Sunday, August 28, 2011

Death of Msgr. James M. Sheehan

Office of the Archbishop

DATE: August 28, 2011

It is with great sadness that the Archbishop announces the passing into Eternal Life of Monsignor James Matthew Sheehan, Judicial Vicar and Secretary for Canonical Affairs. He was 39 years of age. Please join us in praying for the peaceful repose of Monsignor Sheehan's soul, and for the consolation of his family.

As the effects of Cancer set in, and while continuing treatment, it was Monsignor's wish to return home to our Residence at the Cathedral Basilica until the time of the Lord's Call. He died surrounded by a most loving and caring family, and faithful friends.
The Obsequies are as follows, all at our Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

- 12:00 Noon - 7:00 PM: Viewing

- 7:00 PM: Recitation of the Rosary

- 7:30 PM: Vigil Mass -

Principal Celebrant: The Most Reverend Arthur J. Serratelli, S.S.L., S.T.D., Bishop of Paterson;

Homilist: The Reverend Geno Silva, S.T.D., Vicar for Evangelization, Diocese of Paterson

Thursday, September 1, 2011

- 11:00 AM: Funeral Mass -

Principal Celebrant: The Most Reverend John J. Myers, D.D., J.C.D., Archbishop of Newark;

Homilist: The Reverend Monsignor Joseph R. Reilly, S.T.D., Rector, The College Seminary, Saint Andrew Hall

May Monsignor Sheehan, and all who sleep in Christ, find in the Lord's Presence Light, Happiness, and Peace.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Faith, Secular Work and Gay Legislation

If you look at "Laborem Exercens" opening paragraph and #6, you find that only persons work. Work is not mere action, but self given. "Things" don't work. The key is the Christology of Constantinople III: any free action of Christ is the divine "I" obeying the will of the Father. This is not merely an action he performs, but Who He is. The will doesn't will and the body doesn't act. "Actiones sunt suppositorum." Only persons act (freely).
The prototype of all work is the act of faith - which is the whole self given in obedience to God revealing. The work of Adam was the first act of faith as obedience to God to till the garden and name the animals. The immediate result of that action that was self-gift was "the original solitude." This means that man crossed the threshold from being a rational object doing things to being an obedient "I." He therefore felt alone in a created universe of just "things" as objects. He is alone as a subject in a world of objects. As made in the image of the "We," this is "not good." Hence, the creation of the woman to form the "communio" of the two that is the act of imaging.

The act of naming the animals (work) is an act of obedience to God. This is the definition of faith in Dei Verbum #5 ["The obedience of faith" (Rom. 13:26; see 1:5; 2 Cor 10:5-6) "is to be given to God who reveals, an obedience by which man commits his whole self freely to God, offering the full submission of intellect and will to God who reveals"]. I take it to be also - as in the pope's example -donning the condom to save the life of the other. Now, if work, done in obedience to God, most rigorously can be defined as living faith, then it would be most appropriate, on the contrary, to bring a lawsuit arguing that work that requires one to photograph gay weddings or deliver cakes or rent honeymoon suites is a violation of religious liberty?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Locution: 8/23/1971


Context: Read Obras, February 1979, 16-17; Vazquez de Prada Vol. III 425-430.

Time-Line From the Locutions to the End and John Paul II and the Prelature.

5/8/70: Si Deus Nobiscum, quis contra nos?”
8/6/70: Clama ne cesses
8/23/71: Adeamus cum fiducia ad thronum gloriae, ut misericordiam consequamur.

Explanation of O.F. in Obras (Feb. 79):
"Voy a deciros algo que Dios Nuestro Senor quiere que sepais. Los hijos de Dios en el Opus Dei Adeamus cum fiducia – hemos de ir con much fe – ad thronum gloriae, al trono de la gloria, la Virgen Santisima, Madre de Dios y Madre Nuestra, a la que tantas veces invocamos como Sedes Sapientiae, ut misericordiam conse- quamur, para alcanzar misericordia (…).

"Que lo tengais muy en cuenta en estos momentos y tambien despues. You diria que es un querer de Dios: que metamos Nuestra vida interior personal dentro de esas palabras que os acabo de decir. A veces las escuchareis sin ruido ninguno, en la intimdad de vuestra alma, cuando menos lo espereis. Adeamus cum fiducia: id – repito –en confianza al Corazon Dulcisimo de Maria, que es Madre nuestra y Madre de Jesus. Y con Ella, que es Medianera de todas las gracias, al Corazon Sacratisimo y Misericordioso de Jesucristo.”

Footnote 55 on p. 426 of V. de P.: “Archbishop Julian Herranz tells us something interesting. He heard about this supernatural incident from the founder himself, shortly after the return from Caglio. At this time the work on Cavabianca… had already begun, and the Father asked that they put there a stone bas-relief which would show our Lady seated on a throne and being crowned by the Blessed Trinity. At its base would be engraved the words of the locution. The Father suggested that while they awaited the juridical solution to the institutional problem of the Work, those words should be prayed as an aspiration, to obtain from our Lady the desired solution. That was a suggestion that his children acted on for years. ‘And so,’ concludes Archbishop Herranz, ‘very great were our joy and our gratitude to the Blessed Virgin when the Pope (who knew nothing about this) made public his decision to establish Opus Dei as a personal prelature on August 23, 1983 – the anniversary of the special divine light received by the founder eleven years earlier.”

Then: December 31, 1071 – prayer of O.F. Vazquez de Prada p. 451.

Love begins anew: wholesale apostolate. He speaks to 150,000 people in two months

Summer of 1972: Two months of Catechesis is thought up and begun – interspersed with the 3 “Last Madnesses.” Cavabianca, Torreciudad and Morir a Tiempo [to die on time].

Then, 1974, the Catechesis en America: Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Equador, Venezuela.
1975: Venezuela – Guatemala. Death 6/26/75.

