Tuesday, March 28, 2006

"Christian Anthropology is Priesthood" - On the Occasion of the Ordination of St. Josemaria Escriva - March 28, 1925

We have already seen the anthropological dynamic of priesthood on Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2006. Let’s repeat that dynamic fleshing it out further.

[Note: the 50th Anniversary of ordination took place on Good Friday in 1975]

Mediation in the Old Testament: The Scapegoat:

In the Old Testament until Jesus Christ, priesthood meant mediation. The scapegoat was loaded with the sins of the Israelites and sent out into the desert.

“When he has completed the atonement rite for the sanctuary, the meeting tent and the altar, Aaron shall bring forward the live goat. Laying both hands on its head, he shall confess over it all the sinful faults and transgressions of the Israelites, and so put them on the goat’s head. He shall then have it led into the desert by an attendant. Since the goat is to carry off their iniquities to an isolated region, it must be sent away into the desert.”[1]

The mediator par excellence in the Old Testament is Moses (Exodus 34 and Deuteronomy) “who, as messenger of the word, stands between God and the people, between the cloud on the mountain and the people in the desert at the foot of the mountain, who are concerned only with their own needs..”[2] Ratzinger says that “The fact that the law has need of mediator is here an indication of its inadequacy. In the New Covenant, God acts alone: he himself fulfills the promise; there is no need for mediator. …I am reminded of Kafka’s `The Trial,' in which an accused person is referred to one intermediary after another and so realizes with increasing hopelessness the unapproachability and inaccessibility of the real judges – of the incomprehensible power in the background, which he cannot approach because he must always deal with intermediaries.”[3]

St. Paul: Shows the Transition From Old to New Testament: Extrinsic Intermediary (Moses) to Intrinsic Anthropology (Christ, the New Moses):

“(T)he priests always used to enter into the first tabernacle to perform the sacred rites; but it the second tabernacle the high priest alone entered once a year, not without blood, which he offered for his own and the people’s sins of ignorance. The Holy Spirit signified by this that the way into the Holies was not yet thrown open while the first tabernacle was still standing. This first tabernacle is a figure of the present time, inasmuch as gift and sacrifices are offered that cannot perfect the worshipper in conscience, since they refer only to food and drink and various ablutions and bodily regulations imposed until a time of reformation.”

“But when Christ appeared as high priest of the good things to come, he entered once for all through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made by hands (that is, not of this creation), nor again by virtue of blood of goats and calves, but by virtue of his own blood, into the Holies, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls and the sprinkles ashes of a heifer sanctify the unclean unto the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the Holy Spirit offered himself unblemished unto God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”
“And this is why he is mediator of a new covenant…”

Christ’s Priesthood is Intrinsic Anthropology:

Josef Ratzinger explains that St. Paul regards the Jewish religion as promulgated by angels. They are intermediaries, just as Moses is human mediator. The distinctiveness of Christianity does not consist in the denial of mediation, but in the Son becoming the Mediator – but in a new and unheard of way. Explicitly, Paul refers to Christ as Mediator in Heb. 8, 6: “But now he has obtained a superior ministry, in proportion as he is mediator of a superior covenant…;” Heb. 9, 16: “And this is why he is mediator of a new covenant..;” Heb. 12, 24: “Jesus, mediator of a new covenant, and to a sprinkling of blood which speaks better than Abel.”
Ratzinger asks: “What do these texts intend when they apply to Jesus the concept of mediator?”[5] He responds: “The gist of the Epistle to the Hebrews can be expressed briefly as follows: the whole cult of the Old Testament remained in the realm of σάρξ (flesh), that is, of the reality of this world; it did not extend to the properly divine realm, the realm of πνεϋμα. To that extent, it did not exceed the order of images (Heb. 10, 1) and never arrived at reality itself. The whole cult was, as it were, unable to pierce the barrier of images; it could represent, but it could not bring to perfection. Only Christ who have himself on the Cross by dying the real death of a condemned person, has no need of images. He does not rend a metaphorical veil in order to enter a metaphorical Holy of Holies; he rends the real curtain, the σαρξ, the dividing barrier that constrains our earthly existence, and passes through it to the other world to stand before the divine majesty of the living God. For the author of the epistle to the Hebrews, this realism of the Cross is the essential answer to the shadow-cult of the Old Covenant; it is a real priesthood and a real mediation with God. The first epistle to Timothy explains the word `mediator’ by adding: `Who sacrificed himself as a ransom for all;’ it, too, sees a close relationship between mediator and Cross, between mediator and priesthood.”

Christ: “The True and only Real Priest:”

“We have now reached the crucial statement: the epistle to the Hebrews understands its theology of Christ as mediator as a theology of the priesthood. That Christ is, in the full sense of the word, the mediator who rent the curtain of creaturehood, the boundary of this world, and stood before God himself means, at the same time, that he is the true and only real priest. In the epistle to the Hebrews, the concepts of priest and mediator are ultimately inseparable.”

The two (2) characteristics of Christ’s mediation are therefore: 1) exclusivity: “It is exclusive because it is inclusive.”[6] Christ’s is the only mediation between creature and God “because He is able to include all things in Himself, because his mediation is valid for all times and for all places. Its uniqueness lies in its universality, and its universality is the source of its uniqueness.”[7] 2) realism: “which transcends that of all other mediations, which are but processes within the image-world of creatures. Hence the realism of the Cross is the real foundation of Christ’s mediation.”[8]

Sacramental Insertion: Baptism and Orders

Adam as Priest: “From the beginning,” before the original sin, Adam was priest. Adam was never in a state of “pure nature.” This point is the burden of the two works of Henri de Lubac “Augustinianism and Modern Theology”[9] and “The Mystery of the Supernatural.”[10] It is also the burden of Benedict XVI’s “Deus Charitas Est” where eros tends not to some “natural” end in correspondence to its “nature,” but to the supernatural reality of the vision of God as a person made in the image and likeness of God.
When related to by a covenant of obedience to till the garden and name the animals, Adam obeyed. And in obeying, exercised the priestly anthropology of self-governance, self-determination and self-gift. These are the stages of intrinsic self-mediation that is priesthood, “from the beginning.” Adam was the priest of creation making an offering of the world as his possession – his flesh, through work - to God.

Adam sinned by disobedience and lost the priestly act of self mediator, and therefore, cosmic mediator. God re-enters the scene calling man to obedience, now of the self-gift of faith. The super-eminent restoration of the human person to priesthood takes place in God Himself becoming man, mastering the self of the humanity of the man Jesus of Nazareth – now laden as the scapegoat with all the sins of all men of all time (2 Cor. 5, 21) – and destroying them in the radical obedience to death, willed by the Father.

As Jesus Christ is “the true and only real Priest,” we are baptized and ordained into that one “exclusive” and “unique” priesthood in ways that are essential and irreducibly different. The priesthood of the layman and minister are not different priesthoods, but the way of insertion and sharing in it are different. The layman is mediator and relational to the world (the Church of Mary[11]) while the minister is in the service of the laity (Church of Peter[12]) to activate their distinct sharing in Christ’s priesthood. But the large concept here is that sacramentally, we – men and women - have entered into the anthropology of the intrinsic mediation, and therefore, priesthood of Christ Himself. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is that Action of Christ the Priest making the total divine gift of Himself to the Father as God-man. That priestly action that is offered to us in the Mass must become our action – in the street by our participation of Mass and receiving the Eucharist. It is the death-event of self-gift. Benedict said privately, “To speak of the Eucharist as the community meal is to cheapen it, for its price was the death of Christ. And as for the joy it heralds, it presupposes that we have entered into this mystery of death. Eucharist is ordered to eschatology, and hence it is at the heart or the theology of the Cross. This is why the Church holds fast to the sacrificial character of the Mass.”[13]

The Mass of St. Josemaria Escriva:

“When I was sixty five years old, I made marvelous discovery. I love to celebrate Holy Mass, but yesterday it cost me tremendous effort. What a struggle! I saw that the Mass is truly Opus Dei, work, as it was a work for Jesus Christ His first Mass: the Cross. I saw that the office of the priest, the celebration of the Holy Mass, is a labor to confect the Eucharist; that one experiences pain, and joy, and tiredness. I felt in my flesh the exhaustion of a divine work.

“It also cost Christ effort. His most holy humanity resisted opening its arms on the Cross, with the gesture of the eternal Priest. It never cost me so much the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice as this day when I felt that also the Mass is Opus Dei. It made me very happy, but I was undone.”

Celebrated “in the Street

After finishing the original buildings of Opus Dei in Rome in 1960, a person passing through Rome asked St. Josemaria:

- “Father, of all the chapels in this house, which do you like most?”

- “!!La Calle!!” (the street)

- “I like all the chapels of this house. But… I like the street more. It’s not simply a nice phrase to say the `our cell is the street.’ And you, Pile, my son, and so many sons and daughters more, you will have to make the prayer many times in the street. And you can do tons of good… Although, whenever we can, we do it in a church or in a chapel: before the Lord, who is really present in the tabernacle.”

Priestly Soul, Lay Mentality: “We... Priests of Our Own Existence

“We have been constituted priests of our own existence to perform each one of our actions in a spirit of obedience to the will of God” (Christ is Passing By. N. 96)

Since the anthropology of the human person is as image of God (and not ‘pure nature”), and Christ is the prototypical image of God as God-man (Col. 1, 15), then, it is impossible to be fully human without the full exercise of priesthood. To be man is to be priest. Hence, the founder of Opus Dei enjoined his sons and daughters to have what he called a “priestly soul” and fully “lay mentality.” Priestly soul is mastery of self. Lay mentality is freedom to dominate self to be gift and with the consequent peace and joy that results from it – because then the self has achieved the state of imaging the Son as pure relation to the Father. And, as seen above in the post on March 1 (Ash Wednesday), the freedom of self mastery is the attitude that Paul VI declared to be “secularity.” This is the profound reason why a religious state of life, celibacy, or the taking of vows is not necessary for identity with Christ which is holiness. Rather, holiness is achieved in living out the Christological anthropology of self-mastery, self-gift on the occasion and development of ordinary secular work and family relations. The world, then, becomes the place, occasion and object in the most ordinary and trivial things of this priestly anthropology that mediates between self and God. Ultimately, we are priests and executives of priesthood in our own secular and domestic existence insofar as we serve. In fact, we create the true secularity of the world by this exercise of freedom in service. As John Paul II wrote: “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.”[15]

St. Josemaria said: “I want all of my children, both priests and laymen, to engrave firmly in your minds and hearts something that cannot be considered in any way merely external but which is, on the contrary, the hinge and the foundation of our divine vocation.

“In everything and always we must have – both priests and laymen – truly priestly soul and fully lay mentality, so that we understand and exercise in our personal life that liberty which we enjoy in the setting of the Church and in temporal things, considering ourselves at the same time citizens of the city of God (cf. Eph. 2, 19) and of the city of man.”

The Priestly Soul is the Lay Mentality

“We have been called by God to do Opus Dei on earth, being each one Opus Dei. For that reason, if the work of Opus Dei is eminently lay and, at the same time, the priesthood informs everything with its spirit; if the work of the layman and that of the priest complement one another and mutually make one another more effective, it is a requirement of our vocation that in all the faithful of the Work there is manifested also this intimate union between the two elements, in such a way that each one of us has a truly priestly soul and a fully lay mentality.”

“Without forgetting that the sacrament of Orders differs essentially from the sacraments of Baptism and of Confirmation [in the way they share in Christ’s priesthood], and that the power of Order is of divine origin [“hierarchy” = holy origin – the sacramental imposing of hands from the Apostles down to us], all the faithful of the Work can and should have priestly soul. What virtues do good priests live which you should not also live, dearest daughters and sons, as a requirement of the divine vocation, of your calling to Opus Dei?”

