Thursday, December 29, 2011

Two Extraordinary Texts of Benedict XVI on The Family

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.”

2). J. Ratzinger, “Prologue” Enchiridion Familiae

“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

To Whom It May Interest: Philosophic Solution To the Impasse Between Traditional Metaphysics and Modern Consciousness

Consciousness of truth and formation of Being are one and the same act.

The Impasse: Truth and Being are separated.

How to resolve freedom of conscience and objectivity of truth? If Christ reveals Himself to be “The Truth” (Jn. 14, 6), can one make the other accept it? Rocco Buttigliogne: “It is evident that for the Christian conscience, as well as for a fully human point of view, it is impossible either to choose for truth against conscience or to choose for conscience against truth. This consideration brings us to an impasse from which we can escape only if we can show that entire problematic has been grounded in an erroneous way, and that the unacceptable necessity of sacrificing either conscience or truth depends on this error… What is a stake here is the whole relationship between Christianity and modernity and between the philosophy of being and the philosophy of consciousness.”

Solution: Truth is achieved in the very formation of the person as being: Self-determination. The primordial experience and access to being is the self in the moment of free action. Reason experiences this tree through the exercise of sense perception, and the "I" of the self through the experience of exercising sense perception.

Consciousness of self arises from the formation of the person. Consciousness comes from the act of self-determination of the being of the self. The act of self-determination is free. Truth and Being arise from the same source, but that source is being as experienced subjectively. Not only is conscience and truth subjective, but the “I” as being is subjective. And this subjectivity is what the tradition has understood by objective truth and objective being, “objective” meaning “real.” This insight solves all the aporias, conundra and impasses between the objective metaphysical tradition and modernity with the philosophies of consciousness.

Vatican II: The above is the achievement of Vatican II: Wojtyla announced it in Part I, Chapter I of “Sources of Renewal:” “(T)he pastors of the Church were not so much concerned t o answer questions like ‘What should men believe?’, ‘What is the real meaning of this or that truth of faith?’ and so on, but rather to answer t h e more complex question: What does it mean to be a believer…”

The “believer” is the believing subject who is the “acting person” that Wojtyla wrote about in the “Acting Person.” The believer is the ontological subject who becomes consciousness of the Person of Christ as “Revelation.” Consciousness results as experience of the self in the act of faith which Dei Verbum #5 (of Vatican II) describes man’s obedience in his totality as man to God: “ ‘The obedience of faith’ (Rom. 16, 26; cf. Rom. 1, 5; 2 Cor. 10, 5-6) must be given to God as he reveals himself. By faith man freely commits his entire self to God, making ‘the full submission of his intellect and will to God who reveals.’”

And so, truth can never be imposed on a person. He musts freely determine himself to accept that truth. And since truth is ultimately a Person, the Word of the Father, then, the Word can never be imposed on anyone. It demands the determination of self from within to accept. “Consequently, the truth enters the very interiority of the process through which the person determines himself and achieves a human act, that is, an act which engages the person as such. In this way, the duty of the person to seek the truth and to conform himself to the known truth, by subordinating his own passions to it, arises from his own interiority. By introducing the structure of self-knowledge into the formation of the person… Wojtyla breaks the vicious circle of the philosophies of consciousness which recognizes no truth outside of consciousness and, consequently, no duty for consciousness to conform itself to an objective truth outside of it.

“On the other hand, it is precisely in order to direct himself toward truth in the way which is proper to him that the person needs to be free, unbound by any external pressure.”

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

First Letter of John Commented by St. Augustine

From the Tractates on the First Letter of John by St. Augustine

“Our message is the Word of life. We announce what existed from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with out own eyes, what we have touched with our own hands. Who could touch the Word with his hands unless the Word was made flesh and lived among us?"

Now this Word, whose flesh was so real that he could be touched by human hands, began to be flesh in the Virgin Mary’s womb; but he did not begin to exist at that moment. We know this from what John says: What existed from the beginning. Notice how John’s letter bears witness to his Gospel, which you just heard a moment ago: IN the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God.

Someone might interpret the phrase the Word of life to mean a word about Christ, rather than Christ’s body itself which was touched by human hands. But consider what comes next: and life itself was revealed. Christ therefore is himself the Word of llife.

And how was this life revealed? It existed from the beginning, but was not revealed to men, only to angels, who looked upon it and feasted upon it as their own spiritual bread. But what does Scripture say? Mankind ate the bread of angels.

Life itself was therefore revealed in the flesh. In this way what was visible to the heart alone could become visible also to the eye, and so heal men’s hearts. For the Word is visible to the heart alone, while flesh is visible to bodily eyes as well. We already possessed the means to see the flesh, but we had not means of seeing the Word. The Word was made flesh so that we could see it, to heal the part of us by which we could see the Word.

John continues: And we are witnesses and we proclaim to you that eternal which was with the Father and has been revealed among us – one might say more simply, ‘revealed to us.’

We proclaim to you what we have heard and seen. Make sure that you grasp the meaning of these words. The disciples saw our Lord in the flesh, face to face; they heard the words he spoke, and in turn they proclaimed the message to us. So we also have heard, although we have not seen.

Are we then less favored than those who both saw and heard? If that were so, why should john add: so that you too may have fellowship with us? They saw, and we have not seen; yet we have fellowship with them, because we and they share the same faith.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Year of Faith 2012-2013: Faith as Call to Sanctity

The General Monthly Intention for Opus Dei in the United States will be the reception and execution of the will of Benedict XVI for a year of faith beginning on October 11, 2012 until the Feast of Christ the King on November 24, 2013.

I suggest that Benedict XVI is driving toward the one goal of his pontificate: To move the Church to the consciousness and concept that faith and revelation are one subjective act of God revealing Himself and the whole person of the believer receiving Him and becoming Him. This one act of receiving the acting Person of the Son – acting as spoken by the Father and speaking to us as Word – is what Benedict is calling “revelation.” It is our removal of the veil of being in ourselves that is the “hearing the Word of God and doing it” (Lk. 8, 20-21). It is what the Virgin did at the Annunciation. “Indeed, at the Annunciation Mary entrusted herself to God completely, with the ‘full submission of intellect and will,’ manifesting ‘the obedience of faith’ to him who spoke to her through his messenger. She responded, therefore, with all her human and feminine ‘I,’ and this response of faith included both perfect cooperation with ‘the grace of God that precedes and assists’ and perfect openness to the action of the Holy Spirit, who ‘constantly brings faith to completion by his gifts.’ ” There is no revelation unless there is reception just as there is no sound in the forest to receive the noise of the falling tree. If this be true, then there is no faith unless the “I” of the believer becomes the “I” of the Revealer. And if that be so, then the intellegere (ab intus legere) of belief and revelation cannot be explained except in terms of experience. That is, one cognizes the person of the other by experiencing oneself. And if that be so, this experience and consciousness of self (and therefore of the Other) becomes conceptual only by reflecting on one’s consciousness.

In a brief philosophic word, the understanding of faith as the dynamic act of self-giving that is sanctity, can only by “handled” phenomenologically in the sense that John Paul II gave to it. Benedict XVI, also, is always working with faith in phenomenological terms, but he never, as far as I know, does philosophy explicitly although his entire theological opus can only be handled phenomenologically. The same must be said about the Second Vatican Council throughout. The work of John F. Kobler “Vatican II and Phenomenology – Reflections on the Life-World of the Church,” is a researched and nuanced testimony to the reality of the epistemological see-change that took place in Vatican II. Karol Wojtyla (John Paul II), as Cardinal of Krakow, gave testimony concerning Vatican II in his catechesis to the dioceses of Krakow: “Sources of Renewal.” The book sets the theme as an ontological enrichment of faith by the burgeoning development of the believer as being. The first section is entitled: “Enrichment of Faith” in the sense of considering not abstract thought of doctrine and dogma, but “what does it mean to be a believer?” – that is, what does it mean to be an ontological subject oriented to receive the divine Person of the Word and to be experientially heightened in consciousness as a result. As believing person, the believer is phenomenologically differentiated in terms of Gaudium et spes #24: “man, the only earthly being God has willed for itself, finds himself by the sincere gift of himself.” That is, the human person, enjoying the freedom of autonomy of mastering self, achieves his identity (as other Christ) by the sincere giving of himself, i.e. receiving the Word. Therefore, the meaning of “faith” is not just a series of concepts that are derived from the Old Testament and the revealing Christ, but an ontological change in the very being of the believer. That change of being is the orientation of the believer – the attitude of self-gift in receiving the Word, and the internal ontological change of coming into the reality of one is destined to be, i.e. another Christ – and therefore, a new and heightened consciousness. Revelation takes place within me by the conversion of attitude away from myself to the Word of the Father Who has become man for me. As John F. Kobler writes: “(I)t is an experiential wisdom mirrored in a person’s affective inclinations: i.e., the interplay of his mind and will, knowing and loving, sensitivitry and affectivity. It reflectshis whole attitudinal stance toward reality and the motivational pattern shaping his very being.

