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November 30, 2007

Comments

mary

It's utterly spectacular, beyond belief! And I am only a quarter of the way through it! The Pope shows us once again that he is our greatest living theologian, teacher, and pastor. His criticism of Luther is right on the money; his correct exegesis of the word "substance" in "faith is the substance of things hoped for" means that people can stop claiming that Christians live for a pie-in-the-sky that may or may not come later, and his take on eternal life (answering those tiresome arguments about "Who wants to live on and on for boring, endless days?") reveals to the world what Christian Hope really is.

Really unbelievable. A tour de force (that's a cliche' - wish I could come up with something better, but I am getting back to reading!)

mary g

OOPS - I am Mary G, not the "Mary" who posts elsewhere on this blog, such as in the Pullman thread....

Tim J.

Thanks for posting this link, Jimmy!

I'm going to dive in right away.

Jarnor23

Heh, did anyone else see that article about it on Yahoo? Not too bad an article for the secular press, but they had a rich quote by some union of atheists in Italy saying that actions like these would turn people away from the Church. I wonder if they even know how stupid that really is at the core of the argument?

Kevin Jones

I'm surprised at how impressed I was by this encyclical. There's a lot to digest, but the passages on how hope and faith have been too individualized particularly struck me.

The media, in its infinite wisdom, has seized on the few paragraphs about atheism. I know they're distracted by shiny things, but there are other equally shiny passages to choose from.

Mary

Hi Mary G!

Nihil

Am I the only one who was reminded of Anne Rice in those passages about the intolerability of eternal, earthly life?

Oh, and I wouldn't be surprised that the attacks on Reason and Liberty are what caught most of the attention. War has always been more interesting and news-worthy than peace.

Esau

War has always been more interesting and news-worthy than peace.


Is that why the Teachings of Jesus became ever so popular with humanity that it went on to dominate (and even establish in one sense) Western Civilization?

Nihil

Well, Esau, surely you can't dispute that the history of Western Civilization (like that of the rest of the world) shows war to be tremendously dominant throughout history. There were some respites, like the Pax Romana (although the Empire still warred with neighbour kingdoms) or 1989-2001 (at least as far as the Western world was concerned), but outside of those, most people used to wonder when there would be another war, not if.

So, if I'm correct in reading your counterpoint as "ah, but Jesus taught peace, and his teachings proved immensely popular in the West!", then you have the following alternatives:

1) The people who loved Jesus' teachings were less than the people who loved (and fought) wars
2) Loving Jesus' teachings didn't stop people from loving (and fighting) wars

Nihil

Well, Esau, surely you can't dispute that the history of Western Civilization (like that of the rest of the world) shows war to be tremendously dominant throughout its whole span. There were some respites, like the Pax Romana (although the Empire still warred with neighbour kingdoms) or 1989-2001 (at least as far as the Western world was concerned), but outside of those, most people used to wonder when there would be another war, not if.

So, if I'm correct in reading your counterpoint as "ah, but Jesus taught peace, and his teachings proved immensely popular in the West!", then you have the following alternatives:

1) The people who loved Jesus' teachings were less than the people who loved (and fought) wars
2) Loving Jesus' teachings didn't stop people from loving (and fighting) wars

Mary G

Hi Mary!

Wow, check out Jummy's link to John Allen's condescending column on the encyclical, calling it "Benedict's greatest hits," and implying that yada yada yada it's just more of the same, recycled....horrible!

I thought Allen had changed. He's the one who foisted onto the world the monstrous book "Ratzinger: the Vatican's Enforcer of the Faith," (a very loaded term which Allen coined) which gave the media every stick they use to beat the Pope - his family did not do enough to oppose the Nazis; he believes in "ecclesiastical terrorism;" he was "liberal" until he got scared into being a "conservative" by the student riots; he's cast a pall over ecumenism; he browbeat his students, etc. etc. etc.

This book did more damage than anything else I can think of, and it is amply shown to be a crock of hooey by someone who actually knew Ratzinger and was a student of his, D. Vincent Twomey in his masterful book, "Benedict XVI: The Conscience of Our Age," especially the chapter revealing everything Allen said to be a lie, called "A Question of Fairness."

I know that Allen has changed and tried to be more fair of late (since Ratzinger became Pope Benedict...duh!) but this column takes the cake.

