Category Archives: New Evangelization

The Dictatorship of Absolute Relativism: “The Almighty has done great things for me…” Lk 1:49 (l’un des trois)

The battle for the cura animarum (care of souls) is joined.

by His Excellency, Archbishop Augustine DiNoia, O.P.. Secretary in the Vatican Curia of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments and Titular Archbishop of Oregon City http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Augustine_Di_Noia, to the Capitulars of the Provincial Chapter, Province of St Joseph, Order of Preachers, on the feast of Bl. John Dominic, O.P., commenting on the abundance of vocations to the priesthood in the Province of St Joseph, 10 June 2010, Providence College, Rhode Island, USA.

“…the post-modern culture of [relativism] leads to moral chaos, personally and socially, and they want no part of it. They see-probably by a pure grace of the Holy Spirit, for their family backgrounds and catechetical training surely cannot explain it!-that human authenticity is possible only by living in conformity to Christ, and, in this particular case, to Christ as the Dominicans know and preach him.

It is not only the practical moral relativism of our time that the 20- to 30-somethings reject. They are also acutely sensitive to the eclectic religiosity, with its doctrinal and theological relativism, that they perceive as a dominant feature of popular culture. It represents, in the eyes of some observers, the triumph of Protestant liberalism, whose core values of “individualism, pluralism, emancipation, tolerance, free critical inquiry, and the authority of human experience” have come to permeate American culture (Smith and Snell 2009, 288). The young men who are drawn to the Dominican Order reject the liberal faith which many of their peers have come accept in some form and which was described by Yale theologian H. Richard Niebuhr in 1937 as being about ‘a God without wrath [who] brought men without sin into a kingdom without judgment through the ministrations of a Christ without a Cross’” (ibid.). Many of the young men who are drawn to the Order today have a far more direct and intimate acquaintance than most of us with the moral relativism and eclectic religiosity that permeate popular culture. As I stated earlier, for them, with this culture no compromise is possible.

These young men are attracted by the clarity-if not always by the sophistication and subtlety-of the Dominican theological tradition, and by the Order’s recognition of the harmfulness of doctrinal error and its apostolic commitment to doctrinal preaching and theological education. They are repelled as much by the theological muddles that obscure the distinctiveness of the Catholic faith as they are by the moral relativism that thwarts many of their peers “from ever being able to decide what they must believe is really true, right and good” (ibid., 291).

But it is not just the clarity of the Dominican way of thinking, reasoning, teaching and preaching that attracts them. It is something much deeper: not just clarity, but the love that drives it. In the end, it seems to me that these young people are drawn to what Benedict XVI has called “the intellectual charity” and “pastoral yearning” that inspire Dominican apostolic zeal- “a ‘charity of and in the truth’…that must be exercised to enlighten minds and to combine faith with culture…”, the desire “to make ourselves present in the places where knowledge is tempered so as to focus the light of the Gospel, with respect and conviction, on the fundamental questions that concern Man, his dignity and his eternal destiny” (Benedict XVI 2010a, 11).

So, why is God calling all these outstanding young men to the Order, to our province, at this moment? In place of an answer, I have offered some perspectives within which to consider the question. God is drawing these unprecedented numbers of young men to us at this moment for reasons known only to him, even as we strive to be attuned to the signs and hints towards which this bounteous grace moves us.

To be honest with you, I am not certain that we-who did not so much leave modern culture behind when we entered religious life as discover and embrace it-are entirely ready for the kind of radical rejection of the ambient culture, on the one hand, and, on the other, a radical commitment to the Dominican-Catholic alternative way of life that we recognize in the young men being drawn to the Order.

Viewed in this perspective, these new vocations pose a great challenge to us and to our province: Will these young men find with us the fervent Dominican life that they are seeking, or will they find just a modified version of the popular culture that they have left behind? Will they find the apostolic zeal, the warm intellectual charity, the strong communal and liturgical life, the fidelity to the Church, and the radical commitment to Christ that they associate with the historic identity of the Dominican Order?

This is a moment of joy, surely, but it is also a moment of uncertainty. It may be that the vision of a crowded novitiate and studium prompts some concern and even anxiety: What will this cost us, and not just in economic terms, but personally and communally? How can we-I-relate to these young men whose way of thinking seems so different? Are these young friars going to try to change the province? Is God really doing this?

I have tried to address some of these concerns today. We need to acknowledge them-and the fear of the unknown, so to speak, that underlies them-even as we welcome the grace and faith to trust in the goodness and providence of God. But we must be confident that we will surely receive the grace to do great things for God who is already doing great things for us.