Why A Year of Faith?

And why all this? Benedict asked the question: why faith? And the answer: to make up for the shortfall of love that is in us habitually, and making up for it, achieve sufficient likeness to God to enter Trinitarian Life. In a word, what is driving Benedict is the universal call to holiness. That is achieved by knowing God. But one knows God only by faith. And faith is an exercise of becoming the Other and loving like the Other.

Benedict observed: “Who among us would not have to admit that even in the acts of kindness he practices toward others, there is still an element of selfishness, something of self-satisfaction and looking back at ourselves? Who among us would not have to admit that he is more or less living in the pre-Copernican illusion and looking at other people, seeing them as real, only in their relationship to our own selves? Thus, the sublime and liberating message of love, as being the sole and sufficient content of Christianity, can also become something very demanding.”

… “In its simplest and innermost form, faith is nothing but reaching that point in love at which we recognize that we, too, need to be given something. Faith is thus that stage in love which really distinguishes it as love; it consists in overcoming the complacency and self-satisfaction of the person who says, ‘I have done everything. I don’t need any further help.’ It is only in ‘faith’ like this that selfishness, the real opposite of love, comes to an end.”

Notice the first points of the document of the year of faith, “Porta Fidei:” #3 is a recovery of a “taste” for God; #6 is the nature of faith as conversion of the self away from self; #9 and #10 is the distinction between faith-as-concept and faith-as-act; #13 is the Virgin engendering Christ within her and she giving Him her entire humanity and life. We are called to do the same.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Fatigue of Faith in Europe (Not Africa) - Yet No Fatigue of 20,000 Preparing WYD 2011

On this point, the encounter with Africa’s joyful passion for faith brought great encouragement. None of the faith fatigue that is so prevalent here, none of the oft-encountered sense of having had enough of Christianity was detectable there. Amid all the problems, sufferings and trials that Africa clearly experiences, one could still sense the people’s joy in being Christian, buoyed up by inner happiness at knowing Christ and belonging to his Church. From this joy comes also the strength to serve Christ in hard-pressed situations of human suffering, the strength to put oneself at his disposal, without looking round for one’s own advantage. Encountering this faith that is so ready to sacrifice and so full of happiness is a powerful remedy against fatigue with Christianity such as we are experiencing in Europe today.
A further remedy against faith fatigue was the wonderful experience of World Youth Day in Madrid. This was new evangelization put into practice. Again and again at World Youth Days, a new, more youthful form of Christianity can be seen, something I would describe under five headings.
1. Firstly, there is a new experience of catholicity, of the Church’s universality. This is what struck the young people and all the participants quite directly: we come from every continent, but although we have never met one another, we know one another. We speak different languages, we have different ways of life and different cultural backgrounds, yet we are immediately united as one great family. Outward separation and difference is relativized. We are all moved by the one Lord Jesus Christ, in whom true humanity and at the same time the face of God himself is revealed to us. We pray in the same way. The same inner encounter with Jesus Christ has stamped us deep within with the same structure of intellect, will and heart. And finally, our common liturgy speaks to our hearts and unites us in a vast family. In this setting, to say that all humanity are brothers and sisters is not merely an idea: it becomes a real shared experience, generating joy. And so we have also understood quite concretely: despite all trials and times of darkness, it is a wonderful thing to belong to the worldwide Church, to the Catholic Church, that the Lord has given to us.
2. From this derives a new way of living our humanity, our Christianity. For me, one of the most important experiences of those days was the meeting with the World Youth Day volunteers: about 20,000 young people, all of whom devoted weeks or months of their lives to working on the technical, organizational and material preparations for World Youth Day, and thus made it possible for the whole event to run smoothly. Those who give their time always give a part of their lives. At the end of the day, these young people were visibly and tangibly filled with a great sense of happiness: the time that they gave up had meaning; in giving of their time and labour, they had found time, they had found life. And here something fundamental became clear to me: these young people had given a part of their lives in faith, not because it was asked of them, not in order to attain Heaven, nor in order to escape the danger of Hell. They did not do it in order to find fulfilment. They were not looking round for themselves. There came into my mind the image of Lot’s wife, who by looking round was turned into a pillar of salt. How often the life of Christians is determined by the fact that first and foremost they look out for themselves, they do good, so to speak, for themselves. And how great is the temptation of all people to be concerned primarily for themselves; to look round for themselves and in the process to become inwardly empty, to become "pillars of salt". But here it was not a matter of seeking fulfilment or wanting to live one’s life for oneself. These young people did good, even at a cost, even if it demanded sacrifice, simply because it is a wonderful thing to do good, to be there for others. All it needs is the courage to make the leap. Prior to all of this is the encounter with Jesus Christ, inflaming us with love for God and for others, and freeing us from seeking our own ego. In the words of a prayer attributed to Saint Francis Xavier: I do good, not that I may come to Heaven thereby and not because otherwise you could cast me into Hell. I do it because of you, my King and my Lord. I came across this same attitude in Africa too, for example among the Sisters of Mother Teresa, who devote themselves to abandoned, sick, poor and suffering children, without asking anything for themselves, thus becoming inwardly rich and free. This is the genuinely Christian attitude. Equally unforgettable for me was the encounter with handicapped young people in the Saint Joseph Centre in Madrid, where I encountered the same readiness to put oneself at the disposal of others – a readiness to give oneself that is ultimately derived from encounter with Christ, who gave himself for us.

The Nativity: God Getting Used to Us, and We Getting Used to God: Irenaeus

Benedict XVI, December 22, 2010 - Last Year

The whole of the Old Testament constitutes one great promise that was to be fulfilled with the coming of a powerful Saviour. The Book of the Prophet Isaiah in particular— testifies to the anguish of history and of the whole of creation oriented to a redemption destined to bring fresh energy and give a new orientation to the entire world.
Hence down the centuries, alongside the expectation of the figures of Sacred Scripture our expectation, which we are experiencing in these days and which keeps us alert throughout our life journey, also finds room and meaning.
Indeed, the whole of human life is enlivened by this profound sentiment, by the desire that what is the truest, the most beautiful and the greatest, which we have perceived and intuited with mind and heart, may come to meet us in order that it become real before our eyes and uplift us anew.
“Soon the Lord God will come, and you will call him Emmanuel, God-with-us” (Entrance Antiphon, Holy Mass of 21 December). We frequently repeat these words in these days. In Liturgical time, which reactualizes the Mystery, the One who comes to save us from sin and death is already at the door, the One who, after the disobedience of Adam and Eve, embraces us once again and opens wide to us the way to true life.
St Irenaeus explains it in his treatise Adversus Haereses [Against Heresies]”, when he says: “The Son of God himself descended ‘in the likeness of sinful flesh’ (Rom 8:3) to condemn sin and, having condemned it, to cast it out completely from the human race. He called man to likeness with himself, he made him imitator of God, he set him on the path indicated by the Father so that he might see God, and he gave him as a gift the Father himself” (III, 20, 2-3).
Some of St Irenaeus’ favourite ideas are presented to us, for example, that God with the Child Jesus calls us to likeness with himself. We see how God is. And thus St Irenaeus reminds us that we should be like God and must imitate him. God gave himself. God gave himself into our hands. We must imitate God. And lastly, is the thought that in this way we can see God. One central idea of St Irenaeus is that man does not see God, he cannot see him and so he is in the dark concerning the truth about himself. However man, who cannot see God, can see Jesus and so he sees God, so he begins to see the truth and so he begins to live.
The Saviour, therefore, comes to reduce to powerlessness the work of evil and all that can still keep us distant from God in order to restore to us the ancient splendour and primitive fatherhood. With his coming among us, God points out and assigns to us a task: precisely that of being like him and of striving for true life, to attain the vision of God in the Face of Christ. St. Irenaeus states further: “The Word of God dwelt in man and became the Son of man in order to accustom man to perceive God and to accustom God to dwell in man, according to the Father's pleasure. For this reason God gave us as a ‘sign’ of our salvation the One who, born of the Virgin, is the Emmanuel” (ibid.).
Here too there is a very beautiful central idea of St Irenaeus: We must get used to perceiving God. God is generally remote from our lives, from our ideas, from our actions. He has come to us and we must accustom ourselves to being with God. And Irenaeus dares boldly to say that God must also accustom himself to being with us and within us. And that God should perhaps accompany us at Christmas, should accustom us to God, just as God should accustom himself to us, to our poverty and frailty. Hence the coming of the Lord can have no other purpose than to teach us to see and love events, the world, and all that surrounds us with God’s own eyes. The Word-become-a-Child helps us to understand God’s way of acting so that we will be able to let ourselves be transformed increasingly by his goodness and his infinite mercy.
In the night of the world let us still be surprised and illumined by this act of God which is totally unexpected: God makes himself a Child. We must let ourselves be overcome with wonder, illumined by the Star that flooded the universe with joy. May the Child Jesus, in coming to us, not find us unprepared, dedicated only to making exterior reality more beautiful. May the care we give to making our roads and homes more splendid be an even greater incentive to predispose our soul to encounter the One who will come to visit us, who is the true beauty and the true light. Let us therefore purify our consciences and our lives of what is contrary to this coming: thoughts, words, attitudes and deeds — impelling ourselves to do good and to contribute to achieving in our world peace and justice for every person, and thus to walk towards our encounter with the Lord.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Response to an Email on Heidegger

To be honest, I think Heidegger is on to the true point: that point is the "forgetfulness" of being (a-letheia = LETHE, Homer's stream/river of oblivion, was one of the rivers of the underworld and its goddess. The others were the Styx, Akheron, Pyriphlegethon and Kokytos. The alpha ("a") is the negative of oblivion or forgetfulness and therefore "remembering."