Postscript: D. Alvaro: Cn. January 1984, 68: “Today [the 9th] he would have been 82 years old. There was a time in which he thought that precisely in 1984 he would surrender his soul to God. It’s evident that he had to suffer so much, that he lived so quickly and such great effort during the last years of his life that the Lord shortened the time of being on earth. We have him in Heaven with much greater strength and effectiveness. If he was father and mother among us, now he is more so and in a distinct way because he lives in God. We make him the gift of our surrender and in his paternal hands we place our resolutions so that he help us to fulfill them.”

The man died loving to the last minute!

August 24: St. Bartholomew - Nathanael

St. Bartholomew – Nathanael

1) The sincerity of Nathanael: “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” He says it as he sees it. But then with that openness, Philip says to him: “Come and see.” Benedict XVI makes the point that it is not enough to hear and know about Christ, one must experience Him. So, you have to go and see. This is already gift of self on the part of Nathanael. Then, he receives the gift of Christ’s revelation of Himself that we don’t understand, but Nathanael did: “I saw you under the fig tree.” Amazed, Nathanael confesses, “You are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” (Jn. 2, 49).

This scene is very similar as the encounter between Christ and the Samaritan woman at the well. She wants water from Him. He asks her to bring her husband. She has no husband and says so. Christ is pleased and admires this and eventually reveals to her that He is the Messias.

2) The large point here is that we must speak the truth with simplicity, especially about ourselves. If we do so, Christ will reveal Himself to us. The Pope makes the point that the faith is not a permanent possession but has to be achieved moment by moment. It takes place in the moment we make the conversion away from ourselves and vacate the interior premises thus creating space for Him to become us. Benedict wrote in “Introduction to Christianity” ([1990] 25): “belief is the con-version in which man discovers that he is following an illusion if he devotes himself only to the tangible. This is at the same time the fundamental reason why belief is not demonstrable: it is an about-turn; only he who turns about is receptive to it; and because our center of gravity does not cease to incline us in another direction it remains a turn that is new every day only in a life-long conversion can we become aware of what it means to say “I believe.’”

Therefore, without sincerity as authenticity [sincere = sine cera (a statue without wax connecting the separately sculpted parts)] the marble statue does not have the integrity of being a single sculpted piece. So also a man with wax connections is not a whole and integral man. He is complicated by an internal politic showing one thing and thinking another. He is full of himself and there is not space open for Christ in him. Remember, Revelation (the Person of Christ) only takes place when there is the act of reception of Christ as our Lady did with her “Yes.”

The following is Benedict XVI: L’Osservatore Romano, 11 October 2006, 11 (Old feast of the Maternity of Mary: Ephesus, 1500 anniversary in 1931, Decretum Laudis of Opus Dei in 1947 and Convoking of Vatican II in 1958):

* * * * * * * * * * *

The Apostle Bartholomew shows the followers of Christ that attachment to Jesus can be lived daily without doing sensational, extraordinary deeds

At the General Audience on Wednesday, 4 October, 2006, the Holy Father continued his Reflections on the Apostles for the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square by commenting on St. Bartholomew. The following is a translation of the Pope's Catechesis, given in Italian.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the series on the Apostles called by Jesus during his earthly life, today it is the Apostle Bartholomew who attracts our attention. In the ancient lists of the Twelve he always comes before Matthew, whereas the name of the Apostle who precedes him varies; it may be Philip (cf. Mt 10:3; Mk 3:18; Lk 6:14) or Thomas (cf. Acts 1:13).
His name is clearly a patronymic, since it is formulated with an explicit reference to his father's name. Indeed, it is probably a name with an Aramaic stamp, bar Talmay, which means precisely: "son of Talmay".

We have no special information about Bartholomew; indeed, his name always and only appears in the lists of the Twelve mentioned above and is therefore never central to any narrative.
However, it has traditionally been identified with Nathanael: a name that means "God has given". This Nathanael came from Cana (cf. Jn 21:2) and he may therefore have witnessed the great "sign" that Jesus worked in that place (cf. Jn 2:1-11). It is likely that the identification of the two figures stems from the fact that Nathanael is placed in the scene of his calling, recounted in John's Gospel, next to Philip, in other words, the place that Bartholomew occupies in the lists of the Apostles mentioned in the other Gospels.

Philip told this Nathanael that he had found "him of whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph" (Jn 1:45). As we know, Nathanael's retort was rather strongly prejudiced: "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (Jn 1:46). In its own way, this form of protestation is important for us. Indeed, it makes us see that according to Judaic expectations the Messiah could not come from such an obscure village as, precisely, Nazareth (see also Jn 7:42).

God's freedom

But at the same time Nathanael's protest highlights God's freedom, which baffles our expectations by causing him to be found in the very place where we least expect him. Moreover, we actually know that Jesus was not exclusively "from Nazareth" but was born in Bethlehem (cf. Mt 2:1; Lk 2:4) and came ultimately from Heaven, from the Father who is in Heaven.

Nathanael's reaction suggests another thought to us: in our relationship with Jesus we must not be satisfied with words alone. In his answer, Philip offers Nathanael a meaningful invitation: "Come and see!" (Jn 1:46). Our knowledge of Jesus needs above all a first-hand experience: someone else's testimony is of course important, for normally the whole of our Christian life begins with the proclamation handed down to us by one or more witnesses.

However, we ourselves must then be personally involved in a close and deep relationship with Jesus; in a similar way, when the Samaritans had heard the testimony of their fellow citizen whom Jesus had met at Jacob's well, they wanted to talk to him directly, and after this conversation they told the woman: "It is no longer because of your words that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Saviour of the world" (Jn 4:42).
'How do you know me?'

