Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Enlarged Preamble on Personhood For Ratzinger Texts on Family

Preamble on the Meaning of “Person:”

The Greeks did not have the notion of person. They had the rational individual. Person is the product of Christian theology. “The concept of the person is thus, to speak with Gilson, one of the contributions to human thought made possible and provided by Christian faith. It did not simply grow out of mere human philosophizing, but out of the interplay between philosophy and the antecedent given of faith, especially Scripture.”
The words ousia and hypostasis meant the same thing to pre-Christian philosophers. The distinction between ousia (essence) and hypostasis (person) is a new development in the awareness of the Christian theologians of the fourth century. Schönborn writes that “It was a ‘stroke of genius’ on the part of the Cappadocians to differentiate these synonymous concepts and to apply them to those two aspects of the trinitarian mystery that our limited reasoning can never behold in one: the oneness of essence, and yet at the same time the distinction of Persons.” We cannot hold in a single concept that God the Father and Son are “One,” and yet are irreducibly different. In Scripture it reads: “I and the Father are one” (Jn. 10, 30) and “The Father is greater than I” (Jn. 14, 28). It is the same with male and female persons. We cannot think on the same intellectual horizon that they are equal and yet irreducibly different.
What did they do? “At the conclusion of his exposition on Essence and Person, Gregory of Nyssa states: “The hypostasis of the Son is the form and countenance [prosopon] of the perfect cognition of the Father.”

Gregory, in this sentence, approves of using the term prosopon for ‘person,’ but implicitly also shows its ambiguity, especially when used in isolation. Prosopon here has the meaning of ‘countenance’ (in the sense as commonly used in the Greek Bible), yet the term itself, comparable to the Latin persona, can also denote ‘mask’ or ‘role-playing,’ and it is for this reason that Basil and Gregory hesitate to employ it too freely. For Sabellius had taught this: ‘God is one according to his hypostasis, but Scripture depicts him through different faces [or masks], depending on specific circumstances, so that he speaks now as Father, now as Son, now as Holy Spirit.’”

“Sabellius took these different prosopa simply as ‘metamorphoses,’ different manifestations of a God whom he conceived as one and unique, real subsistence (hypostasis). In opposition to this conception, Basil pointed out repeatedly that a prosopon, understood as ‘countenance’ in a concrete sense, is no countenance at all if it is without its own subsistence, its own selfhood, if it is,in Basil’s words, anhypostaton, without hypostasis. This term, anhypostaton, so very important in the subsequent history of theology, shows by its negative form ‘that it does not suffice to point to the ‘faces’ [prosopa], as Sabellius did; no, in addition we have to assume that each ‘face’ has its selfhood in a real hypostasis.’

Here we confront the reality of Person, not as ousia (Being as Essence) but as Unique Being. The key here is Schönborn’s insistence: “(W)e must make sure that any restricted use only as ‘mask’ or ‘role’ is avoided, and that this prosopon is indeed supported by its proper existence, by a subsistence, in short: by a hypostasis, so that this countenance (prosopon) is the expression of a particular person (hypostasis) and not merely a mask hiding this person. The defenders of images were able, based on this theological foundation, to declare that the human countenance of the Word is – paradoxically – the complete expression of the Person (hypostasis) of the Word [line 5 +].”

Background To The Use of “Prosopon” [Mask] For “Person:” J. Ratzinger: “The Notion of Person in Theology.”

“The answer to the question of the origin of the concept ‘person’ is that it originated in ‘prosopographic exegesis.’ What does this mean? In the background stands the word prosopon, which is the Greek equivalent of persona. Prosopographic exegesis is a form of interpretation developed already by the literary scholars of Antiquity. The ancient scholars noticed that in order to give dramatic life to events, the great poets of Antiquity did not simply narrate these events, but allowed persons to make their appearance and to speak. For example, they placed words in thee mouths of divine figures and the drama progresses through these words. In other words, the poet creates the artistic device of roles through which the action can be depicted in dialogue. The literary scholar uncovers these roles; he shows that the person have been created as ‘roles’ in order to give dramatic life to events (in fact, the word ‘prosopon,’ later translated by ‘persona,’ originally means simply ‘role,’ the mask of the actor). Prosopographic exegesis is thus an interpretation that brings to light this artistic device by making it clear that the author has created dramatic roles, dialogical roles, in order to give life to his poem or narrative.

