Cardinal Dulles has died

by SDG

in Uncategorized

Hat tip: AmP as usual.

I had the opportunity to speak to Avery Cardinal Dulles a couple of years ago. In our short conversation he was thoughtful, charitable, informative and intellectually rigorous. In my article on The Nativity Story and Catholic teaching are a couple of very brief theological excerpts from our conversation pertinent to the subject.

His contributions to 20th and early 21st-century Catholic theology are immense. I'm currently reading his book The Assurance of Things Hoped For: A Theology of Christian Faith. Here is how it begins: "The word 'faith' might be described as the Christian word. More than any other religion, Christianity deserves to be called a faith."

Read some articles he wrote for America magazine here. (Feel free to add more links in the combox!)

Read more at Whispers, Ratzinger Fan Club, Wikipedia.

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{ 52 comments }

Ebeth December 12, 2008 at 9:36 am

Hey Jimmy,
Much of what I have studied through my master program in catechesis has been Cardinal Dulles’ work. From the Ecclesiology, the Sacraments to Directory for General Catechesis, he was well respected and was a great teacher.
What a great mind…God will receive him happily!

Bobby Bambino December 12, 2008 at 10:06 am

Remember to keep Cardinal Dulles in prayer. As great man as he is, he may have to spend “time” in purgatory, so let’s pray for the reprise of his soul.
Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
And may perpetual light shine upon him.
May the souls of the faithfully departed through the mercy of God rest in peace.

The Masked Chicken December 12, 2008 at 10:37 am

Dear SDG,
I read Cardinal Dulles’s book on faith a few years ago. It is really very good, especially from a sociological point of view (although I would have liked more study on the apostolic concept of faith in Scripture, but I suppose that would have been a separate book).
I was going to write a book on the history of apologetics, at one point, but the Cardinal beat me to it.
The Chicken

paul f December 12, 2008 at 1:39 pm

First Things has posted a great list of articles that Cardinal Dulles wrote for their publication. The list is here.

Hans December 12, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Hat tip: AmP as usual.
Re: Getting Scooped
Have you seen this: “Vatican hardens opposition to stem cell research“?
(at http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081212/ap_on_re_eu/eu_vatican_bioethics)

Jeb Protestant December 12, 2008 at 6:12 pm

Very sad news. I learned a lot from his books and essays. My couple of brief email exchanges with him were quite pleasant.

salubrious December 13, 2008 at 1:40 pm

[COPYRIGHT VIOLATION REMOVED]

SDG December 13, 2008 at 4:41 pm

He asserted that the time to unite religions by means of conversion is over.

This is a despicable lie at the expense of a deceased servant of the Church.
The quotation you cite concerns ecumenism, not interreligious issues. It has nothing to do with “uniting religions,” but with reuniting Christianity.
His point was that a Catholic Church reuniting the Catholic Church with the Churches of the East would not look exactly like the Catholic Church does today; the return of the Eastern Churches would modify and enrich the Catholic Church as we know it.
Your concept of a “federation” of confessions does not appear in the paragraph you cite. Dulles says that the Catholic Church would be modified but not dissolved; he says nothing about other confessions not “renouncing [their] characteristic doctrines.”
Far from declaring “the time to unite religions by means of conversion is over,” Dulles defended proclaiming the necessity of converting to Christ to all non-Christians, including Jews.
To associate him with your notion of “Pan-Religion” is a despicable lie.

salubrious December 13, 2008 at 7:46 pm

SDG,
I must say that you have a very belligerent tone in your posting. I have found those who have a root of anger the first to always cry ‘uncharitable’. Your clever long winded ethical arguments reveal instead of hide the sophistry with which you try to beguile your readers.
P.S. I have read plenty of Dulles, and can say that most of the Medieval scholastics would reject much of his teaching. Dulles is progressivist, i.e. a neo-conservative, laying the foundation for removing the Catholic distinctive.

Inocencio December 13, 2008 at 8:19 pm

salubrious,
Rather than cut and paste from “tradition”in action, why not just provide a link.
We have all heard the “traditionalist” I want to be pope spiel before. In fact you are like John II upon your mighty hobby horse.
Why not just offer a prayer and be respectful of the deceased.
Lord, have mercy on all our souls.
Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Pantheistic Christian December 13, 2008 at 10:37 pm

