Saturday, July 28, 2007

Scientists breed world’s first mentally ill mouse

Via Drudge:

From The Sunday Times
July 29, 2007

Scientists breed world’s first mentally ill mouse
Jonathan Leake Science Editor
SCIENTISTS have created the world’s first schizophrenic mice in an attempt to gain a better understanding of the illness.

It is believed to be the first time an animal has been genetically engineered to have a mental illness. Until now they have been bred only for research into physical conditions such as heart disease. It will allow researchers to study the disease and develop treatments using a limitless supply of laboratory animals.

Animal rights campaigners have condemned the research, saying that it is morally repugnant to create an animal doomed to mental suffering.

The mice were created by modifying their DNA to mimic a mutant gene first found in a Scottish family with a high incidence of schizophrenia, which affects about one in every 100 people. The mice’s brains were found to have features similar to those of humans with schizophrenia, such as depression and hyperactivity.

“These mutant mice may provide an important new tool for further study of the combinations of factors that underlie mental illnesses like schizophrenia and mood disorders,” said Takatoshi Hikida, of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, a leading researcher.

The egg cells of mice were genetically modified by inserting a gene associated with schizophrenia into their DNA. The eggs were fertilised and grown into viable baby mice using surrogate mothers.

Animal Aid, a campaign group, said rodents were not a reliable way of modelling human disease.

Online Video: Mice, Men and Mental illness; Animal Models of Human ...
Of mice and mental illness - Nature Neuroscience
Of mice and mental illness
Mental Illness and Genetic Research - Page 2
BBC NEWS Health 'Fear gene' could unlock mental illness
Animal Aid

The Papers of John C. Calhoun

edited by Dr. Clyde Wilson

I would like to read this volume:
A Disquisition on Government and A Discourse on the Constitution and Government of the United States
Edited by Clyde N. Wilson and Shirley B. Cook
The Papers of John C. Calhoun, Volume XXVIII is the final volume in a distinguished documentary edition, the first volume of which was published more than fifty years ago. While identical to others in the series in terms of typeface, binding, and letterpress printing, this volume does not contain any of John C. Calhoun's personal papers, rather it features Calhoun's only formal, scholarly writings on political science and political philosophy.

"A Disquisition on Government" is an examination of the first principles of political science, much in the model of Aristotle's Politics or Baron Montesquieu's Spirit of the Laws. It examines basic principles of politics, including concepts of sovereignty and personal liberty and the relationships between states and nations.

"A Discourse on the Constitution and Government of the United States" is a focused study of American political thought and constitutional history since the ratification of the Constitution. It pays particular attention to antifederalist views of the Constitution, the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of the 1790s, and the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Comparable to the Federalist, Calhoun's "Discourse" articulates a southern-based, states' rights interpretation of the Constitution and examines the course of American political history from the viewpoint of the southern statesman.

Calhoun began writing the essays around 1845. His "Disquisition" was near final form at the time of his death, but the "Discourse" was still an unpolished draft. A year after Calhoun's death in 1850, Richard Kenner Crallé, a former secretary in the Department of State and a friend of Calhoun's, was entrusted by the Calhoun heirs to edit the essays for publication. Since the Crallé edition, it has been assumed that the two essays were separate works. However, as the Calhoun Papers staff prepared the concluding volume of letters, speeches, and remarks, they discovered evidence that Calhoun had intended the two essays to be a single, unified work of political theory and a critical examination of America's remarkable experiment in republican government. Whether published separately or together, these essays are among the classical texts of American political thought.
(2003) 6 x 9, 254 pages, cloth, ISBN 1-57003-502-4, $59.95s
Order the Book

Ryan T. Anderson reviews Natural Law Liberalism

Printed in the April 16, 2007 issue of National Review

About Rights


Pick your fight: the “clash of civilizations” between Islam and the West, or the “clash of orthodoxies” between secular liberals and religious believers. To read much these days is to be assured that never has the world been more divided, or our nation so polarized.

Central to Western political liberalism is the notion that disagreement can be resolved through common deliberation — and that representative constitutional democracy is the best institution for such deliberation. This makes us think that any kind of clash can be solved through rational discussion of the truths we share. At the same time, however, our modern system is founded on skepticism about the ability of people and their governments to define and enforce a universal vision of the good life. This makes us think that there aren’t any real truths to be shared.

It is in response to such worries that Christopher Wolfe has written his new book, Natural Law Liberalism. Wolfe is a Marquette University political scientist who focused his early work on constitutional interpretation and judicial activism. He founded the American Public Philosophy Institute to support the efforts of such thinkers as Robert P. George, Russell Hittinger, and Hadley Arkes, who have been working to rearticulate the natural-law foundations of political life. Natural Law Liberalism is Wolfe’s contribution to the effort.

