The New Adam and the New Eve: Christ and His Church

Thanks to Ann Barnhardt for her recent post and sharing of this most illustrative painting and explanation. You can find her instructive post here: https://www.barnhardt.biz/2019/07/20/found-it-image-of-the-birth-of-ecclesia/

The Bride of Christ: derided, blasphemed, spat upon, buffeted, as the Mystical Body of Christ, still present in the world and a woman of sorrow just as Christ was a man of sorrow: uncomely, disfigured and unrecognizable. Her sufferings are relived in Her Body, the Church: the Spotless Bride of Christ.

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Top Image: God the Father removes Eve from the Side of Adam – shown with hands in supplication to God the Father
Bottom Image: God the Father removes the Bride of Christ (the Church) from the Wounded Side of the Crucified Christ – shown with a Chalice indicating the offering of Christs Blood to the Father for the Salvation of Souls

Flesh of My Flesh: Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up those things that are wanting of the sufferings of Christ, in my flesh, for the body, which is the Church. __ Colossians 1:24

The Bridegroom and Bride Shall be Two in One Flesh: Christ and the Church are One: https://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/pope_explores_st._pauls_teaching_on_the_church_as_bride_of_christ

Genesis 2:24

Wherefore a man shall leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they shall be two in one flesh.

Mark 10:8

And they two shall be in one flesh. Therefore now they are not two, but one flesh.

Ephesians 5:31

For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife, and they shall be two in one flesh.

Isaiah 62:5

For the young man shall dwell with the virgin, and thy children shall dwell in thee. And the bridegroom shall rejoice over the bride, and thy God shall rejoice over thee.

John 3:29

He that hath the bride, is the bridegroom: but the friend of the bridegroom, who standeth and heareth him, rejoiceth with joy because of the bridegroom’s voice. This my joy therefore is fulfilled.

Ephesians 5:29

For no man ever hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, as also Christ doth the church:

CCC 796

This is the whole Christ, head and body, one formed from many . . . whether the head or members speak, it is Christ who speaks. He speaks in his role as the head (ex persona capitis) and in his role as body (ex persona corporis). What does this mean? “The two will become one flesh. This is a great mystery, and I am applying it to Christ and the Church.”240 And the Lord himself says in the Gospel: “So they are no longer two, but one flesh.”241 They are, in fact, two different persons, yet they are one in the conjugal union, . . . as head, he calls himself the bridegroom, as body, he calls himself “bride.”242

Christ Was Buffeted and Spit Upon: Will the Bride not Suffer What the Bridegroom Suffered?

Job 30:10

They abhor me, and flee far from me, and are not afraid to spit in my face.

Isaiah 50:6

I have given my body to the strikers, and my cheeks to them that plucked them: I have not turned away my face from them that rebuked me, and spit upon me.

Matthew 26:67

Then did they spit in his face, and buffeted him: and others struck his face with the palms of their hands,

Isaiah 53:2

And he shall grow up as a tender plant before him, and as a root out of a thirsty ground: there is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him, and there was no sightliness, that we should be desirous of him

1 Peter 2:24

Who his own self bore our sins in his body upon the tree: that we, being dead to sins, should live to justice: by whose stripes you were healed.

Seven Last Words of Christ from the Holy Cross: Will the Church Not Imitate Her Bridegroom and suffer with Him? http://www.catholictradition.org/Passion/passion27a.htm

1st

Luke 23:34

And Jesus said: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.

2nd

Luke 23:43

And Jesus said to him: Amen I say to thee, this day thou shalt be with me in paradise.

3rd

John 19:26

When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son.

John 19:27

After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.

4th

Matthew 27:46

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying: Eli, Eli, lamma sabacthani? that is, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Mark 15:34

And at the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying: Eloi, Eloi, lamma sabacthani? Which is, being interpreted, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?

Psalm 21:2

O God my God, look upon me: why hast thou forsaken me?

5th

John 19:28

Afterwards, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said: I thirst.