The Priestly Soul of Women

Alvaro del Portillo: “All of us, therefore, need to have a priestly soul: this applies equally to priests and laity – including, of course, women. How our Father kept on insisting with his daughters on this point! Even on the last day of his earthly life he reminded you once again that you have a priestly soul. There is no doubt that it was God’s will that our Father should mention it to you on the very morning of his passing to heaven, jjust as it was his will that the Priestly Society of the Holy Cross should be born in one of your Centers one 14th of February. Don’t you see in all these circumstances a sign of divine Providence that you should engrave on your hearts this fundamental feature of our spirit? Look at the Blessed Virgin, whom the Church invokes as Mediatrix of all graces and Mother of priests. Contemplate her at the foot of the Cross, fully identified with her Son. What greater example can there be of a priestly soul in a woman?

“A priestly soul involves having the same sentiments as Christ the Priest. It means seeking to fulfill God’s will at every moment, offering our entire life to God the Father, in union with Christ, in order to co-redeem with him, thanks to the action of the Holy Spirit. We must be determined to spend our entire lives in this priestly manner, and to `offer our existence and all our actions to God every day.’ All the works of men take place on a sort of altar; and each one of you, in that union of contemplative souls which makes up your day, in some way says `his Mass,’ which lasts for twenty-four hours, until the following Mass, which lasts another twenty-four hours, and so on until the end of our lives.” When the Sacrifice of Calvary is renewed, Christ offers himself on the altar together with the members of his Mystical Body. There it is that all our works take on eternal value. It is the sublime moment when the priestly soul can pour itself forth in floods of adoration, of thanksgiving, of atonement and of petition, and give itself over entirely to God the Father, in union with the Sacrifice of Christ, while within itself it renews `our’ Mass, Jesus.”

[1] Leviticus 16, 20-22.
[2] J Ratzinger, “Principles of Catholic Theology,” Ignatius (1987) 276.
[3] Ibid. 270.
[4] St. Paul, Heb. 9, 18-20.
[5] J. Ratzinger, “Principles…, “ op. cit. 270.
[6] Ibid. 271.
[7] Ibid.
[8] Ibid.
[9] Herder and Herder (1969)
[10] Herder and Herder (1967).
[11] Cfi. John Paul II, “Mulieris Dignitatem,” ftn. 55.
[12] Ibid.
[13] J. Ratzinger, “Feast of Faith,” Ignatius (1986) 65.
[14] Pilar Urbano, “Él Hombre de Villa Tevere,” Plaza y Janes, Editores S.A. (1994) 186.
[15] John Paul II, “Mane Nobiscum Domine” #28.
[16] Josemaria Escriva, Letter, 2-II-1945, no. 1.
[17] Alvaro del Portillo, Letter, Jan. 9, 1993 7-8.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The Annunciation of Our Lady

“Someone who disregards the place of Mary in the history of salvation, as the Church has come to know it in her prayer and contemplation, will pay the price in the long run; he will sooner or later land in a feminism that demands the equality, which means in practical terms the identification, of woman and man.”[1]

“The Whole World Awaits Mary’s Reply” (St. Bernard)

“You have heard, O Virgin, that you will conceive and bear a son; you have heard that it will not be by man but by the Holy Spirit. The angel awaits an answer; it is time for him to return to God who sent him. We too are waiting, O Lady, for your word of compassion; the sentence of condemnation weighs heavily upon us.

“The price of our salvation is offered to you. We shall be set free at once if you consent. In the eternal Word of God we all came to be, and behold, we die. In your brief response we are to be remade in order to be recalled to life.

“Tearful Adam with his sorrowing family begs this of you, O loving Virgin, in their exile from Paradise. Abraham begs it, David begs it. All the other holy patriarchs, your ancestors, ask it of you, as they dwell in the country of the shadow of death. This is what the whole earth waits for, prostrate at your feet. It is right in doing so, for on your word depends comfort for the wretched, ransom for the captive, freedom for the condemned, indeed, salvation for all the sons of Adam, the whole of your race.

“Answer quickly, O Virgin. Reply in haste to othe angel, or rather through the angel to the Lord. Answer with a word, receive the Word of God. Speak your own word, conceive the divine Word. Breathe a passing word, embrace the eternal Word.

“Why do you delay, why are you afraid? Believe, give praise, and receive. Let humility be bold, let modesty be confident. This is no time for virginal simplicity to forget prudence. In this matter alone, O prudent Virgin, do not fear to be presumptuous. Though modest silence is pleasing, dutiful speech is now more necessary. Open you womb to the Creator. See, the desired of all nations is at your door, knocking to enter. If he should pass by because of your delay, in sorrow you would begin to seek him afresh, the One whom your soul loves. Arise, hasten, open. Arise in faith, hasten in devotion, open in praise and thanksgiving. Behold, the handmaid of the Lord, she says, be it done to me according to your word.”

The Truth of Mary: Blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Lk. 1, 45).

Faith is an act of the whole person. It is not merely an act of faculties of intellect and will. It is an act whose metaphysical anthropology is gift of self. It is the only adequate response to the act of Revelation which is the act of the three divine Persons revealing the Father in the Son through the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ is the Word of the Father and is the full and complete disclosure of who the Father is. There is nothing more to be said after the Son. The development of the faith throughout history is the ongoing experience of the Son by becoming “like” Him by making a corresponding gift of self in living deeds. Thus there is an increase of revelation as the subject of the believer increases in self-gift, and therefore in likeness to Christ as the Father’s self-gift. The Church grows in an experiential knowledge of Christ, and therefore there is a multiplication of conceptual reflection on this that issues in a growth in dogmas.

This is the point that is precisely misunderstood by traditionalists who ask: “What if the human members of the Church could be induced to embrace non-doctrines and non-teachings that engender confusion and division over the meaning oaf the actual doctrines of the Magisterium? Is it not apparent that this is precisely what has happened in the post-conciliar Church? Verbal `viruses’ have invaded the Mystical Body, disguising themselves as doctrines to which we are expected to adhere. And yet we find that we cannot adhere to them, because they lack doctrinal content; they are not definite teachings that oblige our assent to particular theological propositions.”[3] Or, as Thomas Droleskey says, “There is no need to search for truth. It ahs been deposited by Truth Incarnate in the Catholic Church. All a man needs to do is to submit his will to this truth, which has been revealed by God and proclaimed doctrinally when necessary by popes and dogmatic councils, without attempting to redefine anything that has been handed down to us because `we do like’ certain formulations. Von Balthasar’s life, therefore, was spent in vain searching for a truth that was readily accessible in the Deposit of Faith.”[4]

Love (Faith) Engenders Life

Since the Being of the Trinitarian Persons is Relation, and we image them in our being as persons, to be is to be in relation. That means that the act of radical love as self-gift is the very meaning of life. And to give self is to engender life.

Mary: Not a Mere Instrument, but a Free Co-operating Agent (unimpeded by sin):

This is the case of the Virgin at the Annunciation. To hear the Word of God and do it, is to make the radical gift of the self, and so engender the Son of God in one’s very flesh, and from one’s very flesh. Our Lady “was not a mere instrument in the Incarnation, such as David, or Judah, may be considered; they (St. Justin Martyr, St. Irenaeus and Tertullian) declare she co-operated in our salvation not merely by the descent of the Holy Ghost upon her body, but by specific holy acts, the effect of the Holy ghost within her soul; that, as Eve forfeited privileges by sin, so Mary earned privileges by the fruits of grace; that, as Eve was disobedient and unbelieving, so Mary was obedient, and believing; that as Eve was a cause of ruin to all, Mary was a cause of salvation to all; that as Ever made room for Adam’s fall, so Mary made room for Our Lord’s reparation of it; and thus, whereas the free gift was not as the offence, but much greater, it follows that ,a s Eve co-operated in effecting a great evil, Mary co-operated in effecting a much greater good.”[5]

“Indeed, at the Annunciation Mary entrusted herself to God completely, with the `full submission of intellect and will’ manifesting `the obedience of faith’ to him who spoke to her hrough his messenger. She responded, therefore, with all her human and feminine `I,’ and this response of faith included both perfect cooperation with `the grace of God that precedes and assists’ and perfect openness to the action of the Holy Spirit, who `constantly brings faith to completion by his gifts.’”[6]

And besides, this self gift of Our Lady “can also be compared to that of Abraham, whom St. Paul calls `our father in faith’ (cf. Rom. 4, 12). In the salvific economy of God’s revelation, Abraham’s faith constitutes the beginning of the Old Covenant; Mary’s faith at the Annunciation inaugurates the New Covenant. Just as Abraham `in hope believed against hope, that he should become the father of many nations’ (cf. Rom. 4, 18), so Mary at the Annunciation, having professed her virginity (`How shall this be, since I have no husband?’) believed that through the power of the Most High, by the power of the Holy Spirit, she would become the Mother of God’s Son in accordance with the angel’s revelation: `The child to be born will be called holy, the Son of God’ (Lk. 1, 35).”[7]

We Must Do the Same: Engender Christ in Us by the Gift of Ourselves in Obedience

We are called to make the same act of faith and so re-incarnate Jesus Christ today in this culture and civilization in our own flesh. John Paul II brings to our attention the advertence made to Christ that “his mother and brothers are standing outside and wish to see him” (Lk. 8, 20-21). He replies “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.”

Augustine says: “Now, beloved, give me your whole attention, for you also are members of Christ; you also are the body of Christ. Consider how you yourselves can be among those of whom the Lord said: Here are my mother and my brothers. Do you wonder how you can be the mother of Christ? He himself said: Whoever hears and fulfills the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and my sister and my mother.”[8]

We can become the Mother of Christ by engender His Flesh in us by hearing the Word of God and doing it. This was precisely what Our Lady enjoined on the servants at the wedding feast of Cana: “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn. 2, 5). We will put Jesus Christ at the summit of all human activities if we pass through the heart of Our Lady and live the obedience of faith as she did. She engendered Jesus Christ into the world. By obeying her injunction to do whatever He tells us, we will engender Jesus Christ in the middle of the world by our very selves becoming alteri Christi (other Christs). Remember the words of John Paul in #13 of Redemptoris Mater: “She responded… with all her human and feminine `I’…” In 1986 in Toronto, Benedict XVI explained the nature of faith as “death event.” “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.’ The `I’ ceases to be independent and to be a subject existeing in itself. 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.” [9]

And on December 8, 2005, the Pope said of Our Lady:

“[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, no. 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.”

[1] Hans Urs von Balthasar, “Mary-Church-Office,” A Short Primer for the Unsettled Layman Ignaitus (1985) 88.
[2] St. Beranrd, abbot, From ahomily “in Praise of the Virgin Mother;” Homily 4, 8-9.
[3] Christopher A., Ferrara, “Viruses in the Body of Christ,” Latin Mass Summer 2004 13.
[4] Thomas A. Droleskey, “Benedict’s First Encyclical, Teaching Us to Love Modernism and Modernity,” The International Report, Catholic Family News, March 2006, p. 16.
[5] John Henry Newman, “The New Eve,” The Newman Press, Westminster, MD (1952) 16.
[6] Ibid. #13.
[7] John Paul II, Redemptoris Mater #14.
[8] St. Augustine, Sermon 25, 7-8. PL 46, 937-938. Breviary: Presentation of Mary, November 21.
[9] Josef Ratzinger, “The Spiritual Basis and Ecclesial Identity of Theology,” in The Nature and Mission of Theology Ignatius (1995) 51.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Anniversary of Death of Alvaro del Portillo - March 23, 1994

Foundational Charism:

“In order to serve the Church in Opus Dei, everything must always be understood, and carried out, taking as its starting point our Father’s foundational charism. This charism, which was a gratuitous supernatural reality, endures in the Work, endowing it with well defined characteristics. The Holy Spirit didn’t place it in our Father’s soul merely with a view to his personal response to God, but so that it would give shape for centuries to come to the Work our Lord was entrusting to him. This charism cannot become, therefore, a mere historical reference taking us back to the past. It is, through God’s mercy, a living and effective reality in Opus Dei, a power, a grace, from which we all ought to draw nourishment and which we all have the duty of guarding and passing on…. We are, and always will be, living `in our Father’s time,’” said Alvaro del Portillo.[1]

Stage of Fidelity:

“Since 26 June 1975 the Work has been going through a stage which Don Alvaro always referred to as the stage of continuity, the stage of fidelity to the spirit and the norms received from our Father. We are called to assimilate them fully, to make them flesh of our flesh, and so fulfill, in the service of the Church and of souls, the mission God has given us – a mission which in no way distinguishes us from the rest of the lay faithful or the diocesan clergy."