Therefore, Heidegger's whole insight is the recovery of the experience of the "I" (Dasein)- Being - which which has been forgotten by the abstractive tendency of the mind (conceptualization). It has given us science and technology, but not reality (which is the self as imaging the divine Persons).

An actual work of H. that would be most instructive and give authenticity to your exchange with ?? is H.'s "Early Greek Thinking" - Harper Collins [1984] which is a scant 123 pages and most insightful if taken from the meaning of faith as the "I"- gift in the experience of self-transcendence. This is not H's point, but it can be ours. Faith, then, is the return to authenticity of being by overcoming the forgetfulness of "being" (the acting self). As H. offers on p. 13, The Anaximander Fragment (700-600 B.C. exactly at the time of the Exile) was the first disclosure of Being and the beginning of Greek philosophy as the rationality of the West. In the light of Benedict's Regensburg talk, this little work is decisive for an insight into H.'s mind (as I know it). H. sees Plato and Aristotle as already in decline (300 B.C.) from this "Axial" moment of 700-600 B.C. And H. sees the present moment 2,000 as our new emergence from "forgetfulness" of Being.

I quote:

"Do we stand in the very twilight of the most monstrous transformation our planet has ever undergone, the twilight of that epoch in which earth itself hangs suspended? Do we confront the evening of a night which heralds another dawn? Are we to strike off on a journey to this historic region of earth's evening? Is the land of evening (Abendland: the Occident - West) only now emerging?...What can all merely historiological philosophies of history tell us about our history if they only dazzle us with surveys of its sedimented stuff; if they explain history without ever thinking out, from the essence of history, the fundamentals of their way of explaining events, and the essence of history, in turn, from Being itrself. Are we the latecomers we are? But are we also at the same time precursors of the dawn of an altogether different age, which has already left our contemporary historiological representations of history behind?" Early Greek Thinking -The Dawn of Western Philosophy" 17.

Consider Benedict XVI’s meaning of “The New Evangelization” in terms faith as the experience of Christ by experiencing the self as gift receiving Christ [as Our Lady].

The Real War: The Child's Right as Person to Self-Determination

Wall Street Journal
DECEMBER 20, 2011

All Rights Are Grounded in the Dignity of the Human Person to Self-Determine [which is the ultimate meaning of freedom]. The human person is "the only earthly being God has willed for itself" [because made in the image of God: Gaudium et spes #24], and therefore the only earthly being that enjoys autonomy.

Embryos Spur Legal Fights
Law Remains Unclear About Who Controls the Rights When a Couple Breaks Up


Couples who break up often fight over many things, but in vitro fertility treatments have created a new frontier: Who controls the frozen embryos that often result from such procedures?

Such disputes have been growing as the procedure—in which an egg and sperm are joined outside the body—has become more common. Yet the legal system hasn't established clear standards as to how to approach such cases and the outcomes have varied widely.

The rise of in vitro fertilization is triggering new case law as divorcing couples fight over the rights to embryos, Ashby Jones reports on the News Hub. Photo: Reuters.

One case on appeal could add to the legal morass. In 2004, a Chester County, Pa., woman and her husband had some embryos frozen shortly before the woman underwent chemotherapy treatments for breast cancer and nearly three years before the husband filed for divorce, which isn't finalized.

The woman, Andrea Reiss, now wants to use the embryos to have children. Her husband, Bret Reber, says the embryos should be destroyed.
In May, the Chester County Court of Common Pleas ruled for the woman, the first known case in which a court has ruled in favor of letting a woman use embryos over the wishes of her husband. The case is now on appeal to the Superior Court of Pennsylvania, with arguments likely early next year.

Few such cases have reached judges, but the scattering that have indicate great uncertainty over the issue, lawyers say.
Enlarge Image

Bryan Derballa for The Wall Street Journal
Frozen embryos at Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York. The center requires couples to agree on what happens to embryos in a divorce.
"We've got a state-by-state patchwork of approaches from around the country," said Charles Kindregan, a law professor at Suffolk University in Boston and an expert in assisted-reproduction law. "It's literally all over the map."
Many fertility centers require couples starting in-vitro treatments to agree on what would happen to the embryos in the event of a divorce. Some courts, such as in New York state, generally defer to such agreements.
But courts in other states, including Massachusetts and New Jersey, generally have ruled that the rights of the person not wanting to be a parent—typically the husband—should prevail over the person who wants to use the embryo, even when the parties agreed at the time of the fertilization to allow the embryos to be used after a divorce.
"The rationale is that people have a right to change their minds, and nobody should be forced to become a parent against his or her wishes," said Susan Crockin, an adoption and reproductive-technology lawyer in Newton, Mass.

No state's high court has yet allowed a woman to use embryos against her former husband's will, but courts have left that possibility open, especially in situations in which use of the embryos might be the last chance for a woman to bear a biologically related child. Such use of embryos likely would prompt a separate legal fight over the rights and obligations of the parents.

"The constitutional right to avoid procreation is well defined," said Maureen McBrien, a Boston family lawyer and, with Mr. Kindregan, the co-author of a textbook on assisted-reproductive technology. "But what's less clear is the constitutional right to reproduce and whether that right extends to a right to bear a biologically related child."
The Pennsylvania case, Reber v. Reiss, could test that issue head-on. In court papers, Mr. Reber argued he never intended to have children with Ms. Reiss, and that the couple created the embryos shortly after Ms. Reiss was diagnosed with cancer only as a "safeguard" in the event he changed his mind. A lawyer for Mr. Reber didn't respond to numerous requests for comment.

But Ms. Reiss's arguments moved Chester County Judge David Bortner. In his ruling, the judge found that without use of the embryos, Ms. Reiss wouldn't be able to bear children, that adoption wasn't a "comparable alternative" for her, and that the couple never made use of the embryos contingent upon them staying together.

Ms. Reiss's lawyer, Cheryl Young, said she was pleased by the ruling. But "this is one of those cases that really could go either way" on appeal, she said.

Such uncertainty prompts many lawyers to keep embryo-control issues out of the courts.
Jason Hopper, a lawyer in Noblesville, Ind., said that several months ago, he reached an out-of-court agreement over preserved embryos on behalf of a man who didn't want his ex-wife to use them. The agreement says the embryos for now will stay frozen, and exposes the fertility clinic to legal liability if they are used without the man's consent.
"It's impossible to say how an Indiana court would rule on this issue," said Mr. Hopper, "so we were happy to resolve it in that fashion."

Some family-law practitioners say new laws may be needed. "The law has to do better keeping up with technology, and if it means legislators getting in and dealing with some difficult issues, so be it," said Lee Rosen, a divorce lawyer in Raleigh, N.C.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Harvard Freshman Satirizes Life

“I am personally opposed to killing abortionists. However, inasmuch as my personal opposition to this practice is rooted in a sectarian (Catholic) religious belief in the sanctity of human life, I am unwilling to impose it on others who may, as a matter of conscience, take a different view…. In short, I am moderately pro-choice.”

These words, penned by Princeton professor Robert P. George, might seem shocking and appalling if taken at face value. However, this passage is actually a satirical indictment of the position that while abortion is wrong, we should not impose this moral conclusion on other people. The position that Dr. George (a pro-life advocate and an outspoken opponent of violence) mocks is patently absurd—which is precisely his point. Yet the “personally pro-life” stance is quite common: Politicians like Joe Biden and Rudy Giuliani agree with it. Both their views and George’s satirical view show the same flawed logic.