By liberalism, Wolfe means the whole range of modern political thought, from the early Enlightenment through the American Founding — the philosophical theory of government that emphasizes human equality, personal liberty, individual rights, participatory government, and the rule of law. And natural law, as Wolfe conceives it, is the long Western tradition of reflection on the nature of human flourishing and the rational principles that can guide human action and choice. His thesis is simple: If political liberalism is to justify itself at home and abroad, it must return to the classical tradition of Western thought and embrace natural-law theory as the account of its foundations.

The book’s argument has three parts. Wolfe begins by exposing the weaknesses of modern theories grounded in skepticism about the good life or in personal autonomy. Then he traces the historical development of liberalism and natural-law theory, showing how these traditions are compatible and mutually reinforcing. He ends with a brief sketch of natural-law liberalism, concluding that liberals should “ground their liberalism in natural-law philosophy,” while “natural lawyers should be liberals.”

Wolfe aims his criticism at several contemporary liberal theorists: John Rawls, Stephen Macedo, Amy Gutmann, Ronald Dworkin, and Joseph Raz. Some of these thinkers argue that there are purely political values that justify liberal democracy. These can be shared by all citizens, whatever their distinctive views about the good life, and the state must remain neutral between more comprehensive competing theories of human flourishing.

The other liberal theorists are — like natural-law thinkers — willing to ground political liberalism in direct appeals to the nature of human flourishing, but they define that flourishing in terms of autonomy and self-determination. Accordingly, they believe that the role of government is to secure the conditions for people to choose whatever they consider good. Think of the Supreme Court’s infamous 1992 “mystery” passage in Planned Parenthood v. Casey: “At the heart of liberty is the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.”

Wolfe contends that both of these approaches fail. He argues, for instance, that liberal professions of neutrality smuggle in question-begging assumptions that favor left-wing policy on contested moral issues — in other words, “neutrality liberalism” loads the dice by covertly appealing to the liberals’ own preferred conceptions of public reason, and therefore of human nature. In such questions as, e.g., the value of unborn human life or the public recognition of same-sex unions, the appeal to political neutrality results in an affirmation of the partisan liberal view.

But perhaps most damning is Wolfe’s demonstration that none of these theorists could persuade an outsider to embrace Western classical liberalism. They cannot provide a defense of liberal ideals, institutions, or procedures that would be satisfactory to someone who didn’t already accept them. Contemporary liberals propound rules of engagement and procedures for preserving reciprocity, fairness, and “full and equal citizenship” without ever defending the value of these principles in the first place. Who besides committed liberals will find this convincing? How will this convert someone on the other side of the “clash of civilizations” to become a political liberal? And how do these theories provide a framework for settling the issues at stake in the “clash of orthodoxies”?

This is where Wolfe believes a liberalism grounded in the natural law can make significant contributions. He identifies the centrality of human reason and its ability to know the truth as foundational principles for natural-law philosophy. The objectivity of justice and value is grounded in the intellect’s ability to perceive the goods of human nature as reasons for action that direct one toward real fulfillment. It is within this framework that liberalism’s core principles are most compelling.

Political equality, for example, is most securely based on the natural-law understanding of human beings as free and rational. Despite variations of skill and strength, our basic capacity to act on reasons is the foundation for treating all humans with equal respect. There are no natural superiors or inferiors, there is no ruling class or ruled class — it is because citizens can grasp reasons for action and constitute themselves by free choice that justice requires the consent and participation of the governed.

Natural-law philosophy also provides a foundation for human rights, when rights are understood as protecting basic human well-being. So, for example, the right to speech is best understood as protecting the goods enabled by honest communication — goods such as knowledge, friendship, and health. This conception of rights also provides the framework for determining which forms of speech truly fall within the protections of the right: Deceptive speech and hate speech, for example, serve no goods and thus don’t deserve protection (though prudence may demand that we limit the power of government to suppress even these types of speech). Indeed, the natural-law tradition supports strong government in order to provide the necessary conditions for flourishing — while also demanding limited government to respect the primacy of individuals and their communities in determining themselves.

Besides offering stronger foundations for liberalism, natural law provides important correctives to modern thought. Most important, Wolfe believes, is a proper understanding of the state’s role in shaping citizens’ lives: Modern liberal claims notwithstanding, the polis inevitably teaches and forms the character of its citizens. Given that the goods of human nature are rationally knowable, the state should do what it can, in a limited and subsidiary fashion, to promote its citizens’ flourishing. Other natural-law correctives to bad modern theories include the importance of religion as an aspect of human well-being and the role of the family as the pre-political society that gives rise to political community.

Natural Law Liberalism is a scholarly discussion of intricate philosophical theories of government — not quite for the casual reader. As for specialists in the field, they are likely to find the book dated. Its first half comprises articles published during the 1990s. (Did we really need another critique of Rawls’s now well-known shortcomings?) The second half of the book is a general overview of liberalism and natural law, adding little to the work of John Finnis’s Natural Law and Natural Rights (1980) and Robert P. George’s Making Men Moral (1993).