“I shouldn’t continue without speaking to you a little more about Don Alvaro, our Father’s most faithful son and successor, a good and faithful servant, who on 23 March 1994 entered into the joy of his Master. All of us indeed have witnessed his holiness and his fatherly watchfulness. We have seen how he dedicated all his energies to guiding his daughters and sons at every moment along the path of burning love for Christ and of self-giving, in the apostolic task our Founder left clearly marked out – carved in stone, let me say once again."

“But the considerations I am putting before you in this Letter require me now to refer not directly to Don Alvaro’s saintly response, but the significance in the overall history of the Work of what he did while he was our Pastor and Father. Our Father used to call him saxum. He realized very early on that God had placed this son at his side to be a firm support, and to be the one who would eventually succeed him as head of Opus Dei. St. Josemaria always dept him close at hand, making sure he became thoroughly imbued with the spirit of the Work, and he gradually prepared him for his future mission. That was how al of us, all the other children of God in Opus Dei, understood it. All of us, even the oldest members, treated him in our normal family style but with a special reverence and respect…

“Therefore, when the Electors unanimously chose him on 15 September 1975 to be our Founder’s successor, Don Alvaro was able to comment on the election with that very simple expression: the Electors `have voted unanimously, not for Alvaro del Portillo, but once again for the Father.’ While he said this out of humility, to avoid standing out himself, it was really a profound truth. It made clear what a great man he was, and the special authority with which he took up his new role as Pastor and Father of the family of Opus Dei…. He was well prepared to set in motion and direct the new stage then beginning, `the state of continuity in fidelity’ as he stressed from the very first moment, bearing in himself our Father’s authority which continued uninterrupted”
(Letter from the Prelate, November 28, 1995)

Domestic Tasks of D. Alvaro:

a. “the culmination of the canonical path of Opus Dei” as “the pontifical establishment of Opus Dei as a personal Prelature in the Church on 28 November 1982.”

b.“urging forward our Father’s process of beatification. This was accomplished ten years after the establishment of the Prelature on… 17 may 1992.”

Tasks at the Second Vatican Council:

· May 2, 1959: named Consultor of the congregation of the Council;
· August 10, 1959: named President of the VII internal Commission De laicatu catholico;
· Named member of the pre-preparatory Commission on the states of perfection;
· August 12 elected member of the III Commission of the Congregation of the Council encharged to study the so-called peculiaria nostrae aetatis apostolatus media.
· October 4, 1962: named conciliar “Peritus.”
· November 4, 1962: named “Peritus” of the Commission for the Discipline of the Clergy and Christian People;
· November 8, 1962: named Secretary of this organism
· Named Consultor of the Commissions for the Bishops and the regime of the dioceses, the Religious and the Discipline of the Faith.
· September 29 – December of 1963: during the Second Session of the Council, the Commission for the Discipline of the Clergy and the Christian People, of which D. Alvaro was Secretary, was encharged to synthesize into a single conciliar decree (to become “Presbyterorum Ordinis). He had to coordinate the work of the members of the Commission which became a conciliar text of a single chapter subdivided into 10 parts.

“To some extent, it as Don Alvaro’s decision that a text be drafted. He argued persuasively that the priesthood was so important in the Church that it well deserved a decree of its own, rather than just a handful of propositions with a concluding message (a suggestion made at some point in the proceedings).

“The drafting of the decree was very hard work, especially because of all the tension there was at that time over the issue of priestly celibacy. That conflict, in fact, got so bad that Pope Paul himself had to intervene. Also, the commission had to reach conclusions regarding the spirituality of priests. One of its decisions was to defend centuries-old traditions against those who regarded them as mere pietism. It discussed the presence of the priest in the world, and why he needed a good formation in the basic human virtues in order to serve the men and women of his time. But it also warned that priests should not adopt lay lifestyles, much less take on commitments of a partisan political nature. Finally, it asserted the freedom to join associations which in one way or another could help them achieve personal sanctification in the carrying out of their priestly ministry.”

“Not a week had gone by after the close of the Council when Cardinal Ciriaci, president of the commission of which Don Alvaro had been secretary, sent him a note expressing heartfelt gratitude and congratulations for the happy conclusion of a great achievement.” The note said: “You steered to a safe harbor your decree, which is by no means the least important of the decrees and constitutions of the Council.” The vote on the document was 2390 to 4, a nearly unanimous approval after thorough debate, on December 7, 1965. Ciriaci said: (History would regard this decree as) “a fresh, and practically unanimous, confirmation by the Second Vatican Council of ecclesiastical celibacy and the exalted mission of the priesthood.” Pope Paul VI said: “I am well aware of the extent to which this is a result of your prudent, tenacious, and courteous efforts. Without failing to respect the freedom of others to have and to express their own opinions, you never swerved from the track of fidelity to the great principles of priestly spirituality.”[3]

Icon of Alvaro del Portillo’s Fidelity to the Charism of St. Josemaria:

On June 27, 1975, with St. Josemaria lying in state in the oratory of Our Lady of Peace in Rome, Alvaro del Portillo got up from where he was praying. He approached the body of St. Josemaria, knelt down at his head, bent over and touched his forehead to the forehead of St. Josemaria. He remained in that position for some long seconds. Then, he got up, removed three red roses from a stem and deposited them at the feet of the saint pronouncing the phrase of St. Paul: Quam speciosi pedes evangelizantium pacem, evangelizantium bona!

Death of D. Alvaro - Arrival of John Paul II:

Death of Alvaro del Portillo: At 6, 15 p.m. on the afternoon of March 23, 1994, John Paul II arrived at 73 Viale Bruno Buozzi, and descended to the oratory of Our Lady of Peace. Upon entering he said in Italian: “Sia lodato Gesu Cristo!” (Praised by Jesus Christ). All repeated the exclamation.

The Pope then knelt down on a predieu with a red stole and remained kneeling in prayer for some ten minutes in the midst of an impressive silence.

He was then invited by the Prelate to pray the response for the dead, but he preferred to intone the Salve and pray three Glory be to the Father’s. He then pronounced the invocations Requiem aeternum dona ei, Domine and Requiescat in pace. He was offered the hyssop and he sprinkled the body of D. Alvaro with holy water. Afterwards, he knelt down and prayed for a short time more. Before leaving the chapel, he blessed all those present.

The Prelate reminded the Pope of the profound love of D. Alvaro for the Church and the Pope for whom he always offered the Mass, and concretely the Mass of yesterday morning that he celebrated in the Cenacle of Jerusalem. Then, he thanked the Holy Father in the name of the Work for his coming to pray. The Pope, in Italian, answered that he considered a duty: “Si doveva, si doveva…

Then the Pope asked the Father what time D. Alvaro had celebrated Mass in the Cenacle. He calculated the number of hours that passed between the last Mass precisely there and the moment of death. The answer was seventeen (17).


Opus Dei and the Church: Alvaro del Portillo pronounced that the Second Vatican Council “had assimilated and promulgated as common doctrine for all Christians the substantial lines of the charism of Opus Dei.”[4]

[1] Letter from the Prelate, November 28, 1995.
[2] Salvador Bernal, “Alvaro del Portillo,” Scepter (1996) 130-131.
[3] Ibid. 126-128.
[4] Cfr. Romana et Matriten., Beatificationis et Canonizationis Servi Dei Iosephmaria Escriva de Balaguer, Positio super vita et virtutibus, Summarium, no. 964.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

The Radicality of Divine Vocation - Man:Vocation = Eye:Seeing

March 19, 2006

Function Precedes Structure: “If man wants to understand what he is in essence, he must not look predominantly backward to his origin in the dust of the earth, but forward to his calling to be the image and likeness of God. What he is by nature is related to his essential calling as the complicated anatomy of the eye is related to the simple act of seeing. Without consciously adverting to them, the act of seeing makes use of an infinite variety of physical, chemical and physiological processes to accomplish the one thing necessary: the simple, clear and unclouded act of seeing. The accompanying processes have no other purpose than to make possible this act of seeing that could not exist without them, but that in no way derives from them or is the sum of their parts. The same relationship exists in the creature between its `nature’ as a creature composed of body and soul and its calling, which is love. Not that the creature itself is love, for only God is love. The creature is a being in the service of love. Even if, in itself, it is a miracle of corporal and spiritual organs, connecting tissues living sinews and tendons, the complicated maze of which man contemplates in wonder just as the layman marvels at a telephone exchange whose meaning remains incomprehensible to him so long as he fails to take into account its purpose, nevertheless the true meaning of the creature, as conferred by God, can be properly understood only if it is explained and interpreted as an instrument of love.”[1]

Vocation Precedes Being: Alvaro del Portillo, in March preceding the beatification of St. Josemaria Escriva, as Prelate of Opus Dei, wrote to his sons and daughters: “God has also chosen us before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ (Eph 1, 4-5)." "Before the creation of the world, he destined us to be saints! He chose us first, and then created us to fulfill that call. We were chosen before we exited. What is more, that choice determines the reason for our existence. `It can be said,’ the Pope [John Paul II] teaches us, `that God has “first chosen man to participate in the divine filiation, in the eternal and consubstantial Son, and only `later’ has He willed creation, willed the world.’” “Elegit nos ante mundi constitutionem… God has chosen us to be saints by being Opus Dei, by doing Opus Dei, because the call to the Work is the specific Christian vocation that God has determined for us. He has not called us in view of the virtues we may have, but the other way round. He has granted us the good qualities we have because he had chosen us first. What have you that you did not receive?, asks Saint Paul. If then you received it, why do you boast as if it were not a gift? (I Cor. 4, 7). It is only in the light of our vocation that the gifts of God acquire their full significance, because it is only by following that call that they can be used entirely for his glory.” If Vocation Precedes Being, then the Whole Being must be Deployed: St. Josemaria Escriva: “On our path in life, we too have stumbled upon an amazing treasure: our vocation as children of God. To gain this treasure, to acquire the happiness of following Christ, we need to renounce everything. The goods that I must sell are my ambitions, my concupiscence, my dreams of earthly happiness, my affections that stem from flesh and blood, which are noble but tie me down, my professional dreams, even though these will often fit in with my apostolic plans. Is this all I need to sell? Harder still, I have to sell my will. Is there still something left to renounce? Yes, my entire `I,’ my self-complacency. In a word, my self-love.”[2]

