Monday, May 31, 2010

Visitation 2010

"The Truth About Mary"

"Blessed is she who believed" (RMa #13): This comprises two points for our emulation:

1) Mary said "Yes!"

"Mary entrusted herself to God completely... She responded... with all her human and feminine 'I'"
Mary's "Yes!" is the contradiction to Eve's "No!" Eve was seduced into a suspicion about God
who asked man and woman not to eat the fruit of that particular tree in Paradise. Satan did not deny God or His existence. Ratzinger describes the temptation: "It starts out... with an apparently reasonable request for information, which in reality, however, contains an insinuation that provokes the human being and that lures him or her from trust to mistrust: 'Did God say, "You shall not eat of any tree of the garden"?' (Genesis 3, 1). The first thing is not the denial of God but rather doubt about his covenant, about the community of faith, prayer, the commandments - all of which are the context for living God's covenant.... It is so easy to convince people that this covenant is not a gift but rather an expression of envy of human kind and that it is robbing human beings of their freedom and of the most precious things of life. With this doubt people are well on their way to building their own worlds" (J. Ratzinger, "In the Beginning..." ).

Our Lady was the counterpoise to this collapse into doubt provoked by the insinuation and the "sneer" of the demonic.

2) Hence, instead of permitting doubt, she accepts "with all her human and feminine 'I'" (R Ma [Redemptoris Mater] #13), and sings her Magnificat. John Paul II writes: "In contrast with the 'suspicion' which the 'father of lies' sowed in the heart of Eve the first woman, Mary, whom tradition is wont to call the 'new Eve' and the true 'Mother of the living,' boldly proclaims the undimmed truth about God: the holy and almighty God, who from the beginning is the source of all gifts, he who 'has done great things' in the her, as well as in the whole universe" (R Ma #37).

Trinity 2010

Coming soon

Friday, May 28, 2010

Benedict XVI - Two Roots of Adequate Education

Pope Explains Why There's an Education Crisis

Suggests 2 Roots to Overcome

VATICAN CITY, MAY 27, 2010 ( Benedict XVI is supporting the Italian bishops in their priority of the decade -- education -- and explaining the two roots he thinks have given rise to an "educational emergency."

The Pope offered his analysis today when he received the Italian bishops, who are meeting in their plenary assembly.

He suggested going to the roots so as to find "adequate responses" to the educational challenge.

"One main root is, it seems to me, a false concept of man's autonomy," the Holy Father said. This concept calls for man to develop himself by and for himself, "without impositions from others, who can assist in his self-development, but who cannot enter into the process."

This concept is erroneous, the Pontiff explained, because man's self is defined in relation to others. "It is created for dialogue and for communion," he said.

"Only the encounter with the 'you' and with the 'we' opens the 'I' to himself," the Pope said. "That's why so-called anti-authoritarian education is not education but rather a rejection of education."

"So a first point seems to me to be this one," he stated, "to overcome this false idea of man's autonomy as an 'I' complete in itself."

Blocking the source

Benedict XVI pointed to a second root in skepticism and relativism, "or," he said, "with simpler and clearer words, in the exclusion of the two sources that orient the human journey."

The sources, he indicated, are [human] nature and revelation. "But nature," the Holy Father observed, "is considered today as a purely mechanical thing, and because of this, no type of orientation comes from it."

Meanwhile revelation, he noted, is seen "either as a moment of historical development, and therefore relative, just as any historical and cultural development -- or, it is said, perhaps there was revelation, but it doesn't offer content, only motivation."

"And," the Pontiff warned, "if these two sources are blocked, nature and revelation, then the third source as well, history, ceases to offer guidance because it becomes nothing more than a conglomeration of arbitrary, momentary cultural decisions that serve for nothing for the present and the future."

A true concept of revelation and of nature as God's creation that speaks to us must be recovered, he urged.

