Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Chair of St. Peter, February 22, 2007

St. Josemaria Escriva wrote: “Our greatest love, our greatest esteem, our deepest veneration, our most rendered obedience, our greatest affection must always be for the Vice-God on earth, for the Pope. Think always that after God and our Mother the Most Holy Virgin, in the hierarchy of love and of authority, comes the Pope. Therefore many times I say: thank you, my God, for the love for the Pope that you have placed in my heart.”

Lumen Gentium #25 reads: “This loyal submission of the will and intellect must be given, in a special way, to the authentic teaching authority of the Roman Pontiff, even when he does not speak ex cathedra in such wise, indeed, that his supreme authority be acknowledged with respect, and that one sincerely adhere to decisions made by him, conformably with his manifest mind and intention, which is made known principally either by the character of the documents in question, or by the frequency with which a certain doctrine is proposed, or by the manner in which the doctrine is formulated.”

It goes on: “The Roman Pontiff, head of the college of bishops, enjoys this infallibility in virtue of his office, when, as supreme pastor and teacher of all the faithful – who confirms his brethren in the faith (Lk. 22, 32) – he proclaims in an absolute decision a doctrine pertaining to faith or morals. For that reason his definitions are rightly said to be irreformable by their very nature and not by reason of the assent of the Church, is as much as they were made with the assistance of the Holy Spirit promised to him in the person of blessed Peter himself; and as a consequence they are in no way in need of the approval of others, and do not admit of appeal to any other tribunal. For in such a case the Roman Pontiff does not utter a pronouncement as a private person, but rather does he expound and defend the teaching of the Catholic faith as the supreme teacher of the universal Church, in whom the Church’s charism of infallibility is present in a singular way.”

Toast First to Conscience, Then to the Pope

Benedict, at a bishops workshop in Dallas, Texas, said in February 1991: “I would simply like to try to indicate the place of conscience in the whole of Newman’s life and thought… When the subject of Newman and conscience is raised, the famous sentence from his letter to the Duke of Nor fold immediately comes to mind: `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.”[1]

Benedict then clarified the ontological source of conscience, of the values of good and evil that are not principles but the consciousness of the experience of the ontological tendency of the being of man as imaging the triune God: “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…

“We can now appreciate Newman’s toast first conscience and then to the pope. The pope cannot impose commandments on faithful Catholics because he wants to or finds it expedient. Such a modern, voluntaristic concept of authority can only distort the true theological meaning of the papacy. The true nature of the Petrine office has become so incomprehensible in the modern age no doubt because we only think of authority in terms which do not allow for bridges between subject and object. 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 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. 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, interior openness to the truth….

“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 to conscience indeed must precede t he 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 whish 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.”

[1] J. Ratzinger, “Key Note Address: `Conscience and Truth’ at the Proceedings of the Tenth Bishops’ Workshop, Dallas, Texas (1991) 14.

Ash Wednesday 2007

The message of Benedict XVI for Lent 2007 is: “They Shall Look on Him Whom They Have Pierced.” In a book of his by the same name, Benedict says, amidst profundities that are marvelously accessible, that “man needs to see, he needs this kind of silent beholding which becomes a touching, if he is to become aware of the mysteries of God. He must set his foot on the `ladder’ of the body in order to climb it and so find the path along which faith invites him. From the point of view of our contemporary problems, we could pout it like this: the so-called objective spirituality, which is based on participation in the celebration of the liturgy, is not enough. The extraordinary spiritual dept which resulted from medieval mysticism and the ecclesially based piety of modern times cannot be abandoned as obsolete (let alone deviant) in the name of a rediscovery of the Bible and the Fathers. The liturgy itself can only be celebrated properly if it is prepared for, and accompanied by, that meditative `abiding’ in which the heart begins to see and to understand, drawing the senses too into its beholding. For `you only see properly with your heart,’ as Saint-Exupery’s Little Prince says. (And the Little Prince can be taken as a symbol for that childlikeness which we must regain if we are to find our way back out of the clever foolishness of the adult world and into man’s true nature, which is beyond mere reason).[1]

“Behold the Pierced One” and The Wound in the Right Hand: St. Josemaria Escriva

Burgos, June 6, 1938
+ May Jesus safeguard you, for himself.

Dear Juanito,

This morning, on my way to Las Huelgas, where I went to do my prayer, I discovered a new world: the Most Holy Wound of our Lord’s right hand. I was there all day long, kissing and adoring. How truly lovable is the sacred humanity of our God! Pray that he give me that real love of his and with completely purify all my other affections. It’s not enough to say, `Heart on the cross!’ Because if one of Christ’s wounds cleans, heals, soothes, strengthens, enkindles, and enraptures, what wouldn’t the five do as they lie open on the cross? Heart on the cross! O my Jesus, what more could I ask for? I realize that if I continue contemplating in this way (Saint Joseph, my father and lord, is the one who led me there, after I asked him to enkindle me), I’ll end up crazier than ever. Try it yourself!...

“I’m quite jealous of hose on the battlefronts, in spite of everything. It has occurred to me that, if my path were not so clearly marked out, it would be wonderful to outdo Father Doyle. But… that would suit me quite well, since doing penance has never been very hard for me. That, I’m sure, is the reason I’m being led by another path: Love. And the fact is it suits me even better. If only I weren’t such a donkey!

“Take care, my son. Dominus sit in corde tuo!

Much love. From the Wound of the right hand, your Father blesses you.

(Andres Vazquez de Prada, "The Founder of Opus Dei, God and Daring," Scepter [2002] 214).

Stoic – Abstract - Reason is Insufficient to “Know” God

Benedict marks the inadequacy of thinking without blood and the gut. He remarks that “for the Fathers [of the Church], who were brought up with the moral ideal of the Stoa, the ideal of the wise man’s impassivity, where insight and the will govern and master the irrational emotions, this was one of the places where it proved most difficult to achieve a synthesis of Greek inheritance and biblical faith. The God of the Old Testament, with his wrath, compassion and love, often seemed nearer to the gods of the obsolete religions than to the lofty concept of God of the ancient philosophy, a concept which had facilitated the breakthrough of monotheism in the Mediterranean world. From the vantage point of Cicero’s Hortensius, Augustine could not find the way back to the Bible; thus there was a very strong temptation to adopt the Gnosticism which separated the God the Old Testament from the God of the New Covenant.”[2]

“It is only With the Heart that One Knows Rightly”
(The Little Prince: Antoine Saint-Exupery)

“On the other hand, whoever, it was plain enough that the figure of Jesus, who experiences anguish and anger, joy, hope and despair, is in the Old Testament tradition of God; in him who is the incarnate Logos, the anthropomorphisms of the Old Testament are radicalized and attain their ultimate depth of meaning. The Docetic[3] attempt to make Jesus’ sufferings a mere surface illusion was an option congenial to Stoic thought. But it must be clear to every unprejudiced reader of the Bible that such an option would attack the very heart of the biblical testimony to Christ, i.e., the mystery of Easter. It was impossible to excise Christ’s sufferings, but there can be no Passion without passions: suffering presupposes the ability to suffer; it presupposes the faculty of the emotions. In the period of the Fathers it was doubtless Origen who grasped most profoundly the idea of the suffering God and made bold to say it could not be restricted to the suffering humanity of Jesus but also affected the Christian picture of God.[4] The Father suffers in allowing the Son to suffer, and the Spirit shares in this suffering, for Paul says that he groans within us, yearning in us and on our behalf for full redemption (Rom. 8, 26). And it was Origen also who gve the normative definition of the way in which the theme of the suffering God is to be interpreted: When you hear someone speak of God’s passions, always apply what is said to love. So God is a sufferer because he is a lover; the entire theme of the suffering God flows from that of the loving God and always points back to it. The actual advance registered by the Christian idea of god over that of the ancient world lies in its recognition that God is love.
“The topic of the suffering God has become almost fashionable today, not without reason, as a result of the abandonment of a theology which was one-sidedly rationalist and as a result of the rejection of a portrait of Jesus and a concept of God which had been emasculated, where the love of God had degenerated into the cheap platitude of a God who was merely kind, and hence `harmless.’ Against such a backdrop Christianity is diminished to the level of philanthropic world improvement, and Eucharist becomes a brotherly meal. The theme of the suffering God can only stay sound if it is anchored in love for God and in prayerful attention to his love. The encyclical Haurietis aquas sees the passions of Jesus, which are summed up and set forth in the Heart, as the basis, as the reason why, the human heart, i.e., the capacity for feeling, the emotional side of love, must be drawn into man’s relationship with God. Incarnational spirituality must be a spirituality of the passions, a spirituality of `heart to heart;’ in that way, precisely, it is an Easter spirituality, for the mystery of Easter, the mystery of suffering, is of its very nature a mystery of the heart.
“Developments since the Council have confirmed this view on the part of the encyclical. Theology today is certainly no longer confronted with a Stoic ethos of apatheia, but it faced with a technological rationalism which pushes man’s emotional side to the irrational periphery and allots a merely instrumental role to the body. Accordingly, the emotions are placed under a kind of taboo in spirituality, only to be followed by a wave of emotionalism which is, however, largely chaotic and incapable of commitment. We could say that the taboo on pathos renders it pathological, whereas the real issue is how to integrate it into the totality of human existence, the totality of our life as we stand before God. (…)
“All this shows that Christian spirituality involves the senses, which are structured by and united in the heart, and the emotions, which are focused on the heart. We have shown that this kind of heart-centered spirituality corresponds to the picture of the Christian God who has a heart.”

Muggeridge’s Blood Transfusion

“… Some forty years ago, shortly before the outbreak of the 1939-45 war, the person whom I have most loved in this world, my wife Kitty, was desperately ill, and, as I was informed by the doctor attending her, had only an outside chance of surviving. The medical details are unimportant; probably today, with the great advances that have taken place in curative medicine, her state would not be so serious. But as the situation presented itself then, she was hovering between life and death, though, needless to say, there was no voice, as there might well be nowadays, to suggest that it might be better to let he go.
“The doctor explained that an emergency operation was essential, and, in honesty, felt bound to tell me that it would be something of a gamble. Her blood, it appeared, was so thin as a result of a long spell of jaundice that before he operated a blood-transfusion was desperately needed – this was before the days of plasma. As he said this, an incredible happiness amounting to ecstasy surged up inside me. If I could be the donor! My blood group was established, and found to suitable; the necessary gear was brought in, very primitive by contemporary standards – just a glass tube one end of which was inserted in her arm and the other end in mine, with a pump in the middle drawing out my blood and sending it into her. I would watch the flow, shouting out absurdly to the doctor: `Don’t stint yourself, take all you want!’ and noting delightedly the immediate effect in bringing back life into her face that before had seemed grey and lifeless. It was the turning point; from that moment she began to mend.”At no point in our long relationship has there been a more ecstatic moment than when I thus saw my life-blood pouring into hers to revivify it. We were at one, blood to blood, as no other kind of union could make us."

Agape and Eros: Again

The epistemological conundrum of the Magisterium of Vatican II through the 14 encyclicals of John Paul II and the heretofore magisterium of Benedict XVI is the meaning of Being in God as pure relation. This has not been understood because the received metaphysic of Being has been “substance” being-in-self-and-not-in-other. After passing through the past 400 years of Enlightenment rationalism, the meaning of substantial being has been reduced to “fact” as object and all empirical values experienced in the subject (person) are dumbed down to the positivism of objective fact.
Hence, the program of Benedict is to climb back across the threshold of the experience of self as gift. He does this not by deploying any kind of philosophy but by correctly directing the Church to experience the Love of God in the wounds of Christ Crucified. The whole attempt transcends conceptualization because it works on the horizon of the experience of the self (subject, as empirical) as in relation. We are working with Being not as experienced through sensible perception and symbolized in concepts that act as signs “quo” [by means of which the real is known], but as experienced directly by the self and intellectualized as “consciousness.” Revelation through Scripture is the guide, and we find it Hellenized as agape as in “God is Love (agape) (I John 4, 16), eros and philein as in John 21, 15-18.
The Love of God, and therefore all love, is presented as mysterious to the rationalized mind. Agape is “self-giving love of one who looks exclusively for the good of the other. The word eros on the other hand, denotes the love of one who desires to possess what he or she lacks and yearns for union with the beloved.”
The great surprise is to discover that “God’s love is also eros… [The] biblical texts indicate that eros is part of God’s very heart: the Almighty awaits the `yes’ of His creatures as a young bridegroom that of his bride.”
In a word, God, who is the creator of all that is, and there is nothing beyond His creation, does not possess one thing in His own creation: our love. He has created us like Himself with freedom and autonomy that is really “theonomy” (because it cannot even be nor be free without his creative power) that can be given to Him only if we so will. We can deny it to Him. And he desires our freedom “erotically” – as a loving bridegroom wants the requited love of the bride.
And so, the Love of God is mysterious to us. It is both total self-gift and it is also desire for gift back. And it has an even more peculiar and marvelous twist. The love that we are “commanded” to give back (“commanded” because it has first been given) is to be the very Love of God since God has become man to re-start the human race, and He has sacramentally inserted us into Him by Baptism and the other sacraments such that we can and must love “not with our heart only, but with His” (Forge 809).
And since we have been made in the image of the Son, we must first be loved to give us identity as persons such that we have the sufficient subjectivity to master ourselves in the true and proper meaning of freedom of autonomy (theonomy) so as to possess ourselves to make the gift of ourselves to him, for which He is erotic.
What is at stake here is crossing a threshold from an understanding of Being as substance to a grasp of Being as Relation.