6th

John 19:30

Jesus therefore, when he had taken the vinegar, said: It is consummated. And bowing his head, he gave up the ghost.

7th

Luke 23:46

And Jesus crying out with a loud voice, said: Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit. And saying this, he gave up the ghost.

 

And people ask why I don’t leave the Bride of Christ in Her hour of most need. I would prefer to remain with The Mother of God at the foot of the Cross than to be hiding in the upper room fearing for my life. This is why. __ Scoop

Man’s Loss of His Sense of Wonder, Awe and Mystery

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Ultra pragmatism and scientism has left man with the illusion of an anthropocentric universe which no longer has need or use of a Creator God. But for all the science that builds one atop another, from the smallest sub-atomic universe to the galaxies of immense proportions throughout the vast universe, we no longer see the pervasive mysteries that are cooked into our natural observations and our mathematical and scientific theories – no matter how perfectly they can predict or read the history of being itself. For every finding that is discovered and proved, the age old question of the child is still there: “why?”. For there are things that mathematics and science and logic will never unravel and the “why, how, for what purpose and to what end” questions are only covered over by a thin veil of evermore complicated explanations. It seems we keep peeling back layers of an onion only to find that we still don’t know why there is an onion.

The scientists and the pragmatics amongst us still cannot explain the mystery of a universe (who) creates intelligence which in turn tries to explain itself; which leads us to accept some kind of mechanism at work; an introspective conglomeration of vibrating subatomic and atomic particles with self-consciousness. We take for granted that this (living) universe can be comprehended by a naturally formed bit of the universe – ourselves. The universe somehow has a desire to know itself and it is us (small little sub atomic beings of the cosmos), who are both alive and conscious of this universe that has been bequeathed this task. How utterly wonderful, awe inspiring and mysterious and we are urged to think of it with no more interest than we might have in what we should eat for dinner.

Imagine first why there is anything at all. If I were to be able to hypothetically ask a dead man, according to the beliefs of atheists, if there is anything at all to existence he would have to say from his perspective that it is only an illusion: for he sees, feels, senses or remembers nothing. So to the dead, we are in error and there is no being. And to the living, the dead would be in error as we merely need rely upon our existing living senses.

Secondly, we can imagine then that every bit of energy in the universe has some primal or latent life residing within itself (mysteriously) such that it has its own primal desire for knowing and acknowledging itself. For how do these atoms arrange themselves in man to allow logic or a sense of being? And if that is our belief then we have become committed pantheists. How too, is it that this logical existence (man) has come into being only to grow, then whither and die? What happened to the stability of the atoms from which this life force is created, ebbs then wanes, and then returns to the state of simple atoms once again? What is the purpose then for man to come into being, thinking of itself as alive and logically examining such questions, only to die; like little unexplainable conscious beings of life bubbling to the surface to only burst. So life is mysterious as well. It is a wonder that there are collections of cells, atoms and sub atomic particles that come and go, without any purpose or meaning: no rhyme or reason, and yet we wish to admonish wonder, awe and mystery that permeate creation but is the substance of our faith in God.

Thirdly, why is it that we have a sense of “I-ness” or “ego” and a sense of “thou-ness” or other; the seer and and the seen. Where is the entire cosmological intelligence that is always aware of itself even if we are simply like dying cells being replaced by newer ones? For there is no reason that an atom should become unstable within our bodies in our short, normal lifetimes. Those same atoms existed before I was born and exist after death and yet in this intermediate step between non-existent man and decomposed man there is life and a social, moral and ethical order and construct that binds us together just as sure as the cells of a body bind themselves one to another in order to create a single living human being.

Isn’t it harder to imagine such a universe than to un-imagine it? And that, I think, is what is ultimately the end result when we place all our belief in science; nihilism or nothingness. “Life could be a dream” seems to fit the narrative. For it is meaningless, has no beginning and no end and only exists in those who accept their own consciousness as being real . . . though they will return to whence they came which is non-consciousness or non-being; utter emptiness and nothingness.