Introducing a friend

Benedict XVI said that "in this 'concert,' so to speak, between creation uncoded in revelation and made concrete in cultural history" are found the keys to education. He spoke of an education "that is not an imposition but truly openness of the 'I' to the 'you,' to the 'we' and the 'You' of God."

The difficulties in education are tremendous, the Pope acknowledged, but "we cannot give into discouragement and resignation."

"To educate has never been easy," he affirmed, "but we cannot give in. [...] To educate is to form the new generations, so they know how to enter into relationships with the world."

And youth, the Pontiff affirmed, "have a thirst in their hearts, and this thirst is a demand for meaning and for authentic human relationships, which help one not to feel alone when faced with the challenges of life."

"Our answer," he proposed, "is the proclamation of God who is a friend of man, who in Jesus made himself close to everyone."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Vatican Statement on Legionaries of Christ

"The Church Is Firmly Resolved to Accompany Them"

VATICAN CITY, MAY 1, 2010 ( Here is a translation of a communiqué released today by the Holy See regarding meetings held Friday and today with the visitors of the Legion of Christ.

* * *

1. On April 30 and May 1, the Cardinal Secretary of State chaired a meeting at the Vatican with the five bishops in charge of the apostolic visitation of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ (Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez of Valladolid, Spain; Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput, OFM Cap., of Denver; Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello, SDB, of Concepción, Chile; Bishop Giuseppe Versaldi of Alexandria, Italy; and Bishop Ricardo Watty Urquidi, MSpS, of Tepic, Mexico). It was attended by the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and the substitute of the Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.

The Holy Father was present at one of the sessions, at which the visitors presented a summary of their reports, which had already been sent in.

During the visitation, more than 1,000 Legionaries were interviewed, and hundreds of written testimonies were sifted through. The visitors went to almost all the religious houses and many of the apostolic works directed by the congregation. They have heard, orally or in writing, the opinion of many diocesan bishops of the countries in which the congregation is at work. The visitors also met many members of the Regnum Christi Movement — although it was not the subject of the visitation — especially consecrated men and women. They have also received a great amount of correspondence from laypeople and family members of those involved in the Movement.

The five visitors have told of the sincere welcome which they were given and of the constructive spirit of cooperation shown by the congregation and the individual religious. Even though each of them acted independently, they have come to substantial agreement in their assessment and to a common opinion. They testify to having met a great number of exemplary religious who are honest and talented, many of them young, who seek Christ with genuine zeal and are offering their entire lives to spread the Kingdom of God.

2. The apostolic visit has been able to ascertain that the behavior of Father Marcial Maciel Degollado has had serious consequences for the life and structure of the Legion, such as to require a process of in-depth revision.

The very serious and objectively immoral behavior of Father Maciel, as incontrovertible evidence has confirmed, sometimes resulted in actual crimes, and manifests a life devoid of scruples and of genuine religious sentiment. The great majority of Legionaries were unaware of this life, above all because of the system of relationships built by Father Maciel, who had skillfully managed to build up alibis, to gain the trust, the confidence and the silence of those around him, and to strengthen his role as a charismatic founder.

Not infrequently, the lamentable discrediting and dismissal of whoever doubted his behavior was upright, as well as the misguided conviction of those who did not want to harm the good that the Legion was doing, created around him a defense mechanism that made him untouchable for a long time, making it very difficult to know his real life.

3. The sincere zeal of most Legionaries, which appeared as well in the visits to the houses of the congregation and many of their apostolic works, which are highly appreciated by many, led many to believe in the past that the allegations, which gradually became more insistent and widespread, could not have been anything other than calumnies.

Therefore, discovering and coming to know the truth about the founder has caused the members of the Legion to experience surprise, bewilderment and deep pain, as the visitors have made clear.

