1567 Articles
Medium 9781442229143

ACCESSIBILITY TO EUCHARISTIC GRACES THROUGH SPIRITUAL COMMUNION: A BACKWARD GLANCE AT A STUDY OF 1966

Pro Ecclesia Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

John Joseph Williams

In the earliest years, the Journal of Ecumenical Studies provided a welcoming forum for good scholarship in an area rather newly opened, being referred to as “ecumenical theology.” I periodically return to volume 3, number 1 (Winter 1966), above all to try to follow the methodology and to marvel at the resourcefulness of Frans Jozef van Beeck in a contribution—remarkable for the period—the title of which hardly describes the range of its inquiries: “Toward an Ecumenical Understanding of the Sacraments” (57–112).

There was, to be sure, substantive matter for three or four articles in this magisterial work.1 At that time of incipient dialogue, the angle of the study most promising for those searching for grounds of sacramental unity had to center upon van Beeck’s engaging theories apropos to the “validity of orders” as a necessary integument in the confecting of post-baptismal sacraments, notably the Eucharist. In the mid-1960s a thirst to share the communion and to recognize the riches of other Christian bodies was resulting from some sweet courtships emerging among religious leaders. Centuries-old stumbling blocks in the understanding of that sacrament were being removed, and audacious new questions being raised. Do churches of the apostolic succession have something of which Protestants are now categorically deprived in the celebration of the Lord’s Supper?

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FORTUITA MISERICORDIA: MARTIN LUTHER ON THE SALVATION OF BIBLICAL OUTSIDERS

Pro Ecclesia Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Mickey L. Mattox

In the preface to the first of his two volumes examining the “old Lutheran” exegesis of Gen 3:15, Father Tibor Gallus, S.J., offered an admiring ecumenical reflection on Martin Luther’s regrettable lapse from the Catholic Church. If Luther had only been trained in the philosophia perennis of Saint Thomas, Gallus lamented, then he might well have become a great champion of the Catholic faith, the Augustine of the sixteenth century. Sadly, Gallus continued, Luther followed the flawed traditions of late medieval nominalism and so became the Origen of his day.1 Gallus’s comparison, misguided though it may have been, reflected a critical admiration for Martin Luther on the part of Catholic theologians that became commonplace in the latter twentieth century, largely as a result of the ecumenically friendly approach to Luther developed by the German Catholic scholar Joseph Lortz and his many students.2 In the years since Father Gallus wrote, moreover, Catholic scholars have continued to break through to new and better understandings of Luther’s theology. As a result of the industry of theologians such as Otto Hermann Pesch, Peter Manns, Harry McSorley, C.S.P., Erwin Iserloh, Jared Wicks, S.J., and many others, Catholic scholars today rightly see Luther as much closer to Thomas Aquinas than to Origen. Moreover, the deep continuities and resonances they have identified between the Reformer and the Angelic Doctor have been put to good use in the ecumenical dialogues, where, at least in the matter of justification, Catholics and Lutherans have together identified an agreement in “basic truths” not only between Luther and Aquinas, but between the traditions the two men represent as well.3 On that basis, the Lutheran World Federation and the Catholic Church agreed in 1999 in the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) that the remaining differences in their respective understandings of justification are no longer “church dividing.”4

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DYOTHELETISM AND THE INSTRUMENTAL HUMAN CONSCIOUSNESS OF JESUS

Pro Ecclesia Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Thomas Joseph White, O.P.

The question of the consciousness of Christ has acted as a kind of lodestar for historical speculation and theological reflection in modern theology. From Schleiermacher and Harnack to Schweitzer and N. T. Wright, the question of Jesus’s self-awareness had been debated with intensity by Protestant theologians of the modern epoch. Roman Catholic theology, meanwhile, has not stood aloof from this discussion, even if its initial approach to the question in the early twentieth century was marked above all by a Scholastic, metaphysical mode of inquiry. This methodology was on display especially in the famous homo assumptus quarrels between Seiller, Déodat de Basly, Galtier, and Diepen, which terminated in the 1951 decree of Pius XII, Sempiternus Rex, criticizing the position of Seiller. Meanwhile, certain works of Lonergan, Rahner, Galot, and Maritain continued to develop this tradition both before and after Vatican II. More recent writings of Schillebeeckx, Kasper, and O’Collins have sought to identify elements of a Catholic “Christology from below” based on a more profound dialogue with the historical-critical studies of modern exegesis.

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THE STRUCTURE OF THE EASTERN CHURCHES: BONDED WITH HUMAN BLOOD OR BAPTISMAL WATER?

Pro Ecclesia Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

Peter Galadza

The only New Testament passage where the word “structure” appears with any ecclesiological significance is Eph 2:21. (I will treat the question of the Greek original later.) However, before turning to this passage, which is so central to my argument, let me signal what is at stake.

It is my contention that the structure of the church now in place throughout large segments of Eastern Catholicism1 is detrimental to the unity, holiness, catholicity, and apostolicity of Christ’s church, and is a structure that prevents Catholics of varying ethnonational backgrounds—not to mention those who would like to become Catholic—from gathering and collaborating for the purposes of witnessing to the gospel according to a particular church’s theology, liturgy, spirituality, and canonical discipline.2

These are weighty accusations, expressed with dense formulations. Let me unpack them—if only telegraphically—before citing the scriptural passage that poses a challenge to the aforementioned faulty structure and moving on to discuss the challenge further.

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DOCTORES ECCLESIAE

Pro Ecclesia Rowman & Littlefield Publishers ePub

John C. Cavadini

Recently I told a colleague that I was working on an essay on the sacramentality of marriage in the Fathers. My colleague responded by saying that would be a short essay. And in a way, I can see the point of this quip. The patristic period was not exactly the golden age of marriage, if one is looking for a widespread, rich tradition of reflection on the religious or theological significance of marriage. As Peter Brown has shown, there was an emphasis on asceticism and the single life in many of the earliest Christian communities.1 Marriage often came to seem at best a kind of given, a fact of life, not worthy of a great deal of reflection, and at worst an ambiguous good or even an evil. Even some orthodox writers—Tertullian in his Catholic phase, for instance—seemed to wonder how good an alternative marriage really could be, if it were only good in comparison to an evil, that is, as an alternative to “burning.”2

Nevertheless, the canonical Gospels do not disparage marriage, but rather defend it as established by God and, if anything, argue that it should be restored to the pristine purity it had when it came forth from the hand of the Creator. Marriage in the canonical Gospels is used by Jesus as a suitable and even preferred image for the proclamation of the kingdom of God, even if at the same time there is reserved a place of admiration for those who leave marriage and family behind to follow their itinerant Lord, the Son of Man, who “had no place to lay his head” (Mt 8:21). Paul’s letters seem to reflect this tension between an appreciation for marriage, on the one hand, and a recognition that all things connected with the flesh and this world have been relativized by the prospect of the imminent return of the Lord in glory.3

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