So is life better lived with our instinct to have faith in our perceived dignity and worth? To embrace hope for the future of ourselves and all of mankind? And to find the dignity, both morally and ethically to embrace true charity (self-giving love or sacrificial love)? For to give ones life for another in the world of “you only live once” crowd, such sacrifices seem totally out of place. 

We are to believe that life with meaning is simply ignorance and so we strip away all the wonder, awe and mystery of life which a loving Creator God provides. A God Who desires man to live well so that we might live together with Him in happiness eternally or to live in an existential world that is ultimately valueless is one’s primary choice in life. And remember that the same process that developed science, logic and all other pragmatic studies were intuited by mankind in the very same way that the other subjects developed. They are naturally occurring in our species. So, is religion any more part of our internal makeup than this new “religion” which denies even itself?

Newman and a White Rose

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Hans Scholl and his sister Sophie, with their friend Christoph Probst, in 1943

Many of us see our countries as possibly headed into dark times, and sometimes we despair, and it is hard to remember that while we are in this world, we are not of this world. But we do have our duties and responsibilities in this world as well. Perhaps a reminder wouldn’t hurt. Particularly one which reminds us that what we say and write and do today may well echo down the corridors of time. This is an article I first published here on 19 February 2018. I ran across it yesterday, and think it worth a rereading. Neo.

Here most of us admire the Blessed John Henry Newman quite a lot, as we should. After all, most of us who write here are orthodox Christians of one flavor or another. Nor are we alone.

A couple of weeks ago, I was involved in a discussion of The White Rose, one of the main resistance groups in Nazi Germany, and how it was almost completely driven by Christian ideals, although its leadership was a combination of Catholic, Lutheran, and Orthodox.

But how did that come to be, can we see the roots of this? Why yes, yes, we can.

An article in Catholic Herald last week by Paul Shrimpton tells how a goodly share of what Hans and Sophie Scholl believed and would lead them to the guillotine, seventy-five years ago yesterday, came from Newman.

From their letters and diaries we know that they were strongly influenced by St Augustine’s Confessions, Pascal’s Pensées and George Bernanos’s Diary of a Country Priest. Now it has become clear that their lives were also shaped by the writings of Blessed John Henry Newman.

The man who brought Newman’s writings to the attention of the Munich students was the philosopher and cultural historian Theodor Haecker. Haecker had become a Catholic after translating Newman’s Grammar of Assent in 1921, and for the rest of his life Newman was his guiding star. He translated seven of Newman’s works, and on several occasions read excerpts from them at the illegal secret meetings Hans Scholl convened for his friends. Strange though it may seem, the insights of the Oxford academic were ideally suited to help these students make sense of the catastrophe they were living through.

Haecker’s influence is evident already in the first three White Rose leaflets, but his becomes the dominant voice in the fourth: this leaflet, written the day after Haecker had read the students some powerful Newman sermons, finishes with the words: “We will not be silent. We are your bad conscience. The White Rose will not leave you in peace! Please read and distribute!”

When Sophie’s boyfriend, a Luftwaffe officer called Fritz Hartnagel, was deployed to the Eastern Front in May 1942, Sophie’s parting gift was two volumes of Newman’s sermons. After witnessing the carnage in Russia, Fritz wrote to Sophie to say that reading Newman’s words in such an awful place was like tasting “drops of precious wine”.

In another letter, Fritz wrote: “We know by whom we were created, and that we stand in a relationship of moral obligation to our creator. Conscience gives us the capacity to distinguish between good and evil.” These words were taken almost verbatim from a famous sermon of Newman’s called “The Testimony of Conscience”.

The White Rose, which Hans and Sophie led, has become the most famous anti-Hitler resistance in Germany today, saving only the Zwanzigsten Juli conspiracy itself, in which the Rev Dr. Dietrich Bonhoeffer was implicated. This founder (amongst others) of the Confessing Church would surely have also agreed with much of what Hans and Sophie learned from Newman’s writing.