Those who take the “personally opposed but pro-choice” position must confront the question: why are you “personally opposed” to abortion in the first place? The obvious answer is that you have at least some notion that abortion is morally wrong. Even if you don’t know precisely why, you know that there is something special about life before birth that deserves protection. Even if you can’t articulate your reasoning—or even phrase it in this way—you intuit that a child in utero is in fact a person, with all the dignity and moral worth of any other person. Indeed, the only answer to this question is that you believe that a child in the womb is a human being; otherwise, there is no reason to have any moral qualms about destroying one.

Though vague, these perceptions are exactly correct, with plenty of well-developed philosophical and scientific reasoning to support them. They are ideas not to be hidden out of shame or fear, but to be offered to the world and defended with pride.

How should these moral conclusions affect abortion law? Those who take the “personally opposed but pro-choice” position propose that they should have no impact at all. They contend that the decision to have an abortion should only be made by the individual, and that government should not try to “legislate morality.” However, this view carries implications with which no one is comfortable. Under the “personally opposed” logic, Dr. George’s satirical jab at the pro-choice movement becomes a completely legitimate position. Both are based on respecting a person’s purported right to perform grave moral evils that harm other people.

When applied to other issues this logic is quite obviously untenable. It suggests that we should respect the right of thieves to steal things or the right of arsonists to burn down buildings if they so choose. In fact, the “personally opposed” reasoning would not even permit the abolition of slavery. Perhaps, the reasoning would go, we could take action to reduce the number of plantation owners who feel the need to exploit slave labor. However, we should stop short of banning slavery outright, out of respect for the rights of conscience of those who make the choice to own other people.

The error of the “personally opposed but pro-choice” position lies in a fundamental misconception of the law itself. Although the proper scope of government is a matter of considerable debate, most people can agree that one of the most basic roles of government is to protect human rights and dignity. However, the only way the government can offer such protection is by rendering moral judgments and acting upon them. This could mean making a conclusion about the morality of theft, arson, or slavery, or about the moral value of a life in the womb. In any case, the idea of refraining from acting on such moral judgments makes little sense; indeed, it undermines the concept of the rule of the law itself.

Those who believe in the right to life of the unborn and those who do not can have a legitimate debate over the nature of personhood; however, those who are “personally opposed but pro-choice” simply have no rational basis for their position. If abortion is wrong (and thus something that should be opposed) it is because it is the unjust taking of the life of its unborn victims. But if that is so, then potential victims have a right to life, which a government is bound to protect. When it comes to protecting innocent human life from deliberate destruction, no one should ask, “Are we justified in preventing this?” Rather, anyone who is “personally opposed” to abortion has but one place in this debate: standing in support of the pro-life cause, affirming the intrinsic value and dignity of all human life.

James P. McGlone ’15 lives in Grays Hall. He is the Vice President of Community Impact for Harvard Right to Life.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Knowing the Father By Identity with Christ


"We Too, By the Gift of His Spirit, Can Turn to God in Prayer With the Confidence of Children"

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 7, 2011 ( Here is a translation of the Italian-language address Benedict XVI gave during today's general audience. He continued with his reflection on Jesus' prayer.
* * *
Dear brothers and sisters,

The Evangelists Matthew and Luke (cf. Matthew 11:25-30 and Luke 10:21-22) have bequeathed to us a “jewel” of Jesus’ prayer, which often is called the Cry of Exultation or the Cry of Messianic Exultation. It is a prayer of gratitude and of praise, as we just heard. In the original Greek of the Gospels, the word with which this hymn begins -- and which expresses Jesus’ attitude in addressing the Father -- is exomologoumai -- often translated as “I give praise” (Matthew 11:25 and Luke 10:21). But in the writings of the New Testament, this word indicates principally two things: the first is “to confess” -- as for example, John the Baptist asked those who went out to be baptized by him to confess their sins (cf. Matthew 3:6); and the second is “to be in agreement." Therefore, the expression with which Jesus begins His prayer contains His full confession of the Father’s action -- and with it, His being in total, conscious and joyous agreement with this way of acting -- with the Father’s plan. The Cry of Exultation is the apex of a journey of prayer in which Jesus’ profound and intimate communion with the life of the Father in the Holy Spirit clearly emerges and reveals His divine Sonship.

Jesus addresses God by calling Him “Father”. This word expresses Jesus’ awareness and certainty in being “the Son” in intimate and constant communion with Him, and this is the focus and source of all of Jesus’ prayer. We see this clearly in the hymn’s conclusion, which illumines the entire text. Jesus says: “All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal Him” (Luke 10:22). Jesus affirms, therefore, that only “the Son” truly knows the Father.
Every knowing between persons -- we all experience this in our human relationships -- implies involvement, some interior bond between the one who knows and the one known, at a more or less profound level: We cannot know one another without a communion of being. In the Cry of Exultation -- as in all of His prayer -- Jesus shows that true knowledge of God presupposes communion with Him. It is only by being in communion with the other that I may begin to know him; and so it is with God: only if I am in true contact, if I am in communion with Him, may I also know Him. Therefore, true knowledge is reserved to the “Son,” the Only Begotten who is forever in the bosom of the Father (cf. John 1:18), in perfect unity with Him. Only the Son truly knows God, by being in an intimate communion of being -- only the Son can truly reveal who God is.

The name “Father” is followed by a second title, “Lord of heaven and earth.” With this expression, Jesus recapitulates the belief in Creation and echoes the first words of Sacred Scripture: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Praying, He recalls the great biblical narrative of the history of God’s love for man, which begins with the act of Creation. Jesus enters into this history of love -- He is its summit and fulfillment. In His experience of prayer, Sacred Scripture is illumined and comes alive in its fullest breadth: the announcement of the mystery of God and the response of man transformed. But in the expression “Lord of heaven and earth” we are able also to recognize how in Jesus -- the Revealer of the Father -- there is reopened to man the possibility of gaining access to God.

Let us now ask ourselves the question: To whom does the Son wish to reveal the mysteries of God? At the beginning of the hymn Jesus expresses His joy, for the Father’s Will is to keep these things hidden from the learned and the wise and to reveal them to the little ones (cf. Luke 10:21). In this expression of His prayer, Jesus reveals His communion with the decision of the Father, who reveals His mysteries to the simple of heart: the Son’s Will is one with the Father’s.
Divine revelation does not come to pass according to worldly logic, which says that it is the cultured and the powerful who possess important knowledge and who transmit it to simpler people, to the little ones. God used a wholly different way: The recipients of His communication were precisely the “little ones.” This is the Father’s Will, and the Son joyously shares it with Him. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “His exclamation, ‘Yes, Father!’ expresses the depth of His heart, His adherence to the Father's ‘good pleasure,’ echoing His mother's Fiat at the time of his conception and prefiguring what He will say to the Father in his agony. The whole prayer of Jesus is contained in this loving adherence of His human heart to the mystery of the will of the Father (Ephesians 1:9)” (2603).

Hence derives the invocation we address to God in the Our Father: “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”: Together with Christ and in Christ, we also ask to enter into harmony with the Father’s Will, and in this way we also become His children. Therefore, in this Cry of Exultation, Jesus expresses His Will to draw into His own filial knowledge of God all those whom the Father wishes to share in it; and those who welcome this gift are the “little ones.”
But what does it mean “to be little,” to be simple? What is the “littleness” that opens man to filial intimacy with God and to the welcoming of His Will? What must the fundamental attitude of our prayer be? Let us look to “The Sermon on the Mount,” where Jesus affirms: “Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). It is purity of heart that allows us to recognize the face of God in Jesus Christ -- it is having a simple heart, like those of children -- free from the presumption of the one who is closed in on himself, who thinks he has no need of anyone -- not even God.

It is also interesting to note the circumstances in which Jesus breaks into this hymn to the Father. In Matthew’s Gospel narrative, it is joy in the fact that -- despite the opposition and refusal of many -- there are “little ones” who welcome His word and who open themselves to the gift of faith in Him. The Cry of Exultation, in fact, is preceded by the contrast between the praise of John the Baptist -- one of the “little ones” who recognized God acting in Christ Jesus (cf. Mathew 11:2-19) -- and the reproof for the incredulity of the lake cities “where most of His mighty works had been done” (cf. Matthew 11:20-24).