4. From the results of the apostolic visitation the following things, among others, have become clear:

a) the need to redefine the charism of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, preserving its true core, that of the “militia Christi” that characterizes the apostolic and missionary activity of the Church and is not the same as prizing efficiency at any cost;

b) the need to review the exercise of authority, which must be joined to the truth, to respect the conscience, and develop itself in the light of the Gospel as authentic ecclesial service;

c) the need to preserve through appropriate formation the enthusiasm of the faith of young members, their missionary zeal and their apostolic dynamism. In fact, the disappointment about the founder could call into question this vocation and the core of the charism which belongs to the Legionaries of Christ and is their own.

5. The Holy Father wishes to assure all Legionaries and members of the Regnum Christi Movement that they will not be left on their own: The Church is firmly resolved to accompany them and help them on the path of purification that awaits them. It will also mean dealing sincerely with all of those who, within and outside the Legion, were victims of sexual abuse and of the power system devised by the founder: They are in the Holy Father’s thoughts and prayers at this time, along with his gratitude to those of them who, even in the midst of great difficulties, had the courage and constancy to demand the truth.

6. The Holy Father, in thanking the visitors for the sensitive task they have accomplished with skill, generosity, and profound pastoral sensitivity, reserves to himself the task of soon instructing how this assistance will be organized, beginning with the appointment of his delegate and a commission to study the Legion’s constitutions. The Holy Father will send a visitor to the consecrated members of the Regnum Christi Movement, who have insistently requested this.

7. Finally, the Pope renews his encouragement to all the Legionaries of Christ, to their families, and to all the laypeople involved in the Regnum Christi Movement, during this difficult time for the congregation and for each of them. He urges them not to lose sight of the fact that their vocation, which originates in Christ’s call and is driven by the ideal of being witnesses of his love to the world, is a genuine gift from God, a treasure for the Church, and the indestructible foundation on which each of them can build their own future and that of the Legion.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Pentecost - Benedict XVI - 2010

Vatican City: The gift of the Holy Spirit - which Church celebrates today the feast of Pentecost - is the realization of the prayer and the promise of Jesus Christ: " I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! "(Luke 12:49).

The fire of the Holy Spirit is different from the fire of “war and bombs”, from the fires “lit by the dictators of every age”. It “brings out the best and most genuine in mankind ... our call to truth and love " . At the same time the Spirit creates the unity and universality of the Church. It expresses itself in every language, but "never remains a prisoner of political, racial or cultural confines, it can not be confused with States nor with the Federation of States, because its unity is different in kind and aims to cross all human boundaries. "

Benedict XVI’s homily during today’s celebration was marked by the symbol of the "fire" that generates "the 'new course' of God's work that began with the resurrection of Christ, a work that involves mankind, history and the cosmos .

Referring to the story of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-11) and the list of peoples who first hear, "the mighty works of God" in their own languages, the Pope shows what "God’s self-communication" produces in the world: "Where there are tears and alienation it creates unity and understanding. It triggers a process of reunification between the divided and scattered factions of the human family, people, often reduced to individuals in competition or conflict, reached by the Spirit of Christ, open up to the experience of communion, which may involve them to such a point that it makes of them a new organism, a new subject: the Church”.

Unity - continues the pope - is "the calling card of the Church." It clarifies: "The universal Church precedes the particular Churches, and they must always conform themselves to it, according to a criterion of unity and universality. The Church never remains a prisoner of political, racial or cultural confines, it is not to be confused with the States and even with the Federation of States, because its unity is different in kind and aims to move through all human boundaries. "

The Pope’s emphasis on unity comes in the midst of recent moves by particular churches - Germany, Austria, ... – which are demanding changes and adaptations of the tradition of faith. At the same time, meetings with the Russian Orthodox Church were held just last week in Rome, aiming for greater collaboration between Eastern and Western Church against the secularism and materialism of society.

"The journey of Christians and particular churches - the pope states - must always compare themselves to and harmonise themselves with that of the one Catholic Church." And again: "The church is by its nature one and manifold, destined as it is to live among all nations, all peoples, and in various social contexts. It responds to its vocation, to be a sign and instrument of unity for the whole human race (cf. Lumen gentium, 1) only if it remains independent from all states and all particular cultures. Always and everywhere the Church must be truly Catholic and Universal, the house that belongs to all peoples where everyone can find themselves".