In fact, I’m quite sure he was familiar with it, if in no other way, because of his friendship with Bishop George Bell of Chichester, now subject to a witch hunt led by his own church, to whom Bonhoeffer’s last message from Flossenbürg was addressed. Of course, Bonhoeffer was hanged a few weeks before the camp at Flossenbürg was liberated.

When Fritz visited Sophie’s parents, he gave them a collection of Newman sermons translated by Theodor Haecker. Haecker himself also visited the Scholls, and signed the visitor’s book with Newman’s own motto, Cor ad cor loquitur (“Heart speaks to heart”).

So does it still.

God’s humour in mechanic’s miracle and at atheist’s expense!

An interesting collection of events from Richard’s Watch.

Richard's Watch

The Sunday evening before last we heard how God miraculously provided about 1,300 large bread cakes from only 200 that pastor Christopher Bird had taken to a Ugandan orphanage, but to which 500 children had walked for hours for food to feed them over the week!  Next he took the left-overs to other places and watched everyone getting fed from what he’d originally brought. Only 7 loaves were left, which were for the 7 servers.

ELECTRO-MECHANICAL MIRACLE

Next, a group told him on a Sunday morning they’d take him Monday to a neighbouring nation – but he needed to apply for an entry visa. So he had to get two visa-size photos on a Sunday afternoon in Kampala – but there was a city-wide power blackout!

He saw a 50-years old photo-booth on a pavement and spoke to its attendant who said it was unplugged because of the outage. Chris…

View original post 473 more words

It comes at a cost

In the film, Luther, starring Joseph Fiennes, Martin Luther discusses the incipient Reformation with his Father Confessor, Johann von Staupitz, as they prepare for the Diet of Worms. Von Staupitz laments the chaos that seems to have been unleashed. He expresses the fear that Luther is destroying the Church, rather than reforming her. Luther responds to this that reform comes at a cost.

This scene has always made an impact on me. Although this particular film has a number of historical inaccuracies, I find parts of it edifying in the lessons they teach. The cost of reform is one of them.

This is a period in time that is crying out for reform, reform of the Church and reform of the states. Heresy and deceit abound. Rebellion against ancient custom, which once could safeguard a nation without the support of law, has made it dangerous to speak one’s thoughts aloud. History, the wellspring of conservatism, has been forgotten and – worse still – rewritten. Death stalks the lands, and the powers of darkness tighten their grip on the nations.

God knows these things. They are not too great for Him to overcome. His grace and power are breaking through and the Devil suspects that his time is short. The return of Christ approaches, and when He comes, He will pour out the wrath of God on the unrepentant.

In the meantime, reform is necessary. The Church must be prepared for the “final push”, the completion of her great commission. This reform is costly. It will mean repentance, humility, and a careful use of Scripture, in order to avoid falling for deception.

As the Church is reformed, though the world continues in a dark direction, the light of the Church will grow brighter and the Gospel will go out in power. May the Lord’s will be accomplished.

A loss of reverence?

In-Persona-Christi

In this short post the only point I wish to make has to do with proper reverence and esteem that should be given to certain personages. This is something that seems to be lost on our new, more relaxed, and egalitarian construct of society. For my examples I would like to address three which I think might bring my point home. 

For my construct let us take on the birth name of a fictional character known as Robert Miller.

If Robert Miller becomes a doctor of medicine and we have the proper reverence for his unselfish service to provide us with healthcare and life saving practices one would be rather bold to address the man as Dr. Bob. He deserves more respect, more esteem and a sense of reverence for his sacrifices and his service to the community. The proper way to address him is Dr. Miller.

And if Robert Miller becomes a Lieutenant in the Marines and is risking his life to procure and safeguard the country and my own freedoms, likewise one would never refer to him as Lt. Bob but as Lieutenant Miller.

Most of us understand this protocol at some level or at least we did in our recent past. I was raised to do this; just as I was raised to say Mr. or Mrs. when addressing an older married man or woman. 