To what is this vocational commitment in Opus Dei? Entrustment is always to persons. The vocational commitment is always to the Person of Christ Who calls. Nevertheless, is takes on a human form: 1) Objective Content: The charism received from God by St. Josemaria on October 2, 1928 and codified in the Law of the Church as "Personal Prelature." In a letter to his sons and daughters in 1995, the Prelate of Opus Dei (always "Father") wrote: “In order to serve the Church in Opus Dei, everything must always be understood and carried out, taking as its starting point our Father’s foundational charism. This charism, which was a gratuitous supernatural reality, endures in the Work, endowing it with well defined characteristics. The Holy Spirit didn’t place it in our Father’s soul merely with a view to his personal response to God but so that it would give shape for centuries to come to the Work our Lord was entrusting him with. This charism cannot become, therefore, a mere historical reference taking us back to the past. It is, through God’s mercy, a living and effective reality in Opus Dei, a power, a grace, from which we all ought to draw nourishment and which we all have the duty of guarding and passing on.” 2) Living Subjects: This objective content is on the books and stabilized in law. But, unless it becomes a living reality in subjects, it does not exist. Hence, the Prelate remarked: “This also means that there is noting left for us to invent…That the Work, now complete, is in our hands, has one very important consequence, which at first sight might seem paradoxical: we have to make the Work a reality! The Work is now complete, and yet we have to do it…. In other words, the Work will be whatever we are, whatever our lives are, whatever the Christian quality of our dedication to God is. Our task is clear and exciting. It is to carry out Opus Dei in the world, on all the earth’s pathways and cross-roads, in ipso ortu rerum novarum, as our Father once put it in Latin: in the midst of, and even in the very conception of cultural and social changes. There, the men and women in Opus Dei will be – there they must be! – with their ideals and concerns and their dedicated lives, striving to place Christ at the summit of all human activities.” 3) Communio of Persons: All (priests and laity) with the same identical vocation to make the radical gift of self: “Opus Dei, my children, is not `a thing;’ nor even, primarily, an institution. Like the Church, of which it forms part, it is a communion of persons, the kind of communion proper to a family. In our case, it has family customs and traditions which show how paternity, filiation and fraternity are taken very seriously, in accordance with the spirit that God entrusted to our Founder.”
4) Secularity: “Secularity, with all that it implies (work, occupations, outlook, lifestyle, ways of acting and behaving) is not added on to our vocation from outside. On the contrary, it receives it fullest meaning from our vocation. Our vocation means that our secular state in life, our ordinary work and our situation in the world, are our only way to sanctification and apostolate. Secularity is something Christian, a Christian way of being and living. In other words, our divine vocation, our spirit – or in broader terms, Christian faith and morality – cannot be judged from the starting-point of a secularity defined a priori. Rather, secularity should be judged and valued – or rather, discovered – from the starting-point of our vocation, and what the Christian faith reveals to us about man, about the world and about our destiny.” Secularity is the true freedom of true autonomy where each baptized faithful is self-determining according to a conscience formed on the truth of Christ as interpreted by the Magisterium of the Church. It is a consequence of the “priestly soul” as we see above. Jesus Christ as God-man is the meaning of secularity. The divine Person exercises his autonomy (loved and affirmed by the Father) by mastering Himself as man. He determines His human will and makes the free gift of Self in obedience to the Father on the Cross – for us. Since the layman makes this priestly self-gift on the occasion and prosecution of work in the world, secularity is the “characteristic” of the layman (while it is a "dimension" of the entire Church: see Christifideles laici #15).

These are four features of the radical commitment that is made by the faithful of Opus Dei in honor of St. Joseph.

[1] Hans Urs von Balthasar, “The Christian State of Life,” Ignatius (1983) 70-71.

[2] St. Josemaria, “Growing on the Inside,” Meditation preached as a refugee in the Honduran Consulate in 1937 during the Spanish Civil War

Saturday, March 18, 2006

"Beginnings" of Insight on "Deus Caritas Est"

“Deus Caritas Est” and The Second Vatican Council

On December 22, 2005, Benedict XVI addressed the Roman Curia on the “Interpreting Vatican II,” among other timely themes. His main thrust centered on the interpretation of the Council, principally because of the commonplace for anyone who has read the documents: the Council has not been assimilated by the Church. Benedict opened his questioning with, “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?” He then asserted, “No one can deny that in vast areas of the church the implementation of the council has been somewhat difficult….” He then quotes St. Basil description of the aftermath of the Council of Nicea: “The raucous shouting of those who through disagreement rise up against one another, the incomprehensible chatter, the confused din of uninterrupted clamoring has now filled almost the whole of the church, falsifying through excess or failure the right doctrine of the faith” (De Spiritu Sancto, XXX, 77; PG 32, 213 A; SCh 17 ff p. 254).

Hermeneutic of Discontinuity and Rupture – Hermeneutic of Continuity and Reform

A) Hermeneutic of Discontinuity and Rupture: In the same discourse, he said, “(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… 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. 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 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.”

Same Ratzinger Assessment in 1984 and 1997: In “The Ratzinger Report” of 1984, Cardinal Ratzinger said:

“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, 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.”[1]
“Is There Something New in Vatican II?”
Not Discontinuity, But, Yes, “Enrichment”

“Enrichment” will not mean more concepts as “truths” of faith, but entering into the horizon of the subject of the believer, and therefore into the Subject of Revelation as the principal content of Revelation. Since the God of Revelation has disclosed His Name to be “I AM,” what else could the deepest access to knowledge of divinity be but an experience and consciousness of “I AM” by activating the “I am” of the believer?

Two Key Texts: From Karol Wojtyla and Josef Ratzinger:

1) Wojtyla: “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.
“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.” [2]

2) Ratzinger: “`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. 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.”[3]

The text of Wojtyla reveals that the “site” of belief is not a faculty such as intellect and/or will as an “accident” of “substance,” but the entire person as subject, i.e. as “I.” He explains: “I have already drawn your attention to the difference between the catechism formula, `accepting as true all that God reveals,’ and surrender to God. In the first definition faith is primarily intellectual, in so far as it is the welcoming and assimilation of revealed fact[4] (underline mine). On the other hand, when the constitution Dei Verbum tells us that man entrusts himself to God `by the obedience of faith,’ we are confronted with the whole ontological and existential dimension and, so to speak, the drama of existence proper to man.”[5] John Paul goes explains more profoundly when he continues: “The Surrender to God through faith (through the obedience of faith) penetrates to the very depths of human existence, to the very heart of personal existence…It is much more than a purely intellectual theism and goes deeper and further than the act[6] of `accepting as true what God has revealed.’”[7] It is here then that he coincides with Ratzinger’s discovery in his work on the habilitation thesis (this very part of which was rejected by Michael Schmaus, but central in Ratzinger’s theological advisory work in the document Dei Verbum). He remarks: “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 personal.”

The Ratzinger text is an equally profound work of epistemology revealing a theological anthropology that is all of a piece with it. It is like knowing the anatomical architecture of the human eye in terms of the function of sight. Every part of the eye is what it is, and the parts are related thus and so such that the eye is able to be the instrument of the entire organism seeing. The eye doesn’t see. The entire organism sees. So also, intellect and will do not believe, but the entire person through the mediation of what we call “intellect” and “will.” In a word, the person is relational and called to believe by loving and giving the whole self. He can understand himself for what he is only when he is operating in love in response to the Creator Who calls him.[8]

Both these texts deal with the human person called to belief as a relational act. The are a call to subjectivity and relation as a new perception of being. It is not a call to belief as a Cartesian consciousness, but as an act of ontological relation – self-gift - to a revealing Subject. Wojtyla, now as John Paul II, will announce the metaphysical ramifications of this when he says in Fides et Ratio#83: “Persona, nominatim, locum constituit praecipuum ut quis congrediatur cum actu essendi ac, propterea, cum meditatione metaphysica” (the person constitutes a privileged locus for the encounter with being and hence with metaphysical enquiry). Notice, that person is the place where the act of being is immediately accessed without the mediation of objectified conceptualization. The explanation of this is the burden of his work “The Acting Person” that gives an account of the person as believing being and the priviledged locus to access it without any mediating distortion.

This access to being as the source of all intelligibility cannot be without intellectual content even if it is pre-conceptual.

This is the “enrichment” of Vatican II that does in fact represent the “discontinuity” that makes Vatican II of such novelty that there has never been another council like it, and yet it is in total continuity with all the councils of the past and the content of the faith of always. In fact, it is in greater contact with revelation since it is precisely bringing forth the “I” of the revelation of Christ in its full realism as “I Am.
Hence, it must be integrated into all the previous councils, and all the previous councils
must find themselves in it:

But note! that as the words of the Council do not introduce a rupture in doctrine, they do introduce what John Paul II called “Enrichment.” In this sense there is a “discontinuity” in the semantic “style” and content of the words in that they symbolize a turn to subjectivity and the person-in-relation in preference to objectivized conceptual categories. For example, John W. O’Malley S.J. observed summarized “some of the elements in the change in style of the Church indicated by the council’s vocabulary: from commands to invitations, from laws to ideas, from threats to persuasion, from coercion to conscience, form monologue to conversation, from ruling to serving, from withdrawn to integrated, from vertical and top-down to horizontal, from exclusion to inclusion, from hostility to friendship, from static to changing, from passive acceptance to active engagement, from prescriptive to principles, from defined to open-ended, from behaviour-modification to conversion of heart, from the dictates of law to the dictates of conscience, from external conformity to the joyful pursuit of holiness.”[9]

What is the Enrichment that causes this Discontinuity? John O’Malley suggests the answer without naming it. He says: “The council’s rejection of the style in which preparatory documents like De ecclesia and De fontibus were composed was not about esthetics. Nor was it just about replacing a theological method. It was about something much more profound: a rejection of ways to thinking, feeling, and behaving of which style was the emblem and engine. It was the rejection of a whole mental and emotional framework that found expression in genre and vocabulary. Style in this sense is not an ornament, not a superficial affectation, but expression of deepest personality. It is the ultimate expression of meaning. Le style, c’est l’homme meme. My style – how I behave – expresses what I am in my truest and deepest self. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks….
“This means that Vatican II, the `pastoral council,’ has a teaching, a `doctrine’ that to a large extent it has been difficult for us to formulate because in this case doctrine and spirit are two sides of the same coin. Cardinal Ottaviani was correct when he insisted in the council that pastoral could not be separated from doctrinal. The council taught a number of things. Among them is a teaching on the style of the Church. It did not `define’ that teaching but taught it on almost every page through the form implicit but an insistent call for a change in style…” [10]

The answer is the epistemological recovery of the “I” as the ontological subject of the believer. John Paul II as Cardinal of Krakow initiated his powerful catechism of the Council, Sources of Renewal, with the chapter “The Need for an Enrichment of Faith.” The entire epistemological horizon in which Vatican II operates is from the perspective of the believing subject. John Paul began Sources of Renewal[11]: “The implementation of Vatican II, or the process of Conciliar renewal, must be based on the principle of the enrichment of faith.”[12] He opens with a quotation from Dei Verbum #8: “Thus, as the centuries go by, the Church is always advancing towards the plenitude of divine truth, until eventually the words of God are fulfilled in her.” This means that the Church develops in the experience and consciousness of the Revelation that is the very Person of Christ Himself. This development depends on “the enrichment of faith” that is the degree of likeness of the “I” of the believer to the “I” of the revealing Christ. And this, because like is known by like.”[13] Wojtyla goes on: “This advance on the Church’s part at the same time indicates the basic direction in which faith develops and enriches itself. The enrichment of faith is nothing else than increasingly full participation in divine truth. This is the fundamental viewpoint from which we must judge the reality of Vatican II and seek ways of putting it into practice” (emphasis mine).

It is most important to realize that “divine truth” is the very Person of Christ. It is equally important to realize that the Person of Christ is the divine Logos Who is pure Relation to the Father. As Revelation of the Father, the Logos is total Self-Gift to us, and can be experienced only by the action of the believer as total self-gift to Christ. This is the meaning of “like is known by like.” Wojtyla goes on to pin point the way that Vatican II is not only in objective, doctrine continuity with the teaching-of-always, but how it is precisely in discontinuity. He says:

“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.
“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.” [14]

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.”[15]

Hence, what is afoot here is the passage epistemologically from object to subject and the perception of the entire Vatican II in that perspective of the “I” of the believer who is not reducible to the “disengaged”[16] Cartesian “consciousness.” Rather, the believer is existentially person analogically as Jesus Christ is existentially Person and grows in the consciousness of the "content" of who Christ is by the experience of mimicking self-gift. Every concept that was possessed objectively before as category or symbol, now passes to be experienced in a new way as oneself. Truth is now understood to be not only adequatio rei et intellectus but to be self-gift the way Jesus Christ, the very Truth itself as Person, is self-gift to the Father as obeying Logos. This obtains for the “good,” “relation” sin……..