The infallible definition of the Immaculate Conception is restricted to a very small portion of Ineffabilis Deus and in that portion there is no infallible definition of Mary’s being free from inordinate desire or even from actual personal sin. The definition pertains directly only to original sin. Catholic doctrine (“teaching”) extends more broadly but it is not infallible here just as it is not infallible as you noted with respect to preservation of Mary’s hymen. I agree with you that dissent from non infallible doctrine can be loyal as Avery Dulles noted, in agreement with Karl Rahner in one of the articles above.
I would agree that the periti and other influential personages driving Vatican II were intending to move away from that as some have themselves acknowledged:
“We have used ambiguous phrases during the Council and we know how we will interpret them afterwards.” Fr. Edward Schillebeeckx
However, I would not ascribe the same intention to the pontificate of John Paul II.
John Paul II explicitly affirmed the traditional doctrine on virginal integrity and far from distancing himself from older formulations reiterated them verbatim
“Mary was therefore a virgin before the birth of Jesus, and she remained a virgin in giving birth and after the birth. That is the truth presented by the New Testament texts, and which was expressed both by the Fifth Ecumenical Council at Constantinopole in 553, which spoke of Mary as “ever virgin,” and also by the Lateran Council in 649, which taught that “the mother of God…Mary…conceived (her Son) through the power of the Holy Spirit without human intervention, and in giving birth to him her virginity remained uncorrupted, and even after the birth her virginity remained intact” (DS 503).”
http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/audiences/alpha/data/aud19870128en.html
John Paul II also stated separately
“Her virginity “during and after giving birth”, although implicit in the title virgin already attributed to Mary from the Church’s earliest days, became the object of deep doctrinal study since some began explicitly to cast doubts on it. Pope St Hormisdas explains that “the Son of God became Son of man, born in time in the manner of a man, opening his mother’s womb to birth [cf. Lk 2:23] and, through God’s power, not dissolving his mother’s virginity“”
http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/JP960828.HTM
Another quibble I would have is the article’s seemingly placing the Eastern doctrine of Joseph as a widower to have some sort of preeminence over the Western doctrine of the brothers as cousins.
It is worth noting that Avery Dulles, like Hans Kung, had a liberal view of infallibility.
http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=10725
“Section IV contains the passage most evidently directed against Hans Kung. It states that the faithful are in no way permitted to see in the Church merely a fundamental permanence in the truth that could be compatible with occasional errors even in the definitive teaching of the magisterium. In proposing his theory of the Church’s “indefectibility” in the truth, Kung has quite consciously set himself against the doctrine’ of magisterial infallibility as commonly understood in the Church since Vatican I. The present declaration tells us, not surprisingly, that the Holy See is not presently prepared to accept Fr. Kung’s thesis. No effort is here made to meet the exegetical, historical and systematic arguments KUng has presented. ­­
Personally, I believe that a purely juridical understanding of infallibility, such as the declaration here seems to favor, is not theologically viable. I would hold that the entire Church has a kind of permanence in the truth of Christ that may appropriately be called “infallibility.” Going beyond Fr. Kung (as I understand him), I would add that the Church’s infallibility may at times come to determinate verbal expression through the pronouncements of Popes, bishops or councils, when it is given to them to ­­see clearly how a controversy should be resolved. On such occasions, the Church at large may react somewhat as did the Fathers at Chalcedon when they exclaimed: “Peter has spoken through Leo.”
Recognizing the necessity for “reception,” Vatican II asserted that when the magisterium teaches infallibly the assent of the Church can never be wanting, because the same Holy Spirit directs both the magisterium and the body of the faithful. The assent of the Church, to be sure, is not the source of the magisterium’s ­­infallibility (God is the source), but it is a sign that the magisterium, in a specific pronouncement, has not acted without the help of the Spirit.
It appears to me that (1) Dulles believes Kung’s thesis is something that the Church is not “presently” ready to accept, meaning she may be ready in the future and (2) that Dulles himself believed the traditional conception of infallibility to be “not theologically viable” and proposed a model that was an expansion of Kung’s. For infallibility to be engaged it must be manifestly engaged (there’s no such thing as occult instances of infallibility) and according to Dulles, it is manifest not only in the character of a pronouncement but also crucially in the assent of the Church, without which it loses its manifest character and thus its character of infallibility.
Lastly, I quibble with your characterization of Mary’s calling to virginity prior to the Annunciation as non-doctrinal in character. “Doctrine” merely means “teaching” and Mary’s calling to virginity is certainly a teaching of theologians and with whatever degree of authenticity, the ecclesial magisterium. The dogma (i.e. revealed truth, infallible or not) of Mary’s virginity concerns principally Mary’s being “set apart” for God by God from the moment of her conception and birth til her passing and assumption. Flowing from that is her sexual virginity. While the sexual expression of virginity may not have been an issue prior to betrothal or marriage, the spiritual ideal of virginity is something that pertained to Mary’s life whole and entire even after the death of Joseph. Whether this took the form of a vow or when a vow may have been made, I would agree are more incidental, but the spiritual ideal would have been in the traditional motif instilled in her soul from her creation and Immaculate Conception. I myself am doubtful that Mary was sinless (free from personal sin, that is) as I am sure such a state would have been remarkably obvious to anyone around her and would have been noted by contemporaries. Attempts to reduce sinlessess to an interior state that does not admit of exterior discernibility from the life of an imperfect soul, are not only implausible but theologically problematic. Here is John Paul II affirming the traditional doctrine with respect to both Mary and Joseph:
“It may be presumed that at the time of their betrothal there was an understanding between Joseph and Mary about the plan to live as a virgin. Moreover, the Holy Spirit, who had inspired Mary to choose virginity in view of the mystery of the Incarnation and who wanted the latter to come about in a family setting suited to the Child’s growth, was quite able to instill in Joseph the ideal of virginity as well.”
The Eastern tradition of Joseph as old widower and guardian is disparaged.
While I do not agree that the magisterium has become more liberal in this area, my own opinion is even more liberal than your own. I, like Fr. Raymond Brown, affirm the virginity of Mary as an article of faith. However, I, like Fr Brown, do not find support for its historicity in the Gospel narratives. Furthermore, I am inclined to go further than Fr Brown’s reticence and affirm that Jesus would have been to to the human eye conceived in a natural way with Mary (were anyone there to witness it) having engaged to the human eye in natural intercourse with a man (this does not exclude Joseph as the historicity of the Gospel narrative here as Fr Brown points out should not be taken in a fundamentalist way). However I would affirm that with the eyes of faith one can understand that the conception was truly miraculous and supernatural as the instrumentality of the man and the woman are subsumed under the agency of God in much the same way as the sacred authors instrumentality is subsumed under the agency of God such that God properly speaking is the primary author and God, not any man, primarily speaking is the agency behind the conception in Mary’s womb.
Let me take a moment to explain how I am a pantheist and a Christian of the Catholic tradition. Pantheism is arguably infallibly condemned if at all only in this formulation noted by the Catholic Encyclopedia’s article on the same:
“And the Vatican Council anathematizes those who assert that the substance or essence of God and of all things is one and the same, or that all things evolve from God’s essence”
I do not hold that the mereological sum of all things (res) is of one substance with God. I hold rather that the substantial form of the mereological sum of all things is God. IOW, if one were to abstract a form from all that exists extended through space and time and whatever dimensions angels may live in, that form would in Scotist transcendence from the mereological sum, be God himself. A traditional conception of God would accord with this were creation extended through time a perfect reflection of the interior glory of God. I believe that not only is it a reflection but that the form of the whole is itself God — and is as orthodox Christianity believes, personal in nature just as the mereological sum of the parts that make up your body have a form that not only reflects but per Catholic doctrine is your very soul, which is of course very much personal in nature.

Matheus December 14, 2008 at 4:10 am

Reading rad-tradism and looney-tunes theological liberalism so close to each other can sure drive anyone crazy…:)

SDG December 14, 2008 at 6:24 am

salubrious,
Your attempts to psychologize the sharpness of my tone are as wide of the mark as your plagiarized misreading of the passage from Cardinal Dulles cited. (Your copyright violation has been removed. HT to Inocencio for the spot-check.)
Since you seem to have trouble understanding it, let me explain the sharpness of my tone. A man has gone to his Maker. It is a hell of a thing. Someday it will be you. Remember, O Man, that you are dust and to dust you shall return. Have some respect, some restraint. Your ideology is not the subject of the hour.
For crying out loud, look at Jeb Protestant’s comment above. God knows I’ve had issues with Jeb in the past and been plenty sharp with him when I felt the situation required, and it often did. It’s a rare day when I have to point someone else to Jeb Protestant for lessons in civility, but that day is now.
Thank you for your moral analysis of my posting style. This is the last time I will accept generalized moral criticism from you. When you state an untruth and I call you on it, your options are to defend the specific comment made or to withdraw it. In this case you have done neither.
Please remember that you are a guest on this blog and try to follow Da Rulz. Repeated violations of Da Rulz will result in your being disinvited to participate on the blog.

salubrious December 14, 2008 at 6:32 am

I rather be accused of being a ‘rad-tradism’ then someone blindly attached to the cult of personality.
I just am tired of the double speak that comes from Vatican II leadership. The Bible says, we should give praise to honorable men. And I don’t think Dulles, based on his writings and books, was an honorable man.
P.S. So now I wait to be bullied by snarky comments from those who blindly follow Vatican II. The fruit of many of these blind guides shows there inability to be reasoned with.

salubrious December 14, 2008 at 7:22 am

Jesus was not civil when he rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees. He even told the dead to bury their own dead. Similarly, the Bible commands us to not be blind but keep our eyes open for the Devil is a roaring lion looking for people to devour.
You, SDG, used your own private interpretation and reason to leave the Protestant church and join the Catholic Church. Therefore at my death God will judge me and ask me if I used reason correctly. I will then be able to say that Vatican II contradicted Vatican I and Trent.

bill912 December 14, 2008 at 7:23 am

No, salubrious, you will be criticized (again) for your lack of good manners. If you cannot engage in civilized behavior, you should go away.

bill912 December 14, 2008 at 7:38 am

At your death, God may point out your disobedience.
To claim that an ecumenical council contradicted other ecumenical councils is to call the Holy Spirit a liar.

Pantheist Christian December 14, 2008 at 9:07 am

“To claim that an ecumenical council contradicted other ecumenical councils is to call the Holy Spirit a liar.”
Not everything in every ecumenical council engaged the charism of infallibility, be it under a traditional view of infallibility or a liberal one. Therefore, this wisdom of Avery Dulles pertains here and may be of benefit to you
“In a brief and selective summary such as this, one can only suggest a few of Rahner’s incisive observations. In the first place, Rahner points out that Human Life cannot reasonably be considered irreformable doctrine. But this does not mean that it may be ignored. Since Catholics believe that the magisterium ordinarily operates under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the presumption should be in favor of the Pope’s declaration. Any such presumption, however, must also allow of the possibility that a Catholic can arrive at a carefully formed and critically tested conviction that in a given case the fallible magisterium has in fact erred. Nobody today denies that there are cases in which official, reformable teaching of the Holy See has in fact been erroneous. As examples, Rahner cites the views of Gregory XVI and Pius IX on liberal democracy, and various statements about the Bible issued in the aftermath of the Modernist crisis. It cannot therefore be assumed that a Catholic who conscientiously opposes the non-infallible doctrine of the magisterium, as it stands at a given moment, is necessarily disloyal. (In this connection an American Catholic might think of the long struggle of John Courtney Murray to obtain revision of certain papal pronouncements on Church-State relations.)
“In the present case, Rahner continues, the complexity of the issue is such that no one opposed to the encyclical can claim absolute certainty for his own stand. But it is normal and inevitable that some should be unable to accept the pope’s doctrine. The encyclical, although it claims to be an interpretation of the natural law, does not in fact give very persuasive intrinsic arguments.”
With respect to non-infallible doctrine emanating from Vatican II, just as with respect to non-infallible doctrine emanating from Human Life, as pointed about by Dulles, while the Holy Spirit is ordinarilily operative and a presumption is in favor of the doctrine, “such presumption, however, must also allow of the possibility that a Catholic can arrive at a carefully formed and critically tested conviction that in a given case the fallible magisterium has in fact erred.” In addition, contra your aspersion against salubrious, “It cannot therefore be assumed that a Catholic who conscientiously opposes the non-infallible doctrine of the magisterium, as it stands at a given moment, is necessarily disloyal.”
If I may, I do not believe the mereological sum of all things is God; only that the form of the mereological sum of all things is God. I see no contradiction therefore in being pantheist in this sense and in being Christian. “Faith alone” can have a heretical and non-heretical understanding; the same is true of “pantheism.” The immanence of God I feel is spiritually nourishing.

