- Sunday, 30 June 2013 09:12
Saint Hilary of Poitiers: “He who said ‘I have come not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me’ hastened to fulfill the task he had undertaken out of obedience, though in such a way as to remind us that he possessed a will of his own. In fact, he willed whatever the Father willed. His saying ‘I have come not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me’ revealed who had sent him and whom he obeyed, but without detriment to his own power of willing. Desiring to do everything the Father desired, Christ hastened to carry out his wishes with regard to his passion before the wicked could hinder him or prevent his doing so. He had a great longing to eat the Passover with his disciples, and he celebrated the paschal meal in haste. He had an intense desire to drink the cup of his passion, for he said: ‘Shall I not drink the cup which my Father has given me?’ When the search party came to arrest him and asked which man was Jesus, he stepped forward of his own accord. He asked for the sour wine which he knew he was destined to drink, and having drunk it and achieved his great purpose he said: ‘It is accomplished’, thus expressing his joy at obtaining his heart’s desire.”
- Tuesday, 05 March 2013 22:24
You be interested in this video presentation, “Cultivating Peace in One’s Own Life and in Society” by Abbot James Wiseman of St Anselm’s Abbey (Washington, DC).
- Friday, 08 February 2013 19:50
Be sure to have enough sleep and at least have eaten one meal today before you read and give some serious consideration to what Father George Rutler, pastor of the Church of Our Saviour (NYC) has to say about the death penalty. A recent essay was published today in Crisis Magazine online.
MOST Catholics, the informed and untrained, have no idea what the Church teaches about the subject. Many will recall that Pope John Paul II taught in Evangelium vitae (1995) and that he frequently spoke against the death penalty and it was the subject of intervention when he would visit a country where the death penalty was utilized (think of his visit to Missouri). A papal encyclical doesn’t change the teaching of the Church; it is however authoritative and it needs to be received. The matter of what level teaching an encyclical is, and to what degree it would bind conscience. For our purposes here, let’s say that a papal encyclical is authoritative and it involves the virtue of prudence but that it doesn’t contravene but it does nuance the teaching of the Church. Prudential judgment is just that, prudential. The Pope never changed the teaching of the Church. The blessed pope did try to reorient our thinking and the practice of killing legitimately convicted criminals. Remember, too, several years the heated debated between Cardinal Avery Dulles and Justice Scalia on the subject in First Things?
Father Rutler’s article is helpful in giving us yet another understanding of how we might understand the death penalty. Do we actually accept Christian belief in the salvation of one’s soul, that is, do we want to go to heaven? Read the article with openness, with a critical mind. As Saint Ignatius would teach, approach with the best of intentions to truly understand the other person. Knee jerk reactions are unacceptable for a Catholic who holds the integration of faith and reason. Father Rutler’s argument is Catholic on all levels.
Capital punishment does not inspire roaring humor in healthy minds, so wit on the subject tends to be sardonic. Two of the most famous examples, of course, are: “In this country it is wise to kill an admiral from time to time to encourage the others,” and “Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully.”
The first, “pour encourager les autres,” is in “Candide” where Voltaire alludes to the death by firing squad of Admiral John Byng in 1757 for having let Mincorca fall to the French. The second was Samuel Johnson’s response to the hanging of an Anglican clergyman and royal chaplain William Dodd for a loan scam. Byng’s death was the last instance of shooting an officer for incompetence, while Dodd’s was the last hanging at Tyburn for forgery. Dodd’s unsuccessful appeal for clemency was ghostwritten by Dr. Johnson.
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- Wednesday, 06 February 2013 20:49
Theologians are after divine truth and not mere human opinions. There is a danger and a difficulty about this point. We are in danger of modern disregard of theology. . . . The danger nowadays is overemphasis on non-intellectual elements. This means a kind of treachery to the truth. It used to be assumed that man is a reasonable animal. The modern idea seems to be that man is first and foremost a creature with a heart. I am not prepared, however, to give up my reason in connection with the things of God.
Father Georges Florovsky
Remarks made at the Second World Conference on Faith and Order
Edinburgh, August 4, 1937
Is Father Florovsky correct in his perception? I tend to think so….
- Thursday, 10 January 2013 16:10
Back on 31 October 2012, Russian Orthodox Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev of Volokolamsk
delivered a lecture dedicated to the past and present of Orthodox-Catholic dialogue at Villanova University (Philadelphia, PA). The 46 year old Metropolitan earned a doctorate from Oxford University and was ordained a bishop in 2002. In addition to being a residential bishop he is also the head of the Department of the External Church Relations since 2009. He is a widely published author and an excellent musician of international repute. The two Churches share the same concerns, though there are nuances to be made but that is a conversation for another time.
I think it is apropos to give a few extracts from the Metropolitan’s talk that pose some points for reflection on the unity of Christians. Remember we beginning the octave of Christian Unity on the 18th.
“The teaching of the holy fathers of the first millennium, when the Churches of the East and the West abided in unity, although at times this unity was subjected to serious trials, is the sure foundation upon which dialogue between Christians can develop successfully and fruitfully. It is my profound conviction that fidelity to the Christian tradition, the preservation of continuity in the teaching and life of the Church is the proper means for the restoration of unity among Christ’s disciples.
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