The Desert Experience

In order to cross this threshold we need to go through a conversion in silence and detached from the world of sensual titillation. In “Introduction to Christianity,” Benedict spoke of the “attitude” signified by the word “Credo.” He said: “It means that man does not regard seeing, hearing and touching as the totality of what concerns him, that he does not see the area of his world as marked off by what he can see and touch, but seeks a second mode of access to reality, a mode which he calls in fact belief, and in such a way that he finds in it the decisive enlargement of his whole view of he world… It signifies the deliberate view that what cannot be seen, what can in no wise move into the field of vision is not unreal; that on the contrary what cannot be seen in fact represents true reality, the element that supports and makes possible all the rest of reality.”[7]

Commenting on Lent, he says the Church must go through those “forties” of years in the desert or days of journey to Mount Horeb (Elijah), which is in reality Sinai where the faith has to be recovered. “Jesus’s fasted in the desert for forty days. These forties point to a spiritual context and continuity that cannot be valid solely for the Bible but remain significant in pos-Biblical times as well."

Benedict said to the Swiss Bishops on November 7, 2006: “When a man is entirely caught up in his own world, with material things, with what he can do, with all that is feasible and brings him success, with all that he can produce or understand by himself, then his capacity to perceive God weakens, the organ sensitive to God deteriorates, it becomes unable to perceive and sense, it no longer perceives the Divine, because the corresponding inner organ has withered, it has stopped developing. When he overuses all the othr organs, the empirical ones, it can happen that it is precisely the sense of God that suffers, that this organ dies, and man, as St Gregory says, no longer perceives God’s gaze, to be looked at by him, the fact that his precious gaze touches me.”

[1] J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One,” Ignatius (1986) 54-55.
[2] J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One,” Ignatius (1986) 54-58.
[3] In Christianity, Docetism (from the Greek δοκέω [dokeō], "to seem") is the belief that Jesus' physical body was an illusion, as was his crucifixion; that is, Jesus only seemed to have a physical body and to physically die, but in reality he was incorporeal, a pure spirit, and hence could not physically die. This belief treats the sentence "the Word was made Flesh" (John 1:14) as merely figurative and has historically been regarded as heretical by most Christian theologians[1].This belief is most commonly attributed to the Gnostics, who believed that matter was evil, and hence that God would not take on a material body. This statement is rooted in the idea that a divine spark is imprisoned within the material body, and that the material body is in itself an obstacle, deliberately created by an evil lesser god (the demiurge) to prevent man from seeing his divine origin. Humanity is, in essence, asleep. Docetism could be further explained as the view that, because the human body is temporary and the spirit is eternal, the body of Jesus therefore must have been an illusion and his crucifixion as well. Even so, saying that the human body is temporary has a tendency to undercut the importance of the belief in resurrection of the dead and the goodness of created matter, and is in opposition to this orthodox view. Docetism was rejected by the ecumenical councils and mainstream Christianity, and largely died out during the first millennium A.D. Catharism, and other surviving gnostic movements, incorporated docetism into their beliefs, but the movement was destroyed by the Albigensian Crusade, though its teachings still exist today, for example see [2]. Islam also teaches that Jesus's crucifixion was an illusion. The Qur'an says, "They did not kill him and they did not crucify him, but it was made to seem so to them..." Wikepedia.
[4] The epistemology of the neo-scholastic manuals have insisted that God as God cannot suffer since suffering involves diminution of being. If God suffered, then in that diminution, He would cease to be God. Hence, it is impossible for God to suffer as God. Thomas Weinandy remarks: “Here we enter into the heart of the mystery. While the mystery of the Incarnation, by its very nature, remains, the answer lies in the fact that as God the Son is not deprived of any good which would cause him to suffer as God. If the Son of God, as God, were deprived of some good which would cause him to suffer as God, it would mean, as I argued in previous chapters, that he is actually no longer God. Strange as it may seem, but not paradoxically, one must maintain the unchangeable impassibility of the Son of God as God in order to guarantee that it is actually the divine Son of God, one in being with the Father, who truly suffers as man. As man the divine Son of God was deprived, as are we, of human goods which did cause him, like us, to suffer.” (Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap., “Does God Suffer?” UNDP (2000) 205).

[5] Ibid. 54-58.
[6] Papal Message For Lent 2007, February 13, 2007.
[7] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” Ignatius (1990) 24.
[8] J. Ratzinger, “Principles of Catholic Theology,” Ignatius (1987) 81.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Sts. Cyril and Methodius

John Paul II named Saints Cyril and Methodius Co-Patrons of Europe on December 31 1980. This was followed by naming Saint Bridget of Sweden, Saint Catherine of Siena and Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross Co-Patronesses of Europe. All of this was preceded by Paul VI proclaiming Saint Benedict Patron of Europe.

The fact that St. Benedict is principal Patron of Europe sheds light on Cardinal Ratzinger taking the name Benedict XVI. He has seen a radical interdependence of Judeo-Christian faith and Greek-European thought – concretely a metaphysics of being, but now, not as substance but as “relation,” - such that the Greek European mind belongs to Revelation and therefore faith. His mission is what he said it was: “Initially, in speaking of the Pope's legacy, I forgot to mention the many documents that he left us -- 14 encyclicals, many pastoral letters, and others. All this is a rich patrimony that has not yet been assimilated by the Church. My personal mission is not to issue many new documents, but to ensure that his documents are assimilated, because they are a rich treasure, they are the authentic interpretation of Vatican II. We know that the Pope was a man of the Council, that he internalized the spirit and the word of the Council. Through these writings he helps us understand what the Council wanted and what it didn’t. This helps us to be the Church of our times and of the future.”[1] Hence, Benedict XVI is not flooding the world with new encyclicals, but driving hard on one point: crossing the epistemological threshold to the Person of Christ. The goal is to undergo and recognize the internal but real ontological experience of self-mastery and self transcendence in that offering of self in deeds of prayer and love to the revealing Christ. Such will enable us to “intellegere,” or as he says, to legere to read, ab intus, from within. That is, to experience doing what Christ does in His immanent Trinitarian Life that translates itself into prayer and mercy, so that it be our experience, and therefore our reading of Who He is from within ourselves and transferring it to Him such that we know Who He is and can say, “You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God” (Mt. 16, 16).

As Cardinal Ruini of the diocese of Rome says, “In the language of theology, we could say that the Pope is confronting, in his style and in an innovative manner, the central question of apologetics, or – in today’s preferred phrase – of fundamental theology.”[2] As the Pope says in the excerpt from his book to be published this spring (2007), “first of all… I trust the Gospels… I wished to present the Jesus of the Gospels as the true Jesus, as the `historical Jesus’ in the true sense of the expression.”[3] In a word, Benedict wants to offer a world that has lost living faith in Jesus Christ, and in the young, one that never has had it, that the Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of the Living God.” Jesus is Christ. This is a major part of his fundamental work “Introduction to Christianity.” His grounding insight is taken from St. Luke where Jesus reveals himself to be prayer, and the apostles/evangelists see Him at prayer to the Father and share in that prayer. All knowledge of the hidden Person of Jesus begins there and He is recognized there. “Peter had grasped and expressed the most fundamental reality of the person of Jesus as a result of having seen him praying, in fellowship with the Father. According to Luke, we see who Jesus is if we see him at prayer. The Christian confession of faith comes from participating in the prayer of Jesus, from being drawn into his prayer and being privileged to behold it; it interprets the experience of Jesus’ prayer, and its interpretation of Jesus is correct because it springs from a sharing in what is most personal and intimate to him.”[4] Once the Person of Christ is experienced, the believing observer is then in a position to enter into the theology of the Trinity where the Father is the act of engendering the Son, and the Son is the act of glorifying the Father. They are not “Beings” or “Substances” who act accidentally as is affirmed in the received metaphysics of substance. Rather, Benedict is saying, “with Jesus it is not possible to distinguish office and person… The person is the office, the office is the person. The two are no longer divisible. Here there is no private area reserved for an `I’ which remains in the background behind the deeds and actions and thus at some time or other can be `off duty;’ here there is no `I’ separate from the work; the `I’ is the work and the work is the `I.’”[5]

As John Paul II, Benedict XVI feels the supreme burden of doing what Sts. Cyril and Methodius did, and leading the Church in it. Both Popes call the process “The New Evangelization.” By it Benedict says, “Human life cannot be realized by itself. Our life is an open question, an incomplete project, will to be brought to fruition and realized. Each man’s fundamental question is: How will this be realized – becoming man? How does one learn the art of living? Which is the path toward happiness?
“To evangelize means: to show this path – to teach the art of living. At the beginning of his public life Jesus says: I have come to evangelize the poor (Lk. 4, 18); this means: I have the response to your fundamental question; I will show you the path of life, the path toward happiness – rather: I am that path.
“The deepest poverty is the inability of joy, the tediousness of a life considered absurd and contradictory. This poverty is widespread today, in very different forms in the materially rich as well as the poor countries. The inability of joy presupposes and produces the inability to love, produces jealousy, avarice – all defects that devastate the life of individuals and of the world.
“This is why we are in need of a new evangelization – if the art of living remains an unknown, nothing else works. But this art is not the object of a science –this art can only be communicated by [one] who has life – he who is the Gospel personified.” (…)
“This is why we are searching for, along with permanent and uninterrupted and never to be interrupted evangelization, a new evangelization, capable of being heard by that world that does not find access to `classic’ evangelization. Everyone needs the Gospel; the Gospel is destined to all and not only to a specific circle and this is why we are obliged to look for new ways of bringing the Gospel to all.”

What is the historical precedent offered to us Sts. Cyril and Methodius?

The Mission of Cyril And Methodius

Encyclical Letter of John Paul II “In Commemoration of the Eleventh Centenary of the Evangelizing Work of Saints Cyril and Methodius"

In a word, they leave behind the classic Greek culture that they know. They bring Sacred Scripture with them. They live the life of the Slavic tribes; learn their culture and their language. They translate the Greek Scriptures into Slavic by creating an alphabet thus giving them their first literature. They celebrate the Mass in Slavic and go to Rome for approval twice. John Paul II marks the following points:

“The event which was to determine the whole of the rest of their olives was the request made by Prince Rastislav of Greater Moravia to the emperor Michael III, to send to his peoples `a Bishop an teacher… able to explain to them the true Christian faith in their own language.’”
“(T)hey took with them the texts of the Sacred Scriptures needed for celebrating the Sacred Liturgy, which they had prepared and translated into the Old Slavonic language and written in a new alphabet, devised by Constantine the Philosopher and perfectly adapted to the sounds of that language. The missionary activity of the two Brothers was accompanied by notable success, but also by the understandable difficulties which the preceding initial Christianization, carried out by the neighboring Latin Churches, placed in the way of the new missionaries.
“In Rome pope Hadrian II… received them very cordially. He approves the Slavonic liturgical books, which he ordered to be solemnly placed on the altar in the Church of Saint Mary ad Praesepe, today known as Saint Mary Major, and recommended that their followers be ordained priests.”
“The new sovereign of Greater Moravia, Prince Svatopluk, also ssubsequently showed hostility to the work of Mehodius. He opposed the Slavonic liturgy and spread doubts in Rome about the new Archbishop’s orthodoxy. In the year 880 Methodius was called ad limina Apostolorum, to present once more the whole question personally to John VIII. In Rome, absolved of all the accusations, he obtained form the Pope the publication of the Bull Industriae Tuae, which, at least in substance, restored the prerogatives granted to the liturgy in Slavonic by Pope John ‘s predecessor Hadrian II. “
“In order to translate the truths of the Gospel into a new language , they had to make an afford to gain a good grasp of the interior world of those to whom they intended to proclaim the word of God in images and concepts that would sound familiar to them. They realized that an essential condition of the success of their missionary activity was to transpose correctly biblical notions and Greek theological concepts into a very different context of thought and historical experience. It was a question of a new method of catechesis.”

