Tag Archives: La Civiltà Cattolica

Subjected to the spirit, the body will be sexual in eternal life, according to Aquinas

The liturgical year of the Church brings to the front burner of the spiritual life a number of things at this time of year: questions about salvation, death, hell, heaven, purgatory, Christ’s kingship, conversion, and the like. In fact, a central piece of our spiritual work in the School of Community (of Communion and Liberation) right now is understanding what it means to convert, to live in spirit of conversion, to live as though we REALLY believe in Christ, turning away from sin, and turning toward the Lord. Father Julian Carron is hitting members of Communion and Liberation pretty hard with the call to conversion. However, if truth be told, Father Carron is taking his cue from Pope Benedict. Nevertheless, on the human level, for finite beings we have to be concerned with such things because we don’t live forever, just in case you didn’t know this fact; we are rightly concerned now because once we’re dead, there is no way of making a conversion (sorry, there is no reincarnation).

A professor at the Institute of Philosophy and Theology of Shkodër (Albania), Jesuit Father Mario Imperatori, wrote an essay that caught my eye, “Eschatology and Resurrection of the Body in St. Thomas Aquinas,” published in the current issue of La Civiltà Cattolica (issue # 3849; pp. 257-268). As you know, this periodical is reviewed by the Secretary of State of the Holy See prior to publication.

In the article, Father Imperatori argues, “St. Thomas’s doctrine regarding glorified bodies
is based on the resurrection of the flesh, interpreted in an
anti-spiritualistic manner. For him, in fact, the intellectual soul is the
unique and subsisting shape of the human being; after the resurrection carried
out by God, the body too will share with the soul the same incorruptibility and
bliss; it will be a spiritual body not because it becomes spirit, but because
everything will be subjected to the spirit. Aquinas adds that the human body,
because of its wholeness, will continue to be sexual, despite the absence of
procreation. The Eschatology of St. Thomas has proven controversial, but it has
the merit of asserting the bodily-spiritual reality of man as the ultimate
purpose of creation.”

So, the human body will relate as a sexual being in the eternal life. Interesting. Thanks for letting me know. What joy that will be, don’t you think? I wonder what relating sexually means for a glorified body.

Is the doctrine of Original Sin relevant today?

Good question. I am not always confident that the baptized ask this question enough in the lives as Christians. From what I can tell, there seems to be an easy dismissal of anything that requires assent and personal responsibility for our actions, words and thinking. Why? Do we admit there is a sin, that it’s part of the human condition, that it’s handed down from generation to generation? Are we no longer need of redemption? Is humanity’s need for salvation a thing of the past, quaint?  Does the fear of God no longer have currency for a relationship with the all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving God, creator of heaven and earth?

Jesuit Father Donath Hercsik, a professor of Dogmatic Theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University (Rome), raises the question of relevance and Original Sin for those who are interested in a life with the Triune God from a some important points of interest. Father Hercsik’s essay, “Original Sin, as a Doctrine, Is It Still Relevant Today?” should be of interest to all people of faith.

Hercsik asks the question: “Is there a need for a doctrine on original sin? This
doctrine, interpreted according to the Catholic faith, offers an answer to at
least four questions that are important to both believers and non-believers:
anthropological, philosophical, liturgical, and dogmatic. The article goes on
to examine the role of the Sacred Scripture, the position of Saint Augustine,
of Saint Thomas Aquinas, and the outcomes of the Council of Trent. In
contemporary theology, there exist various tendencies on this theme: original
sin as sin of the world, original sin as psychological and/or social phenomena,
and original sin and the supremacy of the grace of Christ. 

If you are interested in reading the entire essay, it can be can be read in the Vatican-vetted journal La Civiltà
2010 IV, pp. 119-132; issue 3848, 
© copyright.

The Simpsons and Religion

simpsons family.jpgIn the last few days the Catholic and secular media have picked up a story in L’Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, on the famous show, “The Simpsons.” To me, the show is OK social commentary and therefore not for young audiences. The show is now in its 22nd season and broadcast to 90 countries. The claim is that Homer J. Simpson is Catholic. Well…. The Jesuit periodical, La Civiltà Cattolica published last week Jesuit Francesco Occhetta’s essay, “‘The Simpsons’ and Religion.” For what’s it’s worth, here is the précis of the article says:

“Today, even after 24 television series and a blockbuster movie, the Simpsons
are still breaking records: the program is watched by 100 million viewers, in
90 countries worldwide. The story of the life of a regular family, of a
cross-section of American society and individual problems are the reasons why
viewers identify themselves with The Simpsons. This article also examines the
relationship between the protagonists of this American sitcom and religion. “The Simpsons” are among the few television programs for young people in which,
although sometimes treated with a certain superficiality, the Christian faith,
religious practice and the question of God are recurring themes.” 
(Copyright © La Civiltà
2010 IV 140-149 issue 3848)

You’ll have to get a subscription to La Civiltà Cattolica to read the whole thesis. I am not sure I’d bother unless you’re a Catholic culture-vulture.

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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