Returning to the scene of Nathanael's vocation, the Evangelist tells us that when Jesus sees Nathanael approaching, he exclaims: "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile!" (Jn 1:47). This is praise reminiscent of the text of a Psalm: "Blessed is the man... in whose spirit there is no deceit" (32[31]:2), but provokes the curiosity of Nathanael who answers in amazement: "How do you know me?" (Jn 1:48).

Jesus' reply cannot immediately be understood. He says: "Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you" (Jn 1:48). We do not know what had happened under this fig tree. It is obvious that it had to do with a decisive moment in Nathanael's life
His heart is moved by Jesus' words, he feels understood and he understands: "This man knows everything about me, he knows and is familiar with the road of life; I can truly trust this man". And so he answers with a clear and beautiful confession of faith: "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" (Jn 1:49). In this confession is conveyed a first important step in the journey of attachment to Jesus.

Nathanael's words shed light on a twofold, complementary aspect of Jesus' identity: he is recognized both in his special relationship with God the Father, of whom he is the Only-begotten Son, and in his relationship with the People of Israel, of whom he is the declared King, precisely the description of the awaited Messiah. We must never lose sight of either of these two elements because if we only proclaim Jesus' heavenly dimension, we risk making him an ethereal and evanescent being; and if, on the contrary, we recognize only his concrete place in history, we end by neglecting the divine dimension that properly qualifies him.

We have no precise information about Bartholomew-Nathanael's subsequent apostolic activity. According to information handed down by Eusebius, the fourth-century historian, a certain Pantaenus is supposed to have discovered traces of Bartholomew's presence even in India (cf. Hist. eccl. V, 10, 3).

In later tradition, as from the Middle Ages, the account of his death by flaying became very popular. only think of the famous scene of the Last Judgment in the Sistine Chapel in which Michelangelo painted St. Bartholomew, who is holding his own skin in his left hand, on which the artist left his self-portrait.

St. Bartholomew's relics are venerated here in Rome in the Church dedicated to him on the Tiber Island, where they are said to have been brought by the German Emperor Otto III in the year 983.

To conclude, we can say that despite the scarcity of information about him, St. Bartholomew stands before us to tell us that attachment to Jesus can also be lived and witnessed to without performing sensational deeds. Jesus himself, to whom each one of us is called to dedicate his or her own life and death, is and remains extraordinary.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Benedict on Newman

"His initial attraction to Newman may have been to Newsman's theological writing, but his strongest attachment to him is surely to the man of faith, a man who could say of himself:

'I understood... that the exterior world, physical and historical, was but the manifestation to our senses of realities greater than itself. Nature was a parable, Scripture was an allegory, pagan literature, philosophy and mythology, properly understood, were but a preparation for the Gospel. The Greek poets and sages were, in a sense, prophets.'

" Benedict wants to be in England not because theologians are of crucial importance, but because saints are absolutely essential to the growth, purification and existence of the Church."

Monday, August 22, 2011

Contraception-Becomes-Gay From Cipher-Anthropology

Interview With Monsignor Livio Melina of the Lateran University ST. PAUL, Minnesota, MARCH 18, 2004

We have now not only the crisis of moral norms or crisis of marriage or families, but we are losing the meaning of the sexual difference -- the importance of sexual difference for the unique identity of each person.

Assertion of Sexual Difference as "Hate Crime." Then, the legal persecution of Christianity.

To assert the reality of sexual difference such as in a Christian wedding, there will be liability for hate crime.

Consider the reach of prosecution for “hate crimes:”

'‘Hate crimes’ laws are a key part of a long-term strategy by homosexual activists to use ‘sexual orientation’-based policies and laws to suppress dissent, radically redefine marriage, and, ultimately, to criminalize biblical morality.'"


If hate crimes laws are passed, we’re going to see the wholesale erosion of
our freedoms as has never been seen in the history of this nation.



The presupposition behind the notion of “hate crime” is the radical equality of men and women as non-relational sexless individuals, or individuals in whom sex is meaningless and trivial as relation. The meaninglessness of it has long been established in the prevalence of the contraceptive and the contraceptive culture for at least the last 50 years.

Having established “equality” as the defining characteristic of men and women and having jettisoned “unsameness,” then the badgering tool becomes “discrimination” against equality. Once the bodily relationality of sex is removed from the intellectual landscape of understanding men and women, you are mired in a gay culture that will be enforced by law. The constitutive relationality of the human person is obliterated, and the theological notion of imaging God as such becomes material for hate crimes and the persecution of Christian religion.

Consider Ratzinger:

Gnostic Character of the Gay Culture

“Mary is the believing other whom God calls. As such, she represents the creation, which is called to respond to God, and the freedom of the creature, which does not lose its integrity in love but attains completion therein. Mary thus represents saved and liberated man, but she does os precisely as a woman, that is, in the bodily determinateness that is inseparable from man: ‘Male and female he created them’ (Gen. 1, 27). The [biological’ and the human are inseparable in the figure of Mary, just as are the human the ‘theological.’ This insight is deeply akin to the dominant movements of our time, yet it also contradicts them at the very core. For while today’[s anthropological program hinges more radically than ever before on ‘emancipation,’ it seeks a freedom whose goal is to ‘be like God’ (Gen. 3, 5). But the idea that we can be like God implies a detachment of man from his biological conditionality, from the ‘male and female he created them.’ This sexual difference is something that man, as a biological being, can never get rid of, something that marks man in the deepest center of his being. Yet it is regarded as a totally irrelevant triviality, as a constraint arising from historically fabricated ‘roles,’ and is therefore consigned to the ‘purely biological realm,’ which has nothing to do with man as such.