The fire of the Spirit also transforms society: "The Apostles, together with believers of different communities, have brought this divine flame to the ends of the Earth, thus they opened a path for humanity, an illuminated road, and they collaborated with God who with his fire wants to renew the face of the earth. How different this fire is from that of war and bombs! How different the fire of Christ is, propagated by the Church, than that of the dictators of every age, even those of the last century, which left behind scorched earth. The fire of God, the fire of the Holy Spirit, is the fire of the bush that rages without burning (cf. Ex 3:2). It is a flame that burns but does not destroy, indeed, its flames bring out the best and truest in man, like in a fusion it reveals his inner form, his call to truth and love. "

"And yet - continues the pope - it [the flame of the Spirit - ed] transforms, and therefore must consume something in man, the waste that corrupts and hinders his relationship with God and his neighbour. This effect of the divine fire, however, frightens us, we are afraid of being 'burned', preferring to stay as we are. This is because many times our life is set according to the logic of having, of possession and not giving. Many people believe in God and admire the figure of Jesus Christ, but when they are asked to lose something of themselves, then they draw back, afraid of the demands of faith. "

The Pope goes on to say: "In losing something, indeed, losing ourselves for the true God, the God of love and life, we actually gain something, we find ourselves more fully. Those who entrust themselves to Jesus in this life experience a peace and joy of heart, that the world can not give them or take away from them once gifted by God. It is therefore worthwhile to allow ourselves be touched by the fire of the Holy Spirit! The pain that it brings us is necessary for our transformation”.

"Therefore - he concludes - enlightened and comforted by these words of life, we raise our plea: Come, Holy Spirit! Kindle in us the fire of thy love! We now that this is a audacious prayer, with which we ask to be touched by the flame of God, but above all we know that this flame - and it alone - has the power to save. We do not want to loose our eternal life, that God wants to gift us, in order to defend our earthly one. We need the fire of the Holy Spirit, because only Love redeems. Amen.

Love (Agape) is Present in the World - Now

The Real Epistemology: the Sighting of Love as Fidelity and Perseverance

How is Christ present now -- yet invisible -- and, therefore after the Incarnation, everything seems to continue just as it always has? The answer: Christ is the incarnation of Love. He is Love Incarnate. The Father and the Spirit are not Love Incarnate. They are one God with Christ. Secularism is the ideology that insists that God is not present, and, in fact, there is no God. Secularity is the Christian truth that Christ lives and is present in the world but as us. We are “other Christs.”

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. He is not the Spirit of the “age.” He engenders Christ in us if we will lower ourselves and create space within ourselves for the incarnation of Christ in us. Christ is present in the world and is visible only as Love Incarnate.

How does one “see” Love? Benedict XVI says: “The essential and central concept summing up what the Holy Spirit is and what he effects is, in the end, not ‘knowledge’ but love… The basic criterion of love, its “proper work,” so to speak – and thereby, the ‘proper work’ of the Holy Spirit – is this, that it achieves abiding. Love shows itself by being enduring. It can by no means be recognized at a given moment and in the moment alone; but in abiding, it does away with uncertainty and carries eternity within it. And thus in my view the relationship between love and truth is also thereby given: love, in the full sense, can be present only where something is enduring, where something abides. Because it has to do with abiding, it can occur, not just anywhere, but only there where eternity is.”[1]

To be a bit clearer: God is Love, and Love is present in the world. As Christ answered the messengers of John the Baptist: “Go and tell John what it is that you have seen and heard: the blind receive their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, the poor have good new preached to them” (Lk. 7, 22-23). Notice that these are passive verbs. Love is being done to them. John Paul II commented: “Jesus revealed that love is present in the world in which we live.”[2] “Making the Father present as love and mercy is, in Christ’s own consciousness, the fundamental touchstone of His mission as the Messiah.”[3]

This is how God is present in the world now, and can be known by fidelity and perseverance in love. He cannot be seen as “thing.” But because He is not “thing,” it does not mean that He is not real, or not really here as the grounding of the ordinary, secular world that we live in and experience. For this reason, the vital importance of the “little things” done with love.