I find it incredible that today in the Catholic Church that we feign such familiarity with our priests. For if Robert Miller is ordained a Catholic Priest today he is most likely to be addressed as Fr. Bob. Now here is a man that is our spiritual father and is serving God and his flock. This seems to be the result of the breakdown of all civility and norms that occurred during the mid-60’s in our country. that prevails today.

We previously were not to look at him as just a pal and another man or friend. He was more than that. The common thread to the respect that civil people employed in the past was simply the fact that a Doctor served the community and the health of each of us while the Military man served his country and protected our lives, liberty and freedom. But higher than this, the Priest who serves God and his flock in an effort to bring us safely to heaven and to avoid hell should obviously deserve more reverence and respect: as the aim of his ministry has eternal consequences to our souls. It is not, as in the other two instances a temporal end that is being sought for our well-being. 

Please God that we once again respect the high-calling of the priest and see in him as our alter Christus acting in persona Christi during the sacraments of Confession and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Maybe then, we will quit treating him as just another member of the congregation that dresses funny (hopefully in his clericals and cassock).

La messe en latin

Voici une site qui contient les mots de la messe en latin. Aujourd’hui, je voudrais traduire quelques mots pour nous faire réfléchir.

P : Deus, qui humanae substantiae dignitatem mirabiliter condidisti, et mirabilius reformasti: da nobis per hujus aquae et vini mysterium, ejus divinitatis esse consortes, qui humanitatis nostrae fieri dignatus est particeps, Jesus Christus, Filius tuus, Dominus noster: Qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti, Deus ; per omnia saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Priest: “O God, You who wondrously bestowed worth on human substance, and – more wondrously still – remade it anew: grant to us, through the mystery of water and wine, to be kindred to His divinity, He who deigned to partake in our humanity, Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, unto the ages of ages. Amen.”

 

Revelation and Christian Liturgy

The Book of Revelation, drawing upon depictions from the Old Testament and intertestamental literature, presents scenes of worship in Heaven. In Jewish and Christian theology, worship on earth is held to be linked mystically to worship in Heaven, to partake of it. Saint Paul taught that angels are present (invisibly) during Christian worship on earth.

Christian worship in churches with traditional, formal liturgies involves various elements found in these scenes and developed from the sacrificial system of the Mosaic Torah. Priests, servers, and choirs are dressed in white garments. Incense is used. Praises are offered to God. The Eucharist is a sacrifice. Some churches include pictures or statues of angels, usually in positions of adoration, in imitation of the worship offered by angels in heaven. Commonly, candles and lamps are found, an echo of the Menorah.

The majesty, formality, and transcendent nature of these rituals helps worshippers to focus on Almighty God and forget, for a space, the busy-ness and distractions of this earthly life. Not only is it right to offer God thanks and praise, but it is also beneficial for humans to find a time, however long or brief, on a weekly basis in which to recuperate.

John the Revelator beheld Jesus as the Lamb that was slain. John the Baptist referred to Him as the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world (Agnus Dei qui tollit peccata mundi). Christ is the Passover Lamb, by whose blood mankind is redeemed, and through whose benevolence mankind is liberated from Satanic oppression and death.

In Revelation, this Lamb opens the seals. He judges the world and claims it for His own. Formal liturgy, focussing on the sacrifice of Jesus, is also a space for remembering that He is God and King. The praises sung to Him by choir and congregation are an acknowledgement of His majesty.

Glory is given to Him by offering Him the best. Humans are to strive to honour Him by righteous living, confessing our sins and doing good to others out of love and gratitude. Gold and fine cloth are used, because Christ is worthy. Objects and people are consecrated to Him, because He should be at the centre of our lives; our lives should be given over to Him.

Kneeling in the presence of the King is a means of acknowledging who He is and what He has done for us. Proclaiming the Scriptures to be the word of the Lord affirms our commitment to truth in a world of crookedness and deception. The sign of the cross is a reminder of His suffering and redeeming power.

It is good to have such thoughtful and intense focus on God. It is good to worship Him with both body and soul. It is right to receive revelation from God through His Scriptures. In this world of distractions, humans need to enter the courts of the King.