For this is the critical point. Certainly, we weren’t prepared for the astonishing grace of the novitiate and studium both bursting at the seams-even simply in logistical terms-but then, with our great devotion to the mystery of the Annunciation, who should know better than we that no one can ever be prepared for the arrival of a pure grace? And, for sure, that grace will bring with it whatever we need to rise to the occasion it affords and the challenges it poses. For this reason, the provincial chapter of 2010 should be full of hope for the future. Despite the particular problems that you will be facing in this chapter-decisions about provincial commitments, unease about the financial condition of the province, concern about the rising cost of health care, and so on-the divine “vote of confidence,” so to speak, has already been cast. If God is for us, who can be against us?  [Romans 8:31]

We need the new way of thinking and the spirit of courage that, according to St. Cyril of Alexandria, come from the Holy Spirit. Allow me to conclude with words from his commentary on the passage of St. John’s Gospel read at Holy Mass this morning: “You can see, then, that the Spirit re-creates…in a new pattern those among whom He is seen to dwell. He readily replaces their desire to think earthly thoughts with the desire to fix their gaze only on the things of heaven; He changes their unmanly cowardice into the spirit of courage. We can certainly see that the disciples experienced this: the Spirit became their armor, so that they did not yield to the attacks of their persecutors but held fast to the love of Christ.” (LH, Office of Readings, Thursday, week 7 of Eastertide).”

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-yPVTY6uvEHw/Tpr7eRdlPAI/AAAAAAAAJLk/7-k0w80FXuY/s928/Picture%2B4.png

Anima Christi, sanctifica me.
Corpus Christi, salva me.
Sanguis Christi, inebria me.
Aqua lateris Christi, lava me.
Passio Christi, conforta me.
O bone Jesu, exaudi me.
Intra tua vulnera absconde me.
Ne permittas me separari a te.
Ab hoste maligno defende me.
In hora mortis meae voca me.
Et iube me venire ad te,
Ut cum Sanctis tuis laudem te.
In saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Separated from Thee let me never be.
From the malicious enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me.
And bid me come unto Thee.
That I may praise Thee with Thy saints.
Forever and ever.   Amen.

O sacrum convivium!
in quo Christus sumitur:
recolitur memoria passionis eius:
mens impletur gratia:
et futurae gloriae nobis pignus datur.
Alleluia, Alleluia

O sacred banquet!
in which Christ becomes our food,
the memory of his Passion is celebrated,
the souls is filled with grace,
and a pledge of future glory is given to us.
Alleluia, Alleluia
-St Thomas Aquinas, O.P.


Love,
Matthew

The Dictatorship of Absolute Relativism: Its Cost (deux des trois)

1.  Relativism robs us of meaning.  It inflicts a crisis of meaning, a poverty of purpose.  According to Relativism, there is no point to it all.  None.  Nothing.  No point, whatsoever.  Pointless.  Sheer pointlessness.

        “A spiritual desert is spreading:  an interior emptiness, an unnamed fear, a quiet sense of despair.” -BXVI, WYD, 2008.  Science can help us answer questions about the matter and energy of the Universe, but not its meaning.  The relativist has to admit he has not discovered the meaning of life, but invented his own.  Lack of a firm sense of purpose leads to either despair or the desperate attempt to avoid life’s most pressing questions through endless distraction or self-deception or self-medication.  It is torturous to be silent and reflective if it means facing the reality that underneath it all is nothing, a vacuum, a pure and absolute void.  Nothing at all.  Forever.  Some define Hell as such.  No Faith, no Hope, no Love, no Trust.  Nothing.  Forever.  Nihilism.

    “False teachers, many belonging to an intellectual elite in the worlds of science, culture, and the media, present an anti-gospel…When you ask them:  What must I do?, their only certainty is that there is no definitive truth, no sure path…Consciously or not, they advocate an approach to life that has led millions of young people into a sad loneliness in which they are deprived of reasons for hope and incapable of real love.” -JPII

2.  Relativism leaves it all up to us.  You are completely on your own.  All alone.  Forever.  Good luck.  (Yeah, right.)  In Relativism, there is no criterion for moral decision making save personal taste.