Pantheist Christian December 14, 2008 at 9:10 am

The quotation of Dulles is from one of the articles in the OP and here is the link I neglected to include
http://www.americamagazine.org/content/article.cfm?article_id=10722

SDG December 14, 2008 at 10:25 am

Jesus was not civil when he rebuked the Pharisees and Sadducees. He even told the dead to bury their own dead. Similarly, the Bible commands us to not be blind but keep our eyes open for the Devil is a roaring lion looking for people to devour.

This from the person who objected to the sharpness of my earlier rebuke.
You have misquoted Jesus. He did not tell the dead to bury the dead, he told a would-be follower to let the dead bury their own dead. Need I point out, you are not Jesus and have no similar burden for would-be followers.
Nor are you rebuking Pharisees and Sadducees, or otherwise speaking truth to power. You are trolling your errant views in an inappropriate forum. If you want to speak truth to power, take it someplace where you can actually accomplish your ends.
You have ventured to compare yourself to Jesus. As another point of reference, consider the practice of Rev. Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church, who demonstrate at funerals with signs that say things like “God hates fags” and “Thank God for Dead Soldiers” (where the deceased are, respectively, homosexuals and veterans). Of these two reference points, Jesus telling a would-be follower to “let the dead bury their dead” and the WBC demonstrations, I submit that your initial post in this thread is closer to the latter than the former.
Incidentally, Jesus also did not tell lies, and he expects his fallible followers, when they make false statements or bear false witness, to repent.

You, SDG, used your own private interpretation and reason to leave the Protestant church and join the Catholic Church. Therefore at my death God will judge me and ask me if I used reason correctly. I will then be able to say that Vatican II contradicted Vatican I and Trent.

However, (a) you will be wrong, and (b) you are still missing the point, which is that this combox is not the forum for your radical traditionalist beliefs. Take it somewhere else.

David B. December 14, 2008 at 1:18 pm

SDG,
Maybe I’ll be accused of fostering a cult of personality, but I’ve found your postings to be fair, respectful, and most charitable, most importantly when you rebuke falsehood and disrespectful language.
If I may be so bold, you are an example for others, and offer a standard of behavior which may encourage non-Catholics to consider and respect our Catholic Faith more.
Just to be clear, I am not related to SDG. :-)

Pantheist Christian December 14, 2008 at 8:55 pm

Just for the sake of transparency, the same Ludwig Ott cited in the Nativity review, casts Mary’s being free from inordinate desire as a doctrine “sent. communis”, meaning it is the common teaching of theologians. Mary’s freedom from all personal sin, despite the testimony, noted by Ott, of some Greek Fathers to the contrary, is cast as “sent fidei proxima” which is just short of infallible and also just short of something binding under pain of heresy to be believed by divine and catholic faith.
I do not believe it is fair to characterize salubrious as having compared himself to Jesus. On the point of “letting the dead bury the dead” — or whatever the expression is in the original language — versus the paraphrase salubrious introduced, I do not see how it is some major fault to introduce imprecision there or how it may be dispositive in any quarrel the two of you may be having. I think to the extent that there is imprecision in saying that Jesus told the dead to bury the dead, there is even greater imprecision in characterizing salubrious as having compared himself to Jesus. I don’t think it would be fair to even say he compared his conduct to Jesus’ conduct. I am reminded of a homily by a priest who told a story of how when accused of something, he chose to remain silent. He opined that the virtue of humility at least sometimes calls for such silence. He pointed to the example of Jesus choosing to be silent on some occasions. He then commended us to consider that possibility in our lives and how it may foster growth in that virtue. By doing this, he was not comparing himself to Jesus nor do I think it would be fair to say he was comparing his conduct to Jesus’s conduct in the sense of stealing Jesus’ halo. Perhaps I misunderstood the tenor of the remark “You have ventured to compare yourself to Jesus”, but its apparition to me is so.
Since salubrious’ initial remark has been deleted and I do not recall it well, I can speak only tentatively, but to be fair to salubrious, I don’t think he was intending to barge in on a respectful remembrance of the dead. That was not how I took the OP. The OP gave opinions on Avery Dulles’ theological wisdom and salutory contribution as “immense.” salubrious evidently has disagreements with Dulles as “immense” as the OP considers his contributions. Favored current usage in some quarters notwithstanding, I took salubrious not to be suggesting the preposterous notion that Dulles was for a federation of various religions inclusive of non-Christian faiths such as Islam and Hinduism, but to be using “religion” in the sense the magisterium itself has in the past used to differentiating between religions within Christianity (for ex. in the union of brest) Since salubrious apparently is a known “traditionalist” if one were acquainted with the more “traditionalist” usage, one ought, in my opinion, not parse the word “religion” in that way. salubrious’ use of the phrase “federation of confessions” also accords with my interpretation as “confessions” often specifically means Christian confessions. I do not disagree that his disagreement could have been expressed more respectfully, but it is important if one is to criticize to criticize not more than is deserved and to criticize not more than what is present.
FWIW, Dulles was not only interested in reunion with the East, but also was very much interested in new unity within Western Christainity and worked toward that goal not only intellectually but practically. He was influential in the Evangelicals and Catholics Together movement.
As the OP invited us to include links to other works of Dulles and this bears his signature, here it is FWIW:
The original ECT signed by Avery Dulles
http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft9405/articles/mission.html
A subsequent statement also signed by Avery Dulles
http://www.leaderu.com/ftissues/ft9801/articles/gift.html
On the subject of ecumenism, here is a recent piece by Avery Dulles. This should make transparent his views which have undergone somewhat of an evolution over time (from the “convergence” model of ecumenism which he believed was still of use but exhausted at present with some communities to the “testimonial” model of ecumenism of mutual enrichment — both of these models extended not just to the East, but to Protestants as well)
http://www.firstthings.com/article.php3?id_article=6081

Bart December 14, 2008 at 11:57 pm

I agree with you that dissent from non infallible doctrine can be loyal as Avery Dulles noted
Pantheist Chicken, I suspect you feel a bit of maverick kinship with Avery Dulles perhaps?

Bart December 15, 2008 at 12:02 am

I mean, Pantheist Christian, not Chicken. Surely there’s no confusing your posts with those of the resident Masked Chicken.

SDG December 15, 2008 at 5:02 am

Pantheist Christian,
Shall we call you PC for short?
Or, just for the sake of transparency, CT? Or CW? Or catholic maverick?

Matheus December 15, 2008 at 6:10 am

Or, just for the sake of transparency, CT? Or CW? Or catholic maverick?

How could I not recognize it?…Probably because this time the drivel is at least slightly intelligible.

Tim J. December 15, 2008 at 6:53 am

I was pretty occupied over the weekend, but some time Saturday night, as I reflected on Pantheist’s first post, it came to me that it’s author could be none other than CT.
FYI, I do not believe CT (Pantheist Christian) discusses anything related to Christianity in good faith, and the apparent congenial reasonableness that does occasionally appear in his/her posts is only a kind of ruse.
CT’s comments (as I’ve said before) are well-dressed trollery, IMO.
The fact that he/she continues to return under various aliases exemplifies the whole disingenuous pattern.

