Category Archives: Theology

Creeping infallibility?

We face reductionisms of the Faith all the time as Catholics: liturgical expedient minimalism is one of the most noteworthy examples, then there’s the identifiable dictatorship of relativism and the denial that Scripture is divinely inspired (cf. Benedict’s address last week to the PBC). While not formal matters of heresy (technically defined) but they are reductions that are a gradual chipping away of the content and expression. Poor liturgical practice, banal sacred music and unprepared liturgical preaching will erode the content of faith. There are other examples but I think these three give good a sense of a problem.
I believe that Tarcisio Bertone and Joseph Ratzinger are correct: we believe, as Catholics, in revealed truth; that the faith is not debatable and we can’t reduce our faith to formally defined dogmas. And while the infallibility of the papal office is restricted to a clearly defined process so as not to allow arbitrariness, the exercise of infallibility has been exercised twice since 1870. BUT there are the secondary object of infallibility that have to be acknowledged and assented to, despite what Fathers Hans Kung, Roger Haight, Randy Sachs, John Coleman and Charles Curran say.

Here’s John Allen’s article: A long-simmering tension over creeping infallibility by John Allen.pdf

The Sacrament of Real Presence: THE center that holds together

William Butler Yeat’s “The Second Coming” contains what are,
perhaps, the most-quoted lines of twentieth century poetry. “Things fall apart;
the centre cannot hold; Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” Written in
1920, the poem not only summed up the horror of the still young century, it
seemed prescient of horrors yet to come.

Postmodernity may be, to some degree,
a pretentious academic fad. But its soil is undoubtedly the collapse of an
authoritative, life-giving center and the ensuing fragmentation experienced
daily in culture, politics, and individual lives.

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Saint Martin I, pope

St Martin I, pope.jpgMerciful God, our Father, neither hardship, pain,nor the threat of death could weaken the faith of Saint Martin. Through our faith, give us courage to endure whatever sufferings the world may inflict upon us.

The Mass collect is appropriate today when prejudice and suffering is prevalent due to one’s adherence to the Church’s teaching.
Pope Saint Martin I was the 7th century pontiff who held firm to the orthodox teaching that Christ had a divine and a human natures and wills. Speaking of Christ’s nature is not commonly heard at the dinner table, never mind from the pulpit these days but at one point, there was significant dissent among the people of God. Every-now-and again you encounter monothelitism (a slightly different form of monophysitism which rejected the human nature of Christ) in university and parochial settings. Beware!

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Equipped for Ministry? Each person called by the Lord has work to do

Working in a great parish where it is difficult to get some of the simplest things done due to a labor shortage –that is, people giving their time for service– and getting other ministerial things accomplished for the good of the Church and the salvation of souls, thinking about the ministry of the laity has given me pause to revisit some personal thinking. Baltimore’s Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien wrote about lay ministry in the current edition of The Catholic Review where he acknowledges the great number of people who Christ and the Church in generous ways by living the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The Archbishop puts his finger on a process, formation. Pay attention to what Pope Benedict has said about parish work.

Archbishop Edwin F. O’Brien

One of the great joys I have experienced in my visits to parishes and schools in our Archdiocese over the past three-plus years has been the witness of so many dedicated lay Catholics who serve the Church in many and diverse ways. 

Much of the work of these lay ministers is visible to us. They share their gifts and talents as music ministers at Mass, making “a joyful noise to the Lord,” and as lectors, ushers and Eucharistic ministers who, Sunday after Sunday, show great care for the liturgy. Catechists minister in our parishes, passing on the faith to Catholics of all ages – from converts to “cradle Catholics” – who are hungry for spiritual nourishment. And the youth ministers of our Archdiocese share their enthusiasm for being Catholic and the Gospel message of God’s love with young people “on fire” for their faith.

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Cybertheology

medieval astronomer.jpg

Cybertheology is not one of the sub-sections of systematic theology. At least not yet. But it is a promising idea that will likely have a positive influence in the lives of those who surf the web religiously and for those searching for God and who are not ready (willing?) to be personally involved in the Sunday celebration of the Mass or any other organized religious program that requires one to be physically present.
The originator of the Cybertheology project, Jesuit Father Antonio Spadaro, one of the editors at La Civiltà Cattolica, started a blog to investigate the new, dynamic and complex influence of the Net and the challenages it poses to our relationships with others, language, thinking and the Divinity. I take Father Spadaro’s interest and work in this subject on the impact of the digital world to be wholly consistent with what Pope Benedict talked about in his January 2011 letter on social communications where he said “new technologies must be placed at the service of the integral good of the individual  and of the whole of humanity. If used wisely, they can contribute to the satisfaction of the desire for meaning, truth and unity which remain the most profound aspirations of each human being.” And, “This dynamic [the digital world] has contributed to a new appreciation of communication itself, which is seen first of all as dialogue, exchange, solidarity and creation of positive relations.”

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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]yahoo.com.
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