The book will, however, make a good introduction for students of political philosophy who are unsatisfied with mainstream liberalism’s responses to the clashes of our time — and who wish to explore alternative conceptions more solidly founded on reason and human flourishing.

Mr. Anderson is a junior fellow at First Things. He is also the assistant director of the Program on Bioethics and Human Dignity at the Witherspoon Institute of Princeton, N.J.

Environmental movement and Natural Law

John Allen's latest column: For Benedict, environmental movement promises recovery of natural law tradition

The first question had to do with the formation of conscience, and Benedict replied with his now-familiar diagnosis of the cultural situation in the West. By truncating the sphere of reason to only those things which can be empirically verified or falsified, the pope said, spirituality and morality have been "expelled" from rationality, consigned to a merely subjective sphere, understood as a matter of individual taste and judgment.

In response, Benedict proposed a two-pronged strategy, one being the path of religious faith, the other being what he called "a secular path." By that, Benedict appeared to mean natural law, the idea that nature itself carries a moral message that can be deciphered utilizing the faculty of conscience, even by those who aren't Christian or who aren't religious at all.
I wonder if this is Mr. Allen's own interpolation. Joseph Ratzinger has an essay in Crisis of Conscience (ed. John Haas)--I don't know if this is included in IP's On Conscience (link given below). [To be honest I found that essay to be a little bit lacking in precision, especially when compared with the essay written by Ralph McInerny in the same book.] The transcript of the Q&A session between the pope and the priests of the diocese of Belluno, Feltre, and Treviso is in Italian, and the language is a bit daunting. My suspicion is that the Holy Father does not explain the relationship between natural law and conscience in this way.

In the pope's mind, this seems to be where environmentalism enters the picture.

"Everyone can see today that humanity could destroy the foundation of its own existence, its earth, and therefore we can't simply do whatever we want with this earth that has been entrusted to us, what seems to us in a given moment useful or promising, but we have to respect the inner laws of creation, of this earth, we have to learn these laws and obey them if we want to survive," Benedict said. "This obedience to the voice of the earth is more important for our future happiness than the voices of the moment, the desires of the moment. … Existence itself, our earth, speaks to us, and we have to learn to listen."

Exactly, because by the Natural Law we are commanded to love ourselves and to love the community, and to aim for the good of the community, which includes its survival. A community can only exploit the earth and degrade the environment so long, before it jeopardizes its own survival. If one wants to say that out of their own self-interest political communities should be aiming at sustainability and living in harmony with the local ecology, while transforming it in ways both beneficial to man and to the other organisms living there, he can do so. (This is the kind of stewardship advocated by Wendell Berry, Wes Jackson, and Brian Goodwin.) I would just say that this is reasonable, and that exploitation is disordered.

From there, Benedict said, we may also learn anew to listen to the voice of human nature as well, discovering in other people and in human communities moral laws that stand above our own ego. In that regard, the pope said, we can draw upon the great moral experience of humanity. Doing so teaches that human liberty never exists in isolation from others; it works only if it's rooted in a sense of common values.

An appeal to tradition? Again, I wonder if Mr. Allen is not simplifying what the pope said. As Fr. Pinckaers writes, freedom is ordered to excellence, or to virtue (and to authentic goods).

In other words, Benedict sees in the modern environmental movement the most promising route for recovery of the natural law tradition. What today's rising ecological awareness presumes is that there are limits inscribed in nature beyond which humanity trespasses at its own peril. Without any particular reference to religion, the secular world today is arriving at its own version of natural law theory. Building upon that momentum, and directing it beyond environmental matters to questions of individual and social morality, is what Benedict seems to mean by a "secular path" to formation of conscience.

Not quite, Mr. Allen. One can discover certain precepts of the Natural Law, without having to develop an account of the Natural Law at the same time. Natural Law without reference to the Creator is incomplete. One can frame such precepts in a way that still affirms the primacy of human beings in the created material order, without the excesses of certain members of the environmental movement (Gaia hypothesis, misandry, etc.). Such primacy does not negate man's responsibility to be a good steward.

To extend a metaphor, one might say that Benedict XVI is trying to paint a distinctively Catholic shade of green.

I don't mean to suggest that the pope's environmental concern is entirely instrumental, as if he OKed putting solar cells on Vatican buildings simply because, in some round-about fashion, he thinks that'll convince people not to have abortions. He's made clear on multiple occasions that he regards defense of the environment as an urgent moral necessity all by itself. But Benedict also appears to see something deeper stirring in Western environmentalism, a new sense of moral restraint grounded in objective natural reality.