“Previously, Constantine and his fellow workers had been engaged in creating a new alphabet, so that the truths to be proclaimed and explained could be written in Old Slavonic and would thus be fully comprehended and grasped by their hearers. The effort to learn the language and to understand the mentality of the new peoples to whom they wished to bring the faith was truly worthy of trhe missionary spirit. Exemplary too was their determination to assimilate and identify themselves with all the needs and expectations of the Slav peoples. Their generous decision to identify themselves with those peoples’ life and traditions, once have purified and enlightened them by Revelation, made Cyril and Methodius true models for all missionaries who in every period have accepted Saint Opal’s invitation to become all things to all people in order to redeem all.

Autonomy and subsidiarity: “At this point it is an unusual and admirable thing that the holy Brothers, working in such complex and precarious situations, did not seek to impose on the peoples assigned to their preaching either the undeniable superiority of the Greek language and Byzantine culture, or the customs and way of life of the more advanced society in which they had grown up and which necessarily remained familiar and dear to them. Inspired by the ideal of uniting in Christ the new believers, they adapted to the Slavonic language the rich and refined texts of the Byzantine liturgy and likewise adapted to the mentality and customs of the new peoples the subtle and complex elaboration of Greco-Roman law. In following this programme of harmony and peace, Cyril and Methodius were ever respectful of the obligations of their mission…. Thus though subjects of the Eastern Empire and believers subject to the Patriarchate of Constantinople, they considered it their duty to give an account of their missionary work to the Roman Pontiff. They likewise submitted to his judgment, in order to obtain his approval, the doctrine which they professed and taught, the liturgical books which they had written in the Slavonic language, and methods which they were using in evangelizing those peoples.”

Benedict has shown us the alternative to this crisis of faith that embroils Europe: the model of Spengler, or the model of Toynbee. Spengler “believed that he had identified a natural law for the great moments in cultural history: First comes the birth of a culture, then its gradual rise, flourishing, slow decline, aging, and death… a natural life cycle. His thesis was that the West would come to an end, and that it was rushing heedlessly toward its demes, despite every effort to stop it…. But as a historical subject its life cycle had effectively ended.”
“Toynbee emphasized the difference between technological-material profess and true progress, which he defined as spiritualization. He recognized that the Western world was indeed undergoing a crisis, which he attributed to the abandonment of religion for the cult of technology, nationalism, and militarism. For him this crisis had a name: secularism. If you know the cause of an illness, you can also find a cure: The religious heritage in all its forms had to be reintroduced, especially the `heritage of Western Christianity.’ Rather than a biologistic vision, he offered a voluntaristic one focused on the energy of creative minorities and exceptional individuals.”[9]

The Future: “One can see properly only with the heart”

In 1970, Benedict said: “only he who gives himself creates the future. The man who simply tries to instruct, who wants to change others, remains unfruitful.... To put this more positively: the future of the Church, once again as always, will be re-shaped by the saints, by men, that is, whose minds probe deeper than the slogans of the day, who see more than others see, because their lives embrace a wider reality. Unselfishness, which makes men free, is attained only through the patience of small daily acts of self-denial. By this daily passion, which alone reveals to a man in how many ways he is enslaved by his own ego, by this daily passion and by it alone a man’s eyes are slowly opened. He sees only to the extent that he has lived and suffered. If today we re scarcely able any longer t become aware of God, that is because we find it so easy to evade ourselves, to flee from the depths of our being by means of the narcotic of some pleasure or other. Thus our own interior depths remain closed to us. If it is true that a man can sees only with his heart, then how blind we all are?”[10]

As Sts. Cyril and Methodius, we must enter into and stay in the mainstream of society, muddied as it is, in order to be “other Christs.” There, as John Paul II said at the canonization of St. Josemaria Escrivá: “To raise the world to God and transform it from within: this is the ideal the holy founder points out to you…”
We must foster a new culture, new legislation, new fashions, in keeping with the dignity of the human person and with its destiny to the glory of the children of God in Jesus Christ. Christians have to be found in ipse ortu rerum novarum at the very origin of `the new things,’ in the genesis of the positive transformations of persons and society. This is a positive task: a renovation, a regeneration, an improvement. It is not enough, therefore, to lament today’s culture, the prevailing styles of dress, the current laws. It is not enough to criticize the problems we see around us, or to pine for a better past. The apostolate is not a matter of being nostalgic, but of being rebels. Christians yearn for a better future, filled with hope. The future belongs to our freedom and that, to a great extent, it depends on us. And by our human experience we know that the future is forged through passionate commitment through courage, and through God’s grace. We have to passionately love the world: this world – and transform it and building it on the dignity of the human person who is the protagonist of freedom and secular autonomy. Or better, theonomy.

Is Europe the Primal Cultural Incarnation of Christianity, and Is Christianity European?

Pace the fact that Judeo-Christianity originated outside of Europe, and that “European” is not a monolithic cultural mass, the answer is: Yes! But with the massive rider and caveat that we not understand Judeo-Christianity as a European experience that arose from within Europe.

Again, we are asking whether Europe is part of Christian revelation in the way the believing subject is part of revelation, and therefore Greek metaphysical thought will always be attached to it? Benedict gave this response at Regensburg: “This inner rapprochement between biblical faith and Greek philosophical inquiry was an event of decisive importance not only from the standpoint of the history of religions, but also from that of world history – it is an even which concerns us even today. Given this convergence, it is not surprising that Christianity, despite its origins and some significant developments in the East finally took on its historically decisive character in Europe. We can also express this the other way around: This convergence, with the subsequent addition of the Roman heritage, created Europe and remains the foundation of what can rightly be called Europe.”

Revelation and Faith in the Mind of Joseph Ratzinger
-Involves Both Object and Subject-

The subject experiencing itself as gift (self transcendence) to the revealing Person of Christ is a constitutive part of the revelation of the Person of Christ. Epistemologically, like is known by like. This holds because to know is experience being one with the object known. The Bible uses “know” for the spousal union of husband and wife. “To Know” by mediation such as empirical perception of the senses or the abstract concept is substitution for the lack of ontological “oneness” with the other. This is not subjectivism (and therefore the prolegomenon to relativism) but its exact contrary in a more radical realism. The only reality that I experience directly and immediately is myself. Only I exercise my free self-determination. This experience of personal and intimate freedom is inalienable and incommunicable to another. However, if I experience in myself what the other experiences in himself or herself, and then transfer that most personal and inalienable experience that I become conscious of, to them, I become conscious of them as I am conscious of myself. This is the maximum of realism.

This was the core of Benedict’s habilitation thesis. In his study of Bonaventure’s notion of revelation and faith, he found that “the receiving subject is always also a part of the concept of `revelation.’ Where there is no one to perceive revelation, no re-vel-ation has occurred, because no veil has been removed. By definition, revelation requires a someone who apprehends it.”[11] This is equivalent to saying that if a tree falls in the forest, and there is no one to hear it, there is no “sound.” There is reverberation of sound waves in the air, but there is no “sound” because sound demands the auditory sensibility of a subject to receive and become that reverberation – which, in turn, becomes “sound” in the ear/brain/person. This is the mind of Bishop George Berkeley that I think is correct. It is realist, but realist through the experience of the Being “I” who experiences himself being subjectively affected. That is, there is a subjective component to the very meaning of “experience” that mediates (and therefore distorts) between the reality and the real self.

Needless to say, this portion of Benedict’s habilitation thesis was rejected by Michael Schmaus, “who had perhaps also heard annoying rumors from some in Freising concerning the modernity of my theology, [and] saw in these not at all a faithful rendering of Bonaventure’s thought (however, to this day I still affirm the contrary) but a dangerous modernism that had to lead to the subjectivization of the concept of revelation.”[12] It is interesting to see in this epistemological subjectivity Benedict’s call to integrate the positive element of the Enlightenment in the synthesis that he and John Paul II had forged with Vatican II in the formulation of the “new evangelization.”

This epistemology combines with Benedict’s understanding of the interplay between Judaic faith and Greek philosophy. We will see below how God’s revealed name, Yahweh, became “Being,” and how Greek Being became the “One” of Parmenides and Plato, etc. So also, the turn to the “cogito” in Descartes that was subjectivity, and then, lamentably, subjectivism and relativism, has been assumed and purified by perceiving the experience and therefore ontological character of the “I” in the real imaging of the Divine Persons.

So also, the analogy can be made with Europe as the receptive cultural subject that lived Christ and built itself as the believing incarnation of the “I –gift” of Christ. The present day dwindling of this Christian experience in Europe sets the stage for a redoing of the ninth century apostolic adventure of Cyril and Methodius today, but perhaps on a global scale. The demise of Europe as the engendering Christian culture raises the challenge of forming world wide, Christian culture built not on political structures such as “Christendom” but on the truth of the dignity of the human person as revealed in Jesus Christ. Such a culture would be thoroughly Christian and thoroughly secular since Christ is fully human and the revelation of what it means to be man.

If European Culture Belongs to Divine Revelation, Would The Disappearance of Christian Culture in Europe Be Catastrophic?

On the feast of the Epiphany on January 6, 2007, Benedict said:

“The whole of the Second Vatican Council was truly stirred by the longing to proclaim Christ, the Light of the world, to contemporary humanity. In the heart of the Church, from the summit of her hierarchy, emerged the impelling desire, awakened by the Spirit, for a new epiphany of Christ in the world, a world that the modern epoch had profoundly transformed and that, for the first time in history, found itself facing the challenge of a global civilization in which the centre could no longer be Europe or even what we call the West and the North of the world. The need to work out a new world political and economic order was emerging but, at the same time and above all, one that would be both spiritual and cultural, that is, a renewed humanism. This observation became more and more obvious: a new world economic and political order cannot work unless there is a spiritual renewal, unless we can once again draw close to God and find God in our midst. Before the Second Vatican Council, the enlightened minds of Christian thinkers had already intuited and faced this epochal challenge. Well, at the beginning of the third millennium, we find ourselves in the midst of this phase of human history that now focuses on the word "globalization."
Faith as Experience is Translated into Concepts of Reason:

What is presupposed above is the full translation of Christian faith experience into anthropology. Faith must become reason in the sense that the revelation of the Person of Christ must be rendered into a metaphysic, and not considered an exception to man.[13] As Yahweh became “Being,” so also Christ must be rendered “Being.” But since Christ is pure relation to the Father, then the “Being” of Christ must be understood in ways other than the abstract conceptualization of in-itself substance. A new metaphysic must be sought where to be must be understood as to-be-in-relation.
This, of course, is not perceived through the experience of external sensation. Nor is it conceived conceptually where the concept is iconic as a sign of the object perceived through the sense. What must take place is the acceptance of the self as relation as a valid experience of being, in fact more real than any sensible experience, and the formulation of a metaphysics to account for it.

Let’s look at Benedict’s account of the methodology of the mutual transference between Israel and Greece at the time of the Exile and afterwards. Of old, the text of Genesis aimed at establishing “the name `Yahweh’ as the definitive name of God in Israel, on the one hand by anchoring it historically in the origins of Israel’s nationhood and the sealing of the covenant, and on the other by giving it a meaning. The latter was accomplished by tracing back the incomprehensible word `Yahweh’ to the root hayah = to be.” This was faith becoming reason. “This illumination of the name `Yahweh’ by the little word `Being’ (I AM) was accompanied by the second attempt at clarification consisting of the statement that Yahweh is the God of (Israel’s) fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This means that the concept of `Yahweh’ was to be enlarged and deepened by the equation of the God so described with the God of Israel’s fathers, a God who had probably been addressed for the most part by the names El and Eloim.

