Category Archives: Theology

True repentance not presumption

Saint Clement of Alexandria helps me to focus on what the Church has given for the 26th Sunday Through the Year: “The doors are open for all who sincerely and wholeheartedly return to God. Indeed, the Father is most willing to welcome back a truly repentant son or daughter. The result of true repentance, however, is that you do not fall into the same faults again, but utterly uproot from your souls the sins for which you consider yourself worthy of death. When these have been destroyed God will again dwell within you, since Scripture says that for the Father and his angels in heaven the festal joy and gladness at the return of one repentant sinner is great beyond compare. That is why the Lord cried out: ‘What I want is mercy, not sacrifice.’ ”

How close can I adhere to what Saint Clement is teaching? The other day I was speaking of the sin of presumption at a faith formation class –a concept that had vague recall from some of the participants. As the saint reminds, God is eager to welcome home a sinner with lots of mercy; that God will dwell within our soul with great vigor. The expectation is that the sinner reject sin. But what will happen if the love of sin is privileged more than the love of God?

Dom Lino’s book on Romano Bottegal there is a sentence which said: “To be called to Christianity, to the priesthood, to monastic life, is to be called to leave the figure (the image) – the teacher, the law – to enter into the reality (grace), the first and final intention of God – union with God and with the brothers, in a love that is personal, universal and humble.”

Where is the good news today? The good news today is that we have the possibility of beginning again – repentance/conversion – because this is what God wants for us: to have life and have life to the full! Christianity is the religion of the perpetual second chance.

New members of the International Theological Commission include 5 women

Tracey RowlandToday the Pope named new members of the International Theological Commission which includes 5 women. The announcement stated: “Women now constitute 16 per cent of the Commission’s members, a sign of growing female involvement in theological research.”

Among the priests who make up the majority of the ITC are 5 women: Sister Prudence Allen RSM from the USA, Sister Alenka Arko, Dr Moira McQueen, Dr Marianne Schlosser and the well-known Australian theologian Dr Tracey Rowland. Until now, the ITC had two women members, Sister Sara Butler (USA) and Prof Barbara Hallensleben.

Today’s announcement of Tracey Rowland’s to this service to the Church brings with it great enthusiasm because of Rowland’s keen mind and terrific work in the field of theology; a recent book of Rowland’s deals with Ratzinger’s Faith: the Theology of Pope Benedict XVI. She is Dean of the John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family in Melbourne.

Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is the ultimate head of the group but there is a general secretary of the ITC who is Father Serge-Thomas Bonino, O.P.

The International Theological Commission was formed by Pope Paul VI in 1969 with the task to help the Pope and the on-going work of the Holy See by exploring and examining major doctrinal questions.

Secrets of Hell revealed

This article published by Aleteia on hell’s secrets revealed by one of the Church’s chief exorcists, Father Gabriel Amorth, is interesting because it begins to put in order the Christian belief in God, and His opponent, Lucifer (Satan, or Devil) and creation of hell.

I recommend reading the article if nothing else your awareness is heightened and you begin to take seriously the place of sin, evil and hell in this life. The Lord Himself has revealed the extent of evil; the saints have spoken of evil and we ought to pay and pray for the gifts of the Holy Spirit, especially Wisdom, courage and fortitude. Many people think of hell and the devil as quaint stories to scare people into submission to Church authority. I assure you, hell is real and people have elected to take up residence there thus rejecting God.

Advice given in the article: “To be a man of faith and prayer and always to ask the intercession of Mary Most Holy. And then always to be humble…”

Transfiguration

transfiguration APrevitaleThe Law was given through Moses,
and prophecy came through Elijah,
but grace and truth have come through Christ the Lord.

May the Lord bless you as he has blessed the world on the Feast of the Transfiguration!

Prayers for the monks and oblates of Mount Saviour Monastery, Pine City, NY.

Traditional Catholicism has virtue

In an April 2012 Wall Street Journal article by Anne Hendershott and Christopher White, “Traditional Catholicism is Winning” the authors calmly present the data of what is happening in the various sectors of the Church that are prospering, that is, thriving, in an authentic way. Clear teaching and beautiful liturgical practice leads to human flourishing. As I am fond of saying, communion with the Divine Majesty leads to one’s greater freedom in Christ Jesus.

Pairing the word “traditional” with Catholicism gives some people the hives. Knee jerk reactions to all sorts of things happen and the reasonable and the holy are marginalized. The trouble is that as Catholics we’ve been sloppy in living the gift of Catholic faith and we’ve been too easy with regard to the manner in which we live it. In short, we’ve experienced  these past years a lack of coherence in the areas of what we believe, how we pray and how we live. It all has to hang together in an authentic way. Otherwise the faith becomes moralism –lifeless.

It is true that we have to be very clear on what we mean, how we live the faith, and why we do what propose to do. Remember that Catholicism bridges the gap between faith and reason; it does not abandon the mind, nor does it rely merely on liturgical practice. Catholic faith is totality of reality, revealed and natural.

The authors of the article say,

They are attracted to the philosophy, the art, the literature and the theology that make Catholicism countercultural. They are drawn to the beauty of the liturgy and the church’s commitment to the dignity of the individual. They want to be contributors to that commitment—alongside faithful and courageous bishops who ask them to make sacrifices.

and 

Cardinal Francis George, the longtime leader of the Chicago archdiocese, once gave a homily that startled the faithful by pronouncing liberal Catholicism “an exhausted project . . . parasitical on a substance that no longer exists.” Declaring that Catholics are at a “turning point” in the life of the church in this country, the cardinal concluded that the bishops must stand as a “reality check for the apostolic faith.”

Read the whole article. You will want to read it, and reflect –and then do your part.

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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