Accordingly, this ‘purely biological’ dimension is treated as a thing that man can manipulate at will because it lies beyond the scope of what counts as human and spiritual (so much so that man can freely manipulate the coming into being of life itself). This treatment of ‘biology’ as a mere thing is accordingly regarded as a liberation, for it enables man to leave bios behind, use it freely, and to be completely independent of it in every other respect, that is, to be simply a ‘human being’ who is neither male nor female. But in reality man thereby strikes a blow against his deepest being. He holds himself in contempt, because the truth is that he is human only insofar as he is bodily, only insofar as he is man or woman. When man reduces this fundamental determination of his being to a despicable trifle that can be treated as a thing, he himself becomes a trifle and a thing, and his ‘liberation’ turns out to be his degradation to an object of production. Whenever biology is subtracted from humanity, humanity itself is negated. Thus, the question of the legitimacy of maleness as such and of femaleness as such has high stakes; nothing less than the reality of the creature [my emphasis].Since the biological determinateness of humanity is least possible to hide in motherhood, an emancipation that negates bios is a particular aggression against the woman. It is the denial of her right to be a Woman. Conversely, the preservation of creation is in this respect bound up in a special way with the question of woman. And the Woman in whom the ‘biological’ is ‘theological’ – that is motherhood of God – is in a special point where the path diverge.”

[1] J. Ratzinger, “Mary, The Church at the Source,” Ignatius (2005) 32-33.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Curing a Culture by Relationality and Gift

[Courtesy of Osamu Watanabi]

“Pope Paul VI noted that ‘the world is in trouble because of the lack of thinking.’ He was making an observation, but also expressing a wish: ‘a new trajectory of thinking is needed in order to arrive at a better understanding of the implications of our being one family. Interaction among the peoples of the world calls us to embark upon this new trajectory, so that integration can signify solidarity rather than marginalization. Thinking of this kind requires a deeper critical examination of the category of relation. This is a task that cannot be undertaken by the social sciences alone, insofar as the contribution of disciplines such as metaphysics and theology is needed if man’s transcendent dignity is to be properly understood.”[1]


Published: NYT August 16, 2011

HOP TIEN, Vietnam — Rare visitors to Hop Tien often catch a first glimpse of this sleepy village in a blur as they career, white-knuckled, around a hairpin turn high in the mountains above.

What they do not see as they glance over the ruggedly beautiful territories of northern Vietnam is the ostracism of many women in this region, and the enterprising determination of one woman who has begun to fight against it.

Over a decade ago, human traffickers descended on this seemingly forgotten slice of soaring limestone crags and lush valleys to snatch up women and children and sell them over the border in China, less than four miles away.

The first predators arrived in Hop Tien in 2003, offering in seemingly innocent tones to buy some young women new shoes. Then the women disappeared. Soon others vanished too, all between the ages of 16 and 22, to be sold as wives, forced laborers or sex workers.
They were victims of a relatively widespread problem in Vietnam that included the abduction and trafficking of children as young as 5 or 6 years old, according to Matthew Friedman, the regional project manager for the United Nations Inter-Agency Project on Human Trafficking.

Between 2001 and 2005, the Chinese police say they rescued more than 1,800 trafficking victims on the Vietnam border, according to a 2005 State Department report on human rights. Since then, particularly over the last three years, Vietnam “has waged a significant and successful anti-trafficking campaign,” Mr. Friedman said. But it still faces challenges, and trafficking in people remains a problem.
Not least is the stigma attached to the victims once they have been rescued. After villagers here reported the abductions, the Vietnamese authorities collaborated with Chinese officials to find the women and, remarkably, bring them home.
But residents’ elation lurched to horror at the realization that two of the women were pregnant. News quickly spread that the others, too, had been made sex workers, and even those who did not bear the signs of the trade paid its price.
Fearful that a fallen woman would cast shame on the whole family, several households quickly disowned their kidnapped daughters. Some of the girls built makeshift tents, blue specks that can still be seen tucked high into the mountainside, a wide distance from town.

They were outcasts, without food, income or hope.
That is when Vang Thi Mai, a short woman with work-worn hands and a round, beaming face, took them in, and changed their lives and the fortunes of the entire village.

Even today villagers are reluctant to discuss the abductions and defer to Mrs. Mai. By her account, at least seven women were taken, and after they were shunned upon their return, she invited them into her home and eventually brought them into a small textile cooperative founded by her and her husband. She taught them how to separate hemp stems into strands, spin the strands into thread, weave the thread into fabric and dye the fabric for clothes and other items.

“When I began working with the victims, the town ostracized and criticized me for being associated with the women,” Mrs. Mai, 49, recounted in an interview. “They said the women were unpure and I should not befriend such unpure women. I told them what happened was not their fault, as they were the victims of others’ wrongdoings.”

Mrs. Mai, who had worked as a nurse and had been president of the district’s Women’s Association, told the women who had returned to ignore the village’s scorn. “I said to them that when they would be able to earn money, to live on their own and to care for others with their earned money, the town would have to change their thinking,” she said.

Indeed, one by one, other village women began noticing the co-op’s profits and grew eager to join. Today the co-op is 110 women strong, and working there can increase a household’s income fourfold. Even some men have begun helping with heavy lifting and more labor-intensive chores. Over the years, Mrs. Mai said, she has also brought victims of domestic violence into the co-op.

During a recent visit, two mothers chatted above the rhythmic clacking of wooden looms inside the workshop. Outside in the smoky morning air, a young woman slowly and patiently sewed a pattern onto a new square of fabric.

When one of the crafts is sold, Mrs. Mai explained, the income is distributed evenly among the women who helped produce it. She keeps 3,000 Vietnamese dong, less than 15 cents, from each item for a “rainy day fund” to help the women.

Today the co-op sells its goods to an increasing number of tourists who visit. Other customers include the French Embassy, a tourism company, a hotel owner and an export company in Hanoi that ships the goods to several countries worldwide.

