Tuesday, April 19, 2005

The Theo-logic of the Conclave

Peter already sits among the Cardinals at the Conclave. They will recognize him from the inside. Since “no one knows the Son except the Father” (Mt. 11, 27), the Cardinals must be “drawn by the Father” (Jn. 6, 44) to re-cognize him who is “Rock” as Jesus Christ is “Cornerstone.”
Since the Church is a communio of other-generating relations and not a political grouping of individuals (one is who one is only by the giving of the self), the Conclave is an act of the whole Church, not simply Cardinals choosing a political head. Since one is only insofar as one begets and is begotten, one “knows” the other only from the inside. You recognize the other as “I” only by experiencing yourself as “I.”
That said, the Cardinals in Conclave do not choose the one who will be Peter. Peter is already present among them. They must re-cognize him. Each one in the Conclave must become Peter, and “cognize” him in themselves, in order to be able to “re-cognize” him who has already been chosen by the Father with the Holy Spirit. Like is known by like. To know is become one-being-with-another. If Christ is “cornerstone” (Acts 4, 11), then the vice-Christ must be “rock.” One must become rock to recognize rock. Goethe said, “if the eye were not solar, it could not see the sun.”
Contrary to the reigning epistemology, the Conclave is not an exercise in democratic methodology powered by the logic of geopolitics, facility in languages, personality appeal or even theological acumen. It is an exercise of faith, working within a supernatural logic, in order to recognize him who experiences in his bones that Jesus is “the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16, 16).
Such was Karol Wojtyla. As Lorenzo Albacete responded, “Karol Wojtyla, John Paul II, is not a man with faith. His identity is faith. For him the human being is not the biological creature; what defines a human being is faith… To him there is no other question. It is the fundamental basic question because faith for him is not a collection of beliefs, like I believe there is a god. I believe this god, if one is a Christian, is a Trinitarian… Faith for him is a lifestyle. It is a way of situating yourself in front of reality, starting with your own self. It is a judgment, a position, a stand that you take” – on Rock – “with respect to everything.” John Paul II was rock re-cognizing Rock. And so he began his homily on October 22, 1978:

“You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” (Mt. 16, 16). These words were pronounced by Simon, son of John, in the region of Caesarea Philippi. And he expressed them in his own language, with a profound, lived and deeply felt conviction. But these words do not find their source, their origin, in him. “Flesh and Blood has not revealed this to you but my Father in heaven” (Mt. 16, 17). These were the words, full of faith. They mark the beginning of the mission of Peter in the history of salvation, in the history of the People of God. From then on, from this confession of faith, the sacred history of salvation and of the People of God should acquire a new dimension: to be expressed in the historic dimension of the Church. This ecclesial dimension of the history of the People of God has its origins - in fact is born - from these words of faith, and are tied to the man who pronounced them: “You are Peter –rock, stone – and on you, as on a rock, I will build my Church.”
John Paul II explained this supernatural logic – “theologic” - that must take place in the Sistine Chapel.

“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. 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 its 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)” (Novo Millennio Ineunte #20)

One of the Cardinals present now in the Sistine Chapel has been drawn by the Father because he has entered into the prayer of Christ to the Father as in Luke 9, 18. He is experiencing himself to be the “cornerstone that was rejected by you the builders” (Acts 4, 11), and as vice-Christ experiences in himself the power to “radiate fatherhood.” And although afraid of his inadequacy as Simon son of John, when the Ancient One reaches toward Adam in the Sistine (the electors praying), He will be reaching toward Christ, and the vice Christ. And as John Paul said to us in his “Tryptych:” “You who see all, point to him! He will point him out.” As Christ is the meaning not only of who God is, but who man is, the one pointed out will be the one who, like Christ, will be able to say not only to the Church but to the world “Be Not Afraid.”


Jerry Sullivan said...

Father Bob,
Benedict XVI has a good ring to it. I'm fascinated and excited about the future. And, I'm anxious to read your next piece on the new Pope.

Your current article prompts me to ask the question of how God communicated his choice before the College of Cardinals existed? Did He communicate to the secular individuals that made the selection? Thank you.

Jerry Sullivan

Anonymous said...

Dear Jerry, I'm giving a retreat at the moment so I'm not active. But I've got ideas. Keep blogging and love to your family. I saw Brian. He looks wonderful. Fr. Bob

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