Psalm 84

How amiable are thy tabernacles, O LORD of hosts! My soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the LORD: my heart and my flesh crieth out for the living God. Yea, the sparrow hath found an house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even thine altars, O LORD of hosts, my King, and my God. Blessed are they that dwell in thy house: they will be still praising thee. Selah. Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee; in whose heart are the ways of them. Who passing through the valley of Baca make it a well; the rain also filleth the pools. They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God. O LORD God of hosts, hear my prayer: give ear, O God of Jacob. Selah. Behold, O God our shield, and look upon the face of thine anointed. For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. For the LORD God is a sun and shield: the LORD will give grace and glory: no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly. O LORD of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee.

A Saturation of Theology in The Confessions of St. Augustine

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St. Augustine’s Confessions Book 7 Chapter 14

In this particular section of the Confessions, Augustine gives several short arguments that will be later used by the Scholastics. In a short amount of space, Augustine covers a multitude of ontology and cosmology that really need to utilize within the faith communities as a means to evangelize the world consumed by scientism.

Augustine discusses how a plurality of gods would contradict the nature of God. Naturally, this idea will be further developed by Thomas Aquinas in Chapter 42 of the Summa Contra Gentiles. Aquinas explains in relation to the divine:

“[2] For it is not possible that there be two highest goods, since that which is said by superabundance is found in only one being. But God, as we have shown, is the highest good. God is, therefore, one.

  [3] Again, it has been shown that God is absolutely perfect, lacking no perfection. If, then, there are many gods, there must be many perfect beings. But this is impossible. For, if none of these perfect beings lacks some perfection, and does not have any admixture of imperfection, which is demanded for an absolutely perfect being, nothing will be given in which to distinguish the perfect beings from one another. It is impossible, therefore, that there be many gods.

 It appears that Aquinas isn’t the only scholastic to borrow and develop of Augustine. Augustine gives a sort of proto-ontological argument to illustrate his understanding of unity of God. He writes, “For no soul ever has been able to conceive or ever will conceive anything better than You, the supreme and perfect Good.” Of course, if anyone’s taken a theology or philosophy course this statement may sound familiar, as the idea is usually attributed to St. Anselm of Canterbury who put forth what is known as the Ontological Proof for God’s existence.

In Chapter 3-7 of the Proslogion, one discovers St. Anselm’s argument for the existence of God. The basic argument comes from this statement from St. Anselm is that “O Lord my God, You exist so truly that You cannot even be thought not to exist…For if any mind could think of something better than You, the creature would rise above the Creator and would sit in judgment over the Creator—something which is utterly absurd.”[1]

I find it interesting that St. Anselm proposes that God cannot even be thought not to exist. Recently, I’ve been in conversation with a few Atheists who claim not to believe in God, and yet God ever preoccupies their mind to search out theist to discuss him. Again, it goes back to St. Augustine, our heart is restless until it rests in God.

Augustine also addresses challenges to the omnipotence of God. It’s fairly common for skeptics to challenge Christians by asking, “Can God create a rock so heavy that he could move it?” The question appears at face value to be a formidable objection to the concept of the nature of God. Naturally, when one understands what is God’s nature, he will see the question be absurd. So, if we start with the premise that God is all-powerful because of his omnipotence God could not do anything that would contradict his very nature of being all-powerful. Another example would be could God make a square a triangle? Well, no, they couldn’t be the same thing because for a square to be a square it has to have four sides; therefore, by having three sides it would no longer possess the nature of a square.

[1]Anslem of Canterbury, 94.

Post-Vatican II Christ Centered Ethics

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Recently, I have decided to peruse papers submitted on academia.edu on different Christian topics and post brief commentaries on our blog for discussion purposes. After taking a brief look at different papers, the title “Post Vatican II Christ-Centered Ethical Theology” really lept out at me. And perhaps, a bit of the reason is that I thought it would stir the pot a bit with Scoop—So, I couldn’t help myself.