[1] J. Ratzinger, “The Holy Spirit as Communion” Pilgrim Fellowship of Faith Ignatius (2005) 44-45.

[2] John Paul II Dives in Misericordia #3.

[3] Ibid

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Mission of the Holy Spirit: Incarnate God - Divinize Man

The mission of the Spirit is not to do “great things” in the world, but to effect “the great work:” the Incarnation of God and the divinization of man. All else derives from this.

Like John the Baptist, we are driven to look for great religious achievements in the world as a result of Christ’s having come. If God has come among us as one of us, then that should become evident to the senses – we think - and we should be able to see the difference after 2000 years. Driven by the culture of sensation, positivism, objectification and success, we hanker after a kind of “theocracy” not totally unlike the religious culture of Islam. And so, the question: “Are you really he who is to come, or shall we look for another?” (Lk. 7, 19) “Are you really he: the Redeemer of the world? Are you really here now as the Redeemer? Was that all that God had to say to us?”[1]We search for a sensible and provable certainty to our measure and liking that we can hold in our hand and offer to any and all comers.

Of course, the response of Christ to John the Baptist was: “Go and tell John what you have seen and heard. The blind see, the lame walk, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have the gospel preached to them, and blessed is he who is not scandalized in me” (Lk. 7, 22-23). Christ reveals the supernatural dimension of His “I” and the works that He performs. They are not sensible perceptions on the same level of experience as we would find “street signs and dollar bills.”[2] As the face of the risen Christ was sensibly perceived but not recognizable except by an interior conversion, so also these events could not be recognized for what they were except by a conversion to the relational. The supreme axiom of epistemology is, “like is known by like.” And so Benedict declares rather early on in his book: “The great question that will be with us throughout this entire book: What did He [Christ] bring? The answer is very simple: God!!

Hence, to see Christ for John – as for us now – consisted in going through conversion. He had “to become blessed by this unquestioning acceptance of God’s obscure will; to reach the point of asking no further for external, visible, unequivocal clarity, but, instead of discovering God as we an apple tree or a neon sign, that is, in a purely external way that requires no interior commitment. We can see him by becoming like him, by reaching the level of reality on which God exists.”[3]

The Leitmotif of Benedict’s “Jesus of Nazareth” and the Whole of Benedict’s Mission as Pope

Benedict explicitates the above with “the great question that will be with us throughout this entire book: What did Jesus actually bring, if not world peace, universal prosperity, and a better world? What has he brought?

“The answer is very simple: God. He has brought God. He has brought the God who formerly unveiled his countenance gradually, first to Abraham, then to Moses and the Prophets, and then in Wisdom Literature – the God who revealed his face only in Israel, even though he was also honored among the pagans in various shadowy guises. It is this God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the true God, whom he has brought to the nations of the earth.

“He has brought God, and now we know his face, now we can call upon him. Now we know the path that we human beings have to take in this world. Jesus has brought God and with God the truth about our origin and destiny: faith, hope, and love. It is only because of our hardness of heart that we think this is too little.[4] Yes indeed, God’s power works quietly in this world, but it is the true and lasting power. Again and again, God’s cause seems to be in its death throes. Yet over and over again it proves to be the thing that truly endures and saves. The earthly kingdoms that Satan was able to put before the Lord at that time have al passed away. Their glory, their doxa, has proven to be a mere semblance. But the glory of Christ, the humble[5], self-sacrificing glory of his love, has not passed away, nor will it ever do so.[6]