Edward Curtis December 15, 2008 at 7:50 am

Remember, if you feed the troll you must take it home. :)

The Masked Chicken December 15, 2008 at 8:48 am

Dear Bart,
You wrote:
I mean, Pantheist Christian, not Chicken. Surely there’s no confusing your posts with those of the resident Masked Chicken.
Oh, I can be pretty confusing (even to myself) sometimes. :)
Salubrious,
I dearly respect your right to try to stay true to the Catholic Church as best you understand her teachings. I would, in fact, love to, in a more appropriate forum, have long discussions with you, since searching for the truth, if it can be done in Christian charity, is an admirable thing.
Could we table the anti-panegyrical elements, regarding Cardinal Dulles, for now, however. I realize that his articles may be data for trying to make your points, but do it later. All I am asking for is a bit of decorum, for now. He was a cardinal, a prince of the Church. Let some of us mourn his passing for a bit until time dictates that he has passed more into history (at least a month?). Then, historical analysis and theological discussions would be more appropriate. As it is not, it becomes a bit like a commentator making remarks on a just-dead president. It is hard to state the contributions and give a proper analysis that soon after a person died.
This would help you to have a better hearing, later. Is this not fair? No one is asking you to stop using Cardinal Dulles as a flashpoint for your arguments. I am just asking you to let the dust settle a bit. We are here in this post for a wake, not a post mortem. Fair enough?
The Masked Chicken

Q-bert December 15, 2008 at 11:53 am

I had a question about that line: Faith is the assurance of things hoped for.
Is that a Catholic interpretation of the original text? That’s from Hebrews 11:1. I had heard that it is the translation of it to “Faith is the assurance of things hoped for” that lead to support of the Protestant position of ‘once saved only saved’ and that the Catholic translation is typically “Faith is the substance of things hoped for”.
Anyone else familiar with this?

The Masked Chicken December 15, 2008 at 12:55 pm

Dear Q-bert
The exact quote from the greek is
Ἕστιν δὲ πίστις ἐλπιζομένων ὑπόστασις πραγμάτων ἔλεγχος οὐ βλεπομένων
Which may be transliterated (roughly) as:
Estin de pistist elpizomenon hypostasis pragmaton elegchost ou blepomenon
Which may be interlinearly translated as:
De = now
Estin = is (3rd per. sing – refers to faith, pistis)
pistis(t) = faith
elegchost = evidence
elpizmenon = to hope for (from elpizo = to hope)
hypostasis = foundation, substance, assurance – the rockbottomness of something
pragmaton = a thing (sometimes, things accomplished)
blepomenon = seen
ou = not
Estin de pistist elpizomenon hypostasis pragmaton elegchost ou blepomenon
Is now faith (the) hoped for rockbottomness of things, (the) evidence (of things) not seen.
The word in question is hypostasis. In the vulgate, the word is substantia rerum (substance of a thing). My rendering of the word as “rockbottomness,” is c conflation of the various sense in classical greek as shown by this entry from Strong’s Concordance:
Strong’s G5287 – hypostasis
1) a setting or placing under
a) thing put under, substructure, foundation
2) that which has foundation, is firm
a) that which has actual existence
1) a substance, real being
b) the substantial quality, nature, of a person or thing
c) the steadfastness of mind, firmness, courage, resolution
1) confidence, firm trust, assurance
As you can see, assurance is used in a metaphorical sense, in that if there is a foundation, then one’s standing on something is sure. Thus, substance would seem to be the more direct translation. Nevertheless, the problem is not in substance vs. assurance, the problem is in the word, pragmaton = thing. What is the thing hoped for? The substance of faith is given at baptism and it is a real foundation of a thing – the purity of the soul and the infusion into the life of the trinity. As such, this passage is, in the first instance, fulfilled at baptism. Now, faith is a lifelong activity and so the continual renewal of one’s mind according to the Catholic (Christian) mode is the continual acceptance and working out of the substance, the foundation, that is given at baptism. As long as the substance remains (and it must be a faith in union with love – a living faith), so does the assurance.
Now, faith does not pass onto heaven and thus, this assurance does not pass on to heaven, because at the moment of death, this substance gives way to the heavenly substance, the heavenly reality. Thus, the faith mentioned in Heb 11:1 is not a faith that leads on into heaven, but rather, it is a faith which leads one to the threshold of heaven. Thus, the assurance spoken of, that refers back to the substance of hope is that heaven is possible, not that one is already in heaven or that heaven is guaranteed. That hope, that assurance id only of something that one cannot see (as St. Paul will mention later). To be definitively saved by this faith would put a burden on the particular substance of faith that it was never meant to support. Make no mistake, the faith spoken of in this passage is only to be realized in this life.
Thus, a Catholic interpretation of hypostasis as either substance or assurance is warranted within the working out of baptism in this life. The Protestant interpretation you suggest, of absolute assurance, is not.
The Chicken

Q-bert December 15, 2008 at 1:30 pm

Wow.
That’s some great information.
Thanks for taking the time to post that The Masked Chicken.

Pantheist Christian December 15, 2008 at 1:37 pm

I neglected to mention that for Dulles, the charism of infallibility required for engagement not only the assent of the Church proper as traditionally understood, but also the reception of the Church inclusive of those outside its institutional boundaries. This had implications for Dulles’ view of ecumenism. Dulles’ paper “Moderate Infallibilism” first appeared as a contribution to a Lutheran-Catholic dialogue document “Teaching Authority and Infallibility in the Church”. This is Greg Krehbiel’s commentary on it; the link to ecumenism as seen by Dulles is developed there in.
Dulles has clearly argued that the hierarchical infallibility of the church is conditioned by its reception among the faithful — even the faithful outside the institutional borders of the Roman Catholic Church.
http://www.crowhill.net/journeyman/Vol1No3/dulles.html
The full picture of Dulles’ self-described “moderate infallibilism” is also perhaps better explained in “The Convergence of Theology” (Paulist Press) which (p.81-2) describes Dulles’ position largely in his own words so:
“moderate infallibilism” takes into account not only the limitations and conditions that were acknowledged by Vatican I but also others that follow from sound principles of Catholic theology but were not mentioned in the conciliar definition. Among these latter limitations and conditions, the first described by Dulles is that a papal definition must be in agreement with scripture and tradition (…) [Dulles] “a valid defintion could not be in violation of the true meaning of the Scripture or contrary to previous infallible pronouncements.”
The second is that a papal definition must be in agreement with the present faith of the church. (…) Dulles concludes: “If in a given instance the assent of the Church were evidently not forthcoming, this could be interpreted as a signal that the pope had perhaps exceeded his competence and that some necessary condition for an infallible act had not been fulfilled.”
The third condition is agreement with the universal episcopate (…) He draws the conclusion: “If the bishops with moral unanimity held the contrary, one would be put on notice that the conditions for a genuinely infallible act on the part of the pope might not have been fulfilled.”
The fourth condition Dulles describes as “sufficient investigation.” Here one deals with a question on which the majority and the minority at Vatican I were deeply divided (…) In the aftermath of Vatican I, many bishops of the minority found in this sentence [“… sounding out the mind of the Church …. using other helps … have found consonant …”] the help they needed to be able to give their assent to the dogma, insisting that what the popes had done in the past they would continue to do, and indeed could not fail to do. Dulles expresses his agreement with them, saying: “Perhaps in our day, thanks to a greater appreciation of the many ways in which the Spirit instructs the Church, we should recognize that adequate investigation of the sources of revelation is a true condition for an infallible teaching. This view, proposed by the minority at Vatican I, could, I believe, be integrated into a moderate infallibilism.”