The author of the paper is a Jesuit by the name Dr. Jean-Marie Hyacinthe Quenum. He begins his introduction quite interesting by claiming:

Christian moral theology as an academic discipline presupposes the self-actualization of Christian mystery in the community of faith called the Church. Christian moral theology draws its methodology and principles from the followers of Jesus Christ worshiping the Holy Trinity and making the fundamental option to live as recreated children of God under the process of God’s justification and sanctification in Christ through the Holy Spirit.

Honestly,  I don’t really understand what idea Quenum is trying to convey in the first sentence. I would have to ask what specifically he means by Christian mystery in this statement, i.e. The Trinity, Body of Christ, Passion, sanctifying grace? It’s true that while we understand good action through the revelation of Christ’s actions and teachings in the Gospels; it doesn’t appear to follow Catholic theology of Grace, Justification, and predestination. However, when Quenum writes, “making the fundamental option to live as recreated children of God under the process of God’s justification and sanctification in Christ through the Holy Spirit.” Perhaps, it’s clarity that is missing in his state where he is speaking of our cooperation with the sanctifying grace of the Holy Spirit through the practice of virtues that allows one to sustain and preserve in grace. Of course, it is through prayer, practicing the sacraments, and works of mercy where God continues to infuse within our souls His graces to live a life of holiness; to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect.

The understanding of grace and its role it plays in our actions, being the goodness of God, is formed from an understanding of classical orthodox understanding founded in the Augustinian and Thomistic traditions. As I would not be surprised if Quenum, being a Jesuit, being formed in the Molinist school of radical free will with God’s middle knowledge merely knowing our receptiveness to His grace, this may have led to these developments in Post-Vatican II thinking.

Quenum writes, “In Post-Vatican II Church Christian moral theology has become in university context a field of Christian ethics dealing with Christian living with real people in a real world of secularized societies. Appropriately called theological ethics, Christian moral theology has become an inspiring discipline, based on Scripture, reason, character formation, commitment to the reign of God, common good, virtues, social responsibility and the goal to become better people of God after the last Adam, Jesus Christ. “

 Again, this begs the question, how is this idea to be played out with the traditional understanding of Catholic theology with grace and predestination? Quenum goes on, “how Christians in their intentions to become Christ-like manifest their fundamental relation to the Trinitarian God creator, savior and transformer of the world by leading a virtuous life of moral responsibility and goodness.

 I am concerned with what he means by ‘intention’ our intention is to accept the grace of God by our free will; however, as God is creator, his grace actualizes our souls so the good that we do in the world comes from God. Our good actions are not our own, but rather our action within the Thomistic and Augustinian understanding of grace is to consent to the grace of God, a acquire an interior freedom that allows our heart to rest.

Quenum does speak later on in the paper about the role of prayer and the Holy Spirit. He says, “It allows the disciple of Jesus Christ to make daily decisions by seeking God’s heart. Prayer consists in listening God’s Word in faith (Hebrew 4: 2).  By building human life on the rock of God’s Word, the disciple of Jesus Christ is open to the agenda of God. The human heart is the deepest part of the human person experiencing the creative presence of the Trinitarian God. From the human heart purified by the presence of the Trinitarian God flows the moral transformation of the person called to discipleship by Christ and anointed by his Spirit.”

The statement on prayer could be okay or worrisome depending on where one places the stresses on the action of the person. Prayer is in many ways initiated by God through grace. We feel a call to it, in effect, we could make decisions to cooperate with God’s call to prayer, part of this is building the habit of prayer in our lives. However, if by the last statement he makes in this paragraph that God transforms us by his grace then the statement becomes more on par. So, again, it may be a clarity issue.

Finally, Quenum’s statement on the Holy Spirit appears to clarify my concerns early on in his paper. He writes:

The Holy Spirit who prays in the human person makes the voice of Christ heard and obeyed. The Holy Spirit guides the believer in the quest of moral transformation. Christian moral transformation requires friendship with Jesus Christ who helps the disciple to appropriate and to assimilate his life, passion, death and resurrection through the work of regeneration of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit as comforter empowers the believer for a deeper relationship with the Trinitarian God that brings the fruits of a blessed life.

