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Pro Ecclesia Vol 18-N3: A Journal of Catholic and Evangelical Theology

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Pro Ecclesia is a quarterly journal of theology published by the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology. It seeks to give contemporary expression to the one apostolic faith and its classic traditions, working for and manifesting the church's unity by research, theological construction, and free exchange of opinion. Members of its advisory council represent communities committed to the authority of Holy Scripture, ecumenical dogmatic teaching and the structural continuity of the church, and are themselves dedicated to maintaining and invigorating these commitments. The journal publishes biblical, liturgical, historical and doctrinal articles that promote or illumine its purposes.

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RICHARD JOHN NEUHAUS

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Robert W. Jenson

Richard John Neuhaus died Thursday, January 8, 2009, and was buried Tuesday, January 13, at the Church of the Immaculate Conception on East Fourteenth Street in Manhattan, where he had served since becoming a Catholic priest. It is a medium-sized, reverently worn-down structure.

At the time I was more or less crippled by a slipped disk, but my wife, Blanche, and I left from Princeton at 6:30 for the 10:00 service, warned we must be there early indeed if we hoped for pew space. We had to make it, for Richard's death left a hole in our world that could be surveyed only from within the gathering of God's people around his body. The friends and acquaintances we joined after the service—on the street and then at Richard's neighborhood Italian restaurant—all felt the same vacancy. Even so, when the restaurant's door opened we would turn, involuntarily expecting Richard to walk in and take over as usual.

In newspapers, blogs, and journals, Father Neuhaus's achievements/ nefarious schemes have since been richly celebrated/unveiled, and I will not go over the whole ground again. He was beyond any doubt the premier public theologian of his time, if by “public theology” one means genuinely theological interpretation of public structures and events, itself done in public. Of course, many who have called for “a public theology” took fright when they met the real thing—as against, say, a talk show about spirituality.

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THE TRAVAIL OF FAITH AND ORDER

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Joseph D. Small

“Faith and Order”—the term itself strikes many as obscure and stuffy. Although the Faith and Order movement has a long history, predating both the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America and the World Council of Churches, its work has been largely invisible, its procedures strike many as elitist, and its accomplishments are generally unfamiliar.

The aims of the Faith and Order movement are easily recognizable, however, for they touch the life of every church and every Christian, articulating a deep longing for the oneness of the people of God, the integrity of the body of Christ, and peace within the temple of the Holy Spirit. Faith and Order's purpose is “to affirm the oneness of the Church of Jesus Christ and to keep before the churches the gospel call to visible unity in one faith and one Eucharistic communion, expressed in worship and in common life in Christ, in order that the world may believe.”1 The unity of the church is unity in faith (common affirmations that bond Christian communities in shared belief and discipleship) and unity in order (harmonious compositions of church life that bond Christian communities in shared worship and mission). Faith and Order is at the heart of the search for forms of the visible unity of the church.

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ARTICULATING ORDER: TRINITARIAN DISCOURSE IN AN EGALITARIAN AGE

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Steven D. Boyer

Throughout its history, Christian orthodoxy has affirmed an understanding of the triune nature of God that includes, despite certain logical tensions, both order and equality among the divine Persons. Since most of that history played out in a social context that took hierarchy for granted and that therefore required a sturdy articulation and defense of the equality of the Persons, it sometimes appears that the tradition emphasized equality alone, and not order. But this conclusion is easily upset by a closer look at the evidence. To speak of order within the Godhead has been a commonplace ever since the patristic era, and it is often embodied especially in affirmations about the unique position of the Father in the Godhead. The Father is the “beginning of the whole divinity,” says Augustine; “the source” of Son and Spirit, says Gregory Nazianzen; the “cause of the Son,” says John of Damascus; “the principle of the Son,” says Thomas Aquinas; the “origin” of Son and Spirit, says Calvin; the “fountain of deity,” says Richard Hooker; “first in order,” says Jonathan Edwards.1 Ordered relationships within the Trinity are as strongly affirmed by the orthodox tradition as equality is.

