Tag Archives: theology

The work of the Theologian to the Papal Household

The life of the Church is very interesting. Even such obscure things, seemingly that is, like that of the Papal Theologian, piques my wonder and awe at what is expected in our communal pursuit of Truth. And that’s what the Papal Theologian helps us to do: seek the face of God. Perhaps in your seeking Truth, Beauty and Goodness you are genuinely curious about how the Church works and the people behind the work being done?


The Papal Theologian emeritus of the Papal Household, Georges Cardinal Cottier, OP, gave an interview to Jose Antonio Varela Vidal at Zenit (11 July 2012) about Blessed Pope John Paul II, with whom he worked intimately: “…he was a man of hope. When he said: ‘Do not be afraid,’ he certainly said it for the countries occupied by Communism, but he also said it because he saw that there was a certain decadence in the West. I would say he awakened the Church everywhere. Then, his love of life, this was fantastic and he witnessed this love of life in a life profoundly marked by illness, and young people understood him.”

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What is a theologian? What purpose does the work of a theologian have? To be “In the Communion of the Church”

The public has been bombarded with the media’s assessment of nuns, church, the sexual abuse crisis, fidelity to the Lord, and the like. In some ways the media looks at the life of the Church and picks out the obvious problems of coherence. No doubt we have matters of concern that we have to work to correct; the adage: “the Church always needs renewal” is very true today. We rely on the Holy Spirit and the good work of Pope Benedict. The other day I found this review of a document written by members of the International Theological Commission (ITC), a group of theologians organized by the Pope to advise him on certain questions of theological questions of importance. Even the Pope needs advice! The ITC group is made up of a diversity of peoples from around the world. The ones I know personally are fine men and women, credible witnesses of the Lord. The review of Theology Today that follows is written by Father Paul McPartlan in which he synthesizes the document giving us the broad view of the work of Catholic theologian. What he highlights sits in contradistinction to what we’ve heard about the recent work of Sr Margaret Farley and other theologians who see themselves in a different light. I prefer to put my money the ITC and not on “envelop pushing, agenda driven” theologians. You?

Following its examination, in Chapter One, of the fundamental nature of theology, as the rational exploration of that faith which is a response to the proclamation of the Word of God, and prior to its extended reflection, in Chapter Three, on significant aspects of the rationality of theology, the new International Theological Commission (ITC) text, Theology Today: Perspectives, Principles and Criteria, carefully considers the ecclesial context of theology in Chapter Two. “The ecclesiality of theology is a constitutive aspect of the theological task, because theology is based on faith, and faith itself is both personal and ecclesial”, it says, emphasising that “it is through the Church that theologians receive the object of their enquiry” (n.20). Theological enquiry is therefore properly conducted within the living and life-giving milieu of the leiturgia, martyria and diakonia of the Church (cf. n.7). In short, as the chapter’s title indicates, it is necessary for theologians to abide in the communion of the Church.

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BC Jesuits get backbone in teaching theology

The Jesuit-run School of Theology and Ministry has had a priest on their faculty who’s refused to function as a Catholic until he gets an adequate explanation as to why women are not ordained as Catholic priests. He wrote to the Cardinal stating his position. John Shea, professor of pastoral care and counseling, now leaving his position because of dissent from Church teaching. Thanks be to God. The Jesuits have tolerated this act of scandal for too long. Shea’s work in the classroom and beyond is not in line with his role as a professor who trains men for priesthood and the laity for ministry. He’s not to pose his thinking as Catholic teaching nor is he asked by the Church to teach students for priesthood and ministry in dissenting theology. Recall: Saint Ignatius of Loyola asks an attitude of “thinking with the Church” not dissenting from the truth of Jesus Christ and His Church.

The Jesuits at BC and when Weston Jesuit School of Theology before subsumed into Boston College existed, have long accepted and promoted professors who not only challenge Church teaching but openly reject the teaching authority of the Church as a matter of pride. Thinking with the Church was no longer an accepted method of “doing” theology. When I was at WJST we had several Jesuits under investigation for their divergent teaching. Each one of them saw ecclesial investigation as a badge of honor; their investigation was act of imperialism by the Vatican. One Jesuit priest actually said that not dissent from the Church is a sin against the Holy Spirit and another said that the Society of Jesus is the loyal opposition to the Church. Really.
Good for BC, but I doubt the Jesuits are doing this because Father Shea is a dissenter and harming the formation of students.

Infinity Dwindled to Infancy –reviewed by George Weigel

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Over the summer Jesuit Father Edward Oakes published his latest book, Infinity Dwindled to Infancy.

I posted a blog piece about the Infancy here.

Father Oakes’ book was reviewed by George Weigel on First Things: read it (actually, read the review and the book).
You can now get the book in paper and on Kindle at Amazon.

Catholics understanding the Book of Revelation and the Rapture

rapture.jpgThe rapture came and went…and this guy got caught up in it. Good for him. The rest of us will meander along…but in case you want to join the others in the rapture, the actual date is now October 21. So I am told.  But what time should people be ready? Harold Camping, founder of Family Radio and rapture prophet. Camping might be ready for the rapture as he’s now recovering from a stroke. The 89 year old prophet of doom-and-gloom-Christian-style alters his guaranteed prediction of Judgement Day every so often.

In case you’re interested, we’re having a 3 presentations on the Book of Revelation, the Catholic teaching on the belief of the Second Coming Christ and what the rapture means. Brother Leo Checkai, OP, is going to lead us through the theology and visions as found in the Revelation and giving a strategy to read and understand this famous and mysterious final book of the Bible. Come for the class at Saint Catherine of Siena Church at 6:30 on June 29, July 6 and 13. The church is located at 411 East 68th Street, NYC.

photo taken from In Caritate Non Ficta by Philip Gerard Johnson: this pic is a hoot….

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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