Sunday, April 23, 2006

Vatican II: Continuity, Not Rupture, With Tradition

Précis


The large point is that we are being lifted from a metaphysics of substance to a metaphysics of Person as relation (self-gift) without giving up Being. We are in perfect continuity with Christian metaphysics in crossing the threshold of subjectivity where Christ comes to us as “I Am.” In doing this, we are able to assimilate the turn to the subject of the Modern Enlightenment and purify it of subjectivism and relativism. In fact, it is precisely in recovering the identity of the ontological self in the revealing “I” of Jesus Christ that we find absolute values, the absolute good, in the existential singular – the self. Since “there is only one who is good” – God – we experience the absolute value of the good in ourselves when we transcend self as gift prototypically in the act of faith and in every subsequent act of worship of God and service to the others. This is the response to the challenge that Benedict formulated in his interview with Robert Moynihan (see below).

Benedict XVI to the Roman Curia: December 22, 2005[1]

“The last event of this year on which I wish to reflect here is the celebration of the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council 40 years ago. This memory prompts the question: What has been the result of the Council? Was it well received? What, in the acceptance of the Council, was good and what was inadequate or mistaken? What still remains to be done? No one can deny that in vast areas of the Church the implementation of the council has been somewhat difficult…The question arises: Why has the implementation of the Council, in large parts of the Church, thus far been so difficult?

“Well, it all depends on the correct interpretation of the Council or – as we would say today – on its proper hermeneutics, the correct key to its interpretation and application. The problems in its implementation arose from the fact that two contrary hermeneutics came face to face and quarreled with each other. One caused confusion, the other, silently but more and more visibly, bore and is bearing fruit.

“On the one hand, there is an interpretation that I would call `a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture.”

Benedict XVI on Polish Television: “I forgot to mention the many documents that he [John Paul II] left us -- 14 encyclicals, many pastoral letters, and others. All this is a rich patrimony that has not yet been assimilated by the Church. My personal mission is not to issue many new documents, but to ensure that his documents are assimilated, because they are a rich treasure, they are the authentic interpretation of Vatican II. We know that the Pope was a man of the Council, that he internalized the spirit and the word of the Council. Through these writings he helps us understand what the Council wanted and what it didn’t. This helps us to be the Church of our times and of the future
.[2]

I

“Hermeneutic of Discontinuity and Rupture”


“The hermeneutic of discontinuity risks ending in a split between the preconciliar Church and the postconciliar Church. It asserts that the texts of the council as such do not yet express the true spirit of the council. It claims that they are the result of compromises in which, to reach unanimity, it was found necessary to keep and reconfirm many old things that are now pointless. However, the true spirit of the council [It is alleged[3]] is not to be found in these compromises but instead in the impulses toward the new that are contained in the texts. These innovations alone were supposed to represent the true spirit of the council, and starting from and in conformity with them, it would be possible to move ahead. [However, they argue,] precisely because the texts would only imperfectly reflect the true spirit of the council and its newness, it would be necessary to go courageously beyond the texts[4] and make room for the newness in which the council’s deepest intention would be expressed, even if it were still vague. In a word, it would be necessary not to follow the texts of the council but its spirit. In this way, obviously, a vast margin was left open for the question on how this spirit should subsequently be defined and room was consequently made for every whim. The nature of the council as such is therefore basically misunderstood. In this way it is considered as a sort of constituent that eliminates an old constitution and creates a new one. However, the constituent assembly needs a mandator and then confirmation by the mandator, in other words, the people the constitution must serve. The fathers had no such mandate, and no one had ever given them one; nor could anyone have given them one because the essential constitution of the Church comes from the Lord and was given to us as so that we might attain eternal life and, starting from this perspective, be able to illuminate life in time and time itself.”[5]

The Hermeneutic of Discontinuity: Loss of the experience of Jesus Christ as ontological Subject: God-man.

· Discontinuity in the interpretation of Vatican II: The Bologna School (Alberigo)
· Ontological discontinuity with classicist metaphysics: Aristotelian “nature” [substance as being-in-self] attracted by Prime Ousia thinking self, but seeks the cosmic ends of the nature; Greek eros is fundamentally selfish love. It seeks what is already good, and does so for its own need and pleasure.[6]
· John Courtney Murray’s take on the shift from “Classicism” to “historical consciousness.”[7]
· Interpretive discontinuity on the meaning of eros with regard to agape as presented by Anders Nygren (see below);
· Discontinuity with scholastic theology and philosophy of both Augustine (Baius and Jansenius), and St. Thomas (Cajetan and consequent new-scholasticism): the human person is “pure nature” endowed with the accident rationality and free will with grace added to the whole also as accident.
· Discontinuity with Enlightenment dualism where the “I” is consciousness and the body is matter as “thing.” The epistemological methodology is abstractive rationalism and applied positivism. The hegemony of sensible experience to which all thought is reducible.

“Eros” Before Christianity:

“Eros is, point by point, the counterpoise to agape. It is neither creative nor spontaneous, because it is essentially determined by its object, by the pre-existing goodness and beauty whose presence is first discovered and thereupon loved. Primarily, of course, eros is `love of a desirous, egocentric kind.’ `The starting point is human need, the goal is the satisfaction of this need.’ `Eros is fundamentally self-love,’ even in its most sublime form, even when it is conceived as a `way of man toward the divine.’”[8]

II


“The Hermeneutic of Continuity and Reform”


The Hermeneutic of Continuity and Reform: The “continuity” is Being; the “reform” is subjectivity. This is achieved by the recovery of the experience of Jesus Christ as ontological Subject: “I Am” in what we understand to be the experience of Christian faith as the experience self-gift. The subject believing is understood to be “being” rather than Enlightenment “consciousness.”

John Paul II gives the meaning of the Council as “pastoral:” “If we study the Conciliar magisterium as a whole, we find that the Pastors of the Church were not so much concerned to answer questions like `What should men believe?’, `What is the real meaning of this or that truth of faith?’ and so on, but rather to answer the more complex question: `What does it mean to be a believer, a Catholic and a member of the Church?’ They endeavored to answer this question in the broad context of today’s world, as indeed the complexity of the question itself requires (emphasis mine).

“The question `What does it mean to be a believing member of the Church?’ is indeed difficult and complex, because it not only presupposes the truth of faith and pure doctrine, but also calls for that truth to be situated in the human consciousness and calls for a definition of the attitude, or rather the many attitudes, that go to make the individual a believing member of the Church. This would seem to be the main respect in which the conciliar magisterium has a pastoral character, corresponding to the pastoral purpose for which is was called. A `purely’ doctrinal council would have concentrated on defining the precise meaning of the truths of faith, whereas a pastoral Council proclaims, recalls or clarifies truths for the primary purpose of giving Christians a life-style, a way of thinking and acting. In our efforts to put the Council into practice, this is the style we must keep before our minds.” [9]

Wojtyla then proceeds to parse and conjugate every document of the Council under two headings that are immensely significant: consciousness and attitude. The consciousness is experiencing self as alter Christus, which occurs after the attitude of making the sincere gift of self. This is the meaning of the Revelation that is Jesus Christ, and it is the description of the meaning of the human person in the act of belief. And this just so happens to be the description of Christian anthropology that is the asymptote of every definition of man that is found in Gaudium et spes #24: “man, the only earthly being that God has willed for itself, finds himself by the sincere gift of himself.” As John Paul II said in his interview with Andre Frossard: “When God reveals himself and faith accepts him, it is man who sees himself revealed to himself and confirmed in his being as man and person.”[10]


The “Continuity” is Ontological; The “Reform” is Becoming-a-Subject. The “Process:” Experience of the Gift-of-Self

Eros understood as the nature of the man Jesus of Nazareth is dynamized by the Person of Jesus Christ who is Agape. There eros is in continuity with itself as eros, but now achieves its perfection both in being, truth and freedom as Person Logos-Agape.