Dulles’ “moderate infallibilism” was in agreement with then Joseph Ratzinger, who perhaps was more transparent in his view of a constitutive moderate infallibilism.
“Criticism of papal pronouncements will be possible and even necessary, to the degree that they lack support in Scripture and the Creed, i.e. in the faith of the whole Church. When neither the consensus of the whole Church is had, nor clear evidence from the sources is available, a definite decision is not possible. Were one formally to take place, while [said] conditions for such an act were lacking, the question would have to be raised concerning its legitimacy.” (Joseph Ratzinger, “Das neue Volk Gottes: Entwurfe zur Ekklesiologie” p.144)
This theological development was presaged by Venerable John Henry Newman who wrote: “theologians will, as time goes on, settle the force of the wording of the dogma, just as the courts of law solve the meaning and bearing of Acts of Pariliament” (Letters and Diaries, 25:447) For a more conservative take on these words of Newman see, Dave Armstrong’s dialogue
socrates58.blogspot.com/2005/12/rectification-of-some-elements-of.html
Avery Dulles has done a great service in liberalizing the theology of the church and pace Fr Richard McBrien, I do not believe Dulles eschewed any of his integrity upon donning the red hat. Avery Dulles was also admirably a lone voice among American Cardinals in calling into question the emasculation of the right to privacy, secrecy, and presumption of innocence in the aftermath of the sex scandal. His courageous stand on that can be read here
http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news5/2004_06_21_Dulles_RightsOf.htm
P.S. Bart, Avery Dulles was not a bishop; he was, and would be by non-infallible doctrine of theologians, still, a priest. In the past even laymen have been Cardinals. No woman has been a Cardinal, however. Thank you for your kindness and yes I do feel a kinship with him, though I can not say that I had the privilege of friendship with him.

Bart December 15, 2008 at 2:53 pm

Thank you for your kindness and yes I do feel a kinship with him, though I can not say that I had the privilege of friendship with him.
Pantheist, your posts are often interesting, often informative. Perhaps it was already mentioned in the deleted post, but of note, Cardinal Dulles had said, “Dissent should neither be glorified nor be vilified.” But also, “Dissent should be rare, respectful and reluctant. One’s first reaction as a Catholic is to agree with the official teaching of the Church.”
Avery Dulles was not a bishop
Among bishops, (now retired) Archbishop Rembert Weakland did pop to mind after reading your posts, having said: “Members of the Roman Curia often referred to me as a ‘maverick’… The best compliment I received, then, came from a religious superior in Rome who said: ‘Rome does not know what to do with Weakland. He is a free man.’ I feel I have been able to maintain my own dignity and identity through it all.”

Jimmy Akin December 15, 2008 at 3:21 pm

CT / Pantheist Christian: Why do you perpetuate this pattern of dramatic, ostensibly final exits followed by surreptitious reemergences?

The Masked Chicken December 15, 2008 at 4:41 pm

Whew, Jimmy. When I saw you name on the list of posters, I thought for a minute you were going to yell at me for my quick-and-dirty analysis of the Greek, above. I defer to your expertise, since you wrote a book and all…
The Chicken

Pantheist Christian December 15, 2008 at 9:10 pm

If I may, I would like to point out that contrary to the impression that may have been given by a post above, that the poster known as “CT” did not surreptitiously remerge as “CW” but rather indicated her change in nickname and the reason for it.
If I have I posted here before and decided to no longer post here before and since changed my mind, then it is not for the purpose of “perpetuating” any “pattern.” As you may or may not be aware, there are several — perhaps many — who have posted here under different nicknames at different times. For example, The Masked Chicken, has posted under at least three nicknames — not variations of Chicken, but at least three distinct nicknames, one of which, he claims was his real name. The Masked Chicken has also engaged in at least three or four ostensibly final exits. I was a little dismayed but chose to remain in silence when not too long after leaving, derogatory remarks were made of me even a couple times by the person who suggested to others that none be made. I chose to return because I felt by doing so I could do some good just as I presume you believe yourself to be doing good in asking that question of me. I am of the opinion that conversation with another being must in every moment of the conversation respect the good of the being conversed with, without instrumentalizing that being to the end of some greater good. I don’t know if you would share that opinion, but I am going to assume that your question proceeds from genuine charity for me as an individual and not only from charity directed to other persons, i.e. that your question is not merely rhetorical. Given that, I can think of a few fraternal concerns you may have and I will address them here.
Perhaps you are concerned that I have sinned in having engaged in an inordinately dramatic exit. I recall only one dramatic exit I made and from my recollection I came back with the exact same nickname after reading The Masked Chicken’s profuse multi-post apology to me and after The Masked Chicken’s own ostensible final exit. As his presence was a source of tension for me, his ostensible final exit was part of the reason to occasion my return then — which was not surreptitious at all. FWIW, that dramatic exit was preceded by insinuations that I was a customer of prostitutes and accusations that I was just “making things up” and so forth. Around this time, SDG also apologized for what he described as lack of charity and fairnness towards me. There were a few others who apologized as well. I share this to give you some background since if your question proceeds from what you have learned filtered through potentially biased parties, then it may color your perception with not the purity of truth.
OTOH perhaps you are concerned that I may have sinned in my apparition here. I did not know it was a rule that someone who previously posted under a different nickname had to reveal it was so. In fact I was led to believe by SDG that it was not, since I read him writing that ordinarily he respects the privacy of other people but that in one particular case due to what he perceived to be its importance (the outcome of an election was what I understood him to be saying), he would make an “exception.” Perhaps I misunderstood and “exception” referred not to the particular case but to a particular person since no affectation to what one might ordinarily do was mentioned in this thread. Be that as it may, I was also led to believe the same based on how other persons who reposted under different nicknames were treated. In any event, I see no sin in changing my mind nor any sin in what I wrote as such though moral imperfection permeates all my acts. Nothing I have written here or in the sex and marriage thread has been untruthful nor have I seen anyone challenge it as untruthful. Besides the lone positive response, the only other responses have been a characterization of part of what I wrote as “liberal theological looney tunes” and posts directed towards my person.
Regardless, unless you reveal that your question was intentioned upon some other good you willed for me, I will humbly receive your question as an invitation to an examination of conscience. I generally do an examen once a day and will remember your kind question, as the Spirit leads, throughout this week. Whatever good you intended for me by that question, I thank you for that kindness and charity. With your permission which I will take as implicit (since you posted under your full name) until you indicate otherwise, I will share your fraternally motivated question with a priest.
This is just a suggestion, but in my opinion which you as the operator are free to disregard, it is not the best thing to do to for the sake of curiousity or some other motive “check out” from what neighborhood a particular poster is posting from. I am not speaking of acting on that information or sharing it or conclusions based on it with others. I am speaking of the learning of the information itself. I know that all posters here physically reveal their location, unless using a proxy or VPN, but that fact does not make it right to “peek” at it. It is fine to use that information to enforce rules or to make sure previously banned individuals do not return, but I have witnessed it being used for more than that purpose here. I liken it to someone who hands a piece of identification to an employee in order to buy alcohol. The employee need only check that the person is of age; it is possible physically for the employee to also read the address of the person and one could argue that by handing over that piece of identification, the customer has relinquished that right to privacy. However, in my opinion there as well as here, it is not right to view such information except as necessary for maintenance and administrative purposes. If sharing this opinion is considered rude, I apologize and will refrain from sharing such opinions in the future.
Another suggestion I would like to forward is that if someone is asked a personal question and for whatever reason declines to answer it, that that be respected. I was badgered here on 20-40 occasions with questions raised regarding whether I had any children/ or was married. Ironically, one post I made sharing a news story about Rachel Maddow, seemed to have caused people to assume I was a homosexual; in any event questions (or assumptions) about whether I was married or had children seemed to cease coincident with that post.
I have witnessed a deriding on one occasion of those who choose to post anonymously versus a praising of the courage of those who do not. FWIW, there are some things on the Internet that bear my full name. That my posts here do not is for good reason. On one occasion in another forum, a Catholic physically threatened me over the internet after I posted what he considered an unorthodox and insulting interpretation of the virginity of Mary. Since then I have learned to be scarce with personal details when it comes to religious fora.