“In their reading of Scripture, the Christian writers came upon something quite similar. They found that, here too, events progress in dialogue. They found, above all, the peculiar fact that God speaks in the plural or speaks with himself (e.g., ‘Let us make man in our image and likeness,’ or God’s statement in Genesis 3, ‘Adam has become like on e of us,’ or Psalm 110, ‘The Lord said to my Lord,’ which the Greek Fathers take to be a conversation between God and his Son). The Fathers approach this fact, namely, that God is introduced in the plural as speaking withy himself, by means of prosopographic exegesis which thereby takes on a new meaning. Justin, who wrote in the first half of the second century (d. 165), already says, ‘The sacred writer introduces different prosopa, different roles.’ However, now the word no longer really means ‘roles,’ because it takes on a completely new reality in terms of faith in the Word of God. The roles introduced by the sacred writer are realities, they are dialogical realities. The word ‘prosopon’ =’role’ is thus at the transitional point where it gives birth to the idea of person. I will cite merely one text by Justin [150 AD] to clarify this process: ‘When you hear that the prophets make statements as if a person were speaking (hos apo prosopou), then do not suppose that they were spoken immediately by those filled with the spirit (i.e., the prophets) but rather by the Logos who moves them.’ Justin thus says that the dialogical roles introduced by the prophets are not mere literary devices. The ‘role’ truly exists; it is the prosopon, the face, the person of the Logos who truly speaks here and joins in dialogue with the prophet. It is quite clear here how the data of Christian faith transform and renew a pre-given ancient schema used in interpreting texts. The literary artistic device of letting roles appear to enliven the narrative with their dialogue reveals to the theologians the one who plays the true role here, the Logos, the prosopon, the person of the Word which is no longer merely role, but person.

“About fifty years later, when Tertullian wrote his works, he was able to go back to an extensive tradition of such Christian prosopographic exegesis in which the word prosopon = persona had already found its full claim to reality. Two examples must suffice. In Adversus Praxean, Tertullian [160-220 AD] writes, “How can a person who stands by himself say, ‘Let us make man in our image and likeness,’ when he ought to have said, ‘Let me make man in my image and likeness,’ as someone who is single and alone for himself. If he were only one and single, then God deceived and tricked also in what follows when he says, ‘Behold, Adam has become like one of us,’ which he said in the plural. But he did not stand alone, because there stood with him the Son, his Word, and a third person, the Spirit in the Word. This is why he spoke in the plural, ‘Let us make’ and ‘our’ and ‘us.’ One sees how the phenomenon of intra-divine dialogue gives birth here to the idea of the person who is person in an authentic sense. Tertullian similarly says in his interpretation of ‘The Lord said to my Lord’ (Psalm 110, 1), ‘Take note how even the Spirit as the third person speaks of the Father and of the Son, ‘The Lord said to my Lord, sit at my right hand until I put your enemies at your feet.’ Likewise through Isaiah, ‘The Lord says these words to my Lord Christ’… In these few texts the distinction within the Trinity is clearly set before our eyes. For himself exists the one who speaks, namely, the Spirit; further the Father to whom he speaks, and finally the Son of whom he speaks.’”

Ratzinger summarizes:

1) “the concept ‘person’ grew out of reading the Bible, as something needed for its interpretation. It is a product of reading the Bible.”

2) “it grew out of the idea of dialogue, more specifically, it grew as an explanation of the phenomenon of the God who speaks dialogically. The Bible with its phenomenon of the God who speaks, the God who is in dialogue, stimulated the concept ‘person’… The exegetical direction [of the Fathers] as a whole captures the spiritual direction of the Bible inasmuch as the fundamental phenomenon into which we are placed by the Bible is the God who speaks and the human person who is addressed, the phenomenon of the partnership of the human person who is called by God to love in the word. However, the core of what ‘person’ can truly mean comes thereby to light. To summarize we can say: The idea of person expresses in its origin the idea of dialogue and the idea of God as the dialogical being. It refers to God as the being that lives in the word and consists of the word as ‘I’ and ‘you’ and ‘we.’ In the light of this knowledge of God, the true nature of humanity became clear in a new way” (underline mine).