“Let us try to visualize clearly what kind of image of God arises in this way. First, what does it mean when the idea of Being is here brought into play as an interpretation of God? To the Fathers of the Church, with their background of Greek philosophy, it seemed a bold and unexpected confirmation of their own intellectual past, for Greek philosophy regarded it as its decisive discovery that it had discovered, behind all the many individual things with which man has to deal daily, the comprehensive idea of Being, which it also considered the most appropriate expression of the divine. Now the Bible too seemed to be saying precisely the same thing in its central text on the image of God. It is not surprising if this seemed an absolutely amazing confirmation of the unity of belief and thought, and in fact the Fathers of the Church believed that they had discovered here the deepest unity between philosophy and faith, Plato and Moses, the Greek mind and the biblical mind. So complete did they find the identity between the quest of the philosophical spirit and the acceptance which had occurred in the faith of Israel that they took the view that Plato could not have advanced so far on his own but had been familiar with the Old Testament and borrowed his idea from it. Thus the central concept of the Platonic philosophy was traced back to revelation; people did not dare to attribute an insight of such profundity to the unaided power of the human mind.”[14]

Also, the Other Way Round: “The text of the Greek Old Testament, which the Fathers had before them, could very well suggest such an identity of thought between Plato and Moses, but the dependence is probably the other way round; the scholars who translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek were influenced by Greek philosophical thinking and interpreted the text from this angle; the idea that here the Hellenic spirit and the faith of the Bible overlapped must already have inspired them; they themselves built the bridge, so to speak, from the biblical concept of God over to Greek thought if they translated the `I AM WHO AM’ of verse 14 by `I am He that is.’ The biblical name for God is here identified with the philosophical concept of God. The scandal of the name, of the God who names himself, is resolved in the wider context of ontological thinking; belief is wedded to ontology. For to the thinker it is a scandal that the biblical God should bear a name. Can this be more than a reminder of the polytheistic world in which the biblical faith had at first to live? In a world swarming with gods Moses could not say, `God sends me,’ or even `The God of our fathers sends me.’ He knew that this meant nothing, that he would be asked, `Which god?’ But the question is, could one have ever given the Platonic `Being’ a name and referred to it by this name as a kind of individual?”[15]
Israel and Europe

As Greek thought translated the Judaic Yahweh into Supreme Being, the God of the Jews who speaks to man, Person to person, translated Supreme Being into Love: Agape.

This experience of the Supreme Being as Love has been lost and replaced by the unilateral experience of sense perception and the positivistic ideology that now accompanies it. Then-Cardinal Ratzinger asked: “Above all, what is European culture, and what has remained of it? Is European culture perhaps nothing more than the technology and trade civilization that has marched triumphantly across the planet? Or is it instead a post-European culture born on the ruins of the ancient European cultures?... The victory of the post-European techno-secular world and the universalization of its lifestyle and thinking have spread the impression – especially in the non-European countries of Asia and Africa – that Europe’s value system, culture, and faith – in other words, the very foundations of its identity – have reached the end of the road, and have indeed already departed from the scene. From this perspective, the time has apparently arrived to affirm the value systems of other worlds, such as pre-Colombian America, Islam, or Asian mysticism.
“At the hour of its greatest success, Europe seems hollow, as if it were internally paralyzed by a failure of its circulatory system that is endangering its life subjecting it to transplants that erase its identity. At the same time as its sustaining spiritual forces have collapsed, a growing decline in its ethnicity is also taking place.”[16]

Further: Ratzinger ends his talk announcing this insightful yet chilling fact:

“The essential problem of our times, for Europe and for the world, is that although the fallacy of the communist economy has been recognized – so much so that former communists have unhesitatingly become economic liberals – the moral and religious question that it used to address has been almost totally repressed. The unresolved issue of Marxism lives on: the crumbling of man’s original uncertainties about god, himself, and the universe. The decline of a moral conscience grounded in absolute values is still our problem today. Left untreated, it could lead to the self-destruction of the European conscience, which we must begin to consider as a real danger –above and beyond the decline predicted by Spengler.”[17]

Repeating Sts. Cyril and Methodius:

[1] Benedict XVI, October 16, 2005
[2] Cardinal Camillo Ruini, “To Preach the Truth of Jesus Christ,” Inside the Vatican, January 2007 46.
[3] Ibid 15.
[4] J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One,” Ignatius (1986) 19.
[5] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” Ignatius (1990) 149.
[6] J. Ratzinger, June 23, 2001.
[7]John Paul II, Slavorum Apostoli, 13.
[8] Benedict XVI, “Europe and Its Discontents,” First Things, January 2006, 19.
[9] Ibid 20.
[10] J. Ratzinger, “Faith and the Future,” Franciscan Herald Press (1970) 99-102.
[11] J. Ratzinger, “Milestones…” Ignatius (1997) 108.
[12]Ibid. 109.
[13] See the reference in previous blogs to Ratzinger’s article, “The Notion of Person of Theology” in Communio, Fall 1990.
[14] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” Ignatius (1990) 78-79.
[16] J. Ratzinger, “The Spiritual Roots of Europe” in Without Roots Basic Books (2006) 65-66.
[17] Ibid 74.

An "Adequate" Ethics

An Adequate Ethics


Traditional Ethics Revisited

Reality and the Good:

The Thesis

“All obligation is based upon being. Ontological reality is the foundation of ethics. The good is that which is in accord with reality.”[1] “Reality is the basis of the good.”[2]

Basic Questions: What is reality? What is the good?

Christianity understands the human person to be created in the image and likeness of God and revealed in the Person of Jesus Christ. Hence, being, reality and the good are understood to be grounded in that revealed realism. Morality is then understood to be free action in conformity with that revealed realism. The revelation of being image of God and disclosed by the Person of Christ is not to be considered as an exception to man but constitutive of his very meaning.

In the Regensburg talk[3], Benedict sets out the relation of faith and reason from pre- Babylonian Exile to the present day.

Pre-Exile: The God of Abraham “is not the God of a particular nation, of a particular country; not the God of some particular sphere or realm, of the air of water, and so forth, which were, in the religious context of the time, among the most important manifestations of divinity. He is the God of one person, of Abraham.”[4]

Two conclusions: “This God has power everywhere. His power is not restricted by geographical or any other boundaries; he is able to accompany the person concerned, to guard him and guide him wherever he chooses and wherever he goes. Even the promise of land does not make him just God of a particular land, which would thenceforth be his only land. It shows, rather, that he can distribute lands as he chooses. We can therefore say that the personal God has effective power without limitations of space.” And time: “His way of speaking and acting essentially bears on the future…. All the important things are given in the category of promise of what is to come… That means that he is plainly in control of the future, of time.”[5]

The Babylonian Exile: “In the normal way of things, a God who loses his land, who leaves his people defeated and is unable to protect his sanctuary, is a God who has been overthrown. He has no more say in things. He vanishes from history. When Israel went into exile, quite astonishingly, the opposite happened. The stature of this God, the way he was completely different from the other divinities in the religions of the world, was no apparent, and the faith of Israel at last took on its true form and stature…. He could allow his people to be defeated so as to awaken it thereby from its false religious dream. He was not dependent on this people, yet nevertheless he did not abandon them in their hour of defeat. He was not dependent upon the Temple or on the cult celebrated there…”[6]

Conclusion: The God of Revelation becomes the Only God. Israel has no particular God at all but simply worships the one single God. This God spoke to Abraham and chose Israel but he is in reality the God of all peoples, the universal God who guides the course of all history… everything belongs to him.”[7] The only thing that God “needs” (the “eros” of God) is the free self-gift – the love – of man himself.

Post Exile: Israel’s faith comes into contact with Greek philosophy and culture, and becomes “Wisdom.” The God of Israel becomes conceptual monotheism that goes hand in hand with the rational understanding of the world. “The view of the Wisdom books, which links God and the world through the idea of wisdom and conceives of the world as reflecting the rationality of the Creator, also then permits the association of cosmology with anthropology, that of understanding the world with morality, because wisdom, which builds up matter and the world, is at the same time a moral wisdom, which expresses essential guidelines for living. The whole of the Torah, Israel’s law for living, is now understood as wisdom’s self-portrait, as the translation of wisdom into human language and human instruction.”[8]

The Exile removed Israel from the realm of Myth by removing it from its land and its provincialism. The name of Israel’s God is “I Am.” “The mysterious name of God, revealed from the burning bush, a name which separates this God from all other divinities with their many names and declares simply that he is, already presents a challenge to the notion of myth, to which Socrates’ attempt to vanquish and transcend myth stands in close analogy. Within the Old Testament, the process which started at the burning bush came to new maturity at the time of the Exile, when the God of Israel, an Israel now deprived of its land and worship, was proclaimed as the God of heaven and earth and described in a simple formula which echoes the words uttered at the burning bush: `I Am.’[9]

As we see the faith of Israel becoming reason, and therefore universal as thought for all men,

Benedict is making the point that violence has no part in the spreading of this faith. As rational, it must be freely accepted as understood and lived, and lived and understood. Violence is antithetical to the very notion of belief in the revealed God of Jews and Christians.

Ratzinger goes further. From his earliest days, he has seen that reason (and therefore freedom) is a constitutive part of faith because there is no revelation unless there is a “veil” removed in the believer.[10]

“But he [Michael Schmaus] also did not like the result of my analyses. I had ascertained that in Bonaventure (as well as in theologians of the thirteenth century) there was nothing corresponding to our conception of `revelation,’ by which we are normally in the habit of referring to all the revealed contents of the faith: it has even become a part of linguistic usage to refer to Sacred Scripture simply as `revelation.’ Such an identification would have been unthinkable in the language of the High Middle Ages. Here, `revelation’ is always a concept denoting an act. The word refers to the act in which God shows himself, not to the objectified result of this act. And because this is so, the receiving subject is always also a part of the concept of `revelation.’ Where there is no one to perceive `revelation,’ no re-vel-ation has occurred, because no veil has been removed. By definition, revelation requires a someone who apprehends it. These insights, gained through my reading of Bonaventure, were later on very important for me at the time of the conciliar discussion on revelation, Scripture, and tradition. Because, if Bonaventure is right, then revelation precedes Scripture and becomes deposited in Scripture but is not simply identical with it. This in turn means that revelation is always something greater than what is merely written down. And this again means that there can be no such thing as pure sola scriptura (`by Scripture alone’), because an essential element of Scripture is the Church as understanding subject, and with this the fundamental sense of tradition is already given.”[11]

Consider Augustine’s “Late have I loved you, O Beauty ever ancient, ever new, late Have I loved you! You were within me, but I was outside, and it was there that I searched for you. In my unloveliness I plunged into the lovely things which you created. You were with me, but I was not with you… You called, you shouted, and you broke through my deafness. You flashed, you shone, and you dispelled my blindness. You breathed your fragrance on me; I drew in breath and now I pant for you. I have tasted you, now I hunger and thirst for more. You touched me, and I burned for your peace.[12]

Faith as Total Self-Gift Involves Reason

If faith is the involvement of the whole person (see VS #88), then faith must become reason, because the whole person is Being, and the experience of Being is always accompanied by intellectual consciousness. Therefore, a living faith is a living ontological self who immediately experiences the living reality of the self and becomes conscious.

In historical fact, Benedict offers an account of the mutual interplay between Judaic faith and Greek (Ionian) philosophy at the time of the Exile in the 6th and 5th centuries. The account is both experiential and conceptual. The Greeks absorb the anthropology of the Judaic self-gift (Abraham obeying to the point of sacrificing his very self in the person of his beloved son Isaac), while the Israelites identify Yahweh with “Being.” Benedict begins by quoting the dialogue between Moses and the God of the burning bush:

“Then Moses said to God, `If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, “The God of your fathers has sent me to you,” and they ask me, “What is his name?” what shall I say to them?’ God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, `Say this to the people of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.”’ God also said to Moses, `Say this to the people of Israel, “The Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you:” this is my name for ever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations’ (Ex. 3, 13-15).”

He comments: “It is clearly the aim of the text to establish the name `Yahweh’ as the definitive name of God in Israel, on the one hand by anchoring it historically in the origins of Israel’s nationhood and the sealing of the covenant, and on the other by giving it a meaning. The latter was accomplished by tracing back the incomprehensible word `Yahweh’ to the root hayah = to be. From the point of view of the Hebrew consonant system, this is quite possible; but whether it corresponds philologically with the real origin of the name Yahweh is at least questionable. As often in the Old Testament, it is a question of a theological rather than a philological etymology. It is not a matter of enquiring into the original linguistic sense but of giving a meaning here and now [ i.e. what did they mean by using the word]. [13]Etymology is in reality a means of establishing a meaningful attitude. This illumination of the name `Yahweh’ by the little word `Being’ (I AM) is accompanied by a second attempt at clarification consisting of the statement that Yahweh is the God of (Israel’s) fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This means that the concept of `Yahweh’ is to be enlarged and deepened by the equation of the God so described with the God of Israel’s fathers, a God who had probably been addressed for the most part by the names Él and Elohim.