(Fides et Ratio #83).
[1] J. Ratzinger, “The Ratzinger Report,” Ignatius (1985) 35.
[2] “Sources of Renewal,” op. cit. 17.
[3] Josef Ratzinger, “Milestones,” Ignatius (1997) 108-109.
[4] “Facts” are judgments of the intellect. They do not exist in reality.
[5] John Paul II/Andre Frossard, “Be Not Afraid,” St. Martin’s Press (1984) 66.
[6] Such an “act” is the operation of a faculty such as abstraction or judgment.
[7] Ibid. 67.
[8] “What he [man] is by nature is related to his essential calling as the complicated anatomy of the eye is related to the act of seeing makes use of an infinite variety of physical, chemical and physiological processes to accomplish the one thing necessary: the simple, clear and unclouded act of seeing. The accompanying processes have no other purpose than to make possible this act of seeing that could not exists without them, but that in no way derives from them or is the sum of their parts. The same relationship exists in the creature between its `nature’ as a creature composed of body and soul and its calling, which is love. Not that the creature itself is love, for only God is love. The creature is a being in the service of love;” Hans Urs von Balthasar, “The Christian State of Life,” Ignatius (1983) 70.
[9] John W. O’Malley, S.J., “Vatican II: Did Anything Happen?” Theological Studies, March 2006, Vol. 67, No. 1, 29.
[10] Ibid. 30-31.
[11] Karol Wojtyla, “Sources of Renewal,” Harper and Row, (1979: originally 1972 in Krakow).
[12] Ibid. 15
[13] J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One,” Ignatius (1986) 25.
[14] “Sources of Renewal,” op. cit. 17.
[15] John Paul II, “Be Not Afraid,” St. Martin’s Press (1984) 67.
[16] Charles Taylor, “Sources of the Self,” Harvard (1989)

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Relational Dynamic of Divinization


"Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Ps 119 [118]:105)
My dear young friends!

It is with great joy that I greet you as you prepare for the 21st World Youth Day, and I relive the memory of those enriching experiences we had in August last year in Germany. World Youth Day this year will be celebrated in the local Churches, and it will be a good opportunity to rekindle the flame of enthusiasm that was awakened in Cologne and which many of you have brought to your families, parishes, associations and movements. At the same time, it will be a wonderful chance to invite many of your friends to join the young generation’s spiritual pilgrimage towards Christ.

The theme that I suggest to you is a verse from Psalm 119 [118]: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (v. 105). Our dearly loved John Paul II commented on that verse of the psalm as follows: "The one who prays pours out his thanks for the Law of God that he adopts as a lamp for his steps in the often dark path of Life" (General Audience, Wednesday 14 November 2001). God reveals himself in history. He speaks to humankind, and the word he speaks has creative power.

The Hebrew concept "dabar", usually translated as "word", really conveys both the meaning of word and act. God says what he does and does what he says. The Old Testament announces to the Children of Israel the coming of the Messiah and the establishment of a "new" covenant; in the Word made flesh He fulfils his promise. This is clearly specified in the Catechism of the Catholic Church: "Christ, the Son of God made man, is the Father's one, perfect and unsurpassable Word. In him he has said everything; there will be no other word than this one" (n. 65). The Holy Spirit who has led the chosen people by inspiring the authors of the Sacred Scriptures, opens the hearts of believers to understand their meaning. This same Spirit is actively present in the Eucharistic celebration when the priest, "in persona Christi", says the words of consecration, changing the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, for the spiritual nourishment of the faithful. In order to progress on our earthly pilgrimage towards the heavenly Kingdom, we all need to be nourished by the word and the bread of eternal Life, and these are inseparable from one another!

Freedom Must Be Set Free

The Apostles received the word of salvation and passed it on to their successors as a precious gem kept safely in the jewel box of the Church: without the Church, this pearl runs the risk of being lost or destroyed. My dear young friends, love the word of God and love the Church, and this will give you access to a treasure of very great value and will teach you how to appreciate its richness. Love and follow the Church, for it has received from its Founder the mission of showing people the way to true happiness.

It is not easy to recognize and find authentic happiness in this world in which we live, where people are often held captive by the current ways of thinking. They may think they are "free", but they are being led astray and become lost amid the errors or illusions of aberrant ideologies. "Freedom itself needs to be set free" (cf the encyclical Veritatis Splendor, 86), and the darkness in which humankind is groping needs to be illuminated. Jesus taught us how this can be done: "If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples; and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free" (Jn 8:31-32). The incarnate Word, Word of Truth, makes us free and directs our freedom towards the good [N.B. the good is the gift of self, as is the true]. My dear young friends, meditate often on the word of God, and allow the Holy Spirit to be your teacher. You will then discover that God’s way of thinking is not the same as that of humankind’s. You will find yourselves led to contemplate the real God and to read the events of history through his eyes. You will savour in fullness the joy that is born of truth. On life’s journey, which is neither easy nor free of deceptions, you will meet difficulties and suffering and at times you will be tempted to exclaim with the psalmist: "I am severely afflicted" (Ps 119 [118]. v. 107). Do not forget to add as the psalmist did: "give me life, O Lord, according to your word... I hold my life in my hand continually, but I do not forget your law" (ibid. vv. 107; 109). The loving presence of God, through his word, is the lamp that dispels the darkness of fear and lights up the path even when times are most difficult.

The author of the Letter to the Hebrews wrote: "Indeed, the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart" (4:12). It is necessary to take seriously the injunction to consider the word of God to be an indispensable "weapon" in the spiritual struggle. This will be effective and show results if we learn to listen to it and then to obey it. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains: "To obey (from the Latin ob-audire, to ‘hear or listen to’) in faith is to submit freely to the word that has been heard, because its truth is guaranteed by God, who is Truth itself" (n. 144). While Abraham exemplifies this way of listening which is obedience, Solomon in his turn shows himself to be a passionate explorer of the wisdom contained in the Word. When God said to him: "Ask what I should give you", the wise king replied: "Give your servant therefore an understanding heart" (1 Kings 3:5,9). The secret of acquiring "an understanding heart" is to train your heart to listen. This is obtained by persistently meditating on the word of God and by remaining firmly rooted in it through the commitment to persevere in getting to know it better.

My dear young friends, I urge you to become familiar with the Bible, and to have it at hand so that it can be your compass pointing out the road to follow. By reading it, you will learn to know Christ. Note what Saint Jerome said in this regard: "Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ" (PL 24,17; cf Dei Verbum, 25).

“Lectio” > “Meditatio” > “Oratio” > “Contemplatio” = Self-Giving Action

A time-honoured way to study and savor the word of God is lectio divina which constitutes a real and veritable spiritual journey marked out in stages. After the lectio, which consists of reading and rereading a passage from Sacred Scripture and taking in the main elements, we proceed to meditatio. This is a moment of interior reflection in which the soul turns to God and tries to understand what his word is saying to us today. Then comes oratio in which we linger to talk with God directly. Finally we come to contemplatio. This helps us to keep our hearts attentive to the presence of Christ whose word is "a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts" (2 Pet 1:19). Reading, study and meditation of the Word should then flow into a life of consistent fidelity to Christ and his teachings.

Saint James tells us: "Be doers of the word, and not merely hearers who deceive themselves. For if any are hearers of the word and not doers, they are like those who look at themselves in a mirror; for they look at themselves and, on going away, immediately forget what they were like. But those who look into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and persevere, being not hearers who forget but doers who act - they will be blessed in their doing" (1:22-25). Those who listen to the word of God and refer to it always, are constructing their existence on solid foundations. "Everyone then who hears these words of mine and acts on them", Jesus said, "will be like a wise man who built his house on rock" (Mt 7:24). It will not collapse when bad weather comes.

To build your life on Christ, to accept the word with joy and put its teachings into practice: this, young people of the third millennium, should be your programme! There is an urgent need for the emergence of a new generation of apostles anchored firmly in the word of Christ, capable of responding to the challenges of our times and prepared to spread the Gospel far and wide. It is this that the Lord asks of you, it is to this that the Church invites you, and it is this that the world - even though it may not be aware of it - expects of you! If Jesus calls you, do not be afraid to respond to him with generosity, especially when he asks you to follow him in the consecrated life or in the priesthood.

Do not be afraid; trust in him and you will not be disappointed.

Dear friends, at the 21st World Youth Day that we will celebrate on 9 April next, Palm Sunday, we will set out, in our hearts, on a pilgrimage towards the world encounter with young people that will take place in Sydney in July 2008. We will prepare for that great appointment reflecting together on the theme The Holy Spirit and the mission in successive stages. This year our attention will focus on the Holy Spirit, Spirit of Truth, who reveals Christ to us, the Word made flesh, opening the heart of each one to the Word of salvation that leads to the fullness of Truth. Next year, 2007, we will meditate on a verse from the Gospel of John: "Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another" (13:34). We will discover more about the Holy Spirit, Spirit of Love, who infuses divine charity within us and makes us aware of the material and spiritual needs of our brothers and sisters. We will finally reach the world meeting of 2008 and its theme will be: "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses" (Acts 1:8).

From this moment onwards, my dear young friends, in a climate of constant listening to the word of God, call on the Holy Spirit, Spirit of fortitude and witness, that you may be able to proclaim the Gospel without fear even to the ends of the earth. Our Lady was present in the cenacle with the Apostles as they waited for Pentecost. May she be your mother and guide. May she teach you to receive the word of God, to treasure it and to ponder on it in your heart (cf Lk 2:19) as she did throughout her life. May she encourage you to declare your "yes" to the Lord as you live "the obedience of faith". May she help you to remain strong in the faith, constant in hope, persevering in charity, always attentive to the word of God. I am together with you in prayer, and I bless each one of you with all my heart.

From the Vatican, 22 February 2006, Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter Apostle.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Revolution of the Relation: Eros - Agape

The Key: Both Eros and Agape have the same ontological consistency, i.e. relationality, since Eros is the human person created in the image and likeness of Agape.

Eros and Agape are not about love, but about the meaning of person revealed by and in Jesus Christ as “privileged locus for the encounter with being, and hence with metaphysical enquiry.”[1] Eros and Agape are symbols of personal dynamism at opposite ends of the spectrum of personhood. Eros is the person seeking the good. Agape is Person creating the good. Agape creates Eros and fulfills its desires.

The task set by John XXIII for the Second Vatican Council was to adhere to the Truth of always while assimilating the developments of the modern world to better penetrate that Truth and radiate it. The Truth of always – the totality of Divine Revelation – is the Person of Jesus Christ. The developments of the modern world are science, the democratic state and globalism.

What has actually taken place in the post-conciliar period is what Benedict XVI has called a “hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture.” On December 22, 2005, he addressed the Roman Curia saying:

“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 not pointless.”

Now, it is asserted, “it would be necessary to go courageously beyond the texts 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”
[2] (underline mine).

Twelve years ago, before being pope, Benedict remarked in response as to the “why” of the new Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Now we are close to the end of a millennium and in an entirely new historical period, indicated by schemas of thought, science, technology, culture and civilization, breaking completely with all that we knew previously. This is why it was necessary to reformulate the logic and the sum total of the Christian faith. This is the fruit of a reflection, over some years, by the universal Church to rethink, re-articulate and bring up-to-date her doctrine” (underline mine). Among the points of discontinuity was the reduction of Christian morals “to a catalogue of permitted or forbidden things,” the reduction of Revelation to Scripture, the encroachment of positivism as historical-critical method as the limiting access to Scripture, a proliferation of Church-structures[3], man-made ministries, global intolerance, etc.

“The Hermeneutic of Continuity”

Benedict quoted John XXIII:

“The Council wishes `to transmit the doctrine, pure and integral, without any attenuation or distortion… Our duty is not only to guard this precious treasure, as if we were concerned only with antiquity, but to dedicate ourselves with an earnest will and without fear to that work which our era demands of us.’ It is necessary that `adherence to all the teaching of the church in its entirety and preciseness’ be presented in `faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine, which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another,’’ retaining the same meaning and message.”