Now: “About two hundred years later, at the turn of the fifth century [just after the work of Sts. Basil and Gregory of Nyssa], Christian theology reached the point of being able to express in articulated concepts what is meant in the thesis: God is a being in three person. In this context, theologians argued, person must be understood as relation. According to Augustine and late patristic theology, the three persons that exist in God are in their nature relations. They are, therefore, not substances that strand next to each other, but they are real existing relations, and nothing besides. I believe this idea of the late patristic period is very important. In God, person means relation. Relation, being related, is not something superadded to the person, but it is the person itself. In its nature, the person exists only as relation. Put more concretely, the first person does to generate in the sense that the act of generating a Son is added to the already complete person, but the person is the deed of generating, of giving itself, of steaming itself forth. The person is identical with this act of self-donation.”

At this turning point from the fourth to the fifth century, we have the benefit of the meaning of God as Being (ousia), reason developing the notion of “person” from dramatic dialogue of a “we” as revealed in Scripture, and Augustine putting a dialogical Being together as “substance” and “relation” where the real ontological persons are not “substances.” They are ousia (being) but not “substances” (in the Greek sense of “thing-in-itself-and-not-in-other [accident]). They are “Being” (ousia) in a new way as hypostases or subsistences.

Ratzinger goes on to explain that this understanding of “person” in the Trinity and therefore in Christology, did not reach into the meaning of man. Anthropology continued to be dominated from below. Man was understood – and continues to be understood – as an individual substance of a rational nature, a rational animal, to whom supernatural grace was added “accidentally.” Ratzinger explains that Christology, understood in substantialist terms, has no purchase on anthropology: “Christ [is] the simply unique ontological exception which must be treated as such. This exception is an object of highly interesting ontological speculation, but it must remain separate in its box as an exception to the rule and must not be permitted to mix with the rest of human thought.” And then he comments: “If it is true, however, that Christ is not the ontological exception, if from his exceptional position he is, on the contrary, the fulfillment of the entire human being, then the Christological concept of person is an indication for theology of how person is to be understood as such.” But this has not become a reality. In fact, the entire pontificate of Benedict XVI has consisted in broadening reason to receive the dimensions of “person” in self and for others. He laments: “I must admit right away that a theological response has not yet completely matures. In the great struggles of the first six centuries, theology worked out what the person is not, but it did not clarify with the same definiteness what the word means positively.”

Elsewhere From Ratzinger: “Many Religions – One Covenant”

“The God of the Bible is a God-in-relationship.” Under this title, he developed the following: “We observed that, in the ancient world, man could orient himself to God through knowledge and love but that any notion of a relationship between the eternal God and temporal man was regarded as absurd and hence impossible. The philosophical monotheism of the ancient world opened up a path for biblical faith in God and its religious monotheism, which seemed to facilitate once again the lost harmony between reason and religion. The Fathers, who started from the assumption of this harmony between philosophy and biblical revelation, realized that the one God of the Bible could be affirmed, in his identity, through two predicates: creation and revelation, creation and redemption. But these are both relational terms. Thus the God of the Bible is a God-in-relationship: and to that extent, in the essence of his identity, he is opposed to the self-enclosed God of philosophy [consider Aristotle’s “First Unmoved Mover” or Plato’s “One”]. The meaning of an already existing category, that of `relation,’ was fundamentally changed. In the Aristotelian table of categories, relation belongs to the group of accidents that point to substance and are dependent on it; in God, therefore, there are no accidents. Through the Christian doctrine of the Trinity, relation moves out of the substance-accident framework. Now God himself is described as a Trinitarian set of relations, as relatio subsistens. When we say that man is the image of God, it means that he is a being designed for relationship; it means that, in and through all his relationships, he seeks that relation which is the ground of his existence.”

C. Schönborn: “God’s Human Face”

Schönborn explains the philological problem resulting from two kinds of concepts: the universal “man” referring to many, and “Paul” referring to this individual. “Twice here, Gregory emphasizes the term hyphistemi from which the term hypostasis (is derived and which is rendered as subsistere in Latin. The general term ousia has to be “circumscribed.” The contours have to be drawn: perigraphein. “This determination of ‘person’ as perigraphe, as the ‘circumscribing’ and ‘contouring’ of an unspecific, general essence, was to assume again major importance in the icon controversy, when the question arose whether the mystery of Christ’s Person could be depicted or not, whether it could be ‘circumscribed’ or not. The direction for the eventual answer was already determined by Gregory of Nyssa: what is captured by the graphe of the artist constitutes what is particular, individually distinctive, and specific, so that one depicted is circumscribed (perigraphe) as this individual human being; the image is a record of the person, not of the general essence…” Gregory uses Job, first as “man,” then immediately more precisely as “a man”… Whatever ‘circumscribes’ the person of Job, therefore, is that which characterizes him as this man. This new concept is very close to the concept of perigraphe.”