Benedict’s Formulation of Personagenesis in Christ as Eros dynamized by Agape: The reason for the encyclical: Beginning to cross the threshold into the experience of Vatican II and the mind of John Paul II.

Benedict wrote: “In philosophical and theological debate, these distinction [between eros and agape] have often been radicalized to the point of establishing a clear antithesis between them: descending, oblative love – agape – would be typically Christian, while on the other hand ascending, possessive or covetous love –eros – would be typical of non-Christian, and particularly Greek culture. Were this antithesis to be taken to extremes, the essence of Christianity would be detached from the vital relations fundamental to human existence and would become a world apart, admirable perhaps, but decisively cut off from the complex fabric of human life. Yet eros and agape – ascending love and descending love- can never be completely separated. The more the two, in their different aspects, find a proper unity in the one reality of love, the more the true nature of love in general is realized. Even if eros is at first mainly covetous and ascending, a fascination for the great promise of happiness, in drawing near to the other, it is less and less concerned with itself, increasingly seeks the happiness of the other, is concerned more and more with the beloved, bestows itself and wants `to be there for' the other. The element of agape thus enters into this love, for otherwise eros is impoverished and even loses its own nature.”

The Eros of Jesus of Nazareth Compenetrated by the Agape of the Logos

Text of Benedict XVI: eros : agape = the man Jesus of Nazareth : Logos

The absolute center of Vatican II is the recovery of the Church’s understanding of Jesus Christ as Person, “I Am.” This understanding developed during the experience of the Christological Councils of Nicea (325), Ephesus (431), Chalcedon (451) and Constantinople (680-681). Progressively, the Church was able to conceptualize the transcendent divinity of Christ, the full humanity of Christ, the unity of the divine and human natures in the Person of Christ, and finally to reach a fuller understanding of the Person of Christ, and therefore, a fuller understanding of man.

Ratzinger: “Compenetration,”[11] not Parallelism

“In the manuals, the theological development after Chalcedon has ordinarily come to be little considered. The impression thus frequently remains that dogmatic Christology finishes up with a certain parallelism between the two nature of Christ. This impression has also been the cause leading to the divisions since Chalcedon. But in effect the declaration of the true humanity and the true divinity of Christ can retain its significance only when there is clarification also of the mode of unity of the two nature, which the Council of Chalcedon has defined by the formula of the `one person’ of Christ, at that time not yet fully examined. In fact only that unity of divinity and humanity which in Christ is not parallelism, where one stands alongside the other, but real compenetration – compenetration between God and man – means salvation for human kind. Only thus in fact does that true `being with God’ take place, without which liberation and freedom do not exist.

“This same query returned at the third Council of Constantinople (680-681) after two centuries of dramatic struggle, marked most often also by Byzantine politics. According to this Council, on the one hand: the unity between the divinity and the humanity in Christ does not in any sense imply an amputation or reduction of the humanity. If God joins himself to his creature – man/woman – he does not wound or diminish it: he brings it to its plenitude. But on the other hand(and this is no less important) there remains no trace of that dualism or parallelism of the two natures which in the course of history was frequently judged necessary to defend the human liberty of Jesus. Such studies forgot that the assumption of the human will into the divine will does not destroy freedom, but on the contrary generates true liberty. The Council of Constantinople has analysed concretely the problem of the two natures and one person in Christ in view of the problem of the will of Jesus. We are reminded firmly that there exists a specific will of the man Jesus that is not absorbed into the divine will. But this human will follows the divine will and thus becomes a single will with it, not, however, in a forced way but by way of freedom. The metaphysical duplicity of a human will and a divine will is not eliminated, but in the personal sphere, the area of freedom, there is accomplished a fusion of the two, so that this becomes union – a mode of union created by love – is a union higher and more intimate than a purely natural union which can exist, the union of the Trinity. The Council explains this union by a saying of the Lord given in the Gospel of John: `I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of the Father who sent me’ (Jn. 6, 38). Here the divine Logos is speaking, and speaking of the human will of Jesus in the mode by which he calls his will the will of the Logos. With this exegesis of John 6, 38), the Council proves the unity of the subject: in Jesus there are not two `I’s’ but only one. The Logos speaks of the will and human thought of Jesus using the `I;’ this has become his `I,’ has been assumed into his `I,’ because the human will has become fully one with the will of the Logos, and with it has become pure assent to the will of the Father”
[12] (underline mine).


St. Thomas’s Metaphysic of “`Esse’ Personale Applied to Christology and the Two “Natures”

“Christ rather preserves unity in virtue of the unity of the subsisting subject than acquires duality in virtue of the duality of natures.”

He then explains: “Illud esse aeternum Filii Dei, quod est divina natura, fit esse hominis, inquantum humana natura assumitur a Filio Dei in unitatem personae”[13] (“The eternal Esse of the Son of God which is identified with the divine nature becomes the Esse of the man inasmuch as the human nature is assumed by the Son of God into the unity of his Person.”)

The large point to be made: The relation of the two natures in Christ is not a zero sum game. In order to affirm his divinity the tendency of the human mind was to take away from his human nature. “That nothing is lacking in his humanity was fought through inch by inch in the history of dogma, for the attempt was made again and again to show where something is missing. Arianism and appollinarianism first thought Christ had no human soul; monophysitism denied him his human nature. After these fundamental errors had been rejected, weaker forms of the same tendency made their appearance. The monothelites asserted that although Christ had everything, he had at least no human will, the heart of personal existence. After this view had been rejected too, monergism appeared. Although Christ had a human will, he did not have the actualization of this will; the actualization comes from God. These are all attempts at locating the concept of person at some place in the psychic inventory. One after the other was rejected in order to make one point clear: this is not how the statement is meant; nothing is missing; no subtraction from humanity whatever is permitted or given. I believe that if one follows this struggle in which human reality had to be brought in, as it were, and affirmed for Jesus, one sees what tremendous effort and intellectual transformation lay behind the working out of this concept of person, which was quite foreign in its inner disposition to the Greek and the Latin mind. It is not conceived in substantialist, but… in existential terms. In this light, Boethius’s concept of person, which prevailed in Western philosophy, must be criticized as entirely insufficient. Remaining on the level of the Greek mind, Boethius define `person’ as naturae rationalis individual substantia, as the individual substance of a rational nature. One sees that the concept of person stands entirely on the level of substance. This cannot clarify anything about the Trinity or about Christology; it is an affirmation that remains on the level of the Greek mind which thinks in substantialist terms.”[14]

Consequently, although Jesus Christ is fully God, and the revelation of same (Gaudium et Spes #22), He is also the revelation of man as “prototype” (Eph. 1, 3-5), Adam only being a “type.” Hence, Christ is not an exception to man but his revelation. Ratzinger concludes the above point, “If it is true… 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 understood as such.”