The exultation is seen by Matthew, therefore, in relation to the words with which Jesus notes the efficacy of His word and of His action: “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is he who takes no offense at me” (Matthew 11:4-6).
St. Luke also presents the Cry of Exultation in connection with a moment of development in the proclamation of the Gospel. Jesus sent out the “seventy-two disciples” (Luke 10:1), and they departed with a sense of fear over the possible failure of their mission. Luke also emphasizes the refusal encountered in the cities where the Lord had preached and accomplished mighty works. But the seventy-two disciples return full of joy, because their mission was successful; they witnessed that with the power of Jesus’ word, the evils of men are conquered. And Jesus shares their satisfaction: “in that same hour” -- in that moment -- He rejoiced.
There are still two elements I would like to emphasize. The Evangelist Luke introduces the prayer with the annotation: “Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit” (Luke 10:21). Jesus rejoices from His inmost being, in what He holds most deeply: [His] unique communion of knowledge and love with the Father, the fullness of the Holy Spirit. In drawing us into His Sonship, Jesus invites us also to open ourselves to the light of the Holy Spirit, since -- as the Apostle Paul affirms -- “[We] do not know how to pray as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with sighs too deep for words … according to the will of God” (Romans 8:26-27) and He reveals to us the Father’s love.

In Matthew’s Gospel -- following the Cry of Exultation -- we find one of Jesus’ most heartfelt appeals: “Come to me, all who are weary are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). Jesus asks us to go to Him, for He is true Wisdom -- to Him, for He is “gentle and humble of heart.” He offers us “His yoke” -- the road of the wisdom of the Gospel -- which is neither a doctrine to be learned nor an ethical system, but a Person to be followed: He Himself, the Only Begotten Son in perfect communion with the Father.

Dear brothers and sisters, we have experienced for a moment the riches of this prayer of Jesus. We too, by the gift of His Spirit, can turn to God in prayer with the confidence of children, calling upon Him with the name Father, “Abba.” But we must have the heart of the little ones, of the “poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3) -- in order to recognize that we are not self-sufficient, that we are unable to build our lives alone, that we need God -- we need to encounter Him, to listen to Him, to speak to Him. Prayer opens us to receive the gift of God -- His Wisdom -- which is Jesus Himself, in order to accomplish the Father’s Will in our lives and thus to find rest amidst the hardships of our journey. Thank you.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Benedict XVI on December 7, 2011



Paul VI Audience Hall
Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Only those who are out of themselves, empty of self, can become the Son, and therefore know the Father. The way to see the Face of the Father is to keep converting away from self such that you can say "I live; no not I; Christ lives in me" Gal. 2, 20). This is the great achievement of humility that is only authentic when we are humiliated and keep serving.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In our continuing catechesis on Christian prayer, we are considering the teaching and example given us by Jesus himself. In the “cry of exultation” recorded for us by the evangelists Matthew and Luke, Jesus gives thanks to the Father because he has willed to reveal the mystery of salvation not to the wise and learned, but to the “little ones” (cf. Mt 11:25-30; Lk 10:21-22). This magnificent prayer has its source in Jesus’ profound communion with the Father in the Holy Spirit; as the eternal Son, Jesus alone “knows” the Father and rejoices in complete openness to his will. Indeed, “no one knows the Father except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him” (Lk 10:22). In this prayer, then, the Lord expresses his desire to share his knowledge of the Father with the “little ones”, the pure of heart and those open to the divine will. In Saint Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus’ cry of exultation is followed by his words: “Come to me, all who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest … for my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (11:28). Jesus is the source and model of our prayer; through him, in the Holy Spirit, we can turn with trust to God our Father, confident that, in doing his will, we shall find true freedom and peace.

* * *

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Reform Your Notion of Advent (Parousia): Office of Readings (2nd) (Tues) for Second Week of Advent

The Latin "Advent" is the Latin translation of the Greek word, "Parousia" that does not mean "expectation" of the end of the world, or even simply "expectation," but "arrival" or "the beginning of a presence." Etymologically, it means the “arrival” of the King who bestows his parousia, on his devotees for a time. However, he is not yet present in all His glory [Cf. Ratzinger, "Dogma and Preaching" Franciscan Herald Press (1985) 71-71].

Christ lives and is active in the world. We are not awaiting His action but already benefiting from it. Its full deployment depends on our capacity to ask for it and receive it. Nevertheless, He is continuously active in the world as He is continuously present in the world. We cannot see Him because we are not sufficiently like Him yet. We will see and recognize Him to the extent that we subjectively get out of ourselves – creating space as our Lady did – such that He can dwell in us and we can say: “I live; no, not I ; Christ lives in me” (Gal 2, 20).

Notice that this eschatology that is the text of Lumen Gentium below, and also the grounding theological insight of Joseph Ratzinger, is also the charism received by St. Josemaria Escriva with the locution of August 7, 1931: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all things to myself” – not in the sense that Scripture says it. I say it to you in the sense that you place me at the summit of all human activities, by becoming Me, by becoming “other Christs.”

Lumen Gentium #48: Christ, having been lifted up from the earth has drawn all to Himself.(239) Rising from the dead(240) He sent His life-giving Spirit upon His disciples and through Him has established His Body which is the Church as the universal sacrament of salvation. Sitting at the right hand of the Father, He is continually active in the world that He might lead men to the Church and through it join them to Himself and that He might make them partakers of His glorious life by nourishing them with His own Body and Blood. Therefore the promised restoration which we are awaiting has already begun in Christ, is carried forward in the mission of the Holy Spirit and through Him continues in the Church in which we learn the meaning of our terrestrial life through our faith, while we perform with hope in the future the work committed to us in this world by the Father, and thus work out our salvation.(241)
Already the final age of the world has come upon us (242) and the renovation of the world is irrevocably decreed and is already anticipated in some kind of a real way; for the Church already on this earth is signed with a sanctity which is real although imperfect. However, until there shall be new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells,(243) the pilgrim Church in her sacraments and institutions, which pertain to this present time, has the appearance of this world which is passing and she herself dwells among creatures who groan and travail in pain until now and await the revelation of the sons of God.(244)

the world. We cannot see Him because we are not sufficiently like Him yet. We will see and recognize Him to the extent that we subjectively get out of ourselves – creating space – such that He can dwell in us and we can say: “I live; no, not I ; Christ lives in me” (Gal 2, 20).

Notice that this eschatology that is the text of Lumen Gentium below, and also the grounding theological insight of Joseph Ratzinger, is also the charism received by St. Josemaria Escriva with the locution of August 7, 1931: “When I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw all things to myself” – not in the sense that Scripture says it. I say it to you in the sense that you place me at the summit of all human activities, by becoming Me, by becoming “other Christs.”

Lumen Gentium #48: Christ, having been lifted up from the earth has drawn all to Himself.(239) Rising from the dead(240) He sent His life-giving Spirit upon His disciples and through Him has established His Body which is the Church as the universal sacrament of salvation. Sitting at the right hand of the Father, He is continually active in the world that He might lead men to the Church and through it join them to Himself and that He might make them partakers of His glorious life by nourishing them with His own Body and Blood. Therefore the promised restoration which we are awaiting has already begun in Christ, is carried forward in the mission of the Holy Spirit and through Him continues in the Church in which we learn the meaning of our terrestrial life through our faith, while we perform with hope in the future the work committed to us in this world by the Father, and thus work out our salvation.(241)

Already the final age of the world has come upon us (242) and the renovation of the world is irrevocably decreed and is already anticipated in some kind of a real way; for the Church already on this earth is signed with a sanctity which is real although imperfect. However, until there shall be new heavens and a new earth in which justice dwells,(243) the pilgrim Church in her sacraments and institutions, which pertain to this present time, has the appearance of this world which is passing and she herself dwells among creatures who groan and travail in pain until now and await the revelation of the sons of God.(244)

Friday, December 02, 2011

Fernando Ocáriz, 67, is the Vicar General of Opus Dei. He's a trained theologian in area of Dogmatics but he's also trained in physics. In 1986 he was appointed a consultor to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and later (1989) made a member of the Pontifical Theological Academy. Msgr. Ocáriz is the author of many books and refereed articles. He's one of the primary authors of Dominus Iesus. Of late Msgr. Ocáriz has been a theological consultant in the dialogue with the Society of St Pius X.

The following article is published in several languages by L'Osservatore Romano (2 December 2011).

On adhesion to the Second Vatican Council

The forthcoming 50th anniversary of the convocation of the Second Vatican Council (25 December 1961) is a cause for celebration, but also for renewed reflection on the reception and application of the Conciliar Documents.

Over and above the more directly practical aspects of this reception and application, both positive and negative, it seems appropriate also to recall the nature of the intellectual assent that is owed to the teachings of the Council. Although we are dealing here with a well-known doctrine, about which there is an extensive bibliography, it is nevertheless useful to review it in its essential points, given the persistence - also in public opinion - of misunderstandings regarding the continuity of some Conciliar teachings with previous teachings of the Church's Magisterium.

First of all, it is not pointless to recall that the pastoral motivation of the Council does not mean that it was not doctrinal - since all pastoral activity is necessarily based on doctrine. But, above all, it is important to emphasize that precisely because doctrine is aimed at salvation, the teaching of doctrine is an integral part of all pastoral work. Furthermore, within the Documents of the Council it is obvious that there are many strictly doctrinal teachings: on Divine Revelation, on the Church, etc. As Blessed John Paul II wrote: "With the help of God, the Council Fathers in four years of work were able to produce a considerable collection of doctrinal statements and pastoral norms which were presented to the whole Church" (Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum, 11 October 1992, Introduction).