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TRUTH, TRINITY, AND CREATION: PLACING BRUCE MARSHALL'S TRINITY AND TRUTH IN CONVERSATION WITH HANS URS VON BALTHASAR'S THEO-LOGIC

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Barbara Sain

In his book Trinity and Truth, Bruce Marshall asserts that Christians must have a philosophical and theological understanding of truth adequate to the biblical testimony that Jesus Christ is “the truth” and the Holy Spirit is the “Spirit of truth.”1 To that end, he develops a Trinitarian vision of Christian truth that builds upon ideas from analytic philosophy. The philosophical model of truth Marshall uses is drawn from the work of Donald Davidson. Marshall acknowledges that Trinitarian theology and analytic philosophy are unusual companions, but he insists that the rigorous discussion of truth in analytic philosophy not only deserves to be engaged by Christian theologians but also can bear fruit for the Christian understanding of truth.

Another recent thinker who has given significant attention to the topic of truth is Hans Urs von Balthasar. Like Marshall, Balthasar grounds his discussion of truth in the biblical claim that Jesus is the truth and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth. Balthasar's main discussion of this topic is in the Theo-Logic, the third and final section of a sixteen-volume work that is the centerpiece of his thought.2 Balthasar's theology of truth has a Trinitarian structure: the Father is the ground or source of truth, the Son is the expression of the truth of the Father, and the Spirit is the truth both as the love between the Father and the Son and as testimony to that love. In the economy, the Son's expression of the truth of the Father becomes the primary expression of divine truth in the world. Through the manifestation of the Son, the Father, who is the ground of all truth, is made known in the world. The Spirit takes this truth and interprets it throughout history. This theological understanding of truth is complemented by a philosophical description of truth as the manifestation, or appearance, of being. According to Balthasar, being has within it a movement of expression through which it makes itself known in the world. This dynamic of expression, which is part of the very structure of created being, provides a medium uniquely suited for the expression of the divine in the world.

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SAINT PAUL AND THE FOURTH-CENTURY FATHERS: PORTRAITS OF CHRISTIAN LIFE

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Brian E. Daley, S.J.

One of the things most biographers, ancient and modern, have noticed about Saint John Chrysostom is his intense love for the Apostle Paul. The tenth-century Byzantine hagiographer Symeon Metaphrastes, in his life of Chrysostom, puts it this way:

He was devoted to the herald Paul, was joined to him by a kind of ineffable bond, and lived on his writings. Often when he remembered Paul's words, he let this be a sweet source of nourishment for him, and found consolation in their fire. Like those madly in love and inflamed with desire, he often admitted that he was so overcome by Paul that it was hard to pull himself away. When his thought was carrying him in some other direction and a memory of Paul came to his mind, he was like someone bound by chains; he wanted to remain longer with him, unable easily to be set free. So indescribably strong was his love for Paul that it seems fitting to say Paul was to John what Christ was to Paul, or better: that Christ was to John what he was to Paul, since he loved Paul so much for Christ's sake!1

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THE EUCHARIST AS SOURCE OF ST. CYRIL OF ALEXANDRIA'S CHRISTOLOGY

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Ellen Concannon

Around the turn of the twentieth century, scholars wrote a number of seminal works concerning St. Cyril of Alexandria's treatment of the Eucharist. However, these scholars limited themselves to whether or not Cyril had a conception of the Real Presence in the Eucharist. On the one side are the scholars who maintain that Cyril taught only a dynamic, spiritual presence of Christ's body and blood in the Eucharist.1 On the other side are the scholars who believe that Cyril emphasized the physical presence of the body and blood of Christ in the Eucharist.2 After this flurry of scholastic activity, interest in Cyril's treatment of the Eucharist largely disappeared for some four decades until, in 1951, Henry Chadwick changed the course of the argument.3 The previous concern with Cyril's conception of the mode of the Real Presence in the Eucharist is considered settled in favor of a substantial, corporeal presence, and the interest since Chadwick centers rather upon the relationship between Cyril's treatment of the Eucharist and his overall corpus: how essential is Cyril's Eucharistic doctrine for an understanding of his entire thought?

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