Jesus Christ was considered an ontological exception to man. Christ was pure relation to the Father understood from above, and man was an individual substance of a rational nature, understood from below as an abstraction. With these texts, the man Jesus of Nazareth (there is no human person) is dynamized by the very act of existence of the divine Logos. What Jesus Christ is and does as man is what every man must be and do.


Theological Epistemology


The Historical Grounding Insight of Josef Ratzinger: Faith is the supreme act of metaphysical anthropology whereby the believer becomes one with the Revelation: the Person of Jesus Christ.


“But (Michael Schmaus) also did not like the result of my analyses. I had ascertained that in Bonaventure (as well as in theologians of the thirteenth century) there was nothing corresponding to our conception of `revelation,’ by which we are normally in the habit of referring to all the revealed contents of the faith: it has been become a part of linguistic usage to refer to Sacred Scripture simply as `revelation.’ Such an identification would have been unthinkable in the language of the High Middle Ages. Here, `revelation’ is always a concept denoting an act. The word refers to the act in which God shows himself, not to the objectified result of this act. And because this is so, the receiving subject is always also a part of the concept of `revelation,’ no re-vel-ation has occurred, because no veil has been removed. By definition, revelation requires a someone who apprehends it. These insights, gained through my reading of Bonaventure, were later on very important for me at the time of the conciliar discussion on revelation, Scripture, and tradition[15]. Because, if Bonaventure is right, then revelation precedes Scripture and becomes deposited in Scripture but is not simply identical with it. This in turn means that revelation is always something greater than what is merely written. And this again means that there can be no such thing as pure sola scripture (`by Scripture alone’), because an essential element of Scriptura is the Church as understanding subject, and with this the fundamental sense of tradition is already given.”[16]

Theological Epistemology – “theology from experience:” Major Application of this Discovery to the Knowledge and Affirmation of Jesus as “The Christ, Son of the Living God.”

“Thesis 3: Since the center of the person of Jesus is prayer, it is essential to participate in his prayer if we are to know and understand him.

“Let us begin here with a very general matter of epistemology. By nature, knowledge depends on a certain similarity between the knower and the known. The old axiom is that lie is known by like. In matters of the mind and where persons are concerned, this means that knowledge calls for a certain degree of empathy, by which we enter, so to speak, into the person or intellectual reality concerned, become one with him or it, and thus become able to understand (intellegere = ab intus legere).

“We can illustrate this with a couple of examples. Philosophy can only be acquired if we philosophize, if we carry through the process of philosophical thought; mathematics can only be appropriated if we think mathematically; medicine can only be learned in the practice of healing, never merely by means of books and reflection. Similarly, religion can only be understood through religion… The fundamental act of religion is prayer, which in the Christian religion acquires a very specific character: it is the act of self-surrender by which we enter the Body of Christ. Thus it is an act of love. As love, in and with the Body of Christ, it is always both love of God and love of neighbor, knowing and fulfilling itself as love for the members of this Body.

“In Thesis 1 we saw that prayer was the central act of the person of Jesus and, indeed, that this person is constituted by the act of prayer, of unbroken communication with one he calls 1Father.’ If this is the case, it is only possible really to understand this person by entering into this act of prayer, by participating in it. This is suggested by Jesus’ saying that o one can come to him unless the Father draws him (Jn. 6, 44). Where there is no Father, there is no Son. Where there is no relationship with God, there can be no understanding of him who, in his innermost self, is nothing but relationship with God, the Father… Therefore a participation in the mind of Jesus, i.e., in his prayer, which… is an act of love, of self-giving and self-expropriation to men, is not some kind of pious supplement to reading the Gospels, adding nothing to knowledge of him or even being an obstacle to the rigorous purity of critical knowing. On the contrary, it is the basic precondition if real understanding, in the sense of modern hermeneutics – i.e., the entering-in to the same time and same meaning – is to take place… All real progress in theological understanding has its origin in the eye of love and in its faculty of beholding.”[17]

Application: Simon entered into this prayer of Christ (“as he was praying in private, that his disciples also were with him,” Lk. 9, 18), became “like” Him, and was able to say: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16, 16) The likeness to Christ becomes evident in the name-change from Simon to Peter (as “rock”) since Jesus is the “Cornerstone.”[18] One knows Christ only by becoming like Him, and in so doing reaches salvation.[19]

The Prototype of Catechesis: “In the next stage, the woman’s full attention has been attracted to the subject of a thirst for life. She no longer asks for something, for water or for any other single thing, but for life, for herself. This explains the apparently totally unmotivated interpolation by Jesus: `Go and call your husband!’ (Jn. 4, 16), It is both intentional and necessary, for her life as a whole, with all its thirst, is the true subject here. As a result, there comes to light the real dilemma, the deep-seated waywardness, of her existence: she is brought face to face with herself. In general, we can reduce what is happening to the formula: one must know oneself as one really is if one is to know God. The real medium, the primordial experience of all experiences, is that man himself is the place in which and through which he experiences God. Admittedly, the circle could also be closed in the opposite direction: it could be said that it is only by first knowing God that one can properly know oneself.

“But we anticipate. As we have said, the woman must come first to the knowledge of herself, to the acknowledgement of herself. For what she makes now is a kind of confession: a confession in which, at last, she reveals herself unsparingly. Thus a new transition has occurred –to preserve our earlier terminology, a transition from empirical and experimental to `experiential’ experience, to `existential experience.’ The woman stands face to face with herself. It is no longer a question now of something but of the depths of the I itself and, consequently, of the radical poverty that is man’s I-myself, the place where this I is ultimately revealed behind the superficiality of the something. From this perspective, we might regard the conversation between Jesus and the Samaritan woman as the prototype of catechesis. It must lead from the something to the I. Beyond every something it must ensure the involvement of man himself, of this particular man. It must produce self-knowledge and self-acknowledgment so that the indigence and need of man’s being will be evident.

“But let us return to the biblical text! The Samaritan woman has achieved this radical confrontation with her own self. In the moment in which this occurs, the question of all questions arises always and of necessity; the question about oneself becomes a question about God. It is only apparently without motivation but in reality inevitable that the woman should ask now: How do things stand with regard to adoration, that is, with regard to God and my relationship to him? (cf. Jn 4, 20). The question about foundation and goal makes itself heard. Only at this point does the offering of Jesus’ true gift become possible. For the `gift of God’ is God himself, God precisely as gift – that is, the Holy Spirit (cf. v10-24). At the beginning of the conversation, there seemed no likelihood that his woman, with her obviously superficial way of life, would have any interest in the Holy Spirit. But one she was led to the depths of her own being the question arose that must always arise if one is to ask the question that burns in one’s soul. Now the woman is aware of the real thirst by which she is driven. Hence, she can at last learn that it is for which this thirst thirsts.