This is the profile of the true eschatology. It fits with Benedict’s early remarks in his “What It Means to Be a Christian:”[7]

“Í believe the real temptation for someone who is a Christian, as we experience it today, does not just consist in the theoretical question of whether God exists; or even the question of whether he is three or one; or even the question of whether Christ is God and man in one person. What really torments us today, what bothers us much more is the inefficacy of Christianity: after two thousand years of Christian history, we can see nothing that might be a new reality in the world; rather, we find it sunk in the same old horrors, the same despair, and the same hopes as ever. And in our own lives, too, we inevitably experience time and again how Christian reality is powerless against all the other forces that influence us and make demands on us. And if, after all our labor and efforts to live on the basis of what is Christian, we draw up the final balance sheet, then often enough the feeling comes over us that the reality has been taken away from us, dissolved, and all that remains in t he end is just an appeal to the feeble light of our goodwill. And then in moments of discouragement like that, when we look back on the path we have traveled, the question forces its way into our minds: What is all this array of dogma and worship and Church, if at the end of it all we are still thrown back onto our own poor resources? That in turn brings us back again, in the end, to the question about the gospel of the Lord: What did he actually proclaim and bring among men?”[8]

We have the reality of the Incarnation of the God-man. He speaks of himself as the Kingdom in Person.[9] We expect the achievement of the Kingdom; and yet everything stays the same and continues as it always has: a discrepancy.

“Christian theology, which was very soon confronted by this discrepancy between expectation and fulfillment in the course of time turned the kingdom of God into a kingdom of heaven that is beyond this mortal life; the well-being of men became a salvation of souls, which again comes to pass beyond this life, after death. But theology did not thereby provide an answer. For what is sublime in this message is precisely that the Lord was talking not just about another life, not just about men’s souls, but was addressing the body, the whole man, in his embodied form, with his involvement in history and society; that he promised the kingdom of God to the man who lives bodily with other men in this history. As marvelous as the knowledge is that has been opened up for us by biblical scholarship in our century ( that is, that Christ was not just looking forward to another life, but was talking about real people), it can also disappoint and unsettle us when we look at real history, which is in truth no kingdom of God.”[10]

Answer: Christ lives. He is present in time and space, but as resurrected. He works even now. The question consists in whether we have faith and live it. That is the challenge. And it must be kept in mind: Revelation is the very Person of Jesus Christ as the action of self-gift. Faith is the action of the receiving subject who becomes “another Christ” by a reciprocating self-gift.. The result is the experience of “being another Christ” whereby there is a consciousness of Who Christ is. That consciousness is the mystical/contemplative life that is the meaning of “Tradition” and the “sensus fidelium.” The mission of the Spirit is to incarnate God in us which is our divinization. The prototype of this action of faith is our Lady. Everything else derives from this.

[1] J. Ratzinger, Dogma and Preaching Franciscan Herald Press (1985) 75-76.

[2] Ibid 76.

[3] Ibid 76.

[4] Here now is the problem that needs conversion for there to be a correct apologetic and restore the world to hope.

[5] Ibid 44.

[6] Benedict XVI, “Jesus of Nazareth,” Doubleday (2007) 44-45.

[7] J. Ratzinger, “What It Means to Be a Christian,” Ignatius (2006) 25-28

[8] Ibid 25-26.

[9] “If it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the Kingdom of God has come upon you” (Lk. 11,20).

[10] Ibid 28-29.

Friday, May 21, 2010

First Steps (1991) Toward Being As Constitutively Relational

Does God Change?

conciling the Immutable God with the God of Love

Jennifer A. Herrick


Parkland, FL USA 2003

As Walter Kasper, in "Postmodern Dogmatics", discerns, theology needs a metaphysics which has been developed precisely within theology. Without a transcendent ground and point of reference, statements of faith are finally only subjective projections of social and ecclesial ideologies.376 As long as the metaphysical model for describing a person is Aristotelian substance, and relation is always an accident, then being as relation will never be able to pass from its immanentized domestication within the Trinity to humankind and thereon to all reality as relational being.377 Thus Connor's proposal is to accept the theological elaboration of person as constitutively relational as expansive and to offer the Thomistic esse as the ontological explanation of that expansiveness.