“Let us try to visualize clearly what kind of image of God arises in this way. First, what does it mean when the idea of Being is here brought into play as an interpretation of God? To the Fathers of the Church, with their background of Greek philosophy, it seemed a bold and unexpected confirmation of their own intellectual past, for Greek philosophy regarded it as its decisive discovery that it had discovered, behind all the many individual things with which man has to deal daily, the comprehensive idea of Being, which it also considered the most appropriate expression of the divine. Now the Bible too seemed to be saying precisely the same thing in its central text on the image of God. It is not surprising if this seemed an absolutely amazing confirmation of the unity of belief and thought, and in fact the Fathers of the Church believed that they had discovered here the deepest unity between philosophy and faith, Plato and Moses, the Greek mind and the biblical mind. So complete did they find the identity between the quest of the philosophical spirit and the acceptance which had occurred in the faith of Israel that they took the view that Plato could not have advanced so far on his own but had been familiar with the Old Testament and borrowed his idea from it. Thus the central concept of the Platonic philosophy was traced back to revelation; people did not dare to attribute an insight of such profundity to the unaided power of the human mind.”

Also, the Other Way Round: The

Philosophical Mind of the Greeks is Expanded

“The text of the Greek Old Testament, which the Fathers had before them, could very well suggest such an identity of thought between Plato and Moses, but the dependence is probably the other way round; the scholars who translated the Hebrew Bible into Greek were influenced by Greek philosophical thinking and interpreted the text from this angle; the idea that here the Hellenic spirit and the faith of the Bible overlapped must already have inspired them; they themselves built the bridge, so to speak, from the biblical concept of God over to Greek thought if they translated the `I AM WHO AM’ of verse 14 by `I am He that is.’ The biblical name for God is here identified with the philosophical concept of God. The scandal of the name, of the God who names himself, is resolved in the wider context of ontological thinking; belief is wedded to ontology. For to the thinker it is a scandal that the biblical God should bear a name. Can this be more than a reminder of the polytheistic world in which the biblical faith had at first to live? In a world swarming with gods Moses could not say, `God sends me,’ or even `The God of our fathers sends me.’ He knew that this meant nothing, that he would be asked, `Which god?’ But the question is, could one have ever given the Platonic `Being’ a name and referred to it by this name as a kind of individual?”[14]

In Regensburg, Benedict sums up the above: “biblical faith… encountered the best of Greek thought at a deep level, resulting in a mutual enrichment…” The result of the mutuality of the enrichment is: Yahweh becomes Being, and Being becomes Love. Yahweh is Love: “Deus Charitas Est.” This convergence of Yahweh and Being/Love “created Europe.” Europe has been the believing “Subject” of the God of revelation-become-Being/Love, and therefore “part” of the revelation itself, since “the receiving subject is always also a part of the concept of `revelation.’”[15] Europe’s self-consciousness, its identity as a culture, is Christ Himself. Europe has been Christianity incarnate – without having to be Christendom. That means that the Christianity need not be, and, now, must not be confessional since the subjectivity of the faith act as “I” – “Gift” is not the objectivity of the confessional structure. Secularity – as the freedom of self-determination - is a result and necessary manifestation of a lived faith in Christ.

Benedict’s conclusion at Regensburg is this recovery of reason as experiencing the believing subject as Being, and thus enlightening reason whose very food is Being. This can only be done by insisting that there is another tier of experience that is other than that of empirical sensation that dominates, and has dominated, the epistemological horizon for the last 500 years as philosophical positivism. He said: “The intention here is not one of retrenchment or negative criticism, but of broadening our concept of reason and its application…. We will succeed in doing so only if reason and faith come together in a new way, if we overcome the self-imposed limitation of reason to the empirically verifiable, and if we once moored disclose its vast horizons.” This is his persistent teaching in the last year on achieving an experience of the Person of Christ, of “tasting” Christ, of “touching” Christ by the inner gift of the self. This is equally experience of real Being, nay more, since it involves no mediation of sensible perception nor conceptualization. It is direct experience of the self as going out of self – gift to the revealing Christ.

This believing/loving self that is experienced as Being is precisely the norm and criterion of moral action.

Christianity, the Synthesis of Faith and Reason:

The relativism that is crippling the modern mind – and that is searching for the Absolute – is overcome in the act of faith as self-gift to Jesus Christ. When Christ reveals himself to man, and calls him to follow Him to such an extent that he becomes “another Christ,” the person experiences self in the act of self-transcendence (going out self as service, work, Love [agape], friendship) as absolute. The “I” is absolutized in its Being as not only image but “likeness” to God. As God is good, the human person becomes good. This is the leitmotif of Veritatis Splendor with the encounter of the Rich Young Man and Christ as context. Consequently, the long search during the entire Enlightenment for the empirical experience of the absolute values in the existentially contingent is not found in the radical individual and existential reality of the self – now no longer disguised as “consciousness” but Being itself. This is the moral act par excellence: the obedience of faith, becoming another Christ, knowing the truth, the truth making one free (Jn. 8, 32). Since faith is not reducible to concepts, but is the consciousness resulting from the free act of self-transcendence (obedience), it is supreme moral act rendered as anthropology of self-mastery, self-possession, self-governance, self-gift. This is the anthropology of the moral act that mirrors Christ’s redemptive act of subduing His human will as His so as to say “Yes” with the divine Will to obey to death on the Cross. The Christology becomes Christian anthropology and the meaning of morality, not only for Christians, but for all men since Christ is the revelation not only who God is, but who man is. Revelation and faith thus become reason as a metaphysic that is universally available for all men who then, by virtue of a culture of service that can be put in motion by a few, can live the truth of who they are, perhaps, without knowing who Christ is.

Benedict’s Conclusion: Broaden reason by going out of yourself who is the being that reason resides in. The experience of yourself as self-transcending by faith and love enlarges who you are and gives a radiation of light to reason that “feeds” on it. If the “going-out” is radical as in the case of faith in Jesus Christ, and by “radical” I mean risking martyrdom, the being of the self, as image of God, takes on the character of the absolute that reason is yearning for. We are now in the realm of the Beatitudes which are the ethical dimensions of Christ who is the very revelation of the meaning of man.

The Challenge of Modernity

Benedict warned at Regensburg: “This attempt, painted with broad strokes, at a critique of modern reason from within has nothing to do with putting the clock back to the time before the Enlightenment and rejecting the insights of the modern age.” [16]

Consider what Ratzinger has hitherto understood for The Challenge” modern thought of the Enlightenment:

“Here is the problem: Ought we to accept modernity in full, or in part? Is there a real contribution? Can this modern way of thinking be a contribution, or offer a contribution, or not? And if there is a contribution from the modern, critical way of thinking, in line with the Enlightenment, how can it be reconciled with the great intuitions and the great gifts of the faith”

“Or ought we, in the name of the faith, to reject modernity? You see? There always seems to be this dilemma: either we must reject the whole of the tradition, all the exegesis of the Fathers, relegate it to the library as historically unsustainable, or we must reject modernity.

“And I think that the gift, the light of the faith, must be dominant, but the light of the faith has also the capacity to take up into itself the true human lights, and for this reason the struggles over exegesis and the liturgy for me must be inserted into this great, let us call it epochal struggle over how Christianity, over how the Christian responds to modernity, to the challenge of modernity.”

You use the phrase `epochal struggle’… I said


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

`Yes, certainly…’

“And it seems to me,” he continued, `that this was the true intention of the Second Vatican Council, to go beyond an unfruitful and overly narrow apologetic to a true synthesis with the positive elements of modernity, but at the same time, let us say, to transform modernity, to heal it of its illnesses, by means of the light and strength of the faith.

“Because it was the Council Fathers’ intention to heal and transform modernity, and not simply to succumb to it or merge with it, the interpretations which interpret the Second Vatican Council in the sense of de-sacralization or profanation are erroneous.

“That is, Vatican II must not be interpreted as desiring a rejection of the tradition and an adapting of the Church to modernity and so causing the Church to become empty because it loses the word of faith(The Spiritual Vision of Pope Benedict XVI, `Let God’s Light Shine Forth,’ ed. Robert Moynihan, Doubleday [2005] 34-35).

The Meaning of Being is Person as Image of the Divine Persons

Morality is to act reasonably in conformity with the Being of the self as image of the divine Persons. “`Not to act reasonably (with logos) is contrary to the nature of God,’ said Manuel II, according to his Christian understanding of God, in response to his Persian interlocutor. It is to this great logos, to this breadth of reason, that we invite our partners in the dialogue of cultures. To rediscover it constantly is the great task of the university.”[17]

Two Tiers of Experience of Being: 1) Through perception of the external senses (whereby being is rendered “object”); 2) the experience of the self (“subject”) in the moral act: Karol Wojtyla in The Meaning of `Experience:’ The inspiration to embark upon this study came from the need to The Acting Person:” `objectivize that great cognitive process which at its origin may be defined as the experience of man; this experience, which man has of himself, is the richest and apparently the most complex of all experiences accessible to him. Man’s experience of anything outside of himself is always associated with the experience of himself, and he never experiences anything external without having at the same time the experience of himself.”[18]

The development of doctrine during the Second Vatican Council is most notable here: “In a special way, the person constitutes a privileged locus for the encounter with being [actu essendi], and hence with metaphysical enquiry.”[19]

Chapter 2 of the Notes says: A. Good is the Most Basic Reality of the Moral Order” and then quotes S. Th. I-II, q. 94, a.2, c.) that “the good is the first reality of which our intelligence is aware in its practical aspect, that is to say inasmuch as it directs our activity.” It then goes on to state that “Being is the Root of Goodness” (S. Th. I, q.5, a.1, c.): “an `existent is good inasmuch as it perfection is agreeable to appetite. Thus the good is what all desire; it is the existent inasmuch as it is appetible.” This is all to say that the good is goal of moral action, and sets it into motion. Being is always the good that is sought because being (for St. Thomas) is the act of all acts, perfection of all perfections, and that which is always desired as the fulfillment of oneself as being.

But the large question is: what is that good? In the received tradition of the manuals, God, finite beings and the tendencies of our nature are good insofar as the will desires them, and the intellect perceives this tendency of the will. The entire treatment is within an epistemology of the object: God, things, our nature and its tendency as nature. Truth to tell, it is pre-Christian and extra-Christian ideology within the characteristic of the Greek mind and its Stoic manifestation. It is highly abstractive.

The Theology of Person in the Trinity: “Relation”

Josef Ratzinger asserts:

“the First Person does not beget the Son in the sense of the act of begetting coming on top of the finished Person; it is the act of begetting, of giving oneself, of streaming forth. It is identical with the act of giving. Only as this act is it person, and therefore it is not the giver but the act of giving… Therein lies concealed a revolution in man’s view of the world: the undivided sway of thinking in terms of substance is ended; relation is discovered as an equally valid primordial mode of reality.”[20]

The Impact: The Metaphysic of “To Be” (Greek Substance) Becomes the Metaphysic of “To Be For” (Christian Aγάπη [Relation])

The Anthropology and Metaphysic of Divinization (before sin) or Redemption (after sin):

The divinizing act first took place in Paradise when Adam obeyed the covenantal command to name the animals and subdue the earth. This was the command to work, that continues to be the occasion and object of self-mastery and instrument of self-gift. Since man was created from the slime of the earth, and spirit was breathed into him, he (being neither male nor female at this point) had to subdue himself to take possession of self so as to be able to exercise the freedom of obedience. This is the key to raising the self as body, and then the world itself by work, to the level of the “I” and therefore to the level of the level of the “I Am” of Christ in God. This done, Adam crossed the threshold of object and subject. He morphed from being object (rational animal) to the subject “I” of image and likeness. Now Adam was unlike the rest of creation that was still “it” and experienced what John Paul II called the “original solitude.” That “solitude” is overcome by the re-creation of Adam into ish and ish (male and female) whereupon they enter into a communion of persons that is the metaphysical grounding of the “people of God” and the Church as sacrament to a unified world (true globalism). John Paul II calls it “the primordial sacrament” (sacrament of creation) in view of the “sacrament of redemption” whereby God becomes man in Christ and enters as “Bridegroom” Who makes the gift of Self for His Bride, the Church whereupon they enter the one-flesh union – the Whole Christ – that is the Eucharist.