“It is the purpose and meaning of all catechesis to lead to this thirst. For one who knows neither that there is a Holy Spirit nor that one can thirst for him, it cannot begin otherwise than with sensory perception. Catechesis must lead to self-knowledge, to the exposing of the I, so that it lets the masks fall and moves out of the realm of something into that of being. Its goal is conversion, that conversion of man that results in his standing face to face with himself. Conversio (`conversion,’ metanoia) is identical with self-knowledge, and self-knowledge is the nucleus of all knowledge. Conversio is the way in which man finds himself and thus now the question of all questions: How can I worship God? It is the question that means his salvation; it is the raison d’etre of catechesis.”[20]

· The Epistemological Prototype: “Continuity” with the Person of Christ (as Being), and the Reform to “Knowing” Him (Intellegere = legere ab intus) As Subject

“Thesis 3: Since the center of the person of Jesus is prayer, it is essential to participate in his prayer if we are to know and understand him.”[21] That is, since like is known by like, and since Christ is pure relation to the Father, when enfleshed, this relation appears as prayer. It must be remembered that God is revealed as Word.[22] The enfleshment of Person who is Word is prayer.[23] Therefore, one knows this Person by entering into prayer and becoming like Him.[24]

The Challenge:

Ratzinger: “Here is the problem: Ought we to accept modernity in full, or in part? Is there a real contribution? Can this modern way of thinking be a contribution, or offer a contribution, or not? And if there is a contribution from the modern, critical way of thinking, in line with the Enlightenment, how can it be reconciled with the great intuitions and the great gifts of the faith”
“Or ought we, in the name of the faith, to reject modernity? You see? There always seems to be this dilemma: either we must reject the whole of the tradition, all the exegesis of the Fathers, relegate it to the library as historically unsustainable, or we must reject modernity.
“And I think that the gift, the light of the faith, must be dominant, but the light of the faith has also the capacity to take up into itself the true human lights, and for this reason the struggles over exegesis and the liturgy for me must be inserted into this great, let us call it epochal struggle over how Christianity, over how the Christian responds to modernity, to the challenge of modernity.”

You use the phrase `epochal struggle’… I said…

“Yes.”

`Well, at the very least, that means it is a struggle of enormous historical importance…’

`Yes, certainly…’

“And it seems to me,” he continued, "that this was the true intention of the Second Vatican Council, to go beyond an unfruitful and overly narrow apologetic to a true synthesis with the positive elements of modernity, but at the same time, let us say, to transform modernity, to heal it of its illnesses, by means of the light and strength of the faith.
“Because it was the Council Fathers’ intention to heal and transform modernity, and not simply to succumb to it or merge with it, the interpretations which interpret the Second Vatican Council in the sense of de-sacralization or profanation are erroneous.
“That is, Vatican II must not be interpreted as desiring a rejection of the tradition and an adapting of the Church to modernity and so causing the Church to become empty because it loses the word of faith.”
[25]

* * * * * * * *


III


Three Circles of Questions

Answered by Vatican II as Eros-Agape


First Circle: Belief and Modern Science

Faith: Eros-Agape (person-as-relation = to be = to be for) is the meaning of faith as self-gift to the revealing God. This self-giftedness is found in the epistemology of modern science. We have seen above that “`revelation’ is always a concept denoting an act. The word refers to the act in which God shows himself, not to the objectified result of this act. And because this is so, the receiving subject is always also a part of the concept of `revelation.’ Where there is no one to perceive `revelation,’ no re-vel-ation has occurred, because no veil has been removed. By definition, revelation requires a someone who apprehends it.”[26] This means that in spite of the usefulness of the historico-critical method, there is no understanding of the meaning of Sacred Scripture if there is no personal gift of self to reach out to read the revealing Person of Christ from within and match the duo of revelation and faith by the dynamic of self-gift for self-gift.

Science: A similar state of affairs has taken place in modern science. Ratzinger remarks: “We know today that in a physical experiment the observer himself enters into the experiment and only by doing so can arrive at a physical experience. This means that there is no such thing as pure objectivity even in physics, that even here the result of the experiment, nature’s answer, depends on the question put to it. In the answer there is always a bit of the question and a bit of the questioner himself; it reflects not only nature-in-itself, in its pure objectivity, but also gives back something of man, of our individuality, a bit of the human subject. This too, mutatis mutandis, is true of the question of God. There is no such thing as a mere observer. There is no such thing as pure objectivity. One can even say that the higher an object stands in human terms, the more it penetrates the center of individuality, and the more it engages the beholder’s individuality, then the smaller the possibility of the mere distancing involved in our objectivity. Thus, wherever an answer is presented as unemotionally objective, as a statement that finally goes beyond the prejudices of the pious and provides purely factual, scientific information, then it has to be said that the speaker has here fallen a victim to self-deception. This kind of objectivity is quite simply denied to man. He cannot ask and exist as a mere observer. He who tries to be a mere observer experiences nothing. Even the reality `God’ can only impinge on the vision of him who enters into the experiment with God – the experiment that we call faith. Only by entering does one experience; only by co-operating in the experiment does one ask at all, and only he who asks receives an answer.”[27][28]

Second Circle: Believer/Citizen Resolving Church/State

The state cannot exist without the values of truth and good. Freedom must be ordered from within, or it must controlled from without. Experience from the senses alone will not yield values as absolutes. Sensible empirical experience only yields the contingent as fact which is the basis of abstraction. The source of the absolute is found in another experience of the self as being in a state of transcendence/self gift. The first of these is Christian faith. It yields a consciousness of the dignity of the self and the freedom of self-mastery. Both are the stuff that ground the citizen and civil society.

In his address to Roman Curia, he noted that “the American Revolution was offering a model of a modern state that differed from the theoretical model with radical tendencies that had emerged during the second phase of the French Revolution.” The American Revolution was the culmination of 150 years of a Christian experience of faith and work in a Protestant key. A consciousness had emerged from that faith experience that was grounding of self-evident truths and the demand to self-determination. These are personal absolutes that ground citizenship and the civic order.

The relation between Church and State had proven to be the wrong terms of the question. The relation is not between objects, but within the same subject as believer/citizen. The believer as person making the gift of self to the revealing Christ, experiences identification with Christ in his consciousness as free and responsible self-determination. This produces a change in the anthropological profile of the person such as has been seen throughout Scripture. When there is self-gift there is a change in the ontological profile of the person. And the name changes. Abram becomes Abraham; Jacob becomes Israel; Simon becomes Peter; Miriam becomes “full of grace;” Saul becomes Paul, etc. Upon denying Christ, Peter’s name reverts to Simon, son of John. The self transcendence of faith engenders the anthropological stature of the secular citizen. The continuity and reform that we have been seeing – actualizing self as ontological subject by the conversion that is faith – endows the believing Christian as prototypical citizen of a truly secular body politic.[29] Secularity (not secularism) is a Christian reality that is rooted in Christian anthropology and is the characteristic of the sacramentally (baptized), believing citizen.[30] Neither theocracy in general, nor Christendom in particular are goals of Catholic Social Doctrine. Rather, the Church aspires to holiness in the workplace that will breed a common consciousness of the truth of the person serving others. If this is lived out with the faith experience of self-gift by the few that are leaven – in the middle of secular society – the faith experience will be transmitted globally as the truth of the person through secular work and ordinary family life.

Hence, only where there is faith, and the culture of faith giving this experience, is it possible to have a global communio with “autonomous” protagonist states with the separation of Church and State as institutions. In this sense, Christian faith – Eros of the believing self – is the grounding of a true humanism, a true secularity (true autonomy of self-determination) and a true global, secular civil order.