Assent Owed to the Magisterium

The Second Vatican Council did not define any dogma, in the sense that it proposed no doctrine with a definitive act. However, even if the Magisterium proposes a teaching without directly invoking the charism of infallibility, it does not follow that such a teaching is therefore to be considered "fallible" - in the sense that what is proposed is somehow a "provisional doctrine" or just an "authoritative opinion". Every authentic expression of the Magisterium must be received for what it truly is: a teaching given by Pastors who, in the apostolic succession, speak with the "charism of truth" (Dei Verbum, n. 8), "endowed with the authority of Christ" (Lumen Gentium, n. 25), "and by the light of the Holy Spirit" (ibid.).

This charism, this authority and this light were certainly present at the Second Vatican Council; to deny this to the entire episcopate gathered to teach the universal Church cum Petro and sub Petro, would be to deny something of the very essence of the Church (cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Mysterium Ecclesiae, 24 June 1973, nn. 2-5).

Naturally not all the affirmations contained in the Conciliar documents have the same doctrinal value and therefore not all require the same degree of assent. The various levels of assent owed to doctrines proposed by the Magisterium were outlined in Vatican II's Constitution Lumen Gentium (n. 25), and subsequently synthesized in the three clauses added to the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed in the formula of the Professio fidei published in 1989 by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and approved by Blessed John Paul II.

Those affirmations of the Second Vatican Council that recall truths of the faith naturally require the assent of theological faith, not because they were taught by this Council but because they have already been taught infallibly as such by the Church, either by a solemn judgement or by the ordinary and universal Magisterium. So also a full and definitive assent is required for the other doctrines set forth by the Second Vatican Council which have already been proposed by a previous definitive act of the Magisterium.

The Council's other doctrinal teachings require of the faithful a degree of assent called "religious submission of will and intellect". Precisely because it is "religious" assent, such assent is not based purely on rational motives. This kind of adherence does not take the form of an act of faith. Rather, it is an act of obedience that is not merely disciplinary, but is well-rooted in our confidence in the divine assistance given to the Magisterium, and therefore "within the logic of faith and under the impulse of obedience to the faith" (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction Donum Veritatis, 24 May 1990, n. 23). This obedience to the Magisterium of the Church does not limit freedom but, on the contrary, is the source of freedom. Christ's words: "he who hears you hears me" (Lk 10:16) are addressed also to the successors of the Apostles; and to listen to Christ means to receive in itself the truth which will make you free (cf. Jn 8:32).

Documents of the Magisterium may contain elements that are not exactly doctrinal -- as is the case in the documents of the Second Vatican Council -- elements whose nature is more or less circumstantial (descriptions of the state of a society, suggestions, exhortations, etc.). Such matters are received with respect and gratitude, but do not require an intellectual assent in the strictest sense (cf. Instruction Donum Veritatis, nn. 24-31).

The Interpretation of Teachings

The unity of the Church and unity in the faith are inseparable, and this also involves the unity of the Magisterium of the Church in every age, since the Magisterium is the authentic interpreter of Divine Revelation transmitted by Sacred Scripture and by Tradition. This means, among other things, that an essential characteristic of the Magisterium is its continuity and consistency through history. Continuity does not mean an absence of development; down the centuries the Church deepens in her knowledge, in her understanding and, consequently, also in her magisterial teaching of Catholic faith and morals.

A number of innovations of a doctrinal nature are to be found in the documents of the Second Vatican Council: on the sacramental nature of the episcopate, on episcopal collegiality, on religious freedom, etc. These innovations in matters concerning faith or morals, not proposed with a definitive act, still require religious submission of intellect and will, even though some of them were and still are the object of controversy with regard to their continuity with earlier magisterial teaching, or their compatibility with the tradition. In the face of such difficulties in understanding the continuity of certain Conciliar Teachings with the tradition, the Catholic attitude, having taken into account the unity of the Magisterium, is to seek a unitive interpretation in which the texts of the Second Vatican Council and the preceding Magisterial documents illuminate each other. Not only should the Second Vatican Council be interpreted in the light of previous Magisterial documents, but also some of these earlier magisterial documents can be understood better in the light of the Second Vatican Council. This is nothing new in the history of the Church. It should be remembered, for example, that the meaning of important concepts adopted in the First Council of Nicaea in the formulation of the Trinitarian and Christological faith (hypóstasis, ousía), were greatly clarified by later Councils.

The interpretation of the innovations taught by the Second Vatican Council must therefore reject, as Benedict XVI put it, "a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture," while it must affirm the "hermeneutic of reform, of renewal within continuity" (Discourse, 22 December 2005). These are innovations in the sense that they explain new aspects which have not previously been formulated by the Magisterium, but which do not doctrinally contradict previous Magisterial documents. This is so even though, in certain cases -- for example, concerning religious freedom -- these innovations imply very different consequences at the level of historical decisions concerning juridical and political applications of the teaching, especially given the changes in historical and social conditions. An authentic interpretation of Conciliar texts can only be made by the Magisterium of the Church herself. Therefore, in the theological work of the interpretation of passages in the Conciliar texts which arouse queries or seem to present difficulties, it is above all necessary to take into account the sense in which they have been interpreted in subsequent Magisterial interventions. Nevertheless, there remains space for legitimate theological freedom to explain in one way or in another how certain formulations present in the Conciliar texts do not contradict the Tradition and, therefore, to explain the correct meaning of some expressions contained in those passages.

Lastly, in this regard, it does not seem superfluous to call to mind that almost half a century has passed since the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council and that in these decades four Roman Pontiffs have succeeded one another on the Chair of Peter. An assessment of the teaching of these Popes and the corresponding assent of the Episcopate to that teaching should transform a possible situation of difficulty into a serene and joyful acceptance of the Magisterium, the authentic interpreter of the doctrine of the faith. This must be possible and is to be hoped for, even if aspects that are not entirely understood remain. In any case, there remains legitimate room for theological freedom and for further opportune in-depth study. As Benedict XVI wrote recently: "the essential content that for centuries has formed the heritage of all believers needs to be confirmed, understood and explored ever anew, so as to bear consistent witness in historical circumstances very different from those of the past" (Benedict XVI, Motu Proprio Porta Fidei, 11 October 2011, n. 4).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ratzinger-Torrance-Newman: "Objectivity - An Absurd Abstraction"

Joseph Ratzinger on “Objectivity [as] An Absurd Abstraction”[1]

Joseph Ratzinger: “Biblical Interpretation in Crisis:”[2]

“(A)t the heart of the historical-critical method lies the effort to establish in the field of history a level of methodological precision that would yield conclusions of the same certainty as in the natural sciences. But what one exegete takes as definite can only be called into question by other exegetes. This is a practical rule that is presupposed as plainly and self-evidently valid. Now, if the natural science model is to be followed without hesitation, then the importance of the Heisenberg principle should be applied to the historical-critical method as well. Heisenberg has shown that the outcome of a given experiment is heavily influenced by the point of view of the observer. So much so that both the observer’s questions and the observations continue to change in the natural course of events. When applied to the witness of history, this means that interpretation can never by just a simple reproduction of history’s being, ‘as it was.’ The word interpretation gives us a clue to the question itself: every exegesis requires an ‘inter’ – an entering in and being ‘inter,’ or between things; this is the involvement of the interpreter himself. Pure objectivity is an absurd abstraction. It is not the uninvolved who comes to knowledge; rather, interest itself is a requirement for the possibility of coming to know.”

Introduction to Christianity:[3] “The intellectual approach of modern physics may offer us more help here than the Aristotelian philosophy was able to give. Physicists know today that one can only talk about the structure of matter in approximations starting from various different angles. They know that the position of the beholder at any one time affects the result of his questioning of nature. Why should we not be able to understand afresh, on this basis, that in the question of God we must not look, in the Aristotelian fashion, for an ultimate concept encompassing the whole, but must be prepared to find a multitude of aspects which depend on the position of the observer and which we can no longer survey as a whole but only accept alongside each other, without being able to make any statement about the ultimate truth? We meet here the hidden interplay of faith and modern thought. That present-day physicists are stepping outside the structure of Aristotelian logic and thinking in this way is surely an effect already of the new dimension which Christian theology has opened up, of its need to think in ‘complementarities.