I love asking people the following question:  “In Genesis, what was the sin of Adam & Eve?”  Many will respond promptly, “They ate the apple!”  An apple is never mentioned, only the “fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil”.  But, Adam and Eve’s sin was they desired, wrongly, to be “like God”(Gen 3:5).  Now, isn’t that always the case?  The root of every and all sin?  We prefer to be gods unto ourselves, so much easier, instead of realizing God.  That is the very definition of sin:  the perversion of our relationship as creatures to the Creator.  We pervert our relationship to our Creator by not loving Him nor our neighbor who is a reflection of Him.

When asked what sin is, then-President-elect Barack Obama gave a perfect relativist answer saying, ”Being out of alignment with my values.” http://cathleenfalsani.com/obama-on-faith-the-exclusive-interview/.  Many felons, at the time they committed their crime were acting in perfect alignment with their then values.  Many tragedies among youth and misguided adults occur through their own choices while being in perfect harmony with their then values.  So, clearly, this is a false, wrong, incorrect and misleading answer as to what sin is.

3.  Relativism deprives children of moral formation.

One of the heresies of relativism is the proposition to allow children to discover themselves; to be free.  Rather than freeing our children, we morally abandon them, with the abdication of parental responsibilities, leaving those responsibilities foisted on the child to fend for themselves.  Easier, much easier on the parent, even if they don’t freely, readily, or openly admit this themselves.  Relativist parents say they are acting in the child’s interest, when clearly, even if unconsciously, they are only acting in their own and to the detriment of their children.  If emotionally healthy and mature adults struggle with moral decision making on a daily basis, children cannot possibly sift the complex and confusing moral questions.  It is the abandonment of parental responsibility.  Nothing less.  Those are lazy parents.  God help their children.  Love without truth and truth without love are both forms of unique cruelty; child abuse.  “Only in truth does love shine forth, only in truth can love be authentically lived…Without truth, love degenerates into sentimentality.  Love becomes an empty shell, a false pretense, to be filled in an arbitrary way.  In a culture without truth, this is the fatal risk facing love.” –Caritas in Veritate, 3.

4.  Relativism separates us from one another.

Relativism removes the notion that we need to conform to a reality that is bigger than our own opinions, values, and preferences.  It erodes the mortar that builds a society.  “…under the semblance of freedom [relativism] becomes a prison for each one, for it separates people from one another, locking each person into his or her own ego.  Relativism retranslates “E pluribus unum = out of many, one” into “E pluribus pluribus = out of many, many”.

5.  Relativism denies the right to life/the dignity of the human person.

Thinking is important, just ask the Nazis, or their victims.  Bad thinking leads to bad action, and tragic results.  When human rights are based on subjective principles – such as relativism offers – life is reduced to an efficiency equation, a utilitarian economy of human life, a dehumanizing of the human person, like calculating the commercial value of the human person, its convenience or inconvenience.  And decided by whom?  Under what criteria?  If you consume more than you produce, you are a liability.  If you’re a fetus, a disabled person, dumb, lacking talent, unattractive, socially awkward, old, uneducated, the wrong whatever, etc.  The Nazis had an expression for it, “Unworthy of life.”  Based on that, at some point, all of us become “unworthy of life”.  Carried to a logical conclusion, a relativist would have to conclude and say, “nothing is ‘wrong’.”  Hey, but we would never imitate the Nazis, would we?  “There is no such thing as truth, either in the moral or in the scientific sense.”- Adolf Hitler.

6.  Relativism makes it easy for those in authority to manipulate others.

“To educate without a value system based on truth is to abandon young people to moral confusion, personal insecurity, and easy manipulation.”  JPII, WYD, 8/12/93.

7.  Relativism threatens freedom of speech.

We see more and more opinions expressed contrary to relativism labeled as “hate speech”, with serious consequences.  We have been here before.  There will be glorious martyrs and saints in our future, I fear and dare to say.  To be so privileged.

8.  Relativism destroys faith.

The main difference between God and us is God never thinks he IS us.

“Everything I have said and done in these last years is relativism, by intuition.  From the fact that all ideologies are of equal value, that all ideologies are mere fictions, the modern relativist infers that everybody has the right to create for himself his own ideology, and to attempt to enforce it with all the energy  of which he is capable.” – Benito Mussolini, Il Duce

Love,
Matthew

The Dictatorship of Absolute Relativism: Its Intellectual & Moral Bankruptcy (trois sur trois)

Is there objective truth?  Is there a proper way to live?  Is there right and wrong?  Beginning with Socrates who answered “yes”, and witnessed to his philosophical convictions and what he taught with his life.  We might call what Socrates witnessed to “ethics”, but what if the requirement were/is stronger?  The antithesis of a belief in objective truth is relativism.