When he was inducted into the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of the Institute of France, Cardinal Ratzinger remarked that “institutions cannot maintain themselves and be effective without common ethical convictions. These in turn cannot come from a purely empirical reason.” The Enlightenment has taught us that sense experience does not yield an existential absolute. Ratzinger went on, “The decisions of the majority will themselves remain truly human and logical only if they presuppose the existence of a basic humanitarian sense and respect this as the true common good [the human person], the condition of all other goods. Such convictions require corresponding human attitudes and these in turn cannot be developed unless the historical foundation of a culture and the ethical, religious judgments it contains are taken into consideration. For a culture and a nation to cut itself off from the great ethical and religious forces of its history amounts to committing suicide. Cultivating the essential moral judgements, and maintaining and protecting them without imposing them by force seems to me to be a condition for the survival of freedom in the face of all the forms of nihilism and their totalitarian consequences.[31]

The Epistemology of Religious Freedom: John Courtney Murray’s “The Problem of Religious Freedom:”[32] Murray offers the two views: 1) If there is objective truth, there can be no tolerance of error. Only truth has rights; 2) To the contrary, persons have rights, above all to self-determination as to how they will make the gift of self to God. They are gravely obliged in conscience to seek the truth, but then they must follow that truth as understood.[33]

Third Circle: Believer/Tolerance Resolving Globalism

Religious Tolerance as political freedom is based on the absolute. St. Thomas grounded freedom of choice concerning particular goods on the necessity of the will to choose the absolute good in itself. The absolute that is experienced in the act of faith – again as radical self-transcendence to death (martyrdom being the ordinary denouement) – is the “I” of the believer. The Church itself is a single “I” of Christ that is present in all objective cultures without disturbing them as cultures, but purifies them, again, precisely as cultures. It is a Communio of subjects who have all undergone the conversion from in-self to self-gift (faith) that is the Christological anthropology of priesthood. The Church is not a political community of “individuals” (like the Greek polis) but a communio of subjects (like the People of God). It is communio because it is integrated by sacramentally irreducible lay faithful and ministers who cannot be who they are without each other, and hence imaging the Trinitarian relations. He says: “conversion according to Paul is something much more radical than a mere revision of a few opinions or attitudes. It is a death event. In other words it is the replacement of the subject – of the `I.’ In other words it is the replacement of the subject – of the `I.’ The `I’ ceases to be independent and to be a subject existing in itself [as a substance]. It is torn from itself and inserted into a new subject. The `I’ does not perish, but must let itself diminish completely, in effect, in order to be received within a larger `I’ and, together with that larger `I,’ to be conceived anew.”[34]
Lower down, he says: “It is essential 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.”[35]
To dramatize the subjectivity of the Church, Benedict does the hermeneutic of 1 Cor. 12, 12: “Paul does not say `as in an organism there are many members working in harmony, so too in the Church,’ 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). 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.”[36]

Appendix: The Church of Jesus Christ as a single Subject, the “I” of Christ himself, made up of “I’s” in Head (ministers by the sacrament of Orders) and Body (layfaithful by the sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation) is the absolute Truth of Christ. Christ is the Absolute Truth in the singleness of His Persona. This Church that is the Whole Christ made one flesh of Bridegroom and Bride in the flesh of the Eucharist “is”[37] the Catholic Church insofar as the one and only Church of Christ was founded on Peter and the apostles.




By going out of self even to death for love (agape), which is the meaning of true freedom, the believer experiences likeness to Christ who alone is good. Simon exercised the act of faith by entering into the prayer of Jesus to the Father (Lk. 9, 18). By so doing, he became consciousness of becoming “another Christ” and was able to say, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Mt. 16, 15). Benedict says, “If we – with Peter, with the entire New Testament, with the entire Church – confess Jesus as Christ, the Son of the living God, then we do not only wish to say that this Jesus has become the highest manifestation of the divine for “us,” while others elsewhere may well have found their own unique saviors. Faith, in the sense of the New Testament, means precisely that we are being torn away from our subjective or merely human-cultural estimations, that he who takes us by the hand is the one who passes over the sea of time without sinking because he is the Lord of time. Faith as `theological’ act transcends all experience. It is an act of assent which we can only make to the living God who is truth in person. We may no confer this obedience on any relative reality.”

The point of what is said is that faith gives a privileged access to Being and therefore Truth. It is an unmediated access to the Being of the “I” that is experienced in self-transcendence. It is absolute. It is the only absolute true act. It images Trinitarian relation. This is a consciousness that is experienced as absolutely true which cannot be proved by anything anterior to it or more radical. All religions can be called eros in search of this agape.
Only by experiencing the agape of self-gift that is the experience of Christ, and being able to say, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” will we be able to be tolerant and call to them, announcing Christ. They will answer: “Yes this is what I have been tending toward.”

Sokolowski’s “The God of Faith and Reason”[38] is helpful here: The Christian Distinction: Cosmic experience of the senses yields intra-cosmic gods. They are not from an experience of self-transcendence. They are conceptual. Judeo-Christian faith is the direct experience of the being of the “I” as imaging the Transcendent God. It is radically different. Such consciousness produces the People of God of Old and New Testaments. Anselm’s “proof” with its missing propositions: The God of Jesus Christ is not more because the world is, and would not be less if it did not exist. Therefore, it is of another order of Being. The experience of this order by the image gives the value of absolute which is tolerant of the other searchings.

(check to see if these are in the text)

Springs of the Mind of Benedict XVI (chronological and essential):


1) The Meaning of Faith (Rehabilitation Thesis): To believe is to self-transcend:

“But he [Michael Schmaus] also did not like the result of my analyses. I had ascertained that in Bonaventure (as well as in theologians of the thirteenth century) there was nothing corresponding to our conception of `revelation,’ by which we are normally in the habit of referring to all the revealed contents of the faith: it has even become a part of linguistic usage to refer to Sacred Scripture simply as `revelation.’ Such an identification would have been unthinkable in the language of the High Middle Ages. Here, `revelation’ is always a concept denoting an act. The word refers to the act in which God shows himself, not to the objectified result of this act. And because this is so, the receiving subject is always also a part of the concept of `revelation.’ Where there is no one to perceive `revelation,’ no re-vel-ation has occurred, because no veil has been removed. By definition, revelation requires a someone who apprehends it. These insights, gained through my reading of Bonaventure, were later on very important for me at the time of the conciliar discussion on revelation, Scripture, and tradition. Because, if Bonaventure is right, then revelation precedes Scripture and becomes deposited in Scripture but is not simply identical with it. This in turn means that revelation is always something greater than what is merely written down. And this again means that there can be no such thing as pure sola scriptura (`by Scripture alone’), because an essential element of Scripture is the Church as understanding subject, and with this the fundamental sense of tradition is already given.”[39]

2) The Meaning of Person in the Trinity: Relation:

“He is not called Father with reference to himself but only in relation to the Son; seen by himself he is simply God” (Augustine). “Here the decisive point comes beautifully to light. `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. Relationship is not something extra added to the person, as it is with us; it only exists at all as relatedness…. 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… `wave’ not `corpuscle’… 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.’”[40]

3) Christology: “I” = Deed:

“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….’”[41]

“Similarly, as faith understood the position, Jesus did not perform a work that could be distinguished from his `I’ and depicted separately. On the contrary, to understand him as the Christ means to be convinced that he has put himself into his word. Here there is no `I’ (as there is with all of us) which utters words; he has identified himself so closely with his word that `I’ and word are indistinguishable: he is word. In the same way, to faith, his work is nothing else than the unreserved way in which he merges himself into this very work; he performs himself and gives himself; his work is the giving of himself.”[42]

