Category Archives: Theology

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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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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First Dulles Chair at Fordham inaugurated

Terrence Tilley.jpgTerrence W. Tilley, Ph.D., chair of the Department of
Theology at Fordham University, was formally installed as the first occupant of
the Avery Cardinal Dulles, S.J., Chair of Catholic Theology. The benefactors of
the Dulles Chair are Vincent and Teresa Viola.

Typical in academic settings
like this one the Chair delivers an address of his choosing. Tilley gave
audience his opinion on Saint Ignatius of Loyola’s famous Rule 13 in  Rules for Thinking with the Church as
found in the Spiritual Exercises. His address: “Sentire cum Ecclesia:
Thinking With and for the Church.” Tilley’s claim was based on his reading
the of Rule 13 in light of Cardinal Dulles’ 1974 and later republished in 2002 with a
new introduction and an essay on Pope John Paul II’s ecclesiology, Models of the Church. Models is Dulles’ exposition of the 5 ways of knowing the Church.

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The Word of God is everything: hearing what the WORD has to say

I am reading Verbum Domini with great eagerness. I am talking my reading seriously and trying to ponder what the Pope has given us as a path to Christ and to live as an authentic Christian today. Let’s recall the extraordinary address of Pope Benedict XVI on October 6, 2008 where he said: 


“the Word of God is the foundation of everything, it is the true reality. And to be realistic, we must rely upon this reality. We must change our idea that matter, solid things, things we can touch, are the more solid, the more certain reality. At the end of the Sermon on the Mount the Lord speaks to us about the two possible foundations for building the house of one’s life: sand and rock. The one who builds on sand builds only on visible and tangible things, on success, on career, on money. Apparently these are the true realities. But all this one day will pass away. We can see this now with the fall of large banks: this money disappears, it is nothing. And thus all things, which seem to be the true realities we can count on, are only realities of a secondary order. The one who builds his life on these realities, on matter, on success, on appearances, builds upon sand. Only the Word of God is the foundation of all reality, it is as stable as the heavens and more than the heavens, it is reality. Therefore, we must change our concept of realism. The realist is the one who recognizes the Word of God, in this apparently weak reality, as the foundation of all things. Realist is the one who builds his life on this foundation, which is permanent.”

Scott W. Hahn, Covenant and Communion (2009), p. 22.


In another place we read: 

You cannot put revelation in your pocket like a book you carry around with you. It is a living reality that requires a living person as the locus of its presence.

That is, the believer becomes real insofar as he becomes the Word by hearing such that he does it. That seems to be the only reality that perdures. Revelation is an act in which God shows Himself. Faith is a corresponding act of hearing and doing the Word heard. Outside of that, everything else perishes into nothingness.

J. Ratzinger, God Word: Scripture – Tradtion – Office, Ignatius (2008): 52.

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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