After sin, the divinization becomes redemption by the Logos’ willing obedience to the Father with His own human will that was freely laden with all sin of all time (2 Cor. 5, 21). That human will of Jesus of Nazareth was subdued by the Logos and rendered totally His own and therefore made to coincide with the very tendency and drive of His Person toward the Father. In this very act, the human will and the entire humanity of Christ is divinized without losing autonomy and freedom. This is the liberation of the human and therefore of the entire material creation. On the contrary, this directing of the entire humanity to the Father is the freedom of being God, and therefore human freedom as image and likeness of God. This is the grounding and meaning of secularity. The New Adam, Who, by drawing all things to Himself sacramentally, makes all things new.

The anthropological formulation of divinization or redemption is Gaudium et spes #24: “man, the only earthly being God has willed for itself, finds himself by the sincere gift of himself.”

Ratzinger describes it thus: “Thus the Logos adopts the being of the man Jesus into his own being and speaks of it in terms of his own I: `For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of him who sent me’ (Jn. 6, 38). In the Son’s obedience, where both wills become one in a single Yes to the will of the Father, communion takes place between human and divine being. The `wondrous exchange,’ the `alchemy of being,’ is realized here as a liberating and reconciling communication, which becomes a communion between Creator and creature. It is in the pain of this exchange, and only here, that that fundamental change takes place in man, the change which alone can redeem him and transform the conditions of the world. Here community is born, here the Church comes into being. The act whereby we participate in the Son’s obedience, which involves man’s genuine transformation, is also the only really effective contribution toward renewing and transforming society and the world as a whole. Only where this act takes place is there a change for the good – in the direction of the kingdom of God.”[21]

The Christology of Constantinople III as Redemptive Atonement

The deepest insight of Benedict XVI on the Incarnation is to be found in his treatment of Constantinople III (685-686) as completion of Chalcedon (451). His insight consists in the use of the word “compenetrated” rather than “be-in-parallel” with regard to the relation of divine and human “nature.” Benedict preached the following to John Paul II: “In the manuals, the theological development after Chalcedon has ordinarily come to be little considered. The impression thus frequently remains that dogmatic Christology finishes up with a certain parallelism between the two natures of Christ. This impression has also been the cause leading to the divisions since Chalcedon. But in effect the declaration of the true humanity and the true divinity of Christ can retain its significance only when there is a clarification also of the mode of unity of the two natures, which the Council of Chalcedon has defined by the formula of the `one person’ of Christ, at that time hot yet fully examined. In fact only that unity of divinity and humanity which in Christ is not parallelism, where one stands alongside the other, but real compenetration, - compenetration between God and man – means salvation for humankind. Only thus in fact does that true `being with God’ take place, without which liberation and freedom do not exist…

“If God joins himself to his creature –man/woman – he does not wound or diminish it: he brings it to its plenitude. But on the other hand (and this is no less important) there remains no trace of that dualism or parallelism of the two natures, which in the course of history was frequently judged necessary to defend the human liberty of Jesus. Such studies forgot that the assumption of the human will into the divine will does not destroy freedom, but on the contrary generates true liberty. The Council of Constantinople has analyzed concretely the problem of the two natures and one person in Christ in view of the problem of the two natures and one person in Christ in view of the problem of the will of Jesus. We are reminded firmly that there exists a specific will of the man Jesus that is not absorbed into the divine will. But this human will follows the divine will and thus becomes a single will with it, not, however, in a forced way but by way of freedom. The metaphysical duplicity of a human will and a divine will is not eliminated, but in the personal sphere, the area of freedom there is accomplished a fusion of the two, so that this becomes not one single natural will but one personal will. This free union – a mode of union created by love – is a union higher and more intimate than a purely natural union. It corresponds to the highest union which can exist, the union of the Trinity…. (I)n Jesus there are not two `I,’ but only one. The Logos speaks of the will and human thought of Jesus using the `I;’ this has become his `I,’ has been assumed into his `I,’ because the human will has become fully one with the will of the Logos, and with it has become pure assent to the will of the Father.”[22]

Therefore, the Cross is the revelation of God’s deep primordial love for man. It also cannot be explained then as “satisfaction,” or “scapegoat,” or any theory that has God as “Other” in the sense of an individual substantial being paying the price for another individual substantial being. To see God in Christ as “other” than man is to see Him as an “exception” Who extrinsically and from a distance pays off the debt of another. It is His debt – debtless as He is in Himself – but it is His debt because He willed to be man before the creation of the world (Eph. 1, 4). He willed to will with a human will that is His as God. Jesus of Nazareth is really Christ, i.e., the ontological Son of the eternal Father Who is Absolute Goodness, accepts all sin of al men of all time as His own (2 Cor. 5, 21) and turns it back from self seeking to the obedience of self-giving. This is redemption as “atonement” from within the sin itself, not simply paying off the debt in an extrinsic detachment from it as “satisfaction.” “Here’s the money, it’s not my problem.” Rather, “here I am, I am the problem.” “To be” means “to be for,” to live outside of self and at risk. It is the ontology of the universal call to holiness.

The Fathers of the Church, Anselm and all theories of satisfaction that mean paying off the debt of another from outside in the sense of not involving the very being of the rescuer are false as non-Christian. What is at stake is the development of consciousness that is the Second Vatican Council, and particularly in our case here, the meaning and import of Gaudium et Spes #22. The great move that has been made is the passage of Jesus Christ from “exception” to prototype for man.

Christ is the Meaning of the Human Person and Therefore the Moral Norm:

Gaudium et Spes #22 defines man in terms of Jesus Christ, not Jesus Christ in terms of sinful man: “The truth is that only in the mystery of the incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light. For Adam, the first man, was a figure of Him Who was to come, namely Christ the Lord. Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and His love, fully reveals man to man himself and makes his supreme calling clear. It is not surprising, then, that in Hem all the aforementioned truths find their root and attain their crown.

“He Who is the `image of the invisible God’ (Col. 1, 15), is Himself the perfect man.

The Overriding Dynamic: “Relation is discovered as an equally valid primordial mode of reality.”[23]

The Human Person, Not “Reducible” to the Category “Substance” (To be In Self and not in other)

Ratzinger: on the “hegemony of substance:”[24]

“In this light, Boethius’s concept of person, which prevailed in Western philosophy, must be criticized as entirely insufficient. Remaining on the level of the Greek mind, Boethius defined `person’ as Naturae rationalis individual substantia, as the individual substance of a rational nature. One sees that the concept of person stands entirely on the level of substance. This cannot clarify anything about the Trinity or about Christology; it is an affirmation that remains on the level of the Greek mind which thinks in substantialist terms (underline mine).

Ratzinger goes on to point out: “Scholastic theology developed categories of existence out of this contribution given by Christian faith to the human mind [the existential dimension and therefore relation in itself as category of being]. Its defect was that it limited these categories to Christology and to the doctrine of the Trinity and did no make them fruitful in the whole extent of spiritual reality. This seems to me also the limit of St. Thomas in the matter, namely, that within theology he operates… on the level of existence, but treats the whole thing [Trinitarian theology and Christology] as theological exception (my underline), as it were. In philosophy, however, he remains faithful to the different approach of pre-Christian philosophy [the philosophy of substance]. The contribution of Christian faith to the whole of human thought is not realized; it remains at first detached from it as a theological exception, although it is precisely the meaning of this new element to call into question the whole of human thought and to set it on a new course” (underline mine).

The Result: Man does not image the divine Persons as Relations, in his very being. Rather, the human person has been philosophically elaborated in terms of the category of substance. Jesus Christ is not the prototype of man, but an exception. There would then be such a thing as “pure nature” or the “natural man” to whom the supernatural is added as a “second tier” to safeguard the gratuitousness of the supernatural. Holiness would not (as in fact it has not been) an intrinsic orientation of the very being of the human person, and therefore there is no de facto universal call to holiness.

Christ, not sin, is constitutive of man:

It belongs to Catholic Faith that the meaning of man is Jesus Christ – the incarnate Logos of the Father - before the foundation of the world, i.e., before sin. It is scriptural revelation that “God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ… has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places. He chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Eph. 1, 33-4). This means that the Incarnation of the Logos “precedes” – in the “intention” of the Father - the fall into sin which consequently would not be the cause of the Incarnation. It means that God did not become man because of sin. It means that man would be divinized in the flesh – not just created in the image of God, but also actualized as His likeness (as some Fathers of the Church say it[25]), but not saved from sin, because there would have been no sin. It also means – once man has sinned - that we should not be surprised that Jesus Christ as prototype has taken the sin on as his own and pays for it by the obedience of the gift of himself to death. Since Christ is revelation of man before sin, He is also the revelation of man after sin – now repaired by the Cross of the God-man. After sin, the Cross of Christ reveals the kind and intensity of Love with which God has loved man. But this love is antecedent to the Cross.

The “Adequate” Moral Norm for all Men

Gaudium et Spes #24: “Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, `that all may be one… as we are one’ (Jn. 17, 21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God’s sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.” Later, John Paul insisted: “As the year 2000 since the birth of Christ draws near, it is a question of ensuring that an ever greater number of people `may fully find themselves… through a sincere gift of self,’ according to the expression of the Council already quoted. Through the action of the Spirit-Paraclete, may there be accomplished in our world a process of true growth in humanity, in both individual and community life. IN this regard Jesus himself `when he prayed to the Father, “that all may be one… as we are one” (Jn. 17, 21-22)… implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine persons and the union of the children of God in truth and charity.’ The Council repeats this truth about man, and the Church sees in it a particularly strong and conclusive indication of her own apostolic tasks. For if man is the way of the Church, this way passes through the whole mystery of Christ, as man’s divine model. Along this way the Holy Spirit, strengthening in each of us `the inner man,’ enables man ever more `fully to find himself through a sincere gift of self.’ These words of the Pastoral Constitution of the Council can be said to sum up the whole of Christian anthropology.”[26]

Now: ground the above in VS showing that morality is being taken from above just as man is understood from above.

“Natural Law” is Now “Law of the Person” = “Law of the Gift”

“At this point the true meaning of the natural law can be understood: it refers to man’s proper and primordial nature, the `nature of the human person,’ which is the person himself in the unity of soul and body, in the unity of his spiritual and biological inclinations and of all the other specific characteristics necessary for the pursuit of his end. `The natural moral law expresses and lays down the purposes, rights and duties which are based upon the bodily and spiritual nature of the human person. Therefore this law cannot be thought of as simply a set of norms on the biological level; rather it must be define d as the rational order whereby man is called by the Creator to direct and regulate his life and actions and in particular to make use of his own body.’[27] To give an example, the origin and the foundation of the duty of absolute respect for human life are to be found in the dignity proper to the person and not simply in the natural inclination to preserve one’s own physical life. Human life, even though it is a fundamental good of man, thus acquires a moral significance in reference to the good of the person who must always be affirmed for his own sake. While it is always morally illicit to kill an innocent human being, it can be licit, praiseworthy or eve imperative to give up one’s own life (cf. Jn. 15, 13) out of love of neighbor or as a witness to the truth.”

The “Law of the Person” (of the Gift of self), the “natural law,” is the “tendency” ( again, not of “nature”) of the being of the person as image of God toward God Himself. The person cannot fulfill this tendency without grace (that is divine Love), nor without the Revelation of Christ Himself. But the tendency of the person as image is to God Himself. Hear Cardinal Ratzinger:

“(The word `anamnesis’) 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 it echo from within. He sees: That’s it! That is what my nature points to and seeks.”

He goes on to explain that the possibility, right and indeed necessity to evangelize the pagan and the unbeliever is precisely the fact there is an ontological

“yearning for it in the hidden recesses of their souls (cf. Isaiah 42, 4). 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…. Proclamation answered an expectation. Their [the apostles] proclamation encountered an antecedent basic knowledge of the essential constants of the will of God which came to be written down in the commandments, which can be found in all cultures… The love of God … is not imposed on us from without… but has been implanted in us beforehand. The sense of the good has been stamped upon us… We can now appreciate Newman’s toast first to conscience and then to the pope. The pope cannot impose commandments on faithful Catholics because he wants to or finds it expedient…. The anamnesis 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 in opposition to anamnesis but ordered to it.”[28]

What would be “Pure Nature?” An Object

Reduction to the object: Movement from classicism to historical consciousness:

“The second great trend of the 19th century was the movement from classicism to historical consciousness… Suffice it to say that classicism designates a view of truth which holds objective truth, precisely because it is objective, to exist `already out there now” (to use Bernard Lonergan’s descriptive phrase). Therefore, it also exists apart from its possession by anyone. In addition, it exists apart from history, formulated in propositions that are verbally immutable. If there is to be talk of development of doctrine, it can only mean that the truth, remaining itself unchanged in its formulation, may find different applications in the contingent world of historical change. In contrast, historical consciousness, while holding fast to the nature of truth as objective, is concerned with the possession of truth, with man’s affirmations of truth… The Church in the 19th century, and even in the 20th, opposed this movement toward historical consciousness. Here, took, the reason was obvious. The term of the historical movement was modernism, that `conglomeration of all heresies,’ as Pascendi dominici gregis called it. The insight into the historicity of truth and the insight into the role of the subject in the possession of truth were systematically exploited to produce almost every kind of pernicious `ism,’ unto the destruction of the notion of truth itself – its objective character, its universality, its absoluteness. These systematizations were false, but the insights from which they issued were valid. Here again a work of discernment needed to be done, and was not done. To be quite summary about it, this work had to wait until Vatican Council II.