The Masked Chicken December 16, 2008 at 5:11 am

Dear Sir/Madam CT/CW/PC
You wrote:
For example, The Masked Chicken, has posted under at least three nicknames — not variations of Chicken, but at least three distinct nicknames, one of which, he claims was his real name. The Masked Chicken has also engaged in at least three or four ostensibly final exits.
To begin with this is a form of the tu quoque fallacy and you know it. Secondly, it is also wrong. I did leave once and it was due to your accusations towards me, as you are, apparently, attempting to do now, again – or at least you are using me to try to excuse your own behavior, but by way of stating a falsehood. I was having some medical difficulties at the time and overly emotional. I came back at the invitation of the other posters on this blog and I have always tried (with the occasional silliness and stupidity) to comport myself properly.
I have posted to this site using three names, but the first was only once under my real name (not a nickname) months before I assumed the handle of Masked Chicken, as I explained before left. Since then, I have consistently used the handle Masked Chicken and only the handle Masked Chicken. I have signed my posts, “The Chicken,” but that is a nickname and clearly within the same post that I am using the handle and is likely to cause no confusion. Your allegations or insinuations or intimations that I have done something against Da Rulz or am guilty of the same behavior as you is simply wrong and bearing false witness in a public forum, to boot.
I have never made any comments about you or your moral positions in a personalized fashion in any sense (the normal explanations and discussions of general, non-personal, moral positions, excepted), except once and it was a simple question concerned a possible use of double handles. Since you, yourself, have witnessed that such a thing can happen on this blog and participated in the discussion of that incident, I find little reason to think that you would not understand why it might have been a possible question at the time when you first started posting and your voice was not yet common to the blog or that any real harm has been done to you by it at this point.
As for the rest of your post, I am not personally named and will not comment. I do not want to get caught up in this discussion. Please, leave me out of it. Having to try to set the record straight in these sorts of instances is taking away from time I could be using for other things, especially since I am not the primary focus of discussion.
Perhaps, we should all obey the Biblical in junction that if a dispute cannot be discussed or resolved in private, that two or three witnesses be brought for the second round in the public forum. Certainly, this would cut down on he said/she said.
In any case, even if I have raised commentable points above, I am asking that everyone here leave me out of this.
The Chicken

SDG December 16, 2008 at 5:16 am

PC: Your historical review leaves a little to be desired.
For example, your last dramatic exit was precipitated by a warning from me, not by tensions with the Chicken. There is nothing against the rules about using different handles, nor is it wrong to change your mind and return after promising not to return, but the two in tandem seems deceptive, at least.
Prescinding from whether moderators “peeking” at IP locations is somehow unethical, let’s just say there is more than one way to skin a cat. I have not mentioned IP locations, and FWIW as seen above Tim J didn’t need your IP location to ID you.
FWIW, I find Tim J’s analysis that you do not post in good faith, and that your apparent reasonableness is tactical rather than sincere, to be highly plausible. I hope (and I’m sure he hopes) that he’s wrong, but I doubt it. Please don’t bother trotting out the relevant catechetical exhortations; we know them and I believe both Tim and I are taking them into account.
If this diagnosis is correct, you are abusing our reasonableness and tolerance, which, if the diagnosis is correct, is probably rather the point. Be that as it may, being trying and tendentious are not bannable offenses, and the door is open to you as long as you follow Da Rulz.
Please adhere strictly to rules regarding relevancy to post topics as previously reviewed. Additionally, I ask you to please, please try to be as succinct as you can. (Yes, the irony of that coming from me. Nevertheless.)

salubrious December 16, 2008 at 1:43 pm

Chicken,
I guess I was misguided on the nature of this site, so I will give you time to mourn Dulles. I thought this site allowed the honest exchange of ideas. The thought police on this site seem to feel threatened by any other perspective other than their own. These thought police enjoy using words such as charity and civility, but exhibit very little themselves. Feeling free to express their opinions with great verbosity they arrogantly mock any dissenters from their hegemony of thought.
Personally, I find opposing view points stimulating and challenge me to more deeply investigate what I believe. The Zeitgeist of mediocrity and political correctness does a disservice to all Catholics and lulls us into a false security about our faith.

SDG December 16, 2008 at 2:08 pm

salubrious: You judge, rather dismissively, what you have evidently not bothered to investigate or understand.
This site has a long history of hosting far-flung exchanges of ideas among people with widely divergent points of view: radical traditionalists, ultra-liberals, Reformation-minded Protestants, Muslims, atheists, agnostics. While some combox participants have barely survived a day, others have stuck around for months or years, irrespective of their outlooks.
It is not hard to represent a contrary POV here if one can wrap one’s head around a few basics of civil discourse. Some visitors seem incapable of this, and crash and burn in a few fast, belligerent posts, cursing the intolerance of their hosts on their way out the door. Others seem to get it fairly easily.
If you find the house rules onerous or the enforcement oppressive, if you find it intellectually satisfying to reduce what resistance you might have encountered here to ill-formed opinions what you think others are “threatened” by, if you just can’t restrain yourself from issuing moral judgments about the charity and arrogance of others … friend, the Internet is your oyster, and there are lots of places one can hang out where “civility” is a quaint, half-forgotten term likely to elicit the same sort of snickers as the word “chastity” in a high school health class. Perhaps you would be happier there.
Or feel free to stay, if you can raise your level of discourse a couple of clicks. (Your latest post is still below the threshold, but I bet you could do it if you tried.)