There are no facts, only interpretations.

—Friedrich Nietzsche,
The Will to Power

If relativism signifies contempt for fixed categories and [for] men who claim to be bearers of an external objective truth, then there is nothing more relativistic than fascist attitudes.
Benito Mussolini, Il Duce

As a rule, only very learned and clever men deny what is obviously true. Common men have less brains, but more sense.
—William T. Stace

————————————————————————

“What is truth?”, Pilate asked.  -Jn 18:38

Whether you know it or not, you have a philosophy.  No, really.  Whether you want to acknowledge it or not, you do. I do.  Everyone does.  As the maxim goes, “Actions do speak louder than words.”  Our every action, our every choice, our every thought, our anxieties, our fears, our dilemmas, what we rejoice in, what we cry over, what we love, what we despise, all reveal our most intimate philosophy each of us has internalized and adopted, consciously or unconsciously.  Really.  Honestly.  Pardon, or don’t, the expression, “God’s honest truth!” or, popular too, “And that’s the Gospel truth!”, when we really want someone to believe us.  Funny, no?

Relativism is deemed necessary to preserve peace and equality in our diverse world.  It’s widely accepted because it is rarely scrutinized.  It is simply assumed to be true, since it’s cheap, and it’s easy; certainly easier than thinking, seeking the more profound, the truth.  I have a thing about cheap…and easy.  You truly do reap no more than what you sow in this life, at least.  Truly.  Cheap love, cheap faith, cheap grace, cheap hope, cheap relationships, etc.  I have a thing about cheap.  Relativism sounds good – like free money.  Just one teensy-weensy problem.  You knew that was coming, didn’t you.  Didn’t you?  It doesn’t work.  Relativism is intellectual alcoholism or drug abuse.  It is easier, at least it seems initially, to anesthetize than to live life soberly, or in the case of relativism to look the Truth dead in the eye…and deal.  As you may know, I have a problem with the Truth.  I like it too much.

The one dogma of Relativism is that it is absolutely true for everyone.  And, there we go.  It contradicts itself from the beginning.  Ooops.  Problem.  Think.  Think.  Think.  Quick, think.  Think fast!  But what about science?  Relativism says, “ONLY scientifically verifiable statements are true!”  (Whew!  Almost got caught there!)  Except, the previous statement is scientifically unverifiable.  Think about it.  Science never claims ONLY what can be proven through repetitive experiment is true.  Where would that leave new, yet undiscovered knowledge?  False?  Never.  That would be a fantastic and ludicrous scientific statement, take it from a professional applied scientist.  Science says what can be proven through repeatable experiment MUST be true.  Science DOES NOT claim the contrary.  Anyone telling you differently is lying to you.  Trust me.  I studied this stuff and practice it every single day.  Trust me.  In fact, science leaves completely to mystery the more important questions in life, much more important.

People say, “Show me God!”  I say in return, “Show me love.  Give me a pound of love.  Show me hope.  What is its volume?  Show me trust.  What is its mass?”  Why is an ineffable God such a stretch?  People live in and through, literally, Hell (on earth).  Why is a metaphysical Hell so far fetched?  What’s the great leap of faith on that one, seeing constantly around us physical Hells through pain, suffering, disease, discrimination, violence, injustice, etc.?  

I have a theory, and some of my saint friends would seem to support me.  I think Heaven or Hell begins in this life.  Just whiffs, but through the mystery of free will (I am fascinated by the theological implications of man’s free will and God’s gift of it, the questions seem to ALWAYS come back to it) we do start to choose here in this life Heaven or Hell.  God does not sentence us.  No, if truth be told, as Matt defines truth, God help us all, in this life we choose our own eternal disposition, or at least we begin to.  Beginning here and now, in this life.  Not sure if that is theologically sound, or if that would merit a Nihil Obstat or Imprimatur, but as a Catholic expressing a personal opinion, neither do I require either.  Trust me, I checked.

So, if Relativism, albeit intellectually and certainly morally is easy and cheap and untrue, then, logic goes, there MUST be something true?  I love Pilate’s question.  I have spent quite a bit of time meditating on that one over the last couple of years.  Quite a bit of time.  That passage of scripture calls to me.  It calls to me.  