He went on to say:

“It is clear that his commitment to expressing a specific truth in a new way demands new thinking on this truth and a new and vital relationship with it; it is also clear that new words can only develop if they come from an informed understanding of the truth expressed, and on the other hand, that a reflection on faith also requires that this faith be lived [theology done on one’s knees]. In this regard, the program that Pope John XXIII proposed was extremely demanding, indeed, just as the synthesis of fidelity and dynamic is demanding.”[4]

The “hermeneutic of continuity” is “person-as-relation,” which is “Eros.” This connects the Fathers of the Church (particularly Tertullian and Augustine) with modern epistemology: i.e., the recovery of the subject as being – “I” – by way of phenomenology.

Eros is “person-as-relation,” first, toward Agape.” This solves “the three circles of questions” that “had formed” at the time of the Second Vatican Council” and “were expecting an answer.”[5] The key is to understand that faith is not first an act of the faculties of intellect and will, but the act of the whole person. It is the gift of self to the Revealing Self of Christ. But the self wants to make this gift because it is Eros (made in the image of Agape) with Agape instilled in it as its fulfillment. When Agape reveals Him-Self, Eros says, “That’s it,” “That’s what I’m longing for.” Christ’s call to “great crowds” - one by one - : “If any one comes to me and does not hate this father and mother, and wife and children, and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. And he who does not carry his cross and follow me, cannot be my disciple.” (Lk. 14, 26-27). Eros hears this call of the Absolute in whose image he is made, and yearns to say, “Yes.” This is the meaning of “Eros.”

It is the meaning of conscience. Conscience is Eros remembering who he is by tending toward some things and avoiding others. The very meaning of the value “good” and “evil” arise from the “remembering” or tendency of Eros for Agape. This is the reason why Benedict presents Cardinal Newman’s toast, first to conscience, then to the pope. Without the Eros of conscience, the Agape of the pope would be an extrinsic imposition on freedom. As it is, it is a response to a longing. Benedict said, “The anamnesis [the original remembering in Eros because of the tendency to the Absolute] instilled in our being needs, one might say assistance from without so that it can become aware of itself. But this `from without’ is not something set n opposition to anamnesis but ordered to it. It has maieutic function, imposes nothing foreign, but brings to fruition what is proper to anamnesis, namely, its interior openness to the truth.”[6]

First Circle: Belief and Modern Science

Eros (person-as-relation = to be = to be for) solves the problem of belief and the scientific method. Succinctly, “By definition, revelation requires a someone who apprehends it…. (R)evelation precedes Scripture and becomes deposited in Scripture but is not simply identical with it.”[7] 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.”[8]

Second Circle: Believer/Citizen Resolving Church/State

Since belief is an anthropological act of self-gift, it is experience on a second tier, that of the subject. That experience produces a consciousness-conscience of the dignity of the self and the freedom and right to self-determination. Hence, only where there is faith, and the culture of faith giving this experience, is it possible to have a democratic society with the separation of Church and State as institutions. In this sense, Christian faith – Eros – is the grounding of a true humanism, a true secularity (true autonomy of self-determination) and a true civil order.

Third Circle: Believer/Tolerance Resolving Globalism

Global freedom can exist only if there is existential global truth. The universality – or “globality” - of concepts is an abstraction, and as such, do not exist. The only global truth that is universal and existentially real is the freedom and dignity of the self: “I.” This is arrived at, not by abstraction from sense experience, but by the experience of the self in the act of faith, or the lived experience of trust in a faith-culture. The self is experienced as being only by and in the act of self-transcendence.

Benedict proposes two fundamental ways of religious experience: Mysticism and monotheism.

Mysticism: “In mysticism, inwardness holds the first place; spiritual experience is posited as an absolute. That includes the view that God is purely passive in relation to man and that the content of religion can only consist of man plunging into God. God does not act; there is only the `mysticism’ of men, the gradual ascent to union.”[9]
“What is characteristic for this mysticism is the experience of identity: the mystic sinks down into the ocean of the all-one, irrespective of whether this is portrayed, with emphatic theologia negative, as `nothingness’ or, in a positive sense, as `everything.’ In the final stage of such an experience, the `mystic’ will no longer be able to say to his God, `I am Thine;’ the expression he uses is `I am Thee.’ The difference has been left behind in what is provisional, preparatory, and what is ultimately valid is fusion, unity.”[10] All individual religious distinctions fall away as provisional and preparatory for this one, deep and all pervasive – global – religious experience. It is “New Age.

Monotheistic Revolution: “The monotheistic way starts from a conviction that is the opposite of this: here man is the passive element upon whom God acts; here it is man who can do nothing of himself, but instead we have here an activity on the part of God, a call from God, and man opens himself to salvation through obedience in response to the call.”[11] Mysticism is really opposed here by faith. “The `monotheist’ holds that the absolutely contrary reduction is correct: the reduction of everything impersonal to persons”[12] whereas the mystic reduces the person to the impersonal state.

The signature statement of mysticism would be: “I am You.” Mysticism is totally tolerant in that it is now pervasive basis for affirming all religions as equal in that we have this mystical base of love, live and let live.

Solution to Globalism: The act of faith is the act of the “I” making the self-gift to the “I” of the revealing Christ. The believer is Eros awaiting the fulfillment of himself as person from Christ-Agape. Since faith is a culture in itself as cultivation of “I” by self-gift, it is open to all cultures and can be inter-cultural with them perfecting them as true cultures, i.e., the truth of the person (gift) and bringing about global unity. Globalism and the autonomy of cultures is the hopeful prospect for a shrinking world.

Benedict said: “The meeting of cultures is possible because man, despite all the differences of his history and social constructs, remains one and the same being. This one being man, however, is himself touched in the depth of his existence by truth. The fundamental openness of each person to the other can only be explained by the hidden fact that our souls have been touched by truth: and this explains the essential agreement which exists even between cultures most removed from each other…. Christian faith is… certain that in its core it is the self-disclosure of truth itself and therefore is redemption. For ma’s real poverty is the darkness to truth…. The communication of truth brings deliverance from alienation and division. It illumines the universal standard which does no violence to any culture abut leads each to its own center, since each culture is finally the expectation [Eros] of truth [Agape].”[13]


Image of God: EROS

Greek “Nature” Becomes Person (Eros) Intrinsically Tending to God


Gaudium et Spes

Chapter I:

“The Dignity of the Human Person”[RAC1]

The Human Person is “Eros”

Text: #12. According to the almost unanimous opinion of believers and unbelievers alike, all things on earth should be related to man as their center and crown.
But what is man? About himself he has expressed, and continues to express, many divergent and even contradictory opinions. In these he often exalts himself as the absolute measure of all things or debases himself to the point of despair. The result is doubt and anxiety. The Church certainly understands these problems. Endowed with light from God, she can offer solutions to them, so that man's true situation can be portrayed and his defects explained, while at the same time his dignity and destiny are justly acknowledged.
For Sacred Scripture teaches that man was created "to the image of God," is capable of knowing and loving his Creator, and was appointed by Him as master of all earthly creatures[1] that he might subdue them and use them to God's glory.[2] "What is man that you should care for him? You have made him little less than the angels, and crowned him with glory and honor. You have given him rule over the works of your hands, putting all things under his feet" (Ps. 8:5-7).
But God did not create man as a solitary, for from the beginning "male and female he created them" (Gen. 1:27). Their companionship produces the primary form of interpersonal communion. For by his innermost nature man is a social being, and unless he relates himself to others he can neither live nor develop his potential.
Therefore, as we read elsewhere in Holy Scripture God saw "all that he had made, and it was very good" (Gen. 1:31).

Comment by Josef Ratzinger[14]

Josef Ratzinger: Article 12. “The text of this article was particularly hotly disputed, precisely because it involved a decision about the whole theological approach and therefore the structure of the entire schema. General approval was given to the fact that no attempt was made to give a static philosophical doctrine of man on the lines of the neo-scholastic tradition, that the body-soul pattern had not been employed, and that, without any attempt at a complete and systematic doctrine of man, a mosaic of basic statements had been assembled which in conjunction formed a dynamic account of man, stressing history and essentially based on biblical data. Nevertheless, it seemed to many people, especially theologians from German-speaking countries, that there was not a radical enough rejection of a doctrine of man divided into philosophy and theology. They were convinced that fundamentally the text was still based on a schematic representation of nature and the supernatural viewed far too much as merely juxtaposed. To their mind it took as its starting-point the fiction that it is possible to construct a rational philosophical picture of man intelligible to all and on which al men of goodwill can agree, the actual Christian doctrines being added to this as a sort of crowning conclusion. The latter then tends to appear as a sort of special possession of Christians, which others ought not to make a bone of contention but which at bottom can be ignored. This was the real reason, for a protest against the `optimism’ of the schema (all these objections refer to Text 4). It was not a question of imposing a pessimistic view of man or of constructing an exaggerated theology of sin because of a certain correspondence with some forms of Lutheran thought. The text as it stood itself prompted the question why exactly the reasonable and perfectly free human being described in the first articles was suddenly burdened with the story of Christ. The latter might well appear to be a rather unintelligible addition to a picture that was already quite complete in itself. Consequently the text was blamed for only apparently choosing a theological starting-point in the idea of man as the image of God, whereas in reality it still had a theistically-colored and to a large extent non-historical view. As opposed to this, it was urged that the starting-point should be Christ, the second Adam, from whom alone the Christian picture of man can be correctly developed. Advocates of this position could point to the fictitious character of a supposedly rational picture of man and therefore say that the only realistic picture must start from the actual Christian creed which, precisely as a confession of faith, can and must manifest its own intelligibility and rationality. To this was objected that dialogue demands a gradual advance, which alone can open out some access to the center of belief. Ultimately the whole question of the relation between faith and understanding cmes up for debate here. It ca hardly be disputed that as a consequence of the division between philosophy and theology established by the Thomists, a juxtaposition has gradually been established which no longer appears adequate. There is, and must be, a human reason in faith; yet conversely, every human reason is conditioned by a historical standpoint so that reason pure and simple does not exist….

“The problems involved in starting from the idea of man as the image of God spring from the fact that in the Old Testament (leaving out of account the special view expressed in Wis 2, 23) this idea is left quite indeterminate in content. It only receives its full meaning from the fact that in the New Testament the Adam-figure and the doctrine of man as the image of God are transferred to Christ as the definitive Adam. Consequently this idea not only has its origin in the theology of creation, it becomes an eschatological theme, concerned less with the origin than with the future of man. It therefore appears less as a static endowment than as the dynamism of a premise located above man. It was implicit in the logic of the starting-point, once this was chosen, that its authors wanted to introduce Christology at the end and were not ready to admit it here, even though it forces itself on the attention here as an indispensable component of a Christian anthropology. Consequently the perspective remained exclusively that of the the theology of creation, but one which is not even adequate to the wealth of a Christian theology of creation, for this is only intelligible in eschatology; the Alpha is only truly to be understood in the light of the Omega.”

[In a word, EROS can only be understood as imaging AGAPE and tending toward it]

T hen, “With Augustine (De Trinitate, XIV, 8, 11) the image of God is interpreted as capacity for God, qualification to know and love God. That is what for Augustine give s the idea of man as the image of God its dynamic aspect; man is the image of God to the extent in which he directs himself to God; man disfigures his likeness to God by turning away from God…. Dominion over the world is only the consequence, not the content, of likeness to God… Work is not purely and simply likeness to God, even if it must be regarded as closely bound up with it. The clearly stated difference between content and consequence of man’s creation to the image of God implies an affirmation which has not been sufficiently taken into account in post-conciliar discussion.”