 Naturally, I find little issues with this paragraph with my stress on grace. The Holy Spirit is what drives our desire to have a relationship with Jesus Christ and to live a life more like his that we read in the Gospels.

Quenum does have some good points about the challenges of Christian ethics in our modern world. He does articulate well that our modern societies have regressed psychological toward pagan hedonism. He writes, “The logic of desire explored by depth psychology has placed pleasure and comfort at the pinnacle of human fulfilment. To say “no” to a desire is to repress it for a law that brings frustration, dissatisfaction and depression. A person led by the logic of desire rejects rules, regulations and laws.”

I do listen to Bishop Robert Barron’s podcast from time to time. Barron does often use an interesting analogy when it comes to sports with our modern ethics. He explains that if you want to hit a baseball or a golf ball well, you have to use certain techniques that have been tried over a period of time and perfected to do those skills well. Naturally, no one objects usually and says I prefer to hit the golf ball my own way, of course, this is because they wish to hit the ball. What we’ve failed to communicate in our modern societies is that to live life well then we do have to live by some rules. These rules are not to repress you, but rather, like cleanly hitting a golf ball, to give you interior freedom to live your life well.

Quenum explains the development of  Post-Vatican II ethics writing:

 “Post-Vatican II theological ethics has the originality of being non- judgmental. It aims at showing God’s mercy and acceptance toward those who have not yet understood the path of salvation brought by Jesus Christ. It provides supportive and brotherly community for those who are sincerely wrong. These people are no longer blamed but accompanied by wise disciples of Jesus Christ in pastoral ministry.  

 In a pluralistic world post-Vatican II theological ethics is open to dialogue which is today the fruitful method of being with others in respectful way. Dialogue in a world of competing and conflicting values makes Christian vulnerable, modest and ready to learn from others.

 I think it’s fair toask,, Do these ‘ethics’ actually work?  On the one hand, the idea of mercy is an idea that conveys the need for it. The need for mercy is the result of sin. In the post-Vatican II theology, this idea hasn’t been conveyed with much success. If we’re sticking to the golfing analogy, it would similar to telling someone who is swinging the club poorly, “it’s okay, I know you didn’t hit the ball, but go ahead swing the club again and see if you can hit it.” If we do not spend the time to explain what needs to be corrected, how can it be expected that a correction will be made?

I will attempt to answer these question with parts of Quenum conclusion:

Fifty years after Vatican II the pilgrim people of God is thinking differently moral life. The splendor of the truth is in the person of Jesus Christ inviting human beings to share the perfect goodness of the Trinitarian God through a virtuous life of love.

 Moral life is no longer about forbidden behaviors and acts which are intrinsically evil. Moral life flows from the human person whose heart is purified by the Gospel message of Jesus Christ and who makes the fundamental option to share the Trinitarian God’s values in the body of Christ led by the Holy Spirit in the renewed family of the Father.

Doing Trinitarian theological ethics implies the rejection of moralism, legalism and authoritarianism for a better approach of the human person as a discerning agent inspired by the Gospel that does Justice, Peace and fellowship in the redeemed world.

 Again, I’m not entirely clear about his concluding remarks. At times in the paper, I think he admits that post-Vatican II doesn’t seem to be working, as Christian morality seems to be evaporating. However, it does somewhat appear that his focus on Trinitarian theological ethics because it relies on being led by the grace through the Holy Spirit rejects legalism, but does this imply that any form of correction is legalism? Perhaps, we merely need faith in the grace of the Holy Spirit to transform the lives. It appears this type of theological ethics is similar to a lot of the ‘accompaniment’ ‘pastoral care’ type theology that comes from clerical media personalities.

Overall the text seems vague to me. It has some theology that does make sense in it, but at times the clarity is lacking,