Tag Archives: theology

A New Apologetics project

In the years since Blessed John Paul introduced his desire to have new work on knowing, living, and sharing the truth of the Catholic Faith, there’s been a lot of good energy for the new evangelization. You can think of the Tear of Faith, the encyclicals of the recent popes, and most crucial has been Benedict XVI’s establishment of a Vatican office to spearhead evangelization efforts.

Getting to the heart of what the new evangelization means, how it’s supposed to “look” and why it needs our attention is slowing being revealed. I have to say that too many use the word evangelization without precision and without real content and experience. Nevertheless, since John Paul and Benedict, now with Pope Francis we have a new awareness of evangelization’s aim: and affection for Christ and to offer a reasonable proposal for faith in a comprehensive way.

I happen to think the Holy Spirit is working diligently and effectively in having us slowly develop the needed resources with regard to persons and materials. Rushing into such work would not be reasonable since it does take time to do the hard work in truly knowing the need in a time of limited resources. The immediate past Pontiff set the Church’s face on this renewed manner of living focusing us on the personal relationship with the Lord,, bridging the gap between faith and reason, and by asking us to intimately know Scripture, the Liturgy and the Magisterium (I don’t want to call the new evangelization a ‘project’ because it is about our heart and mind).

A Cambridge, Massachusetts group of faithful Catholics have responded to Church’s call for a “New Apologetics,” a new way of proposing Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth and the Life.

“New Apologetics” is a contemporary way of engaging the questions which need to be addressed; those tough issues are often inadequately answered, or worse, dismissed as unimportant. This is a serious, beautiful adventure.

The New Apologetics is group qualified persons working to share the beauty of the truth of the Church today, in the language of today.

The New Apologetics website is www.NewApologetics.com

May Saint Thérèse of Lisieux guide this new work.

Joseph Ratzinger in Communio: Anthropology and Culture –published

Ratzinger in Communio vol 2.jpg

Book sales will no doubt sky rocket with Benedict’s resignation next week. But this superficial reason won’t hold those really interested in one of THE most pivotal thinkers of the Church in the 20th and 21st centuries when Volume 2, Joseph Ratzinger in Communio: Anthropology and Culture (Michigan/Cambridge, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 2013) is in the mailbox.

Joseph Ratzinger in Communio: Anthropology and Culture is edited by David L. Schindler and Nicholas J. Healy. The 14 texts herein address anthropological themes written by Joseph Ratzinger between 1972 and 2005. That Eerdmans is the publisher is a terrific help since their list is widely acclaimed and ecumenical.

The editors tell us in the introduction of the second volume is to available in one place all of Ratzinger’s articles that appeared in the American edition of Communio, beginning with first edition in 1974. The writings have been grouped into three major categories: Church, anthropology, and theological renewal. Hence, you’ll find in this volume essays on humanity between reproduction and creation; Jesus Christ today; the meaning of Sunday; hope, technological security understood as a problem of social ethics; and God in John Paul II’s “Crossing the Threshold of Hope.”

In 2010, David L. Schindler et al. published what is now known as volume 1 under the title of Joseph Ratzinger in Communio: The Unity of the Church.

If you don’t know about the Communio journal, it is an international quarterly journal of theology and culture, founded in 1972 Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri de Lubac, Jean-Luc Marion and Joseph Ratzinger, among others. There are 21  Communio study circles that meet to discuss the published articles or some other agreed upon text. As an historical note, Communio was a journal promoted by Father Luigi Giussani for the ongoing theological education of members following the ecclesial movement, Communion and Liberation.

Treachery to the truth today?

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….

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Schools of Theology: A 2012 Review

First Things editor RR Reno published his “A 2012 Ranking of Graduate Programs in Theology” yesterday, the annual romp through what’s out there for theological formation. A somewhat helpful review but it doesn’t really cover some important data. Nevertheless, it is good to see a review that advances a good perspective. What is that perspective? In my humble opinion: that in all things God may be glorified AND thinking with the Church.

The study of theology is not merely doing an academic program but it is truly a formation of the person so that he or she can be not only an excellent leader in theological investigation, spiritual formation, good pastoral practice but also work that one works out his or her own salvation.
  • The five areas a good school of theology needs to be attentive to: sacred Scripture, sacred Liturgy, patristic study, dogmatic study and ethics. I fully believe that Prosper of Aquataine is correct, and ought to orient all study of theology: legem credendi lex statuat supplicandi. In shorthand, the law of prayer is the law of belief.
I am happy that UND ranked high. I am interested to see how CUA will do in the year to come with the new dean Father Mark Morozowich. He’s got a lot of work to do. CUA is poised.

When Fig Leaves Sprout

Fig Tree by mumacas.jpgMy neighbor has several fig trees. His children are now in the process of wrapping them up for the winter –New England is not an agreeable place to raise fig trees all year.

The opening prayer for Mass today speaks of “the constant gladness of being devoted to you [that is, God]” because God is “the author of all that is good.” This gladness, this happiness, and good is always lived in posture of hope. Symbolically, in many ways the fig is a tangible sign of happiness and goodness. In the Bible the fig tree is posited as figure of these virtues. Variously the fig is interpreted as symbolic of the good, of peace, personal and national prosperity, safety, concern for the other, personal and national fulfillment, and probably the most important, the Promised Land.

Likely to be the most spoken of tree is the fig. Our first parents cover themselves with fig leaves (Genesis 3:7), as a sweet and satisfying fruit is the fig (1 Kings 4:25) and if you need shade when you study the Word of God outside you would sit under a fig tree (John 1:48) or if you need a spring fruit for the table you would have figs (Hosea 9:10). So, it’s no surprise that the Lord uses the fig to illustrate a point in the synoptic gospels about being a disciple and of the Church.

Based on today’s Scripture readings, the poem “When Fig Leaves Sprout” by Minnesota composer William Beckstrand captures the sense of what we are about in the Christian life.

When fig leaves sprout, the summer’s near;
Just so, when sun and moon grow dim,
This earth and heav’n will pass and Christ
Will come and raise the dead with him.

This coming Christ, who
once for all
A sacrifice for sin’s dark stain
Has offered, will bring back to
All those who sleep, for doom or gain.

Secure with Jesus, Advocate
pleads for us at God’s right hand,
We daily work to do God’s will,
And wait His
coming stern and grand.

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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