Note: The Catechism of the Catholic Church: “Chapter One” of Part One is entitled: “Man’s Capacity for God:” “The Desire for God: “The desire for god is written in the human heart, because man is crated by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for:

The dignity of man rests above all on the fact that he is called to communion with God. This invitation to converse with God is addressed to man as soon as he comes into being. For if man exists, it is because God has created him through love, and through love continues to hold him in existence. He cannot live fully according to truth unless he freely acknowledges that love and entrusts himself to his creator”[15]


“Eros” is the “Theology of the Body”[16]

Text: #14. Though made of body and soul, man is one. Through his bodily composition he gathers to himself the elements of the material world; thus they reach their crown through him, and through him raise their voice in free praise of the Creator.[5] For this reason man is not allowed to despise his bodily life; rather he is obliged to regard his body as good and honorable since God has created it and will raise it up on the last day. Nevertheless, wounded by sin, man experiences rebellious stirrings in his body. But the very dignity of man postulates that man glorify God in his body [6] and forbid it to serve the evil inclinations of his heart.
Now, man is not wrong when he regards himself as superior to bodily concerns, and as more than a speck of nature or a nameless constituent of the city of man. For by his interior qualities he outstrips the whole sum of mere things. He plunges into the depths of reality whenever he enters into his own heart; God, Who probes the heart,[7] awaits him there; there he discerns his proper destiny beneath the eyes of God. Thus, when he recognizes in himself a spiritual and immortal soul, he is not being mocked by a fantasy born only of physical or social influences, but is rather laying hold of the proper truth of the matter.

Comment by Joseph Ratzinger
“The whole article originally dealt solely with `the dignity of the human body,’ and the following article concerned `the dignity of the soul and particularly of the human intellect’ (Text 4). In Text 5 this division was suppressed and the whole constitution of man was included in Article 14 in order to oppose as much as possible any kind of dualism and to emphasize human unity even in this external way. That unity is so complete that man can only be described as simultaneously body and soul, each ain the other, not separate from it.
“Whereas the second part of the article chiefly deals with man’s soul, the first part attempts to present something like a theology of the body. The first words, `Corpore et anima unus’ go beyond the purely methodical division, and are intended to express the fundamental theme of the text: the inseparable corporeal- spiritual unity of man. The fact that he aim was to avoid technical theological terms as far as possible and yet notot leave room for any ambiguity, set clearly recognizable limits here to the Council’s attempt to state a convincing anti-dualist doctrine of man. Consequently it had to renounce the use of the possibilities offered by the Thomist formula: `anima unica forma Corporis.’ On its basis, for example, K. Rahner and J.B. Metz define the body as `the soul’s making itself present in the world, soul as it were in a certain “aggregate condition,”’ and can say that man does not really consist of two realities (`partial substances’) but is the one and constantly total reality of the anima `inasmuch as it is only really itself in real being-outside-itself… and as body.’…

“We hear the echoes of Augustin’s spiritual experience that `intimum’ and `summum’ coincide, that the distant Godis a God who is mot near to man, nearer than man is to himself, that man is only far from God because he is far from himself, that man fins himself and god by accomplishing a pilgrimage to himself, into his own inner depths, away from self-estrangement among things. Thus our text is influenced by two fundamental conceptsof Augustinian thought, by which the great Father of the Church aimed at a synthesis of biblical anthropology, more historical in tendency, with the metaphysical conceptin of antiquity. The first is the distinction between the `homo interior’ and `exterior.’ As compared with the corpus-anima schema, this introduces a greataer element of personal responsibility and decision regarding the direction of life. It therefore analyses amanmore on historical and dynamic than on metaphysical lines. The second is the concept of the `philosophia cordis,’ the biblical concept of the heart which for Augustine expresses the unity of interior life and corporeality….
“Perhaps we may regard these concepts of heart and interiority, with all they imply and the mental horizons they open out, as the real theology of the body presented by this section. For theology of the body cannot ultimately consist of a purely regional theology concerning the body in contradistinction to the soul, and listing the merits of the body. Its function must be to understand the body as a human body, describing it in its humanity as the corporeal embodiment of mind and spirit, the way in which the human spirit has concrete existence. It must therefore be a theology of the unity of man as spirit in body and body in spirit, so that a genuine theology of the body will be achieved in proportion as the `cor’ is spoken of as spirit `to the extent that it has come to the blood and therefore no longer merely spirit but embodied and therefore human.”[17]
Best Statement of Tendency of Eros Answered by Agape

Benedict XVI took his lead from St. Basil who said: “`The love of God is not founded on a discipline imposed on us from outside, but is constitutively established in us as the capacity and necessity of our rational nature.’ Basil speaks in terms of `the spark of divine love which has been hidden in us,’ the expression which was to become important in medieval mysticism. In the spirit of Johannine theology Basil knows that love consists in keeping the commandments. For this reason, the spark of love, which has been put into us by the Creator, means this: `We have received interiorly beforehand the capacity and disposition for observing all divine commandments… These are not something imposed from without.’ Referring everything back to its simple core, Augustine adds: `We could never judge that one thing is better than another, if a basic understanding of the good had not already been instilled in us’” (bold mine).

Benedict comments: “This means that the first so-called ontological level of the phenomenon conscience consists in the fact that something like an original memory of the good and true (both are identical) has been implanted in us, that there is an inner ontological tendency within man, who is created in the likeness of God, toward the divine. From its origin, man’s being resonates with some things and clashes with others. This anamnesis of the origin, which results from the godlike constitution of our being is not a conceptually articulated knowing, a store of retrievable contents. It is so to speak an inner sense, a capacity to recall, so that the one whom it addresses, if he is not turned in on himself, hears its echo from within. He sees: That’s it! That is what my nature points to and seeks.

“The possibility for and right to mission rest on this anamnesis of the Creator which is identical to the ground of our existence. The gospel may, indeed, must be proclaimed to the pagans because they themselves are yearning for it in the hidden recesses of their souls (cf. Isaiah 42, 4). [This is the meaning of eros]. Mission is vindicated then when those addressed recognize in the encounter with the word of the gospel that this indeed is what they have been waiting for. In this sense, Paul can say: the gentiles are a law to themselves – not in the sense of the modern liberal notions of autonomy which preclude transcendence of the subject, but in the much deeper sense that nothing belongs less to me than I myself. My own I is the site of the profoundest surpassing of self and contact with him from whom I came and toward whom I am going….

“Accordingly, everything which does not come from the subject is thought to be externally imposed. But the situation is really quite different according to the anthropology of conscience [i.e. the anthropology of eros] which we have tried to come to an appreciation of in these reflections. The anamnesis instilled in our being needs, one might say, assistance from without so that it can become aware of itself [This “assistance” is Agape]. But this `from without’ is not something set in opposition to anamnesis but ordered to it. It has maieutic function, imposes nothing foreign, but brings to fruition what is proper to anamnesis, namely, its interior openness to the truth…(inserts, bold and underline mine).

“The true sense of the teaching authority of the pope consists in his being the advocate of the Christian memory. The pope does not impose from without. Rather he elucidates the Christian memory and defends it. For this reason the toast[18] [of John Henry Newman] to conscience indeed must precede the toast to the Pope because without conscience there would not be a papacy. All power that the papacy has is power of conscience. It is service to the double memory upon which the faith is based and which again and again must be purified, expanded, and defended against the destruction of memory which is threatened by a subjectivity forgetful of its own foundation as well as by the pressures of social and cultural conformity.”[19]


Epistemological Threshold

Pure Nature:

Tendency to Intra-cosmic End

(A Theological Contrivance)

Philosophic Perspective: From the Experience of Sensation and Abstractive Thinking

Created Nature à Created End

State of Affairs Concerning the Received Meaning of Man: Karol Wojtyla: “The traditional view of the human being as a person, which understood the person in terms of the Boethian definition as rationalis naturae individua substantia, expressed the individuality of the human being as a substantial being with a rational (spiritual) nature, rather than the uniqueness of the subjectivity essential to the human being as a person.”[20]

Philosophic Origin of Man as a “Rational Nature/Substance”

Aristotle: “Parts of Animals:” “For to say what are the ultimate substances out of which an animal is formed, to state, for instance, that it is made of fire or earth, is no more sufficient than would be a similar account in the case of a couch or the like. For we should not be content with saying that the couch was made of bronze or wood r whatever it might be, but should try to describe its design or ode of composition in preference to the material; or, if we did deal with the material, it would at any rate be with the concretion of material and form. For a couch is such and such a form embodied in this or that matter, or such and such a matter with this or that form; so that its shape and structure must be included in our description. For the formal nature is of greater importance than the material nature.”[21]

The Argument:

A living being is self-moving.
A self-mover must be made up of heterogeneous parts: some moving and some moved (since a simple self-mover is to be in act and potency at the same time which is contradictory).
The order of the heterogeneous parts must have a cause. If not, we must posit chance or go to an infinite series. In both cases, this is = no cause, and therefore, no explanation = Irrationality.
By analogy to our own experience of art, there must be an idea or “form” in the mind whereby we order the parts for a particular end. This “form” is the cause of the order, and therefore of the being as this being. Such a being, made up of heterogeneous parts must obviously be greater than the sum of its parts, because it requires, beyond the parts, a cause of the order. Hence, in the organic, “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.”
In the living organism, the “form” must be present to the parts (from within) to explain the being, its permanence and its kind of activity. This form is called the “nature.”
Aristotle defined nature: “Nature is a principle and cause of motion and rest in the thing in which it inheres primarily and as an attribute that is essential and not accidental.”[22]
As a principle of motion and rest, nature tends toward an end which will be accommodated to that nature. In a created being, the end will be created and is called a “natural” end.
In the case of man as a rational animal, his end will be within the visible world as any other animal, but of the higher order of rationality.
Any reference to the supernatural can come only by addition to the substantial nature, which the Church teaches to be “grace.” This must be a freely given gift of God since created nature cannot demand divine Life as a right of nature. Hence, the orientation of the human being is to a natural end by nature, and a supernatural end by the addition of God’s freely given grace.

Epistemological comment: Notice that the entire argument takes place within the experience of the senses and the use of abstract reasoning. This cannot be wrong. But is it adequate to the existential reality?

* * * * * * * * *

Comment of Etienne Gilson on Aristotle:[23] “Of the two kinds of parts which we have distinguished in living beings, the homogeneous and the heterogeneous, the second necessitates that one should take into consideration a peculiar type of causality. Different kinds of causes are at work in nature: the material, the formal, the efficient, and the final. All whose structure is homogenous can be explained by the efficient cause, which Aristotle calls simply `the end’ (telos), the `in view of which’ (to ou eneka), the `why’ (dia ti). Never does he use an abstract expression such as `final cause,’ and `finality’ he uses even less. He speaks of real objects or of elements of these objects which may be as real as they. If there is in the real a principle of unity – substance, for example – it is necessary that the four kinds of causes be able to return, in one manner or other, to this principle; a cause of any kind whatsoever is such only through it.

“Why is there heterogeneity in the structure of certain beings? Because they are living beings. A living being is a being which is born, grows, develops, comes to maturity, and, finally, through a process in the reverse direction, declines and dies. The living being then recognizes itself in this thing that changes, and as all change is motion, the order of the living is the order of motion. More precisely, it is that order of all which has in itself the principle of its own change. In abstract terms one says that the living being is endowed with spontaneity, not only in its reactions, but a fortiori in its operations and its actions.

“That the living being moves itself entails as a consequence that it is composed of heterogeneous parts. Indeed, to move oneself consists in having in oneself the cause of one’s movement. The living being is at the same time cause and effect, but it cannot be the one and the other in the same way. Aristotle expressly contradicts the Platonist notion which makes of life a simple source of motion, as if one single and identical thing could be motive force and thing moved at the same time and in the same way. It suffices to see an animal move about to ascertain that the parts which move take their point of departure from the fixed and the immobile. All living operations, all the growth of plants or animals, involve and require the differentiation of certain parts capable of acting one on another. Heterogeneity of parts is required for the very possibility of that causality operating on itself which characterizes the growth of living being.