“In this connection I should like to mention briefly two other aids to thought provided by physics. E. Schrödinger has defined the structure of matter as ‘parcels of waves’ and thereby fallen upon the idea of a being that has no substance but is purely actual, whose apparent ‘substantiality’ really results only from the pattern of movement of superimposed waves. In the realm of matter such a suggestion may well be physically, and in any case philosophically, highly contestable. But it remains an exciting simile for the actualitas divina, for the absolute ‘being-act’ of God, and for the idea that the densest being – Go can subsist only in a multitude of relations, which are not substances but simply ‘waves,’ and therein form a perfect unity and also the fullness of being. We shall have to consider this idea more fully later on; it is already formulated to all intents and purposes in St. Augustine, when he develops the idea of the pure act-existence (the ‘parcel of waves’).

“But first let me mention the second aid to understanding provided by science. We know today that in a physical experiment the observer himself enters into the experiment and only by doing so can arrive at a physical experience. This means that there is no such thing as pure objectivity even in physics, that even here the result of the experiment, nature’s answer depends on the question put to it. In the answer there is always a bit of the question and a bit of the questioner himself; it gives back something of man, of our individuality, a bit the human subject. This too, mutatis mutandis, is true of the question of God. There is not such thing as a mere observer. There is not such thing as pure objectivity. One can even say that the higher an object stands in human terms, the more it penetrates the center of individuality, and the more it engages the beholder’s individuality, then the smaller the possibility of the mere distancing involved in pure objectivity. Thus, wherever an answer is presented as unemotionally objective, as a statement that finally goes beyond the prejudices of the pious and provides purely factual, scientific information, then it has to be said that the speaker has hewer fallen a victim to self-deception. This kind of objectivity is quite simply denied to man. He cannot ask and exist as a mere observer. He who tries to be a mere observer experiences nothing. Even the reality ‘God’ can only impinge on the vision of him who enters into the experiment with God – the experiment that we call faith. Only bye entering does one experience; only by co-operating in the experiment does one ask at all, and only he who asks receives an answer.”

Thomas F. Torrance, “Theological Science[4] [The only way to be truly objective is to experience the subject]

“There has taken place a critical reassessment of the place of subjectivity in knowledge. Of course throughout the whole history of modern science since the end of the sixteenth century there has been a stady critique of subjectivity, and an insistence as we have seen, upon the primacy of objectivity. Scientific thinking involves a methodological abstraction from all subjective factors in its concern for strict impartiality and disinterestedness. However, when this rigorous scientific method came to be applied beyond the realms of mathematics and physics, e.g. to history by Dilthey, it soon became evident that there si no such thing as impartial science (vorausetzungslose Wissenschaft) although methodological imparitiality retained tis place. The really great change has come about in our own day through the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics, when it became efficient that the development of classical science had reached the point when there had to take place a considerable change in the whole structure of scientific consciousness. Einstein had to wrestle for some twenty years with Newtonian and Kantian conceptions of space and time before the theory of relativity could be formulated, whereas the advances in nuclear physics through the work of Maxwell and Rutherford forced physicists like Bohr to carry through a change in the whole structure of knowledge as it lay embedded in classical physics and mechanics. These changes revealed that modern science, far more than it ever realized, had been operating uncritically with a subjective structure of the understanding which had inevitably limited the range of its observation and discovery. All this meant that real advances in knowledge involve fundamental changes in the structure of the mind and profound changes in the meaning of basic concepts. These facts are still having seismic effects in various branches of knowledge.

“One of the interesting things about this critical reorientation of modern thought is that it entails a double critique of subjectivity and objectivity. That knowledge proceeds by the conformity of the reason to the nature of the object has been re-established on a much wider, and in some respects, a deeper basis, for the fundamental modes of rationality, the basic states of consciousness, and even the primary concepts of science, are on the move and in need of constant modification and alteration. On the other hand, abstract subjectivism comes under severe criticism, for it conceals a static subjectivity in the uncritical acceptance of fundamental categories of the understanding, which is all the more powerful in its influence upon the course of scientific development just because it is concealed. Thus, for example, A. Eddington, M. Polanyi, and von Weizsacker in their different ways, have successfully shown how the personal factor inevitably enters into scientific knowledge for the very fact of our knowing explicitly enters into what we know. It is therefore unscientific to pretend that the subjective element is eliminated when it cannot be. Scientific thinking must operate with a severely self-critical and controlled subjectivity, for we can only advance to new knowledge by rigorous re-interpretation , and sometimes only by renunciation of precious modes of knowing.

“This has different applications in natural science and in theology. In neither does it mean that the subject can project himself into what he knows or allow his own nature to distort the nature of the object, nor does it mean in any way that we can know something if we subdue to the forms of our own subjectivity. Ion natural science, however, it does mean that the very nature of our inquiry, by which we created certain conditions within which we force nature to disclose itself to us according to our will, affects the content of our knowledge, and give it an unavoidable ambiguity. It bears the impress of our questions and analysis. Therefore as von Weizsacker has expressed it, ‘two basic functions of consciousness enter into every proposition in the description of nature: knowledge and volition.”

-What immediately occurs to me writing this is the observation of John Henry Newman that we do not sense causality through the external senses. As Hume observed, we sense associations, but not causes. That is, we have no “experience” of causality through our senses. We experience causality in our subjectivity. Newman wrote:

“The assent which we give to the proposition, as a first principle, that nothing happens without a cause, is derived, in the first instance, from what we know of ourselves; and we argue analogically from what is within us to what is external to us. One of the first experiences of an infant is that of his willing and doing; and, as time goes on, one of the first temptations of the boy is to bring home to himself the fact of his sovereign arbitrary power, though it be a t the price of waywardness, mischievousness, and disobedience. And when his parents, as antagonists of this willfulness, begin to restrain him, and to bring his mind and conduct into shape, then he has a second series of experiences of cause and effect, and that upon a principle or rule. Thus the notion of causation is one of the first lessons which he learns from experience, that experience limiting it to agents possessed of intelligence and will. Physical phenomena, as such, are without sense; and experience teaches us nothing about physical phenomena as causes.”[5]

[1] “Biblical Interpretation in Crisis,” in The Essential Pope Benedict XVI, Thornton and Varenne, Harper San Francisco (2007) 247.

[2] Ibid.

[3] J.. Ratzinger, “Introduction to Christianity,” Ignatius (1990) 124-125.

[4] Thomas F. Torrance, “Theological Science,” Oxford University Press (1969) 92-93.

[5] J.H. Newman, “A Grammar of Assent,” UNDP 1992) 70.

Russians - Searching For the Transcendent

MOSCOW — From morning all through the night, tens of thousands of Russians have been lining up since Saturday in the cold with just one aim: to kiss a glass-covered reliquary that they believe holds the Virgin Mary’s belt.

They shuffle along, waiting for up to 12 hours without complaint in a line that stretches for miles. Within a few days, the organizers say, the wait could reach 24 hours. At any given time there are about 25,000 people, according to news media estimates, and as of Wednesday morning, 285,000 true believers had earned their moment before the belt, said the St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation, which organized the tour.

As befits his status as the arbiter of most things Russian, Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin was the first to greet the holy relic when it arrived on Oct. 20 in St. Petersburg from a Greek Orthodox monastery on Mount Athos in Greece for a monthlong tour of Russia.

Of all the industrial nations, perhaps only Russia outdistances the United States in the religiosity of its people, two million of whom venerated the belt before its final stop in Moscow.

They wait here, within view of the Kremlin, snaking past the hulking Ministry of Defense building and billboards in support of United Russia, the pro-Putin governing party.

“We came so that we will live well, be happy and healthy, for the sake of our children,” said Anna Kozlova, 68, a pensioner who joined the end of the line late Tuesday night with her daughter Oksana Kulikova, a nurse, wrapped, like her mother, in fur against the cold.

She said she planned to head straight to work after venerating the relic at the towering Cathedral of Christ the Savior, which has been open around the clock.

“If a person believes, they come here,” Ms. Kulikova said. This, she stressed, is a matter of free will — in contrast to the long lines of the Soviet era for forced visits to Lenin’s mausoleum on Red Square.

Moscow’s city government closed streets around the cathedral — causing those Muscovites not so inclined to venerate relics to rant about the even-worse-than-usual traffic jams. Mobile canteens were set up to feed the pilgrims, and heated city buses lined the embankment to offer respite from the cold. A free bus service is shuttling provincial visitors to train stations.

Moscow’s mayor, Sergei S. Sobyanin, came to inspect the scene. The benefactor of the St. Andrew the First-Called Foundation is Vladimir Yakunin, president of the Russian Railroads, who is close to Mr. Putin. At a news conference in October, Mr. Yakunin said the belt — usually kept at the Vatopedi Monastery on the Mount Athos peninsula in northern Greece, where women are not permitted — was known for promoting fertility.

“The belt of the Most Holy Virgin Mary possesses miraculous power,“ he said. “It helps women and helps in childbirth. In our demographic situation, this is in and of itself important.”