Pilate would fit perfectly in the 21st century, no?  A realist?  A cynic?  A secularist?  A man “with a future?”  One of “our kind of people!”  A company man?  You can see why he was hired, no?  But then again, you can see why the most notorious Nazis and Communists were hired, too, no?  I meet Pontius Pilates constantly, constantly.  Disinterested in anything but self-interest.  Too many of them.  Too few Christians.  Oh, they have the t-shirt, but love is more than a t-shirt you don’t know what it says or means.  You just wear it, cuz you’re “supposed to”.  Habit.  Constantly, constantly.

Since Relativism doesn’t work and is incapable of being consistent, I then find “selective relativists”.  Strongly pro or opposed to certain topics, but indifferent to other, morally related grave issues.  They like what they like, whether they know why or not, and damn it, that’s it!  Brilliant.  Just ‘effen brilliant.  Constantly, constantly.  There’s a joke I heard once about opinions.  They’re like (posterior orifice of the body, I cleaned it up), everybody’s got one and they all stink.  So, my thing is informed opinion.  My opinion is you are entitled to your opinion if it is rationally, not polemically, informed.  And, you better be able to back that up, at least around me.  Call me unreasonable.

My deeply Relativist friends stamp their feet in tantrum saying, “You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts!”  I say OK and show them the facts, which makes them furious.  Somehow, I’m the bad guy.  Somehow.  How such conclusions are reached in a mind with an intellectual darkness and confusion I, gratefully, do not believe I am burdened with?  Amazing.  Mystery. Mystery.  I know how.  Remove the facts which do not fit your predetermined conclusion, and “it’s all good!”  Stupid.  Insane.  But, that warm self-satisfied, hearing-what-you-want-to-hear feeling is a narcotic.  I like it, too.  Except, I believe I can sense the difference between cheap-and-easy and truth.  You can tell it’s the truth, because it’s harder.  The truth is always hard, no?  Usually, it’s the hardest answer to accept.  That’s how you know it’s the truth.  Because of what it asks of you.  We DO NOT WANT to hear that answer, trust me, but we MUST.  If we can accept the Truth, I hear, the rewards are not bad.  Even in this life…and, inevitably, in this life, the Cross, too.  Always.  Ultimately.  Inevitably.  If you are a disciple of the Truth.