“The Fundamental Christian Experience:” the distinction of the Persons. The specific property-act that makes each Person different is that which makes them “One” (“what makes them distinct also makes them one”).

The distinction of the Father and the Son for Arius was a logical and conceptual affair. It was not experiential. Therefore, for Arius, “Neither the Logos nor the Spirit subordinated under it could reveal God completely and make known God’s inner life. Yet this, from the beginning, was the faith and the experience of the Church: that the gift of the Holy Spirit, bestowed on the believer, is the gift of God himself, that communion with Christ is communion with God. The Church Fathers of the fourth century express this in their own language when they say: the gift of salvation, coming to us from Christ in the Holy Spirit, makes us godlike. Yet Son and Spirit can make us godlike only if they themselves are God.”

“The importance of this ‘fundamental Christian experience” can hardly be overestimated. At the center of this dispute about the trinitarian faith is not some oriental passion to speculate, but the vital reality of this Christian experience. Herein lies the absolute significance of the Nicene homoousios: because Son and Holy Spirit are consubstantial with the Father – and only under this condition – they can make known and reveal God. The reverse, then, also applies: the salvific activity of the Son and the Holy Spirit reveals this consubstantiality. Then it is true, in short, that God acts in the way that he is, and since his activity is trinitarian, he is Trinity. It further follows that the specific activity of each Divine Person corresponds to each one’s specific being as Person. For this reason are we able to make the step from God’s revelation to his essence” .

“Person-Specific Properties:” they are the “absolutely immediate and unique particularities possessed individually by each of the three Divine Persons 9cf. 4, 38-43). The question arises whether this strong emphasis on complete distinction might not endanger the divine oneness. This, however, would be a serious misunderstanding. Let us consider more closely in what the properties of the Divine Persons consist: it is proper to the Holy Spirit to proceed from the Father (4, 30) and to be known with the Son; it is proper to the Son to be begotten by the Father and to reveal this Spirit. Each Person’s own property, therefore, is nothing else but the specific way in which this Person relates to the other Persons. True, the properties are unmediated and unique, but at the same time, they are also the most perfect manifestation of the ineffable unity that is God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – ‘a new and paradoxical unified differentiation and differentiated unity’ (4, 89f). Gregory illustrates this unity with the image of a chain, in which, as soon as one link is moved, all the links move. The oneness of the Divine Persons, the, is built on the fact that each Person’s property consists precisely in that Person’s absolute relatedness to the other two (4, 70-76). What makes them distinct, also makes them one. It is easy to foresee the consequences this conception would have for the definition of personhood: the intensive emphasis on the uniqueness of each person is the opposite of a particularizing individualism: for the innermost core of the personal uniqueness already lays the foundation for true community.”

* * * * * *

Ratzinger TEXTS on “Family” and “Home”

The Home: Unique Space of Salvation

In the Bible, salvation does not take place in the Temple or synagogue. It takes place in the home. The avenging angel in his mission to destroy the first born of man and animal “passed over” the homes of those who had the blood of the paschal lamb sprinkled over the doorposts of their homes.

1) “Israel’s Passover was and is a family celebration. It is celebrated in the home, not in the Temple. In the history of the foundation of the People of Israel, in Exodus (12, 1-14), it is the home which is the locus of salvation and refuge in that night of darkness in which the Angel of Death walked abroad. For Egypt, in contrast, that night spelled the power of death, of destruction, of chaos, things that continually rise up from the deep places of the world and of man, threatening to wreck the good creation and reduce the world to an uninhabitable wilderness. In this situation it is the home, the family, which provides protection; in other words, the world always needs to be defended against chaos, creation always needs shielding and recreating. In the calendar of the nomads from whom Israel adopted the Passover festival, Passover was New Year’s Day, i.e., the day on which the creation was refounded, when it had to be defended once again against the inroads of the void. The home, the family is life’s protective rampart, the place of security, of `shalom,’ of that peace and togetherness which lives and lets live, which holds the world together.