3) Anthropology: To become self by gift of self (Jesus Christ is “prototype” – not an “exception” – to man):

“Scholastic theology developed categories of existence out of this contribution given by Christian faith to the human mind. Its defect was that it limited these categories to Christology and to the doctrine of the Trinity and did no make them fruitful in the whole extent of spiritual reality…

Exception: This brings us to the second misunderstanding that has not allowed the effects of Christology to work themselves out fully. The second great misunderstanding 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 no be permitted to mix with the rest of human thought…. This seeming exception is in reality very often the symptom that shows us the insufficiency of our previous schema of order, which helps us to break open this schema and to conquer a new realm of reality. The exception shows us that we have built our closets too small, as it were, and that we must break them open and go on in order to see the whole.” [43]

Christological Anthropology of Vatican II: Christ as “exception” to man is overcome in the Council:

“ (T)he Lord Jesus, when praying to the Father `that they may all be one… even as we are one’ (Jn. 17, 21-22), has opened up new horizons closed to human reason by implying that there is a certain parallel between the union existing among the divine persons and the union of the sons of God in truth and love. It follows, then, that 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.”[44]

4) Theological Epistemology:”[45]

“Thesis 3: Since the center of the person of Jesus is prayer, it is essential to participate in his prayer if we are to know and understand him.”[46] That is, since like is known by like, and since Christ is pure relation to the Father, when enfleshed, this relation appears as prayer. It must be remembered that God is revealed as Word.[47] The enfleshment of Person who is Word is prayer.[48] Therefore, one knows this Person by entering into prayer and becoming like Him.[49]
Simon entered into this prayer (Lk. 9, 18), became like Him, and was able to say: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” The likeness to Christ becomes evident in the name-change from Simon to Peter (as “rock”) since Jesus is the “Cornerstone.”[50] One knows Christ only by becoming like Him, and in so doing reaches salvation. [51]

[Since the prayer of Jesus is the love of agape that is the relational life of God, it is most interesting to note that after Peter’s triple denial of Christ, two things happen. In the triple question of Peter by Christ concerning love, (1) Christ calls him Simon, son of John since Peter has lost the relational character of self-gift of prayer in the denials. (2) Christ uses the verb agape, but now-Simon uses the verb philo that is a lower-case love of friendship, but not radical self-gift to the death].

5) Faith:

a) “It is God himself, the person of God, from whom revelation proceeds and to whom it returns, and thus revelation necessarily reaches – also with the person who receives it – into the personal center of man, it touches him in the depth of his being, not only in his individual faculties, in his will and understanding.”[52]

b) “Faith is not solely an intellectual process, or solely one of will or emotions; it is all of these together. It is an act of the entire self, of the whole person in the unity of all the elements of that person gathered into one. In this sense it was described by the Bible as an act of the `heart’ (Rom. 10, 9). It is a highly personal act. But precisely because it is this, it surpasses the self, the `I,’ the limits of the individual. Nothing belongs to us as little as our self, St. Augustine affirms in one passage.

“Where the human being as a whole is at stake, he surpasses himself; an act of the complete `I’ is always at the same time becoming open to others, an act of `being with.’ And even more: we cannot realize ourselves without touching our most profound foundation, the living God, who is present in the profundity of our existence and sustains it. Where the human being as a whole is at stake, together with the `I’ there is also present the `we’ and the `you’ of the totally other, the `you’ of God….

“Catechesis should also always be a process involving a type of assimilation with God, since in reality we can recognize only that for which a correspondence is found in us. `If the eye were not solar, it could not recognize the sun,’ Goethe wrote, commenting on a saying of Plotinus. The process of knowledge is a process of assimilation, a vital process. The we, the what and the how of the faith are closely connected”[53] [refer back to prayer as the key to re-cognizing “Who” of Jesus Christ. Only by experiencing the self as gift can one recognize Him who is nothing but self-gift. This is what Benedict means by “assimilation” – like is known by like. This means the content of faith as the divine Person can be known only by experiencing the “I” of the believer.]….
“… the inner unity of the faith, that it is not an accumulation of propositions, but a simple intense act in whose simplicity is contained all the profundity and fullness of being.”[54]

6) The Church is a Single Subject: the “I” of Christ (repeated)

It is a Communio of subjects who have all undergone the conversion from in-self to self-gift (faith) that is the Christological anthropology of priesthood. The Church is not a political community of “individuals” (like the Greek polis) but a communio of subjects (like the People of God). It is communio because it is integrated by sacramentally irreducible lay faithful and ministers who cannot be who they are without each other, and hence imaging the Trinitarian relations. He says: “conversion according to Paul is something much more radical than a mere revision of a few opinions or attitudes. It is a death event. In other words it is the replacement of the subject – of the `I.’ In other words it is the replacement of the subject – of the `I.’ The `I’ ceases to be independent and to be a subject existing in itself [as a substance]. It is torn from itself and inserted into a new subject. The `I’ does not perish, but must let itself diminish completely, in effect, in order to be received within a larger `I’ and, together with that larger `I,’ to be conceived anew.”[55]

Lower down, he says: “It is essential 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.”[56]

To dramatize the subjectivity of the Church, Benedict does the hermeneutic of 1 Cor. 12, 12: “Paul does not say `as in an organism there are many members working in harmony, so too in the Church,’ 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). 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.”[57]

Appendix: The Church of Jesus Christ as a single Subject, the “I” of Christ himself, made up of “I’s” in Head (ministers by the sacrament of Orders) and Body (layfaithful by the sacrament of Baptism and Confirmation) is the absolute Truth of Christ. Christ is the Absolute Truth in the singleness of His Persona. This Church that is the Whole Christ made one flesh of Bridegroom and Bride in the flesh of the Eucharist “is”[58] the Catholic Church insofar as the one and only Church of Christ was founded on Peter and the apostles.

7) State of Affairs:

The Absence of God. According to Benedict XVI, “the greatest `crisis’ facing the Church and the world is `the absence of God’ – a culture and way of life without any transcendent dimension, without any orientation toward eternity, toward the sacred, toward the divine. And the `solution’ to this `crisis’ is quite simple to express in a phrase: the world needs `the presence of God.’ Benedict had long argued that the `absence of God’ in the modern world, the `secularization’ of modern `globalized’ society, has created a society in which the human person no longer has any sure protection against the depredations of power or, more importantly, any clear understanding of the meaning and ultimate destination of his life.”[59]

Dictatorship of Relativism: On the day of the Conclave for his election, Benedict said: “How many winds of doctrine we have known in these last decades, how many ideological currents, how many fashions of thought? The small boat of thought of many Christians has often remained agitated by the waves, tossed from one extreme to the other: from Marxism to liberalism, to libertinism; from collectivism to radical individualism; from atheism to a vague religious mysticism; from agnosticism to syncretism, etc. Every day new sects are born and we see realized what St. Paul says on the deception of men, on the cunning that tends to lead into error (cf. Ephesians 4, 14). To have a clear faith, according to the creed of the Church, is often labeled as fundamentalism. While relativism, that is, allowing oneself to be carried about with every wind of `doctrine,’ seems to be the only attitude that is fashionable. A dictatorship of relativism is being constituted that recognizes nothing as absolute and which only leaves the `I’ and its whims as the ultimate measure.”[60]