The village, which lies within the commune of Lung Tam, is still poor, but it earns more than before and is in many ways better off than many others in Ha Giang, the country’s northernmost province and one of Vietnam’s poorest regions. More than 90 percent of its inhabitants are ethnic minorities, most of whom scratch out a living — less than $250 per year on average — by farming among the precipitous Huang Lien and Can Ty mountain ranges.

Mrs. Mai’s co-op has managed to preserve the traditions of her
Hmong minority while improving the region’s economy and empowering its women, a hat trick that has steadily earned her the support of political figures and nongovernmental organizations alike. Mrs. Mai has been visited by President Tran Duc Luong of Vietnam and was flown to France to represent her culture at an international craft fair. Batik International, based in Paris, became involved with the co-op in 2007, joined later by Oxfam and Caritas.

“It’s so unexpected when you see her and you know what she has been able to do,” Stephanie Benamozig, a project manager for Batik, wrote in an e-mail. “I almost expected her to be a strict woman in a business suit but she is just this sweet, smiling person that looks like the town mother.”

Mrs. Mai, who on her own initiative and with her parents’ support was educated until age 17, is one of the few in her province who speaks and reads Vietnamese in addition to her minority dialect. Such education is rare among the province’s Hmong, more than 60 percent of whom are illiterate.

Her own daughter is now a teacher, and she encourages the women in the co-op to send their children to school, too. Poverty, strict patriarchal mores and a lack of knowledge of the outside world have left many other trafficking survivors in this region with few options.

So much of the success of the co-op has depended on Mrs. Mai’s extraordinary skills that it has proved difficult to replicate. “Mrs. Mai is very strong,” Ms. Benamozig said. “In Lung Tam, Mrs. Mai deals with everything. She manages everything. It’s not common to have such a personality.”

Many of the women Mrs. Mai initially rescued have since married. “They were lucky to find men who were able to understand that their unpureness was not their fault and loved them for who they were,” she said. Attitudes in the village have slowly changed.

“There is still a group of elders who cannot understand and support me,” Mrs. Mai said. “But the rest — younger people — are able to see why I did what I did and support me. They also no longer ostracize the women.”

[1] Benedict XVI, “Caritas in Veritate,” #53.

Truth and Falsity of Modernism

Modernism is true in that it tried to get to the Person of Christ beyond the reductionism of just doctrine. It is false in that it dipped into a subjectivism and lost the reality of Christ in the self as consciousness. Christ was reduced to an internal sentiment and all religion to a psychology of vital immanentism. The distinction is so delicate that Ratzinger at his best in affirming that the self becomes Christ (Revelation as Person) by the conversion and therefore reception Christ into self (faith) was accused of Modernism by Michael Schmaus.

This understanding of faith as conversion away from self in order to receive and be transformed into Christ as subject and therefore take on a relational anthropology is the Second Vatican Council (GS #24). This conversion takes place in the interchange of subjectivities (Christ and the believers), but it is not subjectivism and the non-reality of relativism. Rather, it is supreme realism. The supreme created reality – being – that reason craves is the self as going out of self experienced in the act of transcendence).

Therefore, Modernism had its true side, but dangerous in its falsity. Pius X providentially stopped the proliferation of the falsity of modernism while giving the Church a chance to develop the spirituality of Opus Dei, the theology of De Lubac and Joseph Ratzinger and the phenomenological metaphysics of Karol Wojtyla. All of this has conspired with a technology of universal communication to give us the greatest possibility to restart a global culture with a “new trajectory of thinking” (BXVI “Caritas in Veritate #53) built on this relational anthropology to create the “new civilization of love.”

Therefore, I repeat the remark of Ratzinger taken from Johann Metz:

“Levels of Teaching"

The text (Instruction on the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian) also offers different forms of binding which arise from different levels of magisterial teaching. It states – perhaps for the first time with such clarity – that there are magisterial decisions which can not be and are not intended to be the last word on the matter as such, but are a substantial anchorage in the problem and are first and foremost an expression of pastoral prudence, a sort of provisional disposition. Their core remains valid, but the individual details influenced by the circumstances at the time may need further rectification.

“In this regard one can refer to the statements of the Popes during the last century on religious freedom as well as the anti-Modernist decisions at the beginning of this century, especially the decisions of the Biblical Commission of that time As a warning cry against hasty and superficial adaptations they remain fully justified; a person of the stature of Johann Baptist Metz has said, for example, that the anti-Modernity decisions of the Church rendered a great service in keeping her from sinking into the liberal-bourgeois world. But the details of the determinations of their contents were later superseded once they had carried out their pastoral duty at a particular moment.”

[1] J. Ratzinger, “Theology is not the Private Idea of Theologians,” The Wanderer August 2, 1990 (Reprinted from L’Osservatore Romano [English] July 2, 1990.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Assumption - 2011 The Reasoning of "Fittingness

The Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary: The reasoning is from the experience of love and beyond necessary deductive reasoning.

Ratzinger makes a critique of St. Anselm:

St. Anselm of Canterbury had attempted to give a rational and deductive account of Cur homo Deus? His answer was that God had been offended and the injury to divine justice could only be healed by an infinite God becoming man and restoring the lost state of justice. Finite man could make this restoration.
Ratzinger’s response to this is the relationality of the divine Person who restores justice not because of our understanding of justice, but because He is Love and do so for that reason. God becomes man because of the foolishness of His Love.