“In the time of Jesus, too, Passover was celebrated in the homes and in families, following the slaughter of the lambs in the Temple. A regulation forbade anyone to leave the city of Jerusalem in the night of the Passover. The entire city was felt to be the locus of salvation over against the chaotic night, its walls the rampart protecting the creation. Israel had to make a pilgrimage, as it were, to the city every year at Passover in order to return to its origins, to be recreated and to experience once again its rescue, liberation and foundation. A very deep insight lies behind this. In the course of a year, a people is always in danger of disintegrating, not only through external causes, but also interiorly, and of losing hold of the inner motivation which sustains it. It needs to return to its fundamental origin. Passover was intended to be this annual event in which Israel returned from the threatening chaos (which lurks in every people) to its sustaining origin; it was meant to be the renewed defense and recreation of Israel in the basis of its origin. And since Israel knew that the star of its election stood in the heavens, it also knew that its fortunes, for good or ill, had consequences of the whole world; it knew that the destiny of the earth and of creation was involved in its response, whether it failed or passed the test.

“Jesus too celebrated the Passover according to these prescriptions, at home with his family; that is to say, with the Apostles, who had become his new family. In doing so he was observing a current rule which permitted pilgrims who were traveling to Jerusalem to form companies, the so-called habhuroth, who would constitute a family, a Passover unity, for this night. That is how Passover became a Christian feast. We are Christ’s habhura, his family, formed of his pilgrim company, of the friends who accompany him along the path of the gospel through the terrain of history. Companions of his pilgrimage, we constitute Christ’s house; thus, the Church is the new family, the new city, and for us she signifies all that Jerusalem was – that living home which banishes the powers of chaos and makes an area of peace, which upholds both creation and us. The Church is the new city by being the family of Jesus, the living Jerusalem, and her faith is the rampart and wall against the chaotic powers that threaten to bring destruction upon the world. Her ramparts are strengthened by the blood of the true Lamb, Jesus Christ, that is, by love which goes to the very end and which is endless. It is this love which is the true counterforce to chaos: it is the creative power which continually establishes the world afresh, providing new foundations for peoples and families, thus giving us `shalom,’ the realm of peace in which we can live with, for and unto one another. There are many reasons, I believe, why we should take a new look at these factors at this time and allow ourselves to respond to them. For today we are quite tangibly experiencing the power of chaos. We experience the primal, chaotic powers rising up from the very midst of a progressive society – which seems to know everything and be able to do anything – and attacking the very progress of which it is so proud. We see how, in the midst of prosperity, technological achievement and the scientific domination of the world, a nation can be destroyed from within, we see how the creation can be threatened by the chaotic powers which lurk in the depths of the human heart. We realize that neither money nor technology nor organizational ability alone can banish chaos. Only the real protective wall given to us by the Lord, the new family he has created for us, can do this. From this standpoint, it seems to me, this Passover celebration which has come down to us from the nomads, via Israel and through Christ, also has (in the deepest sense) an eminently political significance. We as a nation, we in Europe, need to be back to our spiritual roots, lest we become lost in self-destruction.

“This feast needs to become a family celebration once again, for it is the family that is the real bastion of creation and humanity. Passover is a summons, urgently reminding us that the family is the loving home in which humanity is nurtured, which banishes chaos and futility, that the family can only be this sphere of humanity, this bastion of creation, if it is under the banner of the Lamb, if it is protected by the power of faith which comes from the love of Jesus Christ. The individual family cannot survive; it will disintegrate unless it is kept safe within the larger family which guarantees it and gives it security.”

J. Ratzinger, “Prologue” Enchiridion Familiae

2). “In the letter which Saint Ignatius of Antioch – on his way to martyrdom in Rome – wrote to the Christians of Ephesus, there is a phrase, difficult to translate, of great density, which powerfully calls the attention of the reader. I refer to that which appears in chapter 16 of the letter: “My brothers, do not deceive yourselves: Whoever perverts the home will not inherit the Kingdom of God (verse 1). Who are these persons, those who `pervert home’? In what does this action consist that is incompatible with the Kingdom of God, that is, with the goal of all human existence and of the whole history of man? To understand the phrase more deeply, it is necessary to keep in mind that in Greek – in a form that is very similar to the which occurs in Semitic languages – the word `home’ in it first sense does not mean the building of stone, but the family community understood in its widest sense – the grandparents, the parents, the sons, the servants-; life in common is what builds houses of stone or wood. The term `home,’ in its fundamental meaning, alludes, therefore, to something alive, to that original form of community between men which results from ties of descent, or of blood, and that by nature develop necessarily to form the space of fidelity, of living with and for the others, the space in which life is transmitted, learned and protected, not only in the biological sense, but in all its dimensions. Well, since the sources of life of `being a person’ are tied to mystery and since its conservation and adequate development need great protection, the home – understood in this way – is under the protection of the power of the holy: it has a sacred character. Therefore, whoever damages the vital world of the home, has raised his hand at the same time against the holy: this has been the common conviction of all the great and old cultures.