Conclusion:


The ascetical complement to the offering of eros/agape:

“To follow Christ – that is the secret. We must accompany him so closely that we come to live with him, like the first Twelve did; so closely, that we become identified with him. Soon we will be able to say, provided we haven’t put obstacles in the way of grace, that we have pout on, have clothed ourselves with Our Lord Jesus Christ. Our Lord is then reflected in our behavior, as in a mirror. If the mirror is as it ought to be it will capture Our Savior’s most lovable face without distorting it or making a caricature of it; and then other people will have an opportunity of admiring him and following him.
“I have distinguished, as it were, four stages in our effort to identify ourselves with Christ: seeking him, finding him, getting to know him, loving him.”[61]

* * * * * *

In his homily on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, 2005, Benedict XVI focused his attention on “’the inner structure” of Vatican Council II. And he pointed to Mary Immaculate as “the orientation of its entire process” and “the key to understanding it.” He said:

“[Mary] illuminates the inner structure of the Church’s teaching, which was developed at the Council. The Second Vatican Council had to pronounce on the institutional components of the Church: on the bishops and on the pontiff, on the priests, lay people and religious, in their communion and in their relations: it had to describe the Church journeying on, `clasping sinners to her bosom, at once holy and always in need of purification’ (Lumen Gentium #8) . This `Petrine’ aspect of the Church, however, is included in that `Marian’ aspect. In Mary, the Immaculate, we find the essence of the Church without distortion.”[62]

[1] Origins, January 26, 2006, Vol. 35, No. 32, p. 536.
[2] Benedict XVI's Interview on Polish Television “John Paul II Is Always Close to Me" Vatican City, Oct. 16, 2005.
[3] Alberigo and the Bologna group.
[4] Ratzinger remarked: “This schematism of a before and after in the history of the Church, wholly unjustified by the documents of Vatican II, which do nothing but reaffirm the continuity of Catholicism, must be decidedly opposed. There is no `pre-‘ or `post-‘ conciliar Church: there is but one, unique Church that walks the path toward the Lord, ever deepening and ever better understanding the treasure of faith that he himself has entrusted to her. There are no leaps in this history, there are no fractures, and there is no break in continuity. In no wise did the Council intend to introduce a temporal dichotomy in the Church” (“Ratzinger Report” Ignatius (1985) 35; “I believe… that the true time of Vatican II has not yet come, that its authentic reception has not yet begun: its documents were quickly buried under a pile of superficial or frankly inexact publications. The reading of the letter of the documents will enable us to discover their true spirit. If thus rediscovered in their truth, those great texts will make it possible for us to understand just what happened and to react with a new vigor. I repeat, the Catholic who clearly and, consequently, painfully perceives the damage that has been wrought in his Church by the misinterpretations of Vatican II must find the possibility of revival in Vatican II itself” (Ibid. 40)
[5] Origins, Jan. 26, 2006, Vol 35, Number 32, 536-537.
[6] J. Pieper, “Faith, Hope, Love,” Ignatius (1997) 212.
[7] “The second great trend of the 19th century was the movement from classicism to historical consciousness… Suffice it to say that classicism designates a view of truth which holds objective truth, precisely because it is objective, to exist `already out there now” (to use Bernard Lonergan’s descriptive phrase). Therefore, it also exists apart from its possession by anyone. IN addition, it exists apart from history, formulated in propositions that are verbally immutable. If there is to be talk of development of doctrine, it can only mean that the truth, remaining itself unchanged in its formulation, may find different applications in the contingent world of historical change. In contrast, historical consciousness, while holding fast to the nature of truth as objective, is concerned with the possession of truth, with man’s affirmations of truth… The Church in the 19th century, and even in the 20th, opposed this movement toward historical consciousness. Here, took, the reason was obvious. The term of the historical movement was modernism, that `conglomeration of all heresies,’ as Pascendi dominici gregis called it. The insight into the historicity of truth and the insight into the role of the subject in the possession of truth were systematically exploited to produce almost every kind of pernicious `ism,’ unto the destruction of the notion of truth itself – its objective character, its universality, its absoluteness. These systematizations were false, but the insights from which they issued were valid. Here again a work of discernment needed to be done, and was not koone. To be quite summary about it, this work had to wait until Vatican Council II.
“The sessions of the Council have made it clear that, despite resistance in certain quarters, classicism is giving way to historical consciousness;” Declaration on Religious Freedom of Vatican Council II, Paulist Press (1966), Appendix III by John Courtney Murray, S.J.
[8] This is Pieper rendering the mind of Anders Nygren (Bishop of Lund) from his work, “Eros und Agape” in “Faith, Hope, Love,” Ignatius (1997) 212.
[9] “Sources of Renewal,” op. cit. 17.
[10] John Paul II, “Be Not Afraid,” St. Martin’s Press (1984) 67.
[11] As Self-gift of the Logos to the humanity in the man Jesus of Nazareth, taking on Himself in the human will of Christ, all sin: “he became sin” (2 Cor. 5, 21).
[12] J. Ratzinger, “Journey Towards Easter” Ignatius (1987) 88-90.
[13] S. Th. III, 17 2, ad 1 and 2.
[14] J. Ratzinger, “Concerning the Notion of Person in Theology,” Communio 17 (Fall, 1990), 448-450.
[15] The Impact on Vatican II: “(W)hen the text on revelation was to be proposed for discussion, Cardinal Frings – and there, admittedly, I did play a part – explained that the text as it was then worded was not an adequate starting point. It was, he said, necessary to start from the ground up, to rework the document within the council itself. That really sounded the alarm. It was what really first led to the saying that we will rework the texts ourselves.
In the third speech, which has become famous, the subject was the necessity of reforming the methods of the Holy Office and the need for a transparent procedure there. Those are the speeches that stuck in the mind of the public” (“Salt of the Earth,” Ignatius [1997] 72-73).

[16] J. Ratzinger, “Milestones – Memoirs 1927-1977,” Ignatius (1997) 108-109.
[17] J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One,” Ignatius (1986) 25-27.
[18] Acts, 4, 11: “This is The Stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the corner stone.”
[19] “Now this is everlasting life, that they may know thee, the only true God, and him whom thou hast sent, Jesus Christ.’ (Jn. 17, 3).
[20] J. Ratzinger, “Principles of Catholic Theology,” Ignatius (1987) 353-355.
[21] Ibid. 25.
[22] “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with (“προς… expresses the act of turning to God, or relationship”) God; and the Word was God… And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1, 1, 14).
[23] “According to Luke, we see who Jesus is if we see him at prayer. The Christian confession of faith comes from participating in the prayer of Jesus, from being drawn into his prayer and being privileged to behold it; it interprets the experience of Jesus’ prayer, and its interpretation of Jesus is correct because it springs from a sharing in what is most personal and intimate to him;” J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One,” op. cit. 19).
[24] To understand this theological epistemology, it must be kept in mind always that, “no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and him to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Mt. 11, 27); and “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,” (Jn. 6, 44).
[25] “The Spiritual Vision of Pope Benedict XVI, Let God’s Light Shine Forth,” ed. Robert Moynihan, Doubleday (2005) 34-35.
[26] J. Ratzinger, “Milestones,” Ignatius (1997) 108-109.
[27] J. Ratzinger, “Intro…” op. cit. 125 (1990 edition).
[28] Earlier (1988), Benedict said: “at the heart of the historico-critical method lies the effort to establish in the field of history a level of methodological precision which would yield conclusions of the same certainty as in the field of the natural sciences…. Now, if the natural science model is to be followed without hesitation, then the importance of the Heisenburg principle should be applied to the historical-critical method as well. Heisenburg has shown that the outcome of a given experiment is heavily influenced by the point of view of the observer. So much is this the case that both the observer’s questions and observations continue to change themselves in the natural course of events. When applied to the witness of history, this means that interpretation can never be just a simple reproduction of history’s being, `as it was.’ The word inter-pretation gives us a clue to the question itself: Every exegesis requires an `inter,’ an entering in and a being “inter’ or between things; this is the involvement of the interpreter himself. Pure objectivity is an absurd abstraction. It is not the uninvolved who comes to knowledge; rather, interest itself is a requirement for the possibility of coming to know…
“Here, then, is the question: How does one come to be interested, not so that the self drowns out the voice of the other, but in such a way that one develops a kind of inner understanding for things of the past, and ears to listen to the word they speak to us today?
“This principle which Heisenburg enunciated for experiments in the natural sciences has a very important application to the subject-object relationship. The subject is not to be neatly isolated in a world of its own apart from any interaction.” [28] J. Ratzinger, “Foundations and Approaches of Biblical Exegesis,” Origins February 11, 1988, Vol. 17: No. 35, b.

