernatural endowment, which took place before original sin, that is, the grace of justice and original innocence – an endowment which was the fruit of man’s election in Christ before the ages – was accomplished precisely in reference to him, to the beloved One, while anticipating chronologically this coming in the body;” TOB 334-335.
John Paul II, TOB, “Marriage is the primordial sacrament, reborn in a certain sense in the spousal love of Christ and of the Church” (350).
“We find ourselves in the domain of the great analogy in which marriage as a sacrament is presupposed on the one hand, and on the other hand, rediscovered. It is presupposed as the sacrament of the `beginning’ of mankind united to the mystery of the creation. However, it is rediscovered as the fruit of the spousal love of Christ and of the Church linked with the mystery of the redemption” (351).
“Addressing spouses directly, the author of Ephesians exhorts them to mold their reciprocal relationship on the model of the spousal union of Christ and the Church. It can be said that – presupposing the sacramentality of marriage in its primordial significance – he orders them to learn anew this sacrament of the spousal unity of Christ and the Church: `Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her…’ (cf. Eph. 5, 25-26)” (351). This invitation which the Apostle addressed to Christian spouses is fully motivated by the fact that through marriage as a sacrament, they participate in Christ’s saving love, which is expressed at the same time as his spousal love for the Church. In the light of Ephesians… marriage as a sacrament of the human `beginning’ is confirmed and at the same time renewed” (352).
“The Pauline image of marriage, inscribed in the `great mystery’ of Christ and of the Church, brings together the redemptive dimension and the spousal dimension of love. In a certain sense it fuses these two dimensions into one. Christ has become the spouse of the Church. He has married the Church as a bride, because `He has given himself up for her’ (Eph. 5, 25). Through marriage as a sacrament (as one of the sacraments of the Church) both these dimensions of love, the spousal and the redemptive, together with the grace of the sacrament, permeate the life of the spouses. The spousal significance of the body in its masculinity and femininity was manifested for the first time in the mystery of creation against the background of man’s original innocence. This significance is linked in the image of Ephesians with redemptive significance, and in this way it is confirmed and in a certain sense, `newly created’” (352).
“This is important in regard to marriage and to the Christian vocation of husbands and wives. The text of Ephesians (5, 21-33) is directly addressed to them and speaks especially to them. However, that living of the spousal significance of the body with its redemptive significance is equally essential and valid for the understanding of man in general for the fundamental problem of understanding him and for the self-comprehension of his being in the world. It is obvious that we cannot exclude from this problem the question on the meaning of being a body, on the sense of being, as a body, man and woman (underline mine) (352-353).
“Marriage is the primordial sacrament, reborn in a certain sense in the spousal love of Christ and of the Church” (350).
“We find ourselves in the domain of the great analogy in which marriage as a sacrament is presupposed on the one hand, and on the other hand, rediscovered. It is presupposed as the sacrament of the `beginning’ of mankind united to the mystery of the creation. However, it is rediscovered as the fruit of the spousal love of Christ and of the Church linked with the mystery of the redemption” (351).
“Addressing spouses directly, the author of Ephesians exhorts them to mold their reciprocal relationship on the model of the spousal union of Christ and the Church. It can be said that – presupposing the sacramentality of marriage in its primordial significance – he orders them to learn anew this sacrament of the spousal unity of Christ and the Church: `Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her…’ (cf. Eph. 5, 25-26)” (351). This invitation which the Apostle addressed to Christian spouses is fully motivated by the fact that through marriage as a sacrament, they participate in Christ’s saving love, which is expressed at the same time as his spousal love for the Church. In the light of Ephesians… marriage as a sacrament of the human `beginning’ is confirmed and at the same time renewed” (352).
“The Pauline image of marriage, inscribed in the `great mystery’ of Christ and of the Church, brings together the redemptive dimension and the spousal dimension of love. In a certain sense it fuses these two dimensions into one. Christ has become the spouse of the Church. He has married the Church as a bride, because `He has given himself up for her’ (Eph. 5, 25). Through marriage as a sacrament (as one of the sacraments of the Church) both these dimensions of love, the spousal and the redemptive, together with the grace of the sacrament, permeate the life of the spouses. The spousal significance of the body in its masculinity and femininity was manifested for the first time in the mystery of creation against the background of man’s original innocence. This significance is linked in the image of Ephesians with redemptive significance, and in this way it is confirmed and in a certain sense, `newly created’ (352).
“This is important in regard to marriage and to the Christian vocation of husbands and wives. The text of Ephesians (5, 21-33) is directly addressed to them and speaks especially to them. However, that living of the spousal significance of the body with its redemptive significance is equally essential and valid for the understanding of man in general for the fundamental problem of understanding him and for the self-comprehension of his being in the world. It is obvious that we cannot exclude from this problem the question on the meaning of being a body, on the sense of being, as a body, man and woman (underline mine) (352-353).
The Hebrew word for the Word of God returning to God as “thanksgiving,” i.e., “Eucharist.”
Daniel Cere, Redefining Marriage? A Case for Caution, McGill University, Feb. 12, 2003.

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