“After these considerations, we can return to the letter of Saint Ignatius to the Ephesians. The received Latin version reproduces in a very adequate way – if what we have set forth above is correct – the idea of the martyr bishop: it translates the phrase in question by `familiarum perturbatores,’ that is: those who confuse and destroy families. The passage of Saint Ignatius, besides, is supported by a quotation of Saint Paul which points in the same direction, and which the Bishop of Antioch simplifies and makes exact at the same time. Saint Paul had written: `Don’t deceive yourselves: neither the fornicators, nor the idolaters, nor the effeminate, nor the sodomites… will inherit the Kingdom of God (1 Cor. 6, 9 s.). Saint Ignatius, instead of this variety of sins that Saint Paul mentions, refers to the good that is threatened and must be protected: the home, this protecting space that is the source of `being a person,’ the home which must be protected as a holy place. In this way, the original human way of knowing passes over in an immediate way into Christian faith. However perverts the home, whoever is the cause of the home being lost is destroying the conditions for God to live and reign in the world. On the one hand, man can only live and communicate in peace when he is under the protection of the holy; and on the other, God only can find a `place to live’ among men there where they have become a “home,” where – with other words – the ties and blood relations have converted in an ordered life-with-others where man learns that to live is `to be in relation’ by opening himself thus to the fundamental relation of his life, or obedience to God. When Ignatius of Antioch sums up and classifies the different sins enumerated by Saint Paul, he calls them `perdition and destruction of the family,’ and thus puts in relief that `to destroy’ the family is to go against the Kingdom of God. In doing this, he is, perhaps, the first in expressing with all clarity the eminently theological character of the family. At the same time, it becomes evident that all the forms of disintegration of the life of men cited by Saint Pal come from the perversion of the fundamental relations which mean `home.’ All these sins have their source in `being isolated,’ in the ignorance or the negation of `habitating’ and of `building,’ in the dissolution of that multiform structure of relations on which rest the health – in the most profound sense of the term – of the human condition.

“All of these ideas acquire a poignant meaning today before the tremendous rupture with the tradition that postmodernity has introduced and continues to introduce in its extreme radicality. It’s enough to consider that there exist great modern cities in which more than half of their inhabitants are `singles,’ persons who would see establishing a permanent tie or relation as a limitation of their freedom, and who, therefore, are not disposed to commit themselves and leave their `isolation.’ This dissolution of the `home’ is reflected also exteriorly in the construction of houses in the service of the individualism of a fragmented human life, according to which the function of the living quarters consists in `protecting’ the lack of relations. In this context, the family appears as a forma of slavery; paternity and maternity, as an insult. There is no place, for the vision of paternity and maternity understood as service to life, which is, by nature, to make space for a new existence that is a free autonomy. Nor is it possible to see that filiation is to accept being in the sense of `dependency’ and, therefore accepting `being a person’ in all of its open character. And together with this disintegration of `being a person,’ the conditions for knowing God and to give an account of his existence are undermined. More than 40 years ago, Romano Guardini wrote some words full of sense: `The phrase… “He who sees me, sees the Father” (Jn. 14, 9), have also an inverse meaning: “He who does not see the Father, fails to see me also.” We are not trying to accuse concrete persons who suffer `isolation,’ but rather to recall the phrase of Saint Ignatius whereby anyone despising and dissolving the family - and in this way dragging person into `isolation’ - are closing the door on the Kingdom of God and on that form of human life in which `living-together’ with God is the foundation of peace and fullness of the world.

“Before these tendencies, an urgent task of the Church consists in being the protector of the family, safeguarding that original evidential character, taken up and deepened by Christianity, the knowledge that the sanctity of the `home’ means defending thus the dignity and the truth of `being person’”


[1] J. Ratzinger, “Behold the Pierced One, Ignatius (1986) 103-106.
[2] J. Ratzinger, “Prologue” Enchiridion Familiae, Vol. Rialp, Madrid1992. pp. CXV.

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