[29] The grounding insight for this took place in Leo XIII as disclosed by John Courtney Murray: “I consider that by some manner of genius he [Leo XIII] put forth the principle of solution. It is contained in the special twist, so to speak, that he have to the Gelasian doctrine. Consistently he posits as the root of the necessity of an `orderly relation’ between the two powers the fact that `utriusque imperium est in eosdem,’ the rule of both is over the same one man. If therefore there is conflict and not harmony between them, the conflict is felt in the depths of the personal conscience, which knows itself to be obligated to both of the powers which are from God Their harmony therefore is required by the unity and integrity of the human personality… In the medieval universe of discourse the root of the matter was not the unity of the human person, citizen and Christian, but rather the unity of the social body which was both Church and state, the respublica Christiana, whose unity required the subordination of regnum to sacerdotium… However, the Leonine starting point is not the Church… Its starting point is the dualism within the human person, who is both child of God, member of the Church, and also member of the human community, citizen of a state…The finality of this harmony is not social unity but a personal unity…; “Contemporary Orientations of Catholic Thought on Church and State in the Light of History,” Theological Studies, Vol X, June 1949 No. 2, 220,221.
[30] Cf. “Christifideles laici,” #15.
[31] J. Ratzinger, “Society Needs Common Moral Tenets,” Discourse to the Academy of Moral and Political Sciences of the Institute of France, November 6, 1992.
[32] John Courtney Murray, “The Problem of Religious Freedom,” Woodstock Papers, The Newman Press, Westminster, Maryland (1965)
[33] Ibid. 7-45/\.
[34] J. Ratzinger, “The Spiritual Basis and Ecclesial Identity of Theology,” The Natuare and Mission of Theology Ignatius (1995) 51
[35] Ibid
[36] Ibid. 53-54
[37] An important clarification is made on the terminology “subsistit in” and “adest” with regard to the relation of the Church of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. Lumen Gentium #8 reads: “This Church [“the sole Church of Christ”], constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed bay the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines. Since these are gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, they are forces impelling towards Catholic unity.” An important study by Karl J. Becker S.J. (Origins 1/19/06, vol. 35, no. 31, 519) affirmed, after much confusion on the point that “the phrase subsist in cannot possibly be interpreted in a way which would contradict the meaning of est.” The SCDF declared re L. Boff’s book “Chiesa: Carisma et Potere:” “(T)he council had chosen the word subsistit exactly in order to make clear that one sole `subsistence of the true church exists, whereas outside her visible structure only elementa Ecclesiae exist; these – being elements of the same church – tend and conduct toward the Catholic Church” (520).
[38] UNDP (1982) chpts. 1,2,3.
[39] J. Ratzinger, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977 Ignatius 107-109.
[40] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” Ignatius (1990) 132.
[41] J. Ratzinger, Ibid. 149.
[42] J. Ratzinger, Ibid. 150.
[43] J. Ratzinger, “Concerning the Notion of Person in Theology,” Communio 17 (Fall 1990) 449.
[44] Gaudium et spes: 24.
[45] J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One,” Ignatius (1986) 26.
[46] Ibid. 25.
[47] “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with (“προς… expresses the act of turning to God, or relationship”) God; and the Word was God… And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us” (Jn. 1, 1, 14).
[48] “According to Luke, we see who Jesus is if we see him at prayer. The Christian confession of faith comes from participating in the prayer of Jesus, from being drawn into his prayer and being privileged to behold it; it interprets the experience of Jesus’ prayer, and its interpretation of Jesus is correct because it springs from a sharing in what is most personal and intimate to him;” J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One,” op. cit. 19).
[49] To understand this theological epistemology, it must be kept in mind always that, “no one knows the Son except the Father; nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and him to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Mt. 11, 27); and “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draw him,” (Jn. 6, 44).
[50] Acts, 4, 11: “This is The Stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the corner stone.”
[51] “Now this is everlasting life, that they may know thee, the only true God, and him whom thou hast sent, Jesus Christ.’ (Jn. 17, 3).
[52] J. Ratzinger, “Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation,” Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II, Vol. III, ed. Herbert Vorgrimler, Herder and Herder, 171.
[53] J. Ratzinger, “What Does the Church Believe?” Catholic World Report, March 1993, 27, 59.
[54] Ibid. 58.
[55] J. Ratzinger, “The Spiritual Basis and Ecclesial Identity of Theology,” The Natuare and Mission of Theology Ignatius (1995) 51
[56] Ibid
[57] Ibid. 53-54
[58] An important clarification is made on the terminology “subsistit in” and “adest” with regard to the relation of the Church of Jesus Christ and the Catholic Church. Lumen Gentium #8 reads: “This Church [“the sole Church of Christ”], constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in the Catholic Church, which is governed bay the successor of Peter and by the bishops in communion with him. Nevertheless, many elements of sanctification and of truth are found outside its visible confines. Since these are gifts belonging to the Church of Christ, they are forces impelling towards Catholic unity.” An important study by Karl J. Becker S.J. (Origins 1/19/06, vol. 35, no. 31, 519) affirmed, after much confusion on the point that “the phrase subsist in cannot possibly be interpreted in a way which would contradict the meaning of est.” The SCDF declared re L Boff’s book “Chiesa: Carisma et Potere:” “(T)he council had chosen the word subsistit exactly in order to make clear that one sole `subsistence of the true church exists, whereas outside her visible structure only elementa Ecclesiae exist; these – being elements of the same church – tend and conduct toward the Catholic Church” (520).
[59] Robert Moynihan ed. “The Spiritual Vision of Pope Benedict XVI, Let God’s Light Shine Forth, Doubleday (2005) 4.
[60] Cardinal Ratzinger’s Homily in Mass Before Conclave: “Jesus Christ: `The Measure of True Humanism,’” April 19, 2005.
[61] St. Josemaria Escriva, “Towards Holiness,” Friends of God, Scepter Press (1990) #299.
[62] Benedict XVI, Homily, December 8, 2005.

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