“The sessions of the Council have made it clear that, despite resistance in certain quarters, classicism is giving way to historical consciousness;” Declaration on Religious Freedom of Vatican Council II, Paulist Press (1966), Appendix III by John Courtney Murray, S.J.

The Ontological Center of “Veritatis Splendor”

The context of John Paul II’s “Veritatis Splendor” is quite different. Its context is the Biblical scene of the encounter of Jesus with the Rich Young Man. The “novelty” of the New Testament revelation is that Jesus Himself is the Absolute that has invaded contingent history. Jesus Christ is the Absolute in Person and in His singularity. That Absolute here is not an abstract universal. It is an existential Contingent with the face and name of Jesus of Nazareth. And He says: not only “follow me,” but become Me. “I am the vine, you are the branches.” “He who eats my flesh and drinks my Blood, will have life everlasting, and I will raise him up on the last day.” This is the moral absolute that speaks to the tendency of the image of God that has always sought that Absolute, but needed Revelation to be challenged and oriented.

The self is not the Cartesian nor latter Enlightenment “consciousness,” but the self as “Being” that has been obscured by consciousness in its very disclosure. Consciousness is the reflective act that reveals the being of the “I” as potency, and then act, in the act of self-determination – the “loop” – as offered below. The “I,” the subject that is reflected in consciousness, not the object that is made such by concepts, is the “Being” that experiences itself as either good or bad. Since the “I” has been revealed as created in the image and likeness of God, and God is a triplicity of Relations that are the three irreducibly different Person, the “I” experiences itself as “good” when it self-transcends (goes out of self); and “bad” when it turns back on self as in the disobedience that is sin. To say it differently: the ontological moral criterion is no longer the reduction of being to “nature” that is object, but the unmediated (no mediation either by sense perception nor concepts) experience of Being as subject.

With this, the moral criterion in the teaching of the Magisterium has morphed from nature and the object of its tendencies to the giftedness or non-giftedness of the subject. Hence, in Gaudium et spes #24, it reads: “Man, the only earthly being that God has willed for itself, finds himself in the sincere gift of himself.”

This Being that is subject or person has the character of the absolute. It is not a value that is contingent on circumstances or intention. The human person as subject is the absolute, non-negotiable criterion of all moral action. The entire social doctrine of the Church is founded on the Being of the human person. John Paul in Centesimus Annus stated categorically: “Her [the Church’s] sole purpose has been care and responsibility for the human person, who has been entrusted to her by Christ himself: for this person, whom, as the Second Vatican Council recalls, is the only creature on earth which God willed for its own sake, and for which God has his plan, that is, a share in eternal salvation. WE are not dealing here with humanity in the `abstract,’ but with the real, `concrete,’ `historical’ person. We are dealing with each individual, since each one is included in the mystery of Redemption, and through this mystery Christ has united himself with each one forever. It follows that the Church cannot abandon humanity, and that `this human person is the primary route that the Church must travel in fulfilling her mission… the way traced out by Christ himself, the way that leads invariably through the mystery of the Incarnation and the Redemption.’

This, and this alone, is the principle which inspires the Church’s social doctrine. The Church has gradually developed that doctrine in a systematic way, above all in the century that has followed the date we are commemorating, precisely because the being in his concrete reality as sinful and righteous.”[29]

See also, “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church” Chapter Three, The Human Person and Human Rights 61-90.

Experiences to be Explained: 1) Adam in the naming of the animals; 2) Helen Keller (via Walker Percy).

The act of faith as the experience of the “I” making the self gift to the revealing Christ. It is in the believer that the veil (the “rust” expressed by Gregory of Nyssa) of revelation is removed. Therefore the believing subject is integral to there being revelation at all. The experience of Josef Ratzinger: Habilitation Thesis: It is in St. Bonaventure (13th century) that Ratzinger finds the distinction between Sacred Scripture and Revelation. See page 3 above.

And in his “The Theology of History in St. Bonaventure,” Ratzinger reports,

“As far as I can see, at no time does Bonaventure refer to the Scriptures themselves as Revelation.’ He speaks of revealer and facies revelata primarily when a particular understanding of Scripture is involved, namely the `manifold divine wisdom’ which consists in grasping the three-fold spiritual sense of Scripture – the allegorical, the anagogical and the tropological…. (I)t is expressly stated that we grasp that which we are to believe not from the letter of Scripture, but first of all by the use of allegory. The letter by itself is merely the water which is transformed into wine in the spiritual understanding; the letter is a stone which must be changed into bread; or as Bonaventure says together with Joachim, the letter is the skin around the true fruit…. In other words, where there is only the letter, there we find the Old Testament and Judaism, regardless of whether we call this letter `New’ or `Old’ Testament. The mere letter is not `New’ Testament; the New Testament is truly present precisely where the letter has been surpassed by the Spirit. Consequently, that which is properly New Testament does not consist in a new book, but in the Spirit who makes these books full of life. Here, therefore, `revelation’ is synonymous with the spiritual understanding of Scripture; it consists in the God-given act of understanding, and not in the objective letter alone. Only those who understand Scripture spiritually have a `facies revelata.’”[30]

Relate this with the latter theological epistemology in last Sunday’s Gospel as to “knowing” the Person of Jesus Christ (“Who do men say that I am?;” “Who do you say that I am?”). In a word, it is only when the whole self is involved as self-gift (that Vatican II calls “faith”), that the “veil” is removed that covers the intelligence (by being turned back on self and therefore not imaging the relational transcendence of the divine Persons).

The Phenomenology of the Moral Act:

“In Vatican II's Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, we read that "the human being, who is the only creature on earth that God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself or herself except through a disinterested gift of himself or herself" (24)….

“As I said earlier, in the experience of self-determination the human person stands revealed before us as a distinctive structure of self-possession and self-governance. Neither the one nor the other, however, implies being closed in on oneself. On the contrary, both self-possession and self-governance imply a special disposition to make a "gift of oneself," and this a "disinterested" gift. Only if one possesses oneself can one give oneself and do this in a disinterested way. And only if one governs oneself can one make a gift of oneself, and this again a disinterested gift. The problematic of disinterestedness certainly deserves a separate analysis, which it is not my intention to present here. An understanding of the person in categories of gift, which the teaching of Vatican II reemphasizes, seems to reach even more deeply into those dimensions brought to light by the foregoing analysis. Such an understanding seems to disclose even more fully the personal structure of self-determination.

“Only if one can determine oneself—as I attempted to show earlier—can one also become a gift for others. The Council's statement that "the human being...cannot fully find himself or herself except through a disinterested gift of himself or herself" allows us to conclude that it is precisely when one becomes a gift for others that one most fully becomes oneself. This "law of the gift," if it may be so designated, is inscribed deep within the dynamic structure of the person. The text of Vatican II certainly draws its inspiration from revelation, in the light of which it paints this portrait of the human being as a person. One could say that this is a portrait in which the person is depicted as a being willed by God "for itself" and, at the same time, as a being turned "toward" others. This relational portrait of the person, however, necessarily presupposes the immanent (and indirectly "substantial") portrait that unfolds before us from an analysis of the personal structure of self-determination….

“I have attempted, however, even in this short presentation, to stress the very real need for a confrontation of the metaphysical view of the person that we find in St. Thomas and in the traditions of Thomistic philosophy with the comprehensive experience of the human being. Such a confrontation will throw more light on the cognitive sources from which the Angelic Doctor derived his metaphysical view. The full richness of those sources will then become visible. At the same time, perhaps we will better be able to perceive points of possible convergence with contemporary thought, as well as points of irrevocable divergence from it in the interests of the truth about reality.”[31]

What is Freedom?

The Lay Mentality: Freedom

Revelation: “If you abide in my word, you shall be my disciples indeed, and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” (Jn. 8, 32). This is the Magna Charta of the revelation of freedom. As revealed, freedom is a result of knowing the truth, which in turn comes as a result of living obedience. If one obeys, one becomes a disciple – or perhaps better a “Christian,” which is alter Christus – and in that experience of following Christ’s obedience that is “usque ad mortem,” one “knows” the truth of being Christ, which in turn is the state of freedom. Thus St. Paul’s assertion: “For freedom Christ has set us free” (Gal. 5, 1). The freedom in “for freedom” is precisely this dynamic state. The freedom of “Set us free” is the liberation from stagnation in self. Christ has liberated us from the state of being turned back on ourselves (sin) in order that we might be self-gift in Him. To give an account of this, it is essential to move from a reductive and objectified epistemology to a non-reductive and subjective epistemology. The received Thomistic account is objectified in terms of the faculties of intellect and will as accidents of the substantial soul.

The Reductive Understanding of Ethics: Nature as Object. True but Inadequate

The Received Understanding of Freedom: Objective Epistemological Horizon, the interplay of faculties of the soul.

Within an objectified epistemology, the human person is understood as an “individual substance of a rational nature.” The acts of this substance that are not identical with its substantial being are considered accidental such as the acts of intellect and will that begin and end, and therefore are not one in being with the substance that perdures in being. Freedom is explained in terms of the faculties as accidents.

The intellect perceives being in its universality as being, and all the transcendentals such as good, true and beautiful in terms of it. Being in its universality is perceived as the necessary good that the will must desire. There is no freedom here since the will cannot but desire good, as it desires happiness. Every concrete perception of being that is offered to the will is finite, and therefore does not exhaust the will’s capacity to desire. As determined by the Absolute Being and Good, the confrontation with the finite leaves the will in a state of indetermination that is called “freedom.”

In the words of H. D. Gardeil, O.P.,

“The will is moved by natural necessity, since it is necessarily attracted by the good in general or the ultimate end. It impossible for me not to want good as such, which is to say my happiness. In this respect the will is comparable to the intellect, which necessarily adheres to first principles. Furthermore, the will is moved by necessity of the end, which means that whenever the will desires something it necessarily desires the means without which this end cannot be attained….

“Apart from things that are necessarily willed, there are countless others that do not move the will of necessity, because even without them it is possible to arrive at whatever end one may have in mind. Between them and the end there is no necessary connection it is in this area that we find true psychological freedom, namely, within the realm of goods which are not necessarily associated with the end and which may, there, be willed or not willed….”

“With respect to the subject of agent, therefore, freedom has its source in reason; with respect to the object, it lies in the contingent or particular nature of the goods confronting the agent. In terms of the object we may, as St. Thomas often does, state the argument for free will as flows: in face of contingent or particular goods the will remains free; only the absolute or universal good necessarily moves it. These two proofs, moreover, the one from the object and the other from the rational nature of man, are complementary, since the human or free act is the product of the reciprocal application of intellect and will.”[32]

This objectified presentation of freedom in terms of the necessary desire for the absolute with the resultant indetermination of the contingent, finite and non-necessary has been completely undermined by the reduction of the sensible-experiential to the radical materialism of positivism. The finite substance is reduced from a hylomorphic composite of soul and matter to purely evolved material forces that are measurable through the senses. Freedom is denied as illusory and collapses into a determinism “from below” of physical, chemical, physiological and behaviorist forces. There are no absolutes, no relative contingents, and therefore no indetermination or “freedom.” The best we have is the illusion of freedom of choice between this and that, but such choice is obviously determined by constraints beyond our threshold of perception.

Such a “self” is called “Autonomous” or “Emotivist” in the parlance of Alasdair MacIntyre. He says,

“The specifically modern self, the self that I have called Emotivist, finds no limits set to that on which it may pass judgment for such limits could only derive from rational criteria for evaluation and, as we have seen, the Emotivist self lacks any such criteria. Everything may be criticized from whatever standpoint the self has adopted, including the self’s choice of standpoint to adopt… Anyone and everyone can thus be a moral agent, since it is in the self and not in social roles or practices that moral agency has to be located.” [33]

Freedom as the Experience of Self-gift as in Christ Crucified

“The Crucified Christ reveals the authentic meaning of freedom; he lives it fully in the total gift of himself and calls his disciples to share in his freedom” (Veritatis Splendor #85).