It also seems to attract people who, having forsaken Russia’s deteriorating health system, are looking for something else. In recent years, Russians have thronged to relics of numerous saints, hoping to be cured of ills like cancer, debt and drunken husbands.

“People come who apparently no longer have faith in medical care and await a miracle,” said the Rev. Mikhail Ryazantsev, the cathedral’s sacristan, who said the overwhelming majority were women.

The blogs and Facebook pages of Russian Orthodox intellectuals have overflowed with debates about whether hysteria over the belt was a disturbing sign that many Russians’ faith is based on superstition. Many noted that Christ the Savior Cathedral and the Holy Trinity-St. Sergius Lavra near Moscow, one of the most important monasteries in the Orthodox Church, have relics of the Virgin Mary that are just as precious.

At a bustling coffee shop near the cathedral that this week became an impromptu pit stop for the faithful, an excited young woman rushed in to tell waiting friends that she had venerated the Virgin Mary’s belt. Then she told them about her visit to a fortune teller.

For other people, excitement over the relics underscores that Russians are dissatisfied and searching for something.

“Faith helps us live,” Dmitry Gurov, 27, who works in a bank and would seem to live the good life, said as he joined the line on Tuesday night. Yet not many miles from Moscow people may live without gas or running water. “Life is hard in our country,” he said. “We don’t know what will happen next.”

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

The Creative Act is the Creative Act even of Evolution. Chance and Natural Selection are also created out of nothing by a free act that by definition must have meaning. To act freely is to act with meaning (Logos).

1) One gives thanks to a Person, not to a process, for the reception of a gift. Gift is always the result of freedom. Hence, we must clarify that we are not the mere result of an evolutionary process that the scientist calls chance and natural selection.

Joseph Ratzinger:

"The question that has now to be put certainly delves deeper: it is whether the theory of evolution can be presented as a universal theory concerning all reality, beyond which further questions about the origin and the nature of things are no longer admissible and indeed no longer necessary, or whether such ultimate questions do not after all go beyond the realm of what can be entirely the object of research and knowledge by natural science. I should like to put the question in still more concrete form. Has everything been said with the kind of answer that we find thus formulated by Popper: "Life as we know it consists of physical 'bodies' (more precisely, structures) which are problem solving. This the various species have 'learned' by natural selection, that is to say by the method of reproduction plus variation, which itself has been learned by the same method. This regress is not necessarily infinite." I do not think so. In the end this concerns a choice that can no longer be made on purely scientific grounds or basically on philosophical grounds.

"The question is whether reason, or rationality, stands at the beginning of all things and is grounded in the basis of all things or not. The question is whether reality originated on the basis of chance and necessity (or, as Popper says, in agreement with Butler, on the basis of luck and cunning) and, thus, from what is irrational; that is, whether reason, being a chance by-product of irrationality and floating in an ocean of irrationality, is ultimately just as meaningless; or whether the principle that represents the fundamental conviction of Christian faith and of its philosophy remains true: "In principio erat Verbum" -- at the beginning of all things stands the creative power of reason. Now as then, Christian faith represents the choice in favor of the priority of reason and of rationality. This ultimate question, as we have already said, can no longer be decided by arguments from natural science, and even philosophical thought reaches its limits here. In that sense, there is no ultimate demonstration that the basic choice involved in Christianity is correct. Yet, can reason really renounce its claim to the priority of what is rational over the irrational, the claim that the Logos is at the ultimate origin of things, without abolishing itself?”[1]

2) Christian Revelation says: God has chosen us “before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. He destined us in love to be his sons through Jesus Christ” (Eph. 1, 4). Alvaro del Portillo (successor of St. Josemaria Escriva) wrote: “Before the creation of the world, he destined us to be saints! He chose us first, and then created us to fulfill that call. We were chosen before we existed. What is more, that choice determines the reason for our existence.”[2] Notice that the Christian revelation speaks of the creating act as reasonable and impregnating creation with the meaning that is our very selves.

3) The constitution of the United States as a unique society was the 150 previous years of Christian experience. The colonists revolted against England not because of oppression.

Gordon Wood, the premier historian of the American Revolution wrote: “There should no longer be any doubt about it: the white American colonists were not an oppressed people; they had no crushing imperial chains to throw off. In fact, the colonists knew they were freer, more equal, more prosperous, and less burdened with cumbersome feudal and monarchical restraints than any other part of mankind in eighteenth century. Such a situation, however, does not mean that colonial society was not susceptible to revolution”… In fact, it was one of the greatest revolutions the world has known, a momentous upheaval that not only fundamentally altered the character of American society but decisively affected the course of subsequent history.

“It was as radical and social as any revolution in history, but it was radical and social in a very special eighteenth-century sense….

“By the time the Revolution had run its course in the early nineteenth century, American society had been radically and thoroughly transformed. One class did no overthrow another; the poor did not supplant the rich. But social relationships – the way people were connected one to another – were changed, and decisively so. By the early years of the nineteenth century the Revolution had created a society fundamentally different from the colonial society of the eighteenth century. It was in fact a new society unlike any that had ever exited anywhere in the world…

“That revolution did more than legally create the United State s; it transformed American society. Because the story of America has turned out the way it has, because the United States in the twentieth century has become the great power that it is, it is difficult, if not impossible, to appreciate and recover fully the insignificant and puny origins of the country. In 1760 America was only a collection of disparate colonies huddled alone a narrow strip of the Atlantic coast – economically underdeveloped outposts existing on the very edges of the civilized world. The less than two million monarchical subjects who lived in these colonies still took for granted that society was and ought to be a hierarchy of ranks and degrees of dependency and that most people were found together by personal ties of one sort or another. Yet scarcely fifty years later these insignificant borderland provinces had become a giant, almost continent-wide republic of nearly ten million egalitarian-minded bustling citizens who not only had thrust themselves into the vanguard of history but had fundamentally altered their society and their social relationships. Far from remaining monarchical, hierarchy-ridden subjects on the margin of civilization, America had become, almost overnight, the most liberal, the most democratic, the most commercially minded, and the most modern people in the world.

“And this astonishing transformation took place without industrialization, without urbanization, without railroads, without the aid of any of the great forces we usually invoke to explain ‘modernization.’ It was the Revolution that was crucial to this transformation. It was the Revolution, more than any other single event, that made America into the most liberal, democratic, and modern nation in the world…. The American Revolution was not unique; it was only different… The American Revolution was integral to the changes occurring in American society, politics, and culture at the end of the eighteenth century.

“These changes were radical, and they were extensive…. The Revolution not only radically changed the personal and social relationships of people, including the position of women, but also destroyed aristocracy as it had been understood in the Western world for at least two millennia. The Revolution brought respectability and even dominance to ordinary people long held in contempt and gave dignity to their menial labor in a manner unprecedented in history and to a degree not equaled elsewhere in the world. The Revolution did not just eliminate monarchy and create republics; it actually reconstituted what Americans meant by public or state power and brought about an entirely new kind of popular politics and a new kind of democratic officeholder. T he Revolution not only changed the culture of Americans – making over their art, architecture, and iconography - but even altered their understanding of history, knowledge, and truth. Most important, it made the interests and prosperity of ordinary people – their pursuits of happiness – the goal of society and government. The Revolution did not merely create a political and legal environment conducive to economic expansion; it also released powerful popular entrepreneurial and commercial energies that few realized existed and transformed the economic landscape of the country. In short, the Revolution was the most radical and most far reaching event in American history.”[3]

Fr. John Courtney Murray wrote that “the United States of America (was) the first state in the history of the world t hat was established by the uniquely revolutionary means of a formal constitutional consent.” Benjamin Hart wrote: “A principal difference between the American Revolution and the French Revolution was this: the American revolutionaries in general held a biblical view of man and his bent toward sin, while the French revolutionaries in general attempted to substitute e for the biblical understanding an optimistic doctrine of human goodness advanced by the philosophes of the rationalistic Enlightenment. The American view led to the Constitution of 1787; the French view, to the Terror and to a new autocracy. The American Constitution is a practical secular covenant, drawn up by men who (with few exceptions) believed in a sacred Covenant., designed to restrain the human tendencies towa4rd violence and fraud; the American Constitution is a fundamental law deliberately meant to place checks upon will and appetite. The French innovators would endure no such checks upon popular impulses; they ended under a far more arbitrary domination.”[4]

[1] J. Ratzinger, “Creation and Evolution” Ignatius (2007) 19-20.

[2] Letter March 1992, #11, to the Prelature before the beatification of St. Josemaria.

[3] Gordon Wood, The American Revolution: A History (Modern Library Chronicles) (2002) 5-8.

[4] Benjamin Hart, “Faith and Freedom” Lewis and Stanley (1990) 301-316.