“What is truth?”, Pilate asked.  -Jn 18:38

Jn 14:6

Love,
Matthew

“Intellectual Tasks of the New Evangelization”, 9/15-17/11, Wash, DC

by JOAN FRAWLEY DESMOND, Sr Editor, National Catholic Register, 09/21/2011
WASHINGTON — Seeking to reverse a generational breakdown in the transmission of faith, the U.S. bishops have targeted a potential ally — young theologians who have just begun to teach undergraduates at Catholic universities… 
…“The Intellectual Tasks of the New Evangelization,” a symposium held here at the Washington Court Hotel, provided a forum for 54 untenured theologians from across the country to engage with Church leaders and prominent theologians, including Archbishop J. Augustine DiNoia, secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments; John Cavadini, a top theologian at the University of Notre Dame; and Janet Smith, a moral theologian at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit.
In a homily that introduced a note of urgency, Cardinal Wuerl suggested that theology departments and religious-studies departments address both the needs of cradle Catholics who never learned “the essentials of the faith” and the disaffection of mainstream society, for whom “the Gospel has lost its taste, its freshness, its luster.”
Sounding a theme echoed in other presentations over the weekend, Cardinal Wuerl asked the young academics — most of whom had completed their doctorates within the past five years — to embrace their professional responsibilities as a spiritual calling, embodying the teachings they transmitted.
The symposium marked a renewed focus on the New Evangelization by Church leaders throughout the world.
“Vast horizons are opening to the announcement of the Gospel, while regions of ancient Christian tradition are called to rediscover the beauty of the faith,” stated Pope Benedict XVI in a Sunday Angelus address delivered Sept. 18.
At the symposium, Archbishop DiNoia explored related themes in an often passionate address. The work of a Catholic theologian “is not simply an academic vocation. It is an ecclesial vocation,” he stated. The task at hand required an affirmation of the “doctrinal core of the Catholic faith” and a concerted effort to address the “internal and external factors” that impede the New Evangelization.
He counseled his audience not to allow academic specialization and speculative work to lead them to ignore the fullness of the Church’s teaching.
Archbishop DiNoia, a member of the Order of Preachers, observed that St. Thomas Aquinas mastered every aspect of Catholic theology and would never have divided it up into patristics, systematic theology, bioethics and other areas of specialization.
The fragmentation of theological work has resulted in the weakening of the holistic vision and power of Revelation, he said. “You have to keep asking yourself: What does this have to do with … the central doctrines of the faith?” he said. “The part you specialize in relates to the whole.”
Archbishop DiNoia touched on the sensitive topic of episcopal oversight of theology departments at Catholic universities and colleges. While acknowledging that scholars “have an instinctive allergy with regard to any censorship of thought,” he insisted that the Church had an obligation to confront theological dissent.
Internal Secularization
He noted that the need for intervention by Church authorities has increased over time: “The more theologians are no longer reliably able to affirm what the doctrine means, the more the magisterium intervenes.”
A central obstacle to the New Evangelization, he asserted, was the “internal secularization of the Church. The enemy occupies our territory.” The steady advance of secularism has fueled doubts about the intelligibility of the faith, resulting in an “apologetic apologetics.”
In contrast, Blessed Pope John Paul II “muted nothing,” the archbishop said. And Pope Benedict XVI’s public witness reflects the conviction that Catholic teaching presented in its “entirety can’t fail to attract.” 
Janet Smith, a leading moral theologian and author who has emerged as a prominent exponent of Blessed John Paul II’s theology of the body, examined how his emphasis on personalism contributed to the contemporary appeal of moral-law theology. The late Holy Father focused not only on general truths, but on challenging each person to realize that they need to live in accord with the truth.
She asked her audience to take a closer look at the late Pope’s emphasis on “lived experience.” In a world that expresses a “need for community but also an internal need for intimacy,” his message resonates with young people, leading them to reassess their relationships and learn self-mastery for the good of another person. 
Examination of Conscience
She likened her students’ encounter with Blessed John Paul II’s seminal work Love and Responsibility to an “examination of conscience.” The theology of the body “establishes that man can learn from the makeup of his own body and … that man is meant to be in a loving relationship of persons” imaging the communion of the Trinity.
Smith encouraged her audience to present the countercultural truths contained in Humanae Vitae (The Regulation of Birth) in an engaging manner that would lead students to ask themselves: “Am I speaking the truth of the body with my acts?”
While Smith mined the theological legacy of a 20th-century Pope, John Cavadini, a leading American theologian who stepped down last year as the chairman of the University of Notre Dame’s theology department, focused on the enduring insights contained in ancient texts of Catholic apologetics.
Cavadini began his presentation with a quote from Contra Celsum by Origen, the leading theologian of the early Eastern Church: “Our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ was silent when false witnesses spoke against him and answered nothing when he was accused; he was convinced that all his life and actions … were better than any speech in refutation of the false witness and superior to any words that he might say in reply to the accusations.”
Painting of an Icon
Origen’s insight provides worthy guidance for advancing the New Evangelization because it “lifts apologetics far beyond mere defensive tactics and into an offensive strategy that lays out a new vista for the theological imagination,” Cavadini suggested.
“Origen’s argumentation serves not to substitute for the peculiar power of the Gospel, but to make distinctions so that the way can be cleared for the weak Christian or the non-Christian to encounter and contemplate that power” on their own. He continued. “Origen’s apology is very aptly compared to the painting of an icon which is intended, in later Greek Christianity, to mediate an encounter with the Person of Christ.”
Cavadini asked his audience to “reread and study the great classical and medieval apologetic treatises, specifically with a mind towards discerning their apologetic strategy as a useful resource for today.” The recommended texts included: “Justin Martyr’s two Apologies, the Contra Celsum of Origen, the City of God of St. Augustine [and] the Summa Contra Gentiles of Thomas Aquinas.”
In an interview during a break in the proceedings, Cardinal Wuerl described the symposium as an opportunity for “building relationships among bishops and the theological community in an atmosphere of th
eological discussion. The New Evangelization is calling for us to take a look at how we re-propose the Gospel message to people who may feel they have already heard that message and it has nothing to say to them.”
Chad Pecknold, an assistant professor of systematic theology at The Catholic University of America and the author of Christianity and Politics: A Brief Guide to the History, published in 2010, was among the invited participants who represent a new generation of theologians who are prepared to take the New Evangelization to heart.
In the wake of the Second Vatican Council, he said, during an interview, theologians sought to dislodge the doctrinal certainties that anchored the faith of their students and “open” them up to new insights.
But today, there is no longer a “sense that the Second Vatican Council constituted a break with the past. The intellectual task of the New Evangelization is to think through the continuity of evangelization.”
Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/young-theologians-encouraged-to-confront-the-intellectual-tasks-of-the-new-/#ixzz1Z1KEBP5L