Pantheist Christian December 16, 2008 at 5:21 pm

SDG,
I was not referring to any incident associated with me when I made a suggestion about the ethical issue involved. The incident I witnessed involved another individual with respect to which you did refer to his “neighborhood”.
In any event, there was only one occasion in which I “promised” to not return and returned some time later under a different nickname, and apparently in a way too opaque to your apprehension, I had made manifest the reason for that change as well. That is hardly a “pattern” of “surreptitious returns”. Contrary to your suggestion to the contrary, I referred to this occasion when I alluded to your asking others to not take parting shots and then within several days, your making some derogatory remarks concerning me despite that request you asked of others. You seemed to also write something which someone could have taken to mean that I had already then remerged just as I left; perhaps you are of that opinion now and that causes you to characterize me as “deceptive.” I pondered at that time protesting or at least making clear that that individual (who was prone to poetry) was not I, but I, not out of virtue, but human fear of the ridicule that I would receive for so quickly changing my mind chose to remain silent. It appears that kind of fear would have been well justified. I was not aware that I had received any warning from a moderator, btw, but then your actions oft confuse me. For example, once you suggested I be more succinct while explicitly saying it was not a “disciplinary measure.” Then shortly thereafter in a conversation with another individual you refered to your suggestion as though it were a preliminary disciplinary measure. I felt a little betrayed there but I chose to remain silent and not challenge you on that for fear of angering you, for both of reasons of charity towards you and also for charity for myself for fear of the negative fallout that may occur upon my pointing out that discrepancy.
If I wanted to be “surrepitious” I could easily be so. Since I already knew that you were in the habit (based again on what I have witnessed with respect to other individuals) of sifting through IP addresses and other information that is as a matter of course passed along (or collected through javascript or other means as the case may be), even referring to “neighborhood”(s) that persons were posting from, to suggest that I had the intention of being “deceptive” is at best proceeding from vincible ignorance and at worst as deceptive as is the purported deception alleged.
As for adhering to topicality, I would appreciate some education in that regard and some clarification. Clarification with respect to whether the same rule of topicality applies consistently to me as it would to say, The Masked Chicken, whose posts on the thread regarding asking intercession of one’s self seem to have drifted into topics that bear not even a tangential relationship with the OP. I think it appeared that my initial post here was not so topical as I was interacting with the review you seemed to be touting in your link as well as with some of the articles by Dulles you included, with the invitation to share more. Many topics were brought to bear in your review. If you had made it clear that you did not wish your review as such and the opinions and factual claims expressed therein to not be discussed, I would certainly have respected that.
I am a little, to put it neutrally, puzzled that I am asked by you to be succinct yet The Masked Chicken, is not. In some relatively recent threads, he has posted in either a single post or a series of consecutive posts, material that exceeded in length even the longest post of mine in this thread.
In my opinion succinctness would be served if posts directed towards me would focus not on my person. I ignored or kindly deflected all such posts until I read the post by Mr Akin.
Morality is not the adherence to rules or laws; morality is the flowering from a heart of grace in and through one’s body the word of love revealed in the book of nature by God and reaffirmed superabundantly in Christian myth. Sometimes even when one has a belief that is true and known to be true and even if it would not harm anyone’s reputation to share that belief, it is justice and wisdom and temperance to abstain from doing so for the sake of another person. The virtue of prudence does not consist in having a checklist and seeing if an act passes all the tests on that checklist. The virtue of prudence proceeds from one’s innermost being; it is more than a way of acting according to rules and more even than a way of acting simpliciter, a way of being. Why be prudent? To not run afoul of the moral law? To remain consistent with magisterial instruction? True prudence or prudence in the vivified soul, is both grounded in and imbued with a love for that which prudence is ordered towards, namely justice. Prudence, then is not a cold calculus separate from the interior moral life, but a lived relationship personal with justice, with she who is God. It is in that life of faith and interior prayer, that prudence flourishes fully and beautifully to the praise sung in thought, word, deed, disposition and even sentiment, of God.
I won’t say whether I disagree or agree with any portion of what salubrious wrote. I will say however, though if it is against the rules feel free to delete this sentence, that your last post to me seemed rather combative. I am not sure if your post to me was intentioned upon any good you willed for me. If it was, then I must have missed that due to the combative spirit which took me a little aback. Perhaps you do not share my opinion about the ethics of conversation and hold that an interlocuter can be wholly virtuous in conversing with someone without in that conversation intending by means of that conversation any good for that person. For example, I am not sure that your “FWIW” preceding the agreement expressed with the notion that I engage in “ruses”, was a FWIW directed towards me. I am not sure of what “worth” your opinion is supposed to have for me. Perhaps you believe that I am not aware that I engage in ruses and are eager that I come to the self-realization that I do. Or perhaps your “FWIW” was addressed to unnamed interlocuters admidst words otherwise addressed to me. Or perhaps, as I frankly suspect, that whatever grammatical form the sentences take, I as a person am not being addressed truly to a primary extent. And getting back to “FWIW”, perhaps that is something that we now casually say without meaning it sincerely. Regardless, if there was some good you willed for me that your last post was designed to inspire or effect in me, then if you wish, make it apparent and if I may ask something of you, do so in a non-combative way.
May she, whom as taught by John Paul II above, had “virginal affection” for Joseph, by the power of God, bless you with sweet bread from heaven in the word of God which word paradoxically, as Avery Dulles suggested, may be encountered in silence.
Here is some reflection by Dulles which I hope is fruitful for at least some people
http://theologytoday.ptsem.edu/oct1967/v24-3-tabletalk1.htm
The Masked Chicken,
there were at mininum two ostensible final exits of yours that I witnessed and distinctly recall; in addition there was a mininum one other final exit to which you referred. That makes at least three, hence my phrase “three or four.” In one of former of those exists, you believing that you were responsible for my discomfort, gave me your personal assurance that you were leaving and would not return and advised me that I should therefore not hesitate in staying on board. You didn’t mention any medical problems in that particular post. You did mention it in other subsequent posts. Then you engaged in another final exit at a later point in time. Perhaps your recollection of only this second one is what has caused you to falsely attribute falsity to my statements. I was not engaging in any fallacy and I don’t have any desire to engage your great intellect. The purpose of mentioning what I mentioned previously was not to put you down, but rather to expose what I believed to be an objective inconsistency pertinent to something I was engaging. My contention in case it was not clear was not that you wrongly changed your mind a few times, but that neither you nor I did. Rather than unnecessarily irk anyone by boldly proclaiming that contention, I couched it more in terms of consistency and in doing so a miscommunication occurred with you. Let me assure you that I have nothing but sweet affection and love for you.

SDG December 16, 2008 at 8:13 pm

Pantheist Christian,
Once again, your history review is far from helpful. As to the various points you raise, or rabbit trails you document, I am not at all inclined to begin heading down any of those paths, reviewing details of past incidents like a tongue probing sore teeth, carefully comparing your posting style to that of others, etc., etc. I hardly know how to put this to you, but I can’t help finding that the whole tenor of your post, like many of your posts, exudes a sort of, well, unhealthiness. To begin to dig too deeply in it is already to be implicated; it is like a nest of tar babies, and it doesn’t take much poking around before you never find your way out again. I don’t know whether you’re really stuck in there yourself or whether you just create them because that’s what you do, whether it is an unhealthiness of mind or of heart. I’m sorry not to have any idea what I could say or do that would be in any way constructive. I sense that you need help but I’m at a loss how I might be helpful.

The Masked Chicken December 17, 2008 at 5:24 am

Dear Pantheist Christian,
Sorry, son. I don’t want to play this game anymore.
The Chicken

Matheus December 17, 2008 at 7:39 am

Sorry, son.

Dear TMC
Didn’t you see the line below on the comment before the last one from Pantheist Chistian (sic)? (emphasis mine)

…the poster known as “CT” did not surreptitiously remerge as “CW” but rather indicated her change in nickname and the reason for it.

Pantheist Christian December 17, 2008 at 2:52 pm

“I’m sorry not to have any idea what I could say or do that would be in any way constructive.”
Then I would respectfully ask that should you be inclined to make any posts directed towards my person as opposed to addressing substantive issues or tasks, that if these posts be addressed to me (as opposed to referring to me in the third person where there is no pretense nor miscommunication as to their intent), that they you restrain yourself from the execution of that inclination until such circumstance arises in which you genuinely before God would believe what you write would be constructive with respect to the interlocuter you address.
Dear Matheus,
JFYI, in many academic fields it is common to use the female pronoun in a gender-neutral or gender-agnostic or gender-arbitrary way, traditional usage notwithstanding. Sometimes the neuter gender, sometimes the feminine gender, and sometimes the masculine gender is used in the original language of God in the scriptures. This doesn’t mean that God is of three genders or any one in particular. May she who is holy and spirit bless you this Christmas.
Dear TMC,
I am sorry that my intention towards you was misinterpreted by you. Peace be with you and may the angels take good care of your health.

Matheus December 17, 2008 at 3:23 pm

JFYI, in many academic fields it is common to use the female pronoun in a gender-neutral or gender-agnostic or gender-arbitrary way…

Dear PC (sic)
If that’s indeed true, then it’s one more reason that I feel happy for not being an academic myself…:)Since TMC, to whom I directed my comment, is an academic, then he certainly wouldn’t need any help from me.
Anyway, you must be aware that this kind of custom may create confusion regarding your gender here.

May she who is holy and spirit bless you this Christmas.

While I don’t subscribe to using this kind of feminist mumbo-jumbo to refer to God, I wholeheartedly welcome your greeting and wish that God bless you and your loved ones.
And I really hope that, if you intend to keep posting your comments under your new (rather contradictory) nickname, that you take sriously SDG’s words and act on good faith and respecting this blog’s establishe drules and its readers.

Pantheist Christian December 17, 2008 at 3:38 pm

Matheus, my use of the feminine pronoun in that subjunctive is not a case of a gender-neutral usage, but a specific preference in that context for the feminine. Some Christian theologians and philosophers have argued that femininity is proper in some sense to the Holy Spirit, and that is what the “holy” and “spirit” were in correspondence with, the reality of the Holy Spirit. Among such Christian theologians, is FWIW, Scott Hahn. Among such Christian philosophers is Nicholas Wolterstorff.
Thank you for your wholehearted welcome. Thank you for your kind wish.

