Category Archives: Theology

Mediums and Christian Faith –incompatible?

Angels BiccideLorenzo.jpgSince today is the feast of the Guardian Angels there are some in the secular world, especially on TV, who are speaking on the feast trying to give an aire of respectability to an already firmly established belief in the existence of the Guardian Angels. However, so much in the public forum forget key points in Catholic teaching: the angels look, in glory, upon God’s face and sent by Him to man and woman in manner that is unseen by man. Angels help us, and are in pure contemplation of God; they obey God’s holy and uncontestable will.

The 12:30 interview of Phil Quinn of Guilford, CT by Teresa LaBarbera of WTNH today on the theme of “Guardian Angel Day” was grossly misguided and plainly gave false information to the public. Now, LaBarera and her WTNH team are not aiming at promoting Catholic teaching; she did, however, abscond with Catholic and Jewish teaching, manipulated it for their own purposes, and promoted many falsehoods. Let me be clear, mediums are consummate self-promoters; they are false teachers. Instead of consulting a validly ordained Catholic priest or even a rabbi, WTNH consulted a medium. How trite! How tempting! How irresistible for the weak of heart!

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Ratzinger Prize 2012

The “Ratzinger
Prize” is also known as the “Nobel of Theology.” The Prize is sponsored by the
Joseph Ratzinger (Benedict XVI) Vatican Foundation, whose aim is to “promote
the publication, distribution and study of the writings of former university
professor Joseph Ratzinger.” The Prize, though, recognizes excellence in theological study and teaching and not the echoing Ratzinger’s thought. Vatican Radio explains more here.

In 2010, the Holy Father established, in consultation with other, a
Prize in Theology noting three areas: Sacred Scripture, Patristics and
Fundamental Theology.


  • Rémi Brague, Professor emeritus of medieval and
    Arabic philosophy, University Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris I) and professor of
    Philosophy of the European religions (Romano Guardini Chair), Ludwig-
    Maximilian University
  • Father Brian E. Daley, SJ, Professor of Theology,
    University of Notre Dame


  • Professor Dr.
    Manlio Simonetti, Professor of Ancient Christian Studies and Patristic Biblical
    Interpretation, La Sapienza University
  • Father Dr. Olegario González
    de Cardedal
    , Professor of Dogmatic and Fundamental Theology, Pontifical
    University of Salamanca
  • Father Dr. Maximilian Heim, OCist, Abbot of
    Heiligenkreuz Monastery, Austria, Professor of Dogmatic and Fundamental
    Theology, University of Heiligenkreuz.
The Ratzinger Prize will be conferred on Brague and Daley on 20 October 2012, during the Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelization.


I am delighted that Father Brian won the prize not merely because I know him (lived with him when I was in studies at Notre Dame) but he is a generous man, a faithful priest, and terrific scholar and teacher. 

Father Brian is a New York Province Jesuit, studied at Fordham, Frankfurt and Osford, and he is an avid runner.

What is a theologian? What purpose does the work of a theologian have? To be “In the Communion of the Church”

The public has been bombarded with the media’s assessment of nuns, church, the sexual abuse crisis, fidelity to the Lord, and the like. In some ways the media looks at the life of the Church and picks out the obvious problems of coherence. No doubt we have matters of concern that we have to work to correct; the adage: “the Church always needs renewal” is very true today. We rely on the Holy Spirit and the good work of Pope Benedict. The other day I found this review of a document written by members of the International Theological Commission (ITC), a group of theologians organized by the Pope to advise him on certain questions of theological questions of importance. Even the Pope needs advice! The ITC group is made up of a diversity of peoples from around the world. The ones I know personally are fine men and women, credible witnesses of the Lord. The review of Theology Today that follows is written by Father Paul McPartlan in which he synthesizes the document giving us the broad view of the work of Catholic theologian. What he highlights sits in contradistinction to what we’ve heard about the recent work of Sr Margaret Farley and other theologians who see themselves in a different light. I prefer to put my money the ITC and not on “envelop pushing, agenda driven” theologians. You?

Following its examination, in Chapter One, of the fundamental nature of theology, as the rational exploration of that faith which is a response to the proclamation of the Word of God, and prior to its extended reflection, in Chapter Three, on significant aspects of the rationality of theology, the new International Theological Commission (ITC) text, Theology Today: Perspectives, Principles and Criteria, carefully considers the ecclesial context of theology in Chapter Two. “The ecclesiality of theology is a constitutive aspect of the theological task, because theology is based on faith, and faith itself is both personal and ecclesial”, it says, emphasising that “it is through the Church that theologians receive the object of their enquiry” (n.20). Theological enquiry is therefore properly conducted within the living and life-giving milieu of the leiturgia, martyria and diakonia of the Church (cf. n.7). In short, as the chapter’s title indicates, it is necessary for theologians to abide in the communion of the Church.

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Hans Urs von Balthasar

balthasar with mickey.jpg

Today marks the 24th anniversary of the great Swiss theologian [and cardinal-elect] Hans Urs von Balthsar. 
Von Balthasar was a brilliant theologian who served the Church well. His theological legacy continues in the publication of his books and articles and through the international Communio journal.
He was nominated by Blessed John Paul II to be a cardinal three times, declining the dignity twice; the third time he accepted it but he died the night before receiving the cardinal’s hat.
Eternal memory!

Joseph Ratzinger’s “The pastoral approach to marriage should be founded on truth”

From a little known text by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger published in 1998

The pastoral approach to marriage should be founded on truth

Concerning some objections to the Church’s teaching on the reception of Holy Communion by divorced and remarried members of the faithful

In 1998 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, introduced the volume entitled “On the Pastoral Care of the Divorced and Remarried,” published by the Libreria in the CDF’s series (“Documenti e Studi”, 17). Because of its current interest and breadth of perspective, we reproduce below the third part along with the addition of three notes. The text was published today by L’Osservatore Romano.

The Letter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of 14 September 1994 concerning the reception of Holy Communion by divorced and remarried members of the faithful was met with a very lively response across wide sections of the Church. Along with many positive reactions, more than a few critical voices were also heard. The fundamental objections against the teaching and practice of the Church are outlined below in simplified form.

Several of the more significant objections – principally, the reference to the supposedly more flexible practice of the Church Fathers which would be the inspiration for the practice of the Eastern Churches separated from Rome, as well as the allusion to the traditional principles of epicheia and of aequitas canonica – were studied in-depth by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Articles by Professors Pelland, Marcuzzi and Rodriguez Luño 2, among others, were developed in the course of this study. The main conclusions of the research, which suggest the direction of an answer to the objections, will be briefly summarized here.

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About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]
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