In the same way with the Assumption of our Lady into Heaven. She is not assumed because of rational necessity, but because it was fitting with the divine Love. In the encyclical promulgating the Assumption, “Munificentissimus Deus,” Pius XII
“St. John Damascene, an outstanding herald of this traditional truth, spoke out with powerful eloquence when he compared the bodily Assumption of the loving Mother of God with her other prerogatives and privileges. "It was fitting that she, who had kept her virginity intact in childbirth, should keep her own body free from all corruption even after death. It was fitting that she, who had carried the Creator as a child at her breast, should dwell in the divine tabernacles. It was fitting that the spouse, whom the Father had taken to himself, should live in the divine mansions. It was fitting that she, who had seen her Son upon the cross and who had thereby received into her heart the sword of sorrow which she had escaped in the act of giving birth to him, should look upon him as he sits with the Father. It was fitting that God's Mother should possess what belongs to her Son, and that she should be honored by every creature as the Mother and as the handmaid of God."[17]
22. These words of St. John Damascene agree perfectly with what others have taught on this same subject. Statements no less clear and accurate are to be found in sermons delivered by Fathers of an earlier time or of the same period, particularly on the occasion of this feast. And so, to cite some other examples, St. Germanus of Constantinople considered the fact that the body of Mary, the virgin Mother of God, was incorrupt and had been taken up into heaven to be in keeping, not only with her divine motherhood, but also with the special holiness of her virginal body. "You are she who, as it is written, appears in beauty, and your virginal body is all holy, all chaste, entirely the dwelling place of God, so that it is henceforth completely exempt from dissolution into dust. Though still human, it is changed into the heavenly life of incorruptibility, truly living and glorious, undamaged and sharing in perfect life."[18] And another very ancient writer asserts: "As the most glorious Mother of Christ, our Savior and God and the giver of life and immortality, has been endowed with life by him, she has received an eternal incorruptibility of the body together with him who has raised her up from the tomb and has taken her up to himself in a way known only to him."[19]
24. Among the scholastic theologians there have not been lacking those who, wishing to inquire more profoundly into divinely revealed truths and desirous of showing the harmony that exists between what is termed the theological demonstration and the Catholic faith, have always considered it worthy of note that this privilege of the Virgin Mary's Assumption is in wonderful accord with those divine truths given us in Holy Scripture.
25. When they go on to explain this point, they adduce various proofs to throw light on this privilege of Mary. As the first element of these demonstrations, they insist upon the fact that, out of filial love for his mother, Jesus Christ has willed that she be assumed into heaven. They base the strength of their proofs on the incomparable dignity of her divine motherhood and of all those prerogatives which follow from it. These include her exalted holiness, entirely surpassing the sanctity of all men and of the angels, the intimate union of Mary with her Son, and the affection of preeminent love which the Son has for his most worthy Mother.
26. Often there are theologians and preachers who, following in the footsteps of the holy Fathers,[20] have been rather free in their use of events and expressions taken from Sacred Scripture to explain their belief in the Assumption. Thus, to mention only a few of the texts rather frequently cited in this fashion, some have employed the words of the psalmist: "Arise, O Lord, into your resting place: you and the ark, which you have sanctified"[21]; and have looked upon the Ark of the Covenant, built of incorruptible wood and placed in the Lord's temple, as a type of the most pure body of the Virgin Mary, preserved and exempt from all the corruption of the tomb and raised up to such glory in heaven. Treating of this subject, they also describe her as the Queen entering triumphantly into the royal halls of heaven and sitting at the right hand of the divine Redeemer.[22] Likewise they mention the Spouse of the Canticles "that goes up by the desert, as a pillar of smoke of aromatical spices, of myrrh and frankincense" to be crowned.[23] These are proposed as depicting that heavenly Queen and heavenly Spouse who has been lifted up to the courts of heaven with the divine Bridegroom.
27. Moreover, the scholastic Doctors have recognized the Assumption of the Virgin Mother of God as something signified, not only in various figures of the Old Testament, but also in that woman clothed with the sun whom John the Apostle contemplated on the Island of Patmos.[24] Similarly they have given special attention to these words of the New Testament: "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you, blessed are you among women,"[25] since they saw, in the mystery of the Assumption, the fulfillment of that most perfect grace granted to the Blessed Virgin and the special blessing that countered the curse of Eve….
28. Thus, during the earliest period of scholastic theology, that most pious man, Amadeus, Bishop of Lausarme, held that the Virgin Mary's flesh had remained incorrupt-for it is wrong to believe that her body has seen corruption-because it was really united again to her soul and, together with it, crowned with great glory in the heavenly courts. "For she was full of grace and blessed among women. She alone merited to conceive the true God of true God, whom as a virgin, she brought forth, to whom as a virgin she gave milk, fondling him in her lap, and in all things she waited upon him with loving care."[26]
29. Among the holy writers who at that time employed statements and various images and analogies of Sacred Scripture to Illustrate and to confirm the doctrine of the Assumption, which was piously believed, the Evangelical Doctor, St. Anthony of Padua, holds a special place. On the feast day of the Assumption, while explaining the prophet's words: "I will glorify the place of my feet,"[27] he stated it as certain that the divine Redeemer had bedecked with supreme glory his most beloved Mother from whom he had received human flesh. He asserts that "you have here a clear statement that the Blessed Virgin has been assumed in her body, where was the place of the Lord's feet. Hence it is that the holy Psalmist writes: 'Arise, O Lord, into your resting place: you and the ark which you have sanctified."' And he asserts that, just as Jesus Christ has risen from the death over which he triumphed and has ascended to the right hand of the Father, so likewise the ark of his sanctification "has risen up, since on this day the Virgin Mother has been taken up to her heavenly dwelling."[28]
30. When, during the Middle Ages, scholastic theology was especially flourishing, St. Albert the Great who, to establish this teaching, had gathered together many proofs from Sacred Scripture, from the statements of older writers, and finally from the liturgy and from what is known as theological reasoning, concluded in this way: "From these proofs and authorities and from many others, it is manifest that the most blessed Mother of God has been assumed above the choirs of angels. And this we believe in every way to be true."[29] And, in a sermon which he delivered on the sacred day of the Blessed Virgin Mary's annunciation, explained the words "Hail, full of grace"-words used by the angel who addressed her-the Universal Doctor, comparing the Blessed Virgin with Eve, stated clearly and incisively that she was exempted from the fourfold curse that had been laid upon Eve.[30]
St. Thomas Aquinas:
31. Following the footsteps of his distinguished teacher, the Angelic Doctor, despite the fact that he never dealt directly with this question, nevertheless, whenever he touched upon it, always held together with the Catholic Church, that Mary's body had been assumed into heaven along with her soul.[31]
St. Bonaventure:
32. Along with many others, the Seraphic Doctor held the same views. He considered it as entirely certain that, as God had preserved the most holy Virgin Mary from the violation of her virginal purity and integrity in conceiving and in childbirth, he would never have permitted her body to have been resolved into dust and ashes.[32] Explaining these words of Sacred Scripture: "Who is this that comes up from the desert, flowing with delights, leaning upon her beloved?"[33] and applying them in a kind of accommodated sense to the Blessed Virgin, he reasons thus: "From this we can see that she is there bodily...her blessedness would not have been complete unless she were there as a person. The soul is not a person, but the soul, joined to the body, is a person. It is manifest that she is there in soul and in body. Otherwise she would not possess her complete beatitude.[34]
Comment by Christoph Schönborn:

As opposed to St. Anselm, St. Thomas “approaches Christology - the entire history of salvation, indeed – with a different theological method. Everything that God, in his sovereign freedom, has disposed, all that he sets to work in accordance with his plan for creation and salvation, transcends our rational powers and does not allow itself to be deduced as ‘rationally necessary: ‘neither the creation, nor the election of Israel, the Son’s saving mission, the work of redemption on the Cross or the mission of the Church, may be deduced as necessary on rational grounds. They are not, however, on that account irrational and arbitrary, Nominalism thought. All these works of the goodness and wisdom of God make sense, have their coherence, have indeed – as Anselm himself says – their own beauty. In the words of Irenaeus of Lyons, they are symphonic, they ‘are in harmony,’ or (as Thomas says) they are ‘fitting.’ The argument from fitness plays a central role in the Christology of Saint Thomas. In response to the question of why God should become man, Thomas offers no demonstration of ‘rational necessity,’ but he does suggest ten ‘grounds of fitness’ that show this act of God to be extremely appropriate, coherent, consistent with God’s other actions…
“The very strength of the Thomistic argument of fitness is that it does not attempt to derive what is concrete and historical from some general concept but, on the contrary, seeks to arrive at a view of the whole through the most precise examination possible of the concrete historical events and likewise, therefore, through an exact comprehension of the literal sense of texts. The search for ‘fitness’ thus keeps a balance between strict attention to textual and historical facts and a sense of the interconnectedness in the large whole.”
Hans Urs von Balthasar’s “Theological Aesthetic:”
“For a long time I (Christoph Schönborn) concerned myself with the question of whether Hans Urs von Balthasar’s theological aesthetic does not represent a further development, in the current context, of Saint Thomas’ method of fitness…What von Balthasar calls ‘seeing the form,’ taking up Goethe’s concept of a form, does in fact seem to me to be very close to what results from the argument from fitness in Thomas’ work. Common to both is the careful attention to the concrete reality of the history of salvation. Both have an outstanding knowledge of Holy Scripture, which they served all their lives as faithful commentators. Yet both have a keen sense that the overall view of the many details is not produced by the efforts of their own reason but results from a point of view granted by grace, from the ‘eye of faith,’ which shares in the light of the divine wisdom and which views the interrelationships in this light, even if only ‘as in a mirror (1 Cor. 13, 12), that is, in faith and not yet by full vision.”[1]
My Take: Since Ratzinger confronts and rejects the deductive logic of Anselm concerning the Redemption with the logic of Love and the Cross, would it not be the same across the boards? By that I mean: We don’t go to God by our own initiative, but God comes to us out of Love. And He loves like this because He is constitutively relational. He is Self-gift. There are not reasons except who He is as He reveals Himself: Relation. Therefore, fittingness is another way of saying “relation.” Redemption is not the healing of an injustice, but a madness of Love.
The Assumption would fit into the same theo-logic.
[1] Christoph Schönborn, “God Sent His Son,” Ignatius (2010) 16-18

Friday, August 12, 2011

Witnessing to the Sanctity of Human Life: The Example of Jerome Lejeune

by Willam E. May, Ph.D, Senior Research Fellow

The August, 2011 issue of Catholic Medical Quarterly, the journal of the Catholic Medical Association of the United Kingdom, begins with an article “Jerome Lejeune: A Doctor for All Seasons.” His example in witnessing to the sanctity of human life from its inception until death was remarkable. Reflecting on it can be of value to all in the pro-life movement, particularly if some basic principles of medical ethics that he proposed are not only kept in mind but carried out in practice. The CMQ’s brief article is well done; hence this piece will basically be a summary of it, implemented by a brief description of Lejeune’s role in a famous court case in Tennessee toward the end of the 1980’s.

In 1959 Lejeune discovered the cause of Down’s Syndrome. Regarding the personhood of such children the CMQ article related the story of an American physician who told Lejeune that his father was a Jewish physician in Braunau, Austria. One day only two babies were born at the local hospital. The parents of the healthy boy were proud and happy. The other baby was a girl afflicted with Down’s Syndrome and her parents were very distraught about her birth. The physician ended the story by saying that the girl grew up to look after her mother despite her own disability. Her name is not known. The boy’s name was Adolf Hitler. The CMQ article then declares: “Quite likely the story is apocryphal. However, it does express the truth that was central to Lejeune’s vocation: people with disabilities are certainly no less human than those without.”