Bart December 17, 2008 at 4:53 pm

May she who is holy and spirit bless you this Christmas… Some Christian theologians and philosophers have argued that femininity is proper in some sense to the Holy Spirit… Among such Christian theologians, is FWIW, Scott Hahn.
PC, with respect to Scott Hahn, I think it’s fair to note a response by Scott Hahn:
“First, I expressly deny that the Holy Spirit is feminine, in both the hardcover and paperback editions of my book First Comes Love. In this connection, I cite the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and its teaching about God: “He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the sexes. But the respective ‘perfections’ of man and woman reflect something of the infinite perfection of God: those of a mother and those of a father and husband” (#370).
“Second, I always refer to the Holy Spirit as “He” — never “She” — in all my writings and teachings.
Example of Scott Hahn’s usage: “We know Who the Spirit is by what He does, and what the Spirit does is bridal and maternal.”

Pantheist Christian December 18, 2008 at 12:45 am

Bart,
I do not see anything in which you quoted that contradicts anything that I said of Scott Hahn. He notes that the Holy Spirit is not feminine in the sense of being a woman versus a man or in the sense of being womanly versus manly. In his actual book, he affirms that femininity is in some sense proper to the Holy Spirit and your quote alludes to his explorative theology in that respect. I never claimed that Scott Hahn used the feminine pronoun in his writings or teachings with respect to the Holy Spirit. If you noticed I noted scriptural usage and refered to the feminine gender as well as the masculine gender and neuter gender. I think you, perhaps due to a parochial insulation within the culture of English language, may have been given the mistaken impression there also that I was referring to some scriptural use of feminine pronouns and neuter pronouns and masculine pronouns. I was not. Grammatical gender in the original biblical languages extends to things other than pronouns. This is true in languages outside of the Bible as well.
I think rather than attempting to shoe horn his theology into what may feel comfortable, it is best to engage it on its own terms. What pronoun one uses in theology as such is of absolutely no consequence in itself. Pronouns grammatically merely refer back to their antecedents. It is possible even to write without the use of pronouns at all and in some languages pronouns have no gender (or in usage, in effect do not). Were Scott Hahn’s book translated into one of those languages, the meaning of his text would remain the same. It is the concepts that he attributes to the Holy Spirit that are of import, not the syntax he employs. I don’t think there is any significance in his retaining the use of the male pronoun except his desire to not be more controversial than necessary or a desire to honor custom and magisterial liturgical directive.
I don’t think BTW, it is “fair” to Scott Hahn to cast his theology in what to me is a rather timid and negative light. But I suppose what I view as timid and negative to you is faithful and positive.
It’s interesting to note also that Scott Hahn expands upon St. Maximilian Kolbe’s notion of the Holy Spirit as quasi-incarnate in Mary as part of his overall thesis. Scott Hahn seems to want to extend Maximilian’s thought to all women in some sense, but the knight of the Immaculate was fairly clear in his attribution of singularity to that supposed quasi-incarnation. This part, written in Latin by Maximilian, was one of the ways in which he expressed this singularity and parallel to the Incarnation proper: “Filius incarnatus est: Jesus Christus. Spiritus Sanctus quasi incarnatus est: Immaculata.” A view that is intermediate perhaps between Scott Hahn’s and the more maximilist interpretations (and the original thought of Maximilian himself) is found here
http://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?id=4270
I think that Peter Kreeft’s understanding of sexuality properly speaking to be in some sense grounded in God such that sexuality is — be it mental, real or formal — an attribute of God’s being is something that Scott Hahn’s own theological explorations would benefit from. Scott Hahn also ostensibly has a philosophy degree, though he be usually described as a theologian. Some of course do not consider him a theologian, but the understanding present in the East of theology is such that all Christians are called to it. Whether one’s contributions intellectually are great are not as important as whether the enterprise of theology which is inclusive of prayerful union as perhaps best exemplified in the West by Bonaventure, is drawing one closer to God. That is the measure of the success of a theologian; it is personal to her life.
Sometimes the use of a pronoun in context can be significant; other times it is not. I do not see in Scott’s usage of the “he” and intent to qualify anything else he wrote. It would be very difficult to do that, especially were his text translated into certain languages where either a pronoun would be improper (dynamically speaking) or where usage does not diversify pronouns in that context by gender.
One of the non-traditional grammatical genders in some biblical languages is the gender of the word “spirit.” It’s gender in Greek is neuter. I am not aware of God ever being referred to by the neuter pronoun and if she is, then I would be happy to learn of it. Since I assumed that she is never so referred and that that putative fact would be common knowledge, I did not believe any confusion would arise there. If any did, I apologize whether it be by a lacuna in knowledge on my part or in yours.
I think, better than snipping things away from their context and better than reading a defensive piece, it would be best if one were interested in engaging the thought of Scott Hahn to do so in non-persecutory way and a non-defensive way. To read his work as though no name were affixed to it. That is the practice of some academic journals … and that is how I will try to treat your posts and others in the future.

Tim J. December 18, 2008 at 6:01 am

“What pronoun one uses in theology as such is of absolutely no consequence in itself.”
Not so, obviously, or we wouldn’t be having this discussion.
“Were Scott Hahn’s book translated into one of those languages, the meaning of his text would remain the same.”
Not necessarily, at all.
“I do not see in Scott’s usage of the “he” and intent to qualify anything else he wrote.”
Often people see only what they want to see.

Bart December 18, 2008 at 6:55 am

I do not see anything in which you quoted that contradicts anything that I said of Scott Hahn.
Why should you? As you had said so little about Scott Hahn, what I quoted wasn’t offered as a contradiction to what little you said. Rather, it was offered to show more of what he said and what you didn’t say.
In his actual book, he affirms that femininity is in some sense proper to the Holy Spirit
In his actual book, he does speak of bridal-motherhood as a relational/familial “analogy”. That is “some sense”. But he also says, “I must raise a caution here. This does not mean that we call God ‘Mother’… Nor do I mean to imply that there are masculine or feminine qualities within the Godhead… Nor should we infer that there is gender within the Godhead… Once again, God is not feminine by nature. Nor is the Holy Spirit feminine… He is a pure spirit and as such He has neither sex nor gender.”
I never claimed that Scott Hahn used the feminine pronoun in his writings or teachings with respect to the Holy Spirit.
I never claimed that you did. However, your use of “she” in connection with the Holy Spirit followed by references to Scott Hahn might give some people the idea that Scott Hahn used “she” to refer to the Holy Spirit. I felt it fair to include that statement by Scott Hahn for clarification.
I think you, perhaps due to a parochial insulation within the culture of English language, may have been given the mistaken impression there also that I was referring to some scriptural use of feminine pronouns and neuter pronouns and masculine pronouns.
No, I didn’t have any mistaken impression, and no, I’m no more insulated, parochially or otherwise, within the culture of English language than you are. You had simply said so little about Scott Hahn, and I felt it fair to say more on the subject, in his own words.
I think rather than attempting to shoe horn his theology into what may feel comfortable, it is best to engage it on its own terms.
I’m very comfortable quoting Scott Hahn engaging it on Scott Hahn’s terms.
I don’t think BTW, it is “fair” to Scott Hahn to cast his theology in what to me is a rather timid and negative light.
Who did that? Did you? If quoting Scott Hahn is not fair to Scott Hahn, I leave that problem to Scott Hahn.
I am not aware of God ever being referred to by the neuter pronoun and if she is, then I would be happy to learn of it… That is the measure of the success of a theologian; it is personal to her life.
You said of Scott Hahn that you “don’t think there is any significance in his retaining the use of the male pronoun except his desire to not be more controversial than necessary or a desire to honor custom and magisterial liturgical directive.” But what of you? By your use of “her/she” rather than “his/he”, and by your choice of handles past and present, do you desire to be “more controversial than necessary” or to not “honor custom and magisterial liturgical directive” on this forum? If so, why? If you believe it serves a purpose, why wouldn’t that also be so with Scott Hahn? Is it because you see value in playing the role of maverick and Scott Hahn does not?
I think, better than snipping things away from their context and better than reading a defensive piece, it would be best if one were interested in engaging the thought of Scott Hahn to do so in non-persecutory way and a non-defensive way.
I think, better than limiting oneself to your snippet translation of Scott Hahn is to listen to Scott Hahn on Scott Hahn, even if on this forum it can only be done in snippets. One can read snippets of Scott Hahn in his own words in a non-persecutory and non-defensive way.

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