Connor assumes the dynamic character of the Thomistic esse as expounded by Gerard Phelan in his paper "Being, Order and Knowledge". The latter comments on his joy at reading in the first article of Aquinas' Quaestio Disputata De Veritate that reality, unity, truth and all transcendentals are general modes of being, not properties or attributes of beings, and that substance, quantity, quality, relation and the like are also modes of being.378 Hill indeed, recognises that the whole metaphysical system of Aquinas pivots on the real distinction between essence and esse. The former explains nature and is the potential towards existence, the latter is its actus essendi. The ultimate source of such exercise is the hypostasis379

Principle of Person

The proposal then is to see this "to be", esse, not as an actuality of a substance but as an intensive act in its own right, of which substantiality is a mode. By intensive, Connor means that esse is expansive as an agere, and expansiveness as an agere is another mode of that same esse. Agere is "esse-becoming" and so constitutive of "esse 's fulfilment". Thus there is proposed here a transference of agency from essence to esse. When esse is intelligere the agent is the person. 380

In establishing the priority of esse as origin and source of all reality, we take time to flesh out Connor's thought. Connor is considering what kind of act esse is; that it might be a constitutive relationality because of its intensity as intelligible act. As such it would be a worthy candidate for the ontological category of person. Where there is intensity there is relationality. Relationality means intensity. If personality is defined by relationality, as offered in trinitarian theology, then the principle of relationality should be the principle of personality as intensity. Thus if the Thomistic esse can be shown to be intensive and therefore relational, it should be the principle of personality. 381

Connor's proposal thus presents the act of existence positively as intensive and expansive and essence as reduced to limit and specification of that act. This gives way to a Thomistically heterodox but crucial conclusion. If esse is intensive, intelligere is relational, and person is characterized by relationality, then esse should be the principle of personality. Essence as the principle of limit of act and therefore of limit of relationality should be rejected as subject of being and hence person.-191 This pinpointing of esse as the intersection of intensiveness and relationality is made clear by Josef Pieper in his book "Living the Truth". wherein he comments on Aquinas' Summa contra Gentiles 4,11. Here he shows the direct proportionality between esse as intrinsic existence and its outreach agere, as relation; the greater the relationality of the agere the more intensive the esse. Commenting on Aquinas, who states that the higher the nature the more intimate to the nature is that which flows from it, Pieper states that the notion of having an intrinsic existence. k -corresponds to being able to relate. The most comprehensive ability to relate, that is, the power to conform to all that is, implies the highest form of intrinsic existence, of selfness.392

Personal relational energy in God

he principle that Connor is being faithful to is the principle which sees person both, as the relational energy in God, and the image and likeness of God in humankind.393 The ramifications of such a proposal as Connor's are many. Esse as person subject is the principle of expansion and relation, not the principle of limit. If relation is a dimension constitutive of being itself, then love and ultimately relation to others will not be accidental but constitutive. The migration of subject and person from the limiting essence to the expanding esse redefines the relationship between God, humankind, and reality. It provides the common ontological ground: infinite esse and expanding esse. Being has become love.394 The ramifications of this proposal are profound for a renewed understanding of the nature of God's relatedness to humankind and thus for the nature and design of God's immutability.

William Norris Clarke: further contentions
God is perfectly personal being & intrinsically relational.

Robert Connor's work allows us to more fully appreciate the import of Norris Clarke's contention, made in his later paper, "Person, Being, and St Thomas",395 that the perfection of being, and therefore of the person, is dyadic, culminating in communion. With this noted, it is a suitable point at which to take up again with recent thought of William Norris Clarke.