To achieve this liberation, one must master self as in “subdue the earth,” or “self-determine” in philosophical terminology. Hence, we will see that priestly soul and lay mentality are two essential components of the same metaphysical anthropology. Priestly soul is the determining of the self to make the gift of oneself. Lay mentality is pre-requisite for such self-governance and self-possession since the freedom that is the lay mentality is the experience that thunders within the consciousness of each person in terms of responsibility, guilt, joy, sadness, etc. That is, there is another kind of experience within everyone that has been mistaken for the structure of consciousness, and that is really the ontological experience of the self in dealing with the inner tendencies of one’s very self as ontological reality. In fact, John Paul says, “In a special way, the person constitutes a privileged locus for the encounter with the act of being” (actu essendi).[34] When self-gift takes place, a relative autonomy is achieved. The goodness of the self is experienced and a true secularity of the social order takes place.

But such an act of self-determination obviously involves a meaning of freedom that transcends merely a neutral indetermination between finite choices of “this” or “that” finite good. It transcends what we may have considered “freedom” in Scholastic Rational Psychology as the neutrality of the will when confronted with finite goods. Freedom meant neutrality of the will before the finite because it was necessarilly determined to will the absolute. This is true within the reduction of the real as object.

“Considered biblically” (and therefore subjectively and existentially), Ratzinger remarks, “freedom is something other than indeterminacy. It is participation, and indeed, not just participation in some particular social structure, but participation in being itself. It means to be the possessor… of being. Only on this basis can indeed God be defined as freedom in person, because he is the totality of the possession of being. We can… say that freedom is identical with exaltation of being, which admittedly only makes sense if exaltation of being is really exaltation: the gift of life and being given in love.”[35]

Rather, within a phenomenological metaphysics such as Wojtyla’s, it means that one is quite literally “cause of oneself,” or even more strongly, “creator of oneself.” There is an apprenticeship in God-likeness, an approximation to becoming like God that, as creator, is not absolute, but is characterized by a relative becoming autonomous. As he says, “Self-determination reveals that what takes place in an act of will is not just an active directing of the subject toward a value. Something more takes place as well: when I am directed by an act of will toward a particular value, I myself not only determine this directing, but through it I simultaneously determine myself as well. The concept of self-determination involves more than just the concept of efficacy: I am not only the efficient cause of my acts, but through them I am also in some sense the `creator of myself.’ Action accompanies becoming; moreover, action is organically linked to becoming. Self-determination, therefore, and not just efficacy of the personal self, explains the reality of moral values: it explains the reality that by my actions I become `good’ or `bad,’ and that then I am also `good’ or `bad’ as a human being – as St. Thomas so eminently perceived.” [36]

Within the radical dependency on being created and loved by God, the only reality that I control from within as being is myself. I can control and dispose of non-rational things but I violate their natures at my own peril. I cannot impose my will on anyone else, precisely because as rational beings they experience the same responsibility of disposing of themselves as I do. Wojtyla’s assertion here that he borrows – re-elaborated from Kant – is the discovery of moral values in the experience of the being of the “I” in the moment of self-determination.

Kant, arguing from within the rationalism that has characterized the Enlightenment from Descartes to the present day, had argued that moral value was autonomous to the will, which he found “within” the practical intellect. For him “autonomy of the will is the property the will has of being a law to itself (independently of every property belonging to the objects of volition). Hence the principle of autonomy is `Never to choose except in such a way that in the same volition the maxims of your choice are also present as universal law’… (B)y mere analysis of the concepts of morality we can quite well show that the above principle of autonomy is the sole principle of ethics. For analysis finds that the principle of morality must be a categorical imperative, and that this in turn commands nothing more nor less than precisely this autonomy.”[37] This means that to conform the will to anything outside the principles of practical reason and that are part of the structure of practical reason, i.e., to the tendencies inherent in the being of person as imaging Trinity, would be “heteronymous.”

Wojtyla seizes on the insight while experiencing something different. Instead of finding autonomy in the analysis of concepts or principles of reason, he finds it in the experience of the self as being when it is in conformity or disconformity with its ontological inclinations as image of God. Hence, he finds this autonomy as moral value, the “good,” from the (realistic) experience of being a person as God is Person. Hence, he says, “we must never treat a person as the means to an end. This principle has a universal validity. Nobody can use a person as a means towards an end, no human being, not even God the Creator. On the part of God, indeed, it is totally out of the question, since, by giving man an intelligent and free nature, he has thereby ordained that each man alone will decide for himself the ends of his activity, and not be a blind tool of someone else’s ends. Therefore, if God intends to direct man towards certain goals, he allows him to begin with to know those goals, so that he may make them his own and strive towards them independently. In this amongst other things resides the most profound logic of revelation: God allows man to learn His supernatural ends, but the decision to strive towards an end, the choice of course, is left to man’s free will. God does not redeem man against his will.”[38] Wojtyla then goes on to say, “It may not be irrelevant to mention here that Immanuel Kant, at the end of the eighteenth century, formulated this elementary principle of the moral order in the following imperative: act always in such a way that the other person is the end and not merely the instrument of your action. In the light of the preceding argument this principle should be restated in a form rather different from that which Kant gave it, as follows: whenever a person is the object of your activity, remember that you may not treat that person as only the means to an end, as an instrument, but must allow for the fact the he or she, too, has, or at least should have, distinct personal ends. This principle, thus formulated, lies at the basis of all the human freedoms, properly understood, and especially freedom of conscience.”[39] He, of course, is talking about the person as a self-determining ontological reality, and not merely an object considered in the light of a universal autonomous principle of the practical intellect.

One cannot give what one does not have. Freedom of choice presupposes the determination of the self to so choose. And one can choose to make the gift of self in accordance with the truth of being made in the image of the Triple Self-Gift that is God; or one can choose self and turn back on self, for self. This is the essence of sin and the un-truth of self.

To govern self is not to be governed by anything heteronymous. This is a word coined by Immanuel Kant that has much truth to it but used erroneously by him. Obedience is not to be caused by another but to cause self to do what another says. That causing of self is grounding act that we call freedom. The total gift of oneself to another is perfected freedom. Only the divine Persons are perfectly free. “The Crucified Christ reveals the authentic meaning of freedom; he lives it fully in the total gift of himself and calls his disciples to share in his freedom.”[40]

Man is not born free. He is born with the capacity of mastering self for the gift of self. This capacity has been weakened by sin. Man cannot become free by himself. As an essentially relational being, he must be loved by another, and as such affirmed in his being as a self. No man can give himself his own “I.” It must be given to him by the love of another. In this we have the deep anthropological meaning of grace. Grace is not a thing but the love of the divine Persons for the created person.

[1] Josef Pieper, “Reality and the Good,” Living the Truth, Ignatius (1989) 111.

[2] Ibid. 112.

[3] Benedict XVI, “Three States in the Program of De-Hellenization,” Address at the University of Regensburg, September 9, 2006.

[4] J. Ratzinger, “The Truth of Christianity?” Truth and Tolerance, Ignatius (2004) 146.

[5] Ibid 146-147.

[6] Ibid 148.

[7] Ibid 149.

[8] Ibid 151 Benedict XVI, “Three States in the Program of De-Hellenization,” Address at the University of Regensburg, September 9, 2006.

[9] Benedict XVI, “Three States in the Program of De-Hellenization,” Address at the University of Regensburg, September 9, 2006.

[10] St. Gregory of Nyssa said: “`Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God…’ You men have within you a desire to behold the supreme good. Now when you are told that the majesty of God is exalted above the heavens, that his glory is inexpressible, his beauty indescribable, and his nature transcendent, do not despair because you cannot behold the object of your desire. If by a diligent life of virtue you wash away the film of dirt that covers your heart, then the divine beauty will shine forth in you…

“Take a piece of iron as an illustration. Although it might have been black before, once the rust has been scraped off with a whetstone, it will begin to shine brilliantly and to reflect the rays of the sun. So it is with the interior man, which is what the Lord means by the heart. Once a man removes from his soul the coating of filth that has formed on it through his sinful neglect, he will regain his likeness to his Archetype, and be good. For what resemble the supreme Good is itself good. If he then looks into himself, he will see the vision he has longed for. This is the blessedness of the pure of heart: in seeing their own purity they see the divine Archetype mirrored in themselves.

“Those who look at the sun in a mirror, even if they do not look directly at the sky, see it radiance in the reflection just as truly as do those who look directly at the sun’s orb. It is the same, says the Lord, with you. Even though you are unable to contemplate and see the inaccessible light, you will find what you seek within yourself, provided you return to the beauty and grace of that image which was originally placed in you. For God is purity; he is free from sin and a stranger to all evil. If this can be said of you, then God will surely be within you… Once purified, you see things that others cannot see. When the mists of sin no longer cloud the eye of your soul, you see that blessed vision clearly in the peace and purity of your own heart. That vision is nothing else than the holiness, the purity, the simplicity and all the other glorious reflections of God’s nature, through which God himself is seen” Office of Readings, Saturday of 12th Week of Ordinary Time.

[11] J. Ratzinger, Milestones: Memoirs 1927-1977 Ignatius 107-109.

[12] St. Augustine, Confessions, Bk. 10, 27.

[13] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” Ignatius (1990) 78-79.

[15] J. Ratzinger, “Milestones…” Ignatius (1997) 108.

[16] Benedict XVI, “Three Stages…” op. cit.

[17] Ibid

[18] K. Wojtyla, “The Acting Person,” Reidel, (1979) [Introduction] 3.

[19] John Paul II, “Fides et Ratio,” #83.

[20] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” Ignatius (1990) 131-132.

[21] J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One,” Ignatius (1986) 92-93.

[22] J. Ratzinger, “Journey Towards Easter,” Crossroad (198 )

[23] J. Ratzinger, “Introduction… op. cit. 132.

[24] “Therein lies concealed a revolution in man’s view of the world: the undivided sway of thinking in terms of substance is ended; relation is discovered as an equally valid primordial mode of reality. It becomes possible to surmount what we call today `objectifying thought;’ a new plane of being comes into view;” J. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” op. cit. 132.

[25] “In recording the first creation of man, Moses before all others says, `And God said, Let us make man in our own image and likeness.’ Then he adds afterwards, `And God made man; in the image of God made he him; male and female made he them, and he blessed them.’ Now the fact that he said `he made him in the image of God’ and was silent about the likeness points to nothing else but this, that man received the honor of God’s image in his first creation, whereas the perfection of God’s likeness was reserved for him at the consummation. The purpose of this was that man should acquire it for himself by his own earnest efforts to imitate God, so that while the possibility of attaining perfection was given to him in the beginning through the honor of the `image,’ he should in the end through the accomplishment of these works obtain for himself the perfect likeness;” Origen, On First Principles 3, 6, 1 (244).

[26] John Paul II, “Dominum et vivificantem,” #59

[27] “Donum Vitae,” Introduction, 3.

[28] J. Ratzinger, “Conscience and Truth, in Catholic Conscience, Foundation and Formation, Proceedings of the Tenth Bishops’ Workshop Dallas, Texas The Pope John Center (1991) 20-21.

[29] John Paul II, “Centesimus Annus” #53.

[30] J. Ratzinger, The Theology of History in St. Bonaventure, Franciscan Herald Press (1989) 62-63.

[31] Karol Wojtyla, “The Personal Structure of Self-Determination “ in Person and Community Lang (1993) 193-195.This paper was presented by then-Cardinal Karol Wojtyla at an international conference on St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome and Naples, 17-24 April 1974.

[32] H. D. Gardeil, O.P., “The Will,” Introduction To The Philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas III. Psychology, 211, 213-214.

[33] Alasdair Macintyre, After Virtue, University of Notre Dame Press (1981) 2.

[34] Fides et Ration, #83.

[35] J. Ratzinger, Church, Ecumenism and Politics, Crossroads (1988) 198.

[36] K. Wojtyla, “The Personal Structure of Self-Determination,” Person and Community Lang) (1993) 191.

[37] Immanuel Kant, Groundwork of the Metaphysic of Morals, Harper Torchbooks (1964) 108.

[38] K. Wojtyla, The Acting Person, Farrar, Straus, Giroux (1981) 27.

[39] Ibid. 27-28.

[40] Veritatis Splendor #85.