In 1962, Lejeune was awarded the prestigious Kennedy prize and, in 1965, he was appointed to the first Chair in Fundamental Genetics at the University of Paris. During this time, he helped thousands of parents to accept and love their children with Down’s Syndrome. He committed himself to the pro-life cause when he discovered that children with Down’s Syndrome were being aborted in ever greater numbers.

In his address on being awarded, in 1969, the William Allen Memorial Award, the highest distinction that could be granted to a geneticist, Lejeune condemned abortion. In 1973 he and his wife vigorously fought a bill filed to decriminalize abortion in France. They collected thousands of signatures from French doctors and politicians against the measure and the bill failed. However, much to his dismay, a law allowing abortion was passed in 1974. His pro-life stance led to his research grants being withdrawn and he was forced to close his laboratory.

In February 1989, Lejeune was a witness in a very unusual case argued before Judge W. Dale Young in Blount County, Tennessee. In that case, Junior L. Davis filed suit against his ex-wife, now Mary Sue Davis Stowe, over the custody of seven cryogenically frozen embryos that the two of them had created at a fertility clinic prior to their divorce. Lejeune’s testimony gave the scientific evidence that all seven of these frozen embryos are indeed living human beings, persons like the rest of us, made in God’s image. He called the canisters in which these tiny frozen human persons, along with thousands of others, were imprisoned “concentration cans,” and in 1992 published a book under that title, one of the finest pro-life books ever written.

In 1991, he wrote a summary of his reflections on medical ethics in seven brief points:
“1. Christians, be not afraid. It is you who possess the truth. Not that you invented it but because you are the vehicle for it. To all doctors, you must repeat: ‘you must conquer the illness, not attack the patient.’ 2. We are made in the image of God. For this reason alone all human beings must be respected.3. Abortion and infanticide are unspeakable crimes. 4. Objective morality exists. It is clear and it is universal….5. The child is not disposable and marriage is indissoluble. 6. ‘You shall honor your father and mother.’ Therefore, single parental reproduction by any means is always wrong. 7. In so-called pluralistic societies, they shout it down our throats: ‘You Christians do not have the right to impose your morality on others.’ Well, I tell you, not only do you have the right to try to incorporate your morality in the law but it is your democratic duty.

In 1993, Blessed Pope John Paul, his close friend, appointed Lejeune as the first president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. That same year he was diagnosed with lung cancer and, by Good Friday of 1994, he was critically ill. He died the next day, Holy Saturday, April 1, 1994.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bishop DiMarzio on Mandated Sex Education - Rebel!

NYT Thursday, August 11, 2011, A18

"The sex-eductation curriculum - packages of lesson plans titled Health Smart and Reducing the Risk - describes abstinence as the best method to avoid pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. It includes lessons on how to use a condom and discussions about the appropriate age for sexual activity... The city will now require that all students take a semester of sex education in middel school. For schools that do not have a program in place, the city will recommend that its progoram be taught...

"Nicholas A. Di Marzio, the bishop of Brooklyn, said he planned to work with Catholic parents across the city to 'assert their parent rights on this issue'...

"But as parents and members of community groups and religious organizations began to digest news about the new sex-educton program on Wednesday, there were few other objections."

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Building a New World Order

Reading the obit today in the NYT (Sunday August 7, 2011, 18) on M.H. Rindskopf, youngest commander of an American fleet submarine during WWII, born in Jamaica, Queens (as myself) 9/27/17 (me: 6/26/35), I was moved. "On his first patrol as commander, the targets were two sampans - small, flat-bottomed wooden boats - that were being used as spy vessels off the islands of Palau. Using a torpedo would have been overkill, so they were sunk by gunfire.

"'There were two survivors swimming in the ocean and rather than kill them, which he was authorized to do, he took them on board and put them to work in the kitchen,' the admiral's grand-daughter said. 'He said they ended up becoming very good cooks.'"

Transfiguration: August 7, 2011 80th Anniversary of the Locution + Anniversary of the Ordination of the Prelate

Exodus 33:12-23 (New International Version)
Moses and the Glory of the LORD

12 Moses said to the LORD, “You have been telling me, ‘Lead these people,’ but you have not let me know whom you will send with me. You have said, ‘I know you by name and you have found favor with me.’ 13 If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you. Remember that this nation is your people.”

14 The LORD replied, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

15 Then Moses said to him, “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. 16 How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?”

17 And the LORD said to Moses, “I will do the very thing you have asked, because I am pleased with you and I know you by name.”

18 Then Moses said, “Now show me your glory.”

19 And the LORD said, “I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you, and I will proclaim my name, the LORD, in your presence. I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 20 But,” he said, “you cannot see my face, for no one may see me and live.”

21 Then the LORD said, “There is a place near me where you may stand on a rock. 22 When my glory passes by, I will put you in a cleft in the rock and cover you with my hand until I have passed by. 23 Then I will remove my hand and you will see my back; but my face must not be seen.”

* * * * * * *

Jn. 1, 18: “No one has at any time seen God. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has revealed him.”

My Comment: Jesus Christ is the rock, the corner-stone where the Father can be seen. At the moment of the Transfiguration – “As he was praying, the appearance of his countenance was altered” – Christ exercises his Sonship by prayer and becomes transfigured. Like is known by like. If we pray, we will see Him, and our countenance will be altered. Others will see the Father in us.

Escriva prayed, and heard the exegesis of Jn. 12, 32: “when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all things to myself.” This is the revelation of what Opus Dei is. Christ’s exegesis is: “not in the sense in which Scripture says this. I say it to you in the sense that you are to raise me in all human activities so that all over the world there be Christians with a personal and most free dedication, that they be other Christs.”

It is fitting that the present prelate of Opus Dei was ordained to the priesthood on this day helping him to make the total gift of himself in affirming his sons and daughters such that they could live the unum ministerial priests activating the common priesthood of the laity.

[1] J. Coverdale, “Uncommon Faith,” Scepter (2002) 90.