“For the same reason it is necessary that the heterogeneous parts of the living being make up a certain order. The notion of order is inseparable from that of causality, which is itself an order of dependence. That which is cause under a certain aspect can be effect under another. The ability of a living being to move itself, even though it be only to assimilate and grow, involves therefore the organization the heterogeneous parts of which it is composed. This is why one says of living bodies that they are organisms or that living matter is organic. The finalism of Aristotle is an attempt to give a reason for the very existence of this organization.

“Aristotle is often reproached for his anthropomorphism, that is to say, for his habit of considering nature from man’s point of view. If to do so is an error, the reproach is justified, but Aristotle’s attitude in this regard had nothing naïve in it. He was conscious of it, just as he was of the reasons there are for adopting it. At the moment he begins the study of the parts of animals, he declares straightforwardly: `to begin with, we must take into consideration the parts of man. For, just as each nation reckons by that monetary standard with which it is most familiar, so must se do in other matters. And, of course, man is the animal with which we are all of us the most familiar.”[24]

“At first sight there is something disconcerting in this naiveté. It seems far too simple to evaluate the parts of other animals in terms of those of the human body, as one evaluates foreign currency in terms of francs or dollars. Upon reflection, however, there is something to be said in favor of this proposition, for in a certain sense it is true. It is not necessarily that man may be better known to us than the rest of creation, but, to begin with, whatever object is considered, the knowledge that we have of it is human knowledge which expresses itself in some human language; and next, the knowledge which man has of himself, imperfect as it may be, is by nature privileged. In knowing himself man knows nature in a unique way, because in this unique case the nature that he knows, he is. In and through the knowledge which man has of himself nature knows herself directly; she becomes conscious of herself in him, self-conscious one might say, and there is strictly nothing else that man can hope to know in this way.
[Notice that the epistemological assumption here is that man is “part” of the world, and not like Descartes, perched on some limb outside of worldly experience as a “thinking thing”]. Even other men, with whom he can communicate by language or any other sort of signs, remain for him parts of the `external world.’ In fact, all the rest of the universe is and remains for him the external world. Since then there is no other knowledge for each of us other than our own knowledge, things known exist for us only in relation to ourselves, and among these things there is only one that e can apprehend directly in itself, and that is what we are and what each call `I,’ `me.’

[Gilson does not advert to this, but he is employing the method of phenomenology in disclosing the experience one has of self that is other and beyond simple reflection on consciousness. What is hidden here – and it is the specific work of Karol Wojtyla – is the advertence to the experience of the self as being (not thought). This is the supreme crossing of threshold to a direct and unmediated access to the self – the “I” - as being].

“Fortified by his principle, Aristotle proceeds in a methodical manner from man to nature in his exploration of reality. The problem of the `end’ in nature is for him only one more occasion for applying this method, which he holds to be universally valid. In the present case, that of the relation of homogeneous parts to heterogeneous parts in living bodies, Aristotle will first remark, as a thing immediately obvious, that homogeneous parts cannot themselves by composed of heterogeneous parts; such a supposition would be absurd. Faces, let us say, and limbs are composed of flesh; flesh is not composed of faces or of limbs. From that flows an important consequence.

“Insofar as it is a question of problems where the parts involved are all homogeneous, matter is the sole cause to take into consideration, for matter itself is homogenous. [Of course, we know now that this is not true on a micro scale, but on the level of gross sense experience, it is]. At this level mechanical explanations by matter alone account for reality in a satisfying manner. Beings of heterogeneous structure, on the contrary, require a more complex mode of explication. The heterogeneity of their component parts necessitates that they necessarily have structure, and the question presents itself whether the existence of such structures is susceptible of the same kind of material explanation which works so remarkably well in the case o homogeneous beings.

* * * * * * *

“To explain heterogeneous parts by the same principles which explain homogeneous parts is to leave deliberately unexplained the heterogeneity of the heterogeneous….

“To the question `How does nature produce beings made up of heterogeneous parts?’ he responds by another question: `How does man fabricate objects made up of such parts?’ Art imitates nature; it must be then that nature proceeds in a manner analogous to that of art….

“That which comes first in the operation of art is the presence in the mind of the artist of a certain image or notion of the object to be produced. From that point of departure the artist begins by choosing material adapted to the structure of the future work. These would be, for example, heterogeneous parts: canvas, colors, and so on necessary to produce the particular picture which the painter has in mind. This necessity is a hypothetical necessity, the cause of which is the idea of the future picture already present to the mind of the painter. If the picture to be painted is such-and-such, then the constituent elements must necessarily be such-and-such.”

Finally, Aristotle explains that in giving an account of how a work of art is made, it is not sufficient to say “by the stroke of his tool this part was formed into a concavity, that into a flat surface; but he must state the reasons why he struck his blow in such a way as to effect this, and what his final object was; namely, that the piece of wood should develop eventually into this or that shape. It is plain, then, that the teaching of the old physiologists is inadequate, and that the true method is to state what the definitive characters are that distinguish the animal as a whole; to explain what it is both in substance and in form, and to deal after the same fashion with its several organs; in fact to proceed in exactly the same way as we should do, were we giving a complete description of a couch.”[25]

Substance: To Be In Self

Jacques Maritain: “(A) thing or nature that can exists by itself or in virtue of itself (per se) – and not in another thing (in alio), that is to say, in a subject previously existing…. A thing or nature whose property is to exist in itself.”[26] “Substance is the absolutely primal being of a thing, the radical principle of its activity and all its actuality. As Aristotle said, substantia est premium ens.[27] “The substance of an object, so long as that object exists, is as such immutable. Peter’s substance is that in virtue of which Peter exists purely and simply, that is to say, as Peter. So long as Peter exists, his substance as such cannot change. And when Peter’s substance does change (when Peter’s body becomes a lifeless corpse) Peter exists no longer, he is dead. Moreover, in itself substance is invisible, imperceptible by the senses. For the sense do not apprehend being as such, but present to us directly only the changing and the moving. In a certain sense, to be sure, it is indeed the substance of Peter that my eyes see, as it was truly Jesus whom the disciples saw at Emmaus, but my eyes thus apprehend the substance only in fact and materially, not formally.

“In other words the object seen or touched is something which while seen or touched is at the same time also a substance; but it is not seen or touched as a substance. AS a substance it is conceived, not seen or touched, and so far as it is seen or touched it is colored or exerting resistance, not being and substance. In the language of philosophy substance is intelligible in itself (per se) and sensible only accidentally (per accidens). That therefore in things which possesses most importance for us escapes the direct grasp of our senses and imagination, and is a pure object of the intellect, since the intellect alone are ends being as such (sub ratione entis).

“Observe that, if from the standpoint of existence substance is in things the being which is the primary and immediate object of the intellect, on the other hand to discover not only that a particular object possesses a substance, but also in what that substance consists, or what is its nature, we are obliged to take our stand upon that which reveals this nature to our senses, namely the operations, phenomena, or accidents, of the substance. In this sense we know the substance by the accidents.”[28]

Accidents: To Be In-Another

“Consider not such things as the laughter, movement, sorrow, joy, color, [we could add here: relation], which I perceive in Peter, and which make Peter exist in certain aspects. These things are capable of existence. But they obviously do not exist after the same fashion as substance. To exist they must belong to another being previously existing (if not in the order of time, at least in the order of nature). They exist as something which belongs to a being or subject already in existence. In this sense we say that they exist in something other than themselves.”[29]

Conclusion: According to the received theology, created rational nature (that we take to be man) is a substance that exists in itself and not in another. It tends to a natural (intra-worldly/cosmic) end according to the tendencies that are inherent in it as nature and as created.

Grace, understood as personal communion with God, can find no metaphysical category other than accident that is freely given to man as substance. Since the creature can demand nothing of the Creator as a “right” of nature (since it has no “right” even to exist), it is imperative to maintain that “nature” cannot demand grace. This sets up the conundrum that the human person is made for God, is incapable of achieving his existential end as union with God by himself, and yet cannot achieve God without grace.

[1] John Paul II, “Fides et Ratio,” #83.
[2] Benedict XVI, “Interpreting Vatican II,” Origins January 26, 2006 Vol. 35, No. 32, p. 536.
[3] “There are some very real grounds to fear that the Church may assume too many institutions of human law, which then become the armor of Saul making it difficult for the young David to walk. We must always ascertain if institutions which were once useful still serve a purpose. The only institutional element the Church needs is the one given to it by the Lord: the sacramental structure of the people of God, centered on the Eucharist” (underline mine); J. Ratzinger, 30 Days, No. 5 – 1998, p. 22.

[4] Benedict XVI, op. cit. 537.
[5] Benedict XVI, Idem.
[6] J. Ratzinger, J. Ratzinger, Keynote Address: “Conscience and Truth,” Proceedings of the tenth Bishops’ Workshop, Dallas, Texas, The Pope John Center (1991) 21.

[7] J. Ratzinger, “Milestones,” Ignatius (1997) 108-109.
[8] J. Ratzinger, “Foundations and Approaches of Biblical Exegesis,” Origins February 11, 1988, Vol. 17: No. 35, b.
[9] J. Ratzinger, “Truth and Tolerance,” Ignatius (2004) 36.
[10] Ibid. 33-34.
[11] Ibid. 36-37.
[12] Ibid. 37.
[13] J. Ratzinger, “Christ, Faith and the Challenge of Cultures,” Origins, March 30, 1995, Vol. 24, No. 41 679-686.
[14] H. Vorgrimler, Commentary on the Documents of Vatican II,” Vol V (Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World): Part I, The Church and Man’s Calling, Introductory Article and Chapter I, “The Dignity of the Human Person” by Joseph Ratzinger; Herder and Herder (1968) 115-122.
[15] Vatican Council II, GS 19, .1.
[16] The meaning of the body in John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body:” “The body reveals man. This concise formula already contains everything that human science could ever say about the structure of the body as organism, about its vitality, and its particular sexual physiology, etc.” (Nov. 14, 1979). Adrian Reimers comments: “The human being, although it includes the entire reality of the biological, is more than the biological organism. The pope continues: `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, is 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. John Paul II remarks concerning the charges of `biologism’ in Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae vitae further develop this point: `In this discussion, natural law was taken to mean merely the biological regularity we find in people in the area of sexual actualization. This was said to be natural law.’ But all that the biological sciences can do is to identify biological regularities. The order of being, on the other hand, is expected to provide a basis for moral norms;” Adrian J. Reimers, “Karol Wojtyla on the Natural Moral Order,” The National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly, Vol 4, No. 2, Summer 2004 (The National Catholic Bioethics Center) 321.

[17] H. Vorgrimler op. cit. 126-129.
[18] In his letter to the Duke of Norfolk, Newman remarked: “Certainly, if I am obliged to bring religion into afterdinner toasts, (which indeed does not seem quite the thing), I shall drink – to the Pope, if you please, - still, to conscience first, and to the Pope afterwards.”
[19] J. Ratzinger, “Truth and Conscience,” op. cit. 19-20.
[20] Karol Wojtyla, “Subjectivity and the Irreducible in the Human Being,” Person and Community, Lang (1993) 212.
[21] Aristotle, “On the Parts of Animals,” I, 1, 640b.
[22] Aristotle, “Physics,” II, 1, 192 b 21-22.
[23] E. Gilson, “From Aristotle to Darwin and Back Again,” (Chapter I: “Aristotelian Prologue”) UNDP (1984) 1-16.
[24] Aristotle, “History of Animals,” 491a.
[25] E. Gilson, op. cit. 12.
[26] J. Maritain, “Introduction to Philosophy,” Sheed and Ward (1947) 224-225.
[27] Aristotle, “Metaphysics,” VII, 1.
[28] Ibid. 226.
[29] Ibid. 227.

[RAC1]The greatest influence on this schema, particularly on the understanding of person as “image of God” [and therefore eros] was Jean Danielou, S.J. See “Aportacion del P. Danielou en L a Primera Fase de Elaboracion de la Gaudium et Spes” in Dar Razon de la Esperanza, Servicio de Publicaciones de la Universidad de Navarra, Pamplona, 2004, 213-228.