Quoting Aquinas, that person is that which is most perfect in all of nature,396 Norris Clarke recognizes that personal being then, is the highest mode of being. It often fails to be recognized that Aquinas has an explicit, powerful dynamic notion of being, intrinsically self-communicative and relational through action. Not only is activity, which is active self-communication, the natural consequence for Aquinas, of possessing an act of existence, esse, but he maintains further, self-expression through action is the whole point, the natural perfection of being itself, the goal of its very presence in the universe. Operation is the ultimate perfection of each thing.397

To be fully is to be personally

In fleshing out the notion of substance in relation, it should be acknowledged that for Aquinas, when being is allowed to be fully itself as active presence, it becomes self­presence, self-awareness, self-consciousness, the primary attribute of person. To be fully is to be personally. A significant implication follows. Being is active presence. To be a person is to be a being that tends by nature to pour into active, conscious self­manifestation and self-communication to others, through intellect and will, working together. To be a person is to be a bi-polar being that is both present in itself, actively possessing itself by its self-consciousness, this is its substantial pole and actively oriented towards others, toward active loving self-communication to others, this is its relational pole.404 Following this understanding then, God as perfect personal being must be substance-in-relation, must be both present in God's self, actively possessing God's self by God's self-consciousness and actively oriented towards others, toward active loving self-communication to others.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Benedict XVI - Newman Beatification

Archbishop Vincent Nichols, President of the Bishops' Conference of England and Wales, enthusiastically discussed September's papal visit in response to a journalist's question at a Mass and Lecture to mark the 2010 World Communications Day. The address was given on 4 May at Allen Hall - the Diocese of Westminster's seminary for trainee priests.


Pope has a "clear inspired understanding of humanity"

“The last visit of a Pope was the chief pastor of the Catholic Church coming to visit the Catholic community to celebrate its sacraments and strengthen them in faith. This is quite different. The first images of this visit will be the Queen and Pope Benedict. This has never been seen before, so it is a continuation, if you like, of that healing of an ancient tension. And here is the Pope invited by the monarch to address the people. And he is a Pope with a vision that is so deeply rooted in a clear inspired understanding of humanity that he will know how to speak to a European capital city - a world capital city - in which so many different influences are found, so many different faiths ebb and flow, and so much misunderstanding exists about the possibilities around religious belief. So this visit is being planned and can be unpacked in a way quite different from the last and a way that can engage people.

An inspiring and inclusive visit

"From some points of view, you find this a bit surprising... But here’s the Pope and he’s here Thursday, Friday, Saturday and a bit of Sunday. One of those days - Friday - he will not celebrate Mass publicly. You think, ‘well popes celebrate Mass’, he will not celebrate Mass publicly on Friday because the Friday of the programme is a day in which he reaches out and wants to be inclusive. So there’s the educational aspect in the morning and then a vitally important interfaith initiative which actually will be focused on leadership in the community, not so much on interfaith dialogue, but how does faith energise these leaders in our society? And that’s what the Catholic Church wants to be seen to do, to bring leaders who are inspired by faith together to explore that dynamic between leadership maybe in the City, in industry, in the Health Service and wherever it might be. That leadership with the inspiration of faith.

Historic address

"And then he’ll speak from Westminster Hall in possibly the most important address of the whole visit. In that historic setting which captures so much of the history of this country, which poignantly is the place where Thomas More was condemned to death. He will address civic society, and I’m quite sure will start at the point at which everybody can enter. And he will encourage, he’ll invite, he will as you were try to cast a bit of light - but it will not be a proselytising act at all. And then from there he goes to Westminster Abbey, another unbelievably iconic place where you’ve got the two Queens, and he will visit that tomb and stop at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. So there will be prayer in the middle of this day in which he’s reaching out right across our society. And then on Saturday it becomes a bit more centred on the Catholic community as he celebrates Mass in Westminster Cathedral and then we hope an evening open-air Vigil of prayer before the Beatification on the Sunday.”