Sunday, July 18, 2010

"Development" of Doctrine Through Piety


Yogi Berra: “You’ve got to be careful if you don’t know where you’re going ‘cause you might not get there!”

Escriva: Everyone must have the piety of children and the doctrine of theologians:


A life of prayer and penance, together with an awareness of our divine filiation, transforms us into Christians whose piety is truly deep. We become little children at the feet of God. Piety is the virtue of children. And if the child is to take refuge in the arms of his father, he must be, and know that he is, small, needy. I have often meditated on this life of spiritual childhood, which is not incompatible with fortitude, because it demands a strong will, proven maturity, an open and firm character.

We are to be pious, then, as pious as children, but not ignorant. Insofar as possible, each of us should study the faith seriously, rigorously — all of which means theology. Ours should be the piety of children and the sure doctrine of theologians.

Our desire to advance in theological knowledge, in sound, firm Christian doctrine is sparked, above all, by the will to know and love God. It likewise stems from the concern of a faithful soul to attain the deepest meaning of the world, seen as coming from the hands of God. Every now and then, monotonously sounding like a broken record, some people try to resurrect a supposed incompatibility between faith and science, between human knowledge and divine revelation. But such incompatibility could only arise — and then only apparently — from a misunderstanding of the elements of the problem.

If the world has come from God, if he has created man in his image and likeness and given him a spark of divine light, the task of our intellect should be to uncover the divine meaning imbedded in all things by their nature, even if this can be attained only by dint of hard work. And with the light of faith, we also can perceive their supernatural purpose, resulting from the elevation of the natural order to the higher order of grace. We can never be afraid of developing human knowledge, because all intellectual effort, if it is serious, is aimed at truth. And Christ has said, "I am the truth."

The Christian must have a hunger to know. Everything, from the most abstract knowledge to manual techniques, can and should lead to God. For there is no human undertaking which cannot be sanctified, which cannot be an opportunity to sanctify ourselves and to cooperate with God in the sanctification of the people with whom we work. The light of the followers of Jesus Christ should not be hidden in the depths of some valley, but should be placed on the mountain peak, so that "they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven."

To work in this way is to pray. To study thus is likewise prayer. Research done with this spirit is prayer too. We are always doing the same thing, for everything can be prayer, all activity can and should lead us to God, nourish our intimate dealings with him, from morning to night. Any honourable work can be prayer and all prayerful work is apostolate. In this way the soul develops a unity of life, which is both simple and strong.

E.g. Piety: The Church knows that Jesus Christ is the Son of the living God. This was revealed to Simon who prayed with Christ (Lk. 9, 18) and became “like” Him such that he was “another Christ.” Being another Christ, Christ changed his name from Simon to “Peter” which is “rock” as Christ is “cornerstone” (Act, 4, 11). This fulfills Mt. 11, 27 that says: “no one knows the Son except the Father, nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and him to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”


Council of Chalcedon (451): “Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all teach that with one accord we confess one and the same son, our Lord Jesus Christ, the same perfect in human nature, truly God and the same with a rational soul and a body truly man, consubstantial with the Father according to divinity, and consubstantial with us, according to human nature, like unto us in all things except sin,; indeed born of the Father before the ages according to divine nature, but in the last days the same born of the virgin Mary, Mother of God according to human nature; for us and for our deliverance, one and the same Christ only begotten Son our Lord, acknowledged in two natures, without mingling, without change, indivisibly, undividedly, the distinction of the natures nowhere removed on account of the union but rather the peculiarity of each nature being kept, and uniting in one person and substance, not divided or separated into two persons, but one and the same son only begotten God Word, Lord Jesus Christ, just as from the beginning the prophets taught about Him and the Lord Jesus Himself taught us, and the creed of our fathers has handed down to us.”

Constantinople III: “And we proclaim equally two natural volitions or wills in him and two natural principles of action which undergo no division, no change, no partition, no confusion, in accordance with the teaching of the holy fathers. And the two natural wills not in opposition, as the impious heretics said, far from it, but his human will following, and not resisting or struggling, rather in fact subject to his divine and all powerful will. For the will of the flesh had to be moved, and yet to be subjected to the divine will, according to the most wise Athanasius. For just as his flesh is said to be and is flesh of the Word of God, so too the natural will of his flesh is said to and does belong to the Word of God, just as he says himself: I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of the Father who sent me, calling his own will that of his flesh, since his flesh too became his own. For in the same way that his all holy and blameless animate flesh was not destroyed in being made divine but remained in its own limit and category, so his human will as well was not destroyed by being made divine, but rather was preserved, according to the theologian Gregory, who says: "For his willing, when he is considered as saviour, is not in opposition to God, being made divine in its entirety"… Therefore, protecting on all sides the "no confusion" and "no division", we announce the whole in these brief words: Believing our lord Jesus Christ, even after his incarnation, to be one of the holy Trinity and our true God, we say that he has two natures [naturas] shining forth in his one subsistence[subsistentia] in which he demonstrated the miracles and the sufferings throughout his entire providential dwelling here, not in appearance but in truth, the difference of the natures being made known in the same one subsistence in that each nature wills and performs the things that are proper to it in a communion with the other; then in accord with this reasoning we hold that two natural wills and principles of action meet in correspondence for the salvation of the human race.

Meaning: The solution of the dualisms consists in prayer such as to know Christ, and then reflecting on that mystical knowing of Christ (called “theology”) to know how we are to act.

Example: The “Development” of Doctrine in the Second Vatican Council

Msgr. Cormac Burke - a former judge of the Roman Rota, the highest appeals court within the Catholic Church - wrote the following on the “development” of doctrine in matrimony and sexuality from primary and secondary ends of marriage to “the good of the spouses” as subjects and “openness to procreation:”

“Polonaise seems clearly convinced that the explosion of annulments is mainly the result of the abandoning of the concept of the hierarchy opf the ends of marriage; that is, the teaching embodied in 1013 of the Code of Canon Law of 1917, that marriage has a ‘primary’ end (procreation and education of offspring) and two ‘secondary’ ends (mutual aid and the remedy of concupiscence). “The denial of this hierarchy of ends opens the door to the flood of annulments we see today’ I happen to disagree with this view, but do not question Polonaise’s right to hold or present it. What I do question is his denial that there has been a change (or a development, as I hold) in the Church’s teaching on the ends of marriage.

Here he involves me rather heavily. I would not be bothered att hs, except that I feel he is utterly misleading your readers about the true position of current magisterium on the point. Polonaise correctly interprets me when he states, ‘There is little doubt that Cormac Burke now accepts that the Church today defines marriage with two equal and interrelated primary ends.’ This is true. However, if he had quoted one passage from my article in the March 1995 issue of the Homiletic & Pastoral Review, I think he would have reflected more justly not only my opinion, but also why I hold it to be grounded in the magisterium. I wrote:

“For long in Catholic teaching a hierarchical presentation was made of the ends of marriage, with procreation being the principal end. Vatican II<>Catholic Catechism of the Catholic Church declares that these ends are twofold: ‘The good of the spouses themselves, and the transmission of life’ which is identical to what was already stated nt he 1983 Code of Canon Law… Ratrhaer than any hierarchy between them, it is their mutual interdependence and inseparability which are not emphasized.”

As I said above, I consider the new emphasis here to be a development from the teaching of Pius XI and Pius XII, If Polonaise chooses to see a contradiction rather than a development, he should not mislead your readers by claiming that nothing has happened in magisterial teaching at this point.”

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