Happily, however, a single paragraph of Benedict so far outweighs Allen's entire corpus, his entire life's work as a journalist, that those with eyes to see and ears to hear will have much to meditate on, reading this beautiful encyclical!

Mary G

Sigh - that was "Jimmy" not "Jummy!" Sorry!

Maureen

It's a good column in a lot of ways, in that he really does do a good job of charting our little pope's intellectual currents. But far from being a recycling of these ideas, or of others that he has brought up in recent talks (like Maximus the Confessor), it's a magnificent synthesis that moves these ideas to a new place and a new level.

Of course, that's what Allen's gotten too used to seeing. :)

It's such great stuff, both in pulling together a lot of interesting ideas and in its beautiful style. It also has some very pointed sections (I felt the point of a few) on what individual Christians, the Church as a whole, and even non-Christians should be getting off their duff and doing.

I wish I could read German.

Maureen, I was referring to the SECOND John Allen article, not the first - and the first has this little gem, with which Allen ENDS the article, making it the last word - criticisms from "We are Church:"

• Why doesn’t it rely more on Gaudium et Spes, or “Joy and Hope,” the Pastoral Constitution on the Church and the Modern World from the Second Vatican Council (1962-65), which has long been a sort of charter document for the reform wing of Catholicism?
• Why doesn’t the pope ask whether the current structures and disciplinary systems of the church actually promote an atmosphere of hope?
• Will this encyclical generate real hope for progress towards ecumenical reunion?

These questions are ridiculous, especially the first. ANY document is going to end up not quoting SOMETHING. As for the second - yes, they do. And the third: is that the point of EVERY CATHOLIC DOCUMENT - that it brings us closer to Protestants, etc? Anyway, READ CORRECTLY BY PEOPLE OF OTHER FAITHS, this encyclical WOULD lead to ecumenical progress.

The real question is, Why doesn't "We Are Church" or John Allen EVER write ANYTHING of which it could be said, as Fr. Neuhaus said of this encyclical, "Read it on your knees?" (especially the last paragraph!).

Sorry, I know I sound uncharitable, but Allen has been really getting me ever since that "Vatican Enforcer" book, and these two analyses - one ending with these stupid (literally) criticisms and one that was flippant, were just too much.

Esau

So, if I'm correct in reading your counterpoint as "ah, but Jesus taught peace, and his teachings proved immensely popular in the West!", then you have the following alternatives:

1) The people who loved Jesus' teachings were less than the people who loved (and fought) wars
2) Loving Jesus' teachings didn't stop people from loving (and fighting) wars


First off, your statement "'ah, but Jesus taught peace, and his teachings proved immensely popular in the West!'" is really an understatement in that Christianity served as a dominant force to the extent that it even went on to establish Western Civilization as we know it; second, it does not matter to the argument what some of the Christians decided to do on their own accord -- it does not take away from the fact that the Teachings of Christ dominated the Western World to the point of continuing to win followers even unto today with almost 3 billion Christians still going strong!

Inocencio

Now I cannot wait to read this...

New Vatican statement to address central doctrinal dispute

Excerpt:

The new Vatican document is expected to carry the argument of Dominus Iesus a step further, explaining that because of the unique role played by the Church in the plan of redemption, Catholics have an obligation to spread the faith, thus offering others the best means of attaining salvation.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Inocencio

Major new Vatican statement will clarify duty to evangelize

only one day to go...

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Inocencio

ooops wrong link

Here is the correct one.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Inocencio

Vatican strongly affirms Church's duty to spread faith

Excerpt:

Vatican, Dec. 14, 2007 (CWNews.com) - Acknowledging "a growing confusion about the Church's missionary mandate," the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) has released an important 19-page document strongly defending the right and duty of all Catholics to spread the faith.

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

Esquire

Inocencio,

Thanks. Can't wait to read the whole document.

But what are we to make of a magisterial document approved by Pope Benedict XVI that (gasp) favorably cites Gaudium et Spes and Vatican II?

Inocencio

Esquire,

That the Pope is Catholic. I know that will come as a complete shock to many people, it always does.

I am also looking forward to reading the whole document. I hope you are having a joyful and holy Advent!

Take care and God bless,
Inocencio
J+M+J

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