To put the pope's point simplistically, if the world is willing to limit its carbon output on the basis of the laws of nature, then maybe it will become more willing to accept limits arising from nature in other spheres of life as well.

At the moment, the International Theological Commission, the main advisory body to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has a sub-commission working on a document on Natural Law. A draft is expected to be ready for discussion in October. The project is being led by Dominican Fr. Serge Bonino, the editor of the Revue Thomist; the American member is Jesuit Fr. John Michael McDermott of the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio. It will be interesting to see if the sub-commission develops this line of reflection.
Ah, Fr. Bonino. I can't wait until this document is released.

Transcript of that talk with the priests (in Italian).

From Ignatius Press:
On Conscience by Joseph Ratzinger
Pope Benedict XVI: The Conscience of Our Age by Vincent Twomey

Friday, July 27, 2007

Benedict XVI on Vatican 2 and its aftermath

All Against All: The Postconciliar Period Recounted by Ratzinger, Theologian and Pope
The period following Vatican II reminds Benedict XVI of the "total chaos" after the Council of Nicaea, the first in history. But from that stormy Council emerged the "Credo." And today? Here is the pope’s response to the priests of Belluno, Feltre, and Treviso

by Sandro Magister

ROMA, July 27, 2007 – Like two summers ago in Aosta, again this year Benedict XVI, during his vacation in the Alps, wanted to meet with the local priests and respond to their questions.

He did so on the morning of Tuesday, July 24, in Auronzo di Cadore, in the church of Santa Giustina Martire, against the backdrop of the Dolomite mountains.

The pope responded spontaneously to ten questions on a wide variety of issues.

For example, in relation to the growing presence of non-Christian immigrants in Italy and Europe, he explained how to reconcile the proclamation of the Gospel and dialogue with the other religions, beginning from “agreement on the fundamental values expressed in the ten commandments, summed up in love of neighbor and love of God.”

In regard to divorced and remarried Catholics, he urged first of all that couples be prepared for a “natural marriage, according to the Creator,” freeing them from the current idea according to which “it is normal to get married, divorce, and remarry, and no one thinks that this goes against human nature.” And in the case of a failed marriage, he encouraged that the divorced persons be made to feel that they are always “loved by Christ and members of the Church, even if they are in a difficult situation.”

On the clash between creationism and evolutionism, “as if these were mutually exclusive alternatives,” he explained that “this contrast is absurd, because on the one hand there is much scientific evidence in support of evolution,” but on the other hand “the doctrine of evolution does not respond to the great question: From where does everything come?” And he recommended a rereading of his lecture in Regensburg, so that “reason might be opened further.”

But the most interesting response was the last of the ten. To a priest who told him about his disappointment with the many dreams that were awakened in him by Vatican Council II but then vanished, Benedict XVI replied by recounting his own experience and his own views of the Council and the period after it: the initial enthusiasm, the tension between those who interpreted the true “spirit” of the Council as a sort of cultural revolution and those who instead reacted against the Council itself, the historic upheavals of 1968 and 1989, the Church’s ability to move forward, in spite of everything, along the right path, in silence and humility...

Here follows the complete transcript of Benedict XVI’s response on the Council and its aftermath:

"We had such great hopes, but things proved to be more difficult..."

by Benedict XVI

I, too, lived through Vatican Council II, coming to Saint Peter’s Basilica with great enthusiasm and seeing how new doors were opening. It really seemed to be the new Pentecost, in which the Church would once again be able to convince humanity. After the Church’s withdrawal from the world in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, it seemed that the Church and the world were coming together again, and that there was a rebirth of a Christian world and of a Church of the world and truly open to the world.

We had such great hopes, but in reality things proved to be more difficult. Nonetheless, it is still true that the great legacy of the Council, which opened a new road, is a “magna carta” of the Church’s path, very essential and fundamental.

But why did this happen? I would like to begin with an historical observation. The periods following a council are almost always very difficult. After the great Council of Nicaea – which is, for us, truly the foundation of our faith, in fact we confess the faith as formulated at Nicaea – there was not the birth of a situation of reconciliation and unity, as hoped by Constantine, the promoter of the great Council, but a genuinely chaotic situation of a battle of all against all.

In his book on the Holy Spirit, saint Basil compares the Church’s situation after the Council of Nicaea to a nighttime naval battle, in which no one recognizes another, but everyone is pitted against everyone else. It really was a situation of total chaos: this is how saint Basil paints in vivid colors the drama of the period following the Council of Nicaea.

50 years later, for the first Council of Constantinople, the emperor invited saint Gregory Nazianzen to participate in the council, and saint Gregory responded: No, I will not come, because I understand these things, I know that all of the Councils give rise to nothing but confusion and fighting, so I will not come. And he didn’t go.

So it is not now, in retrospect, such a great surprise how difficult it was at first for all of us to digest the Council, this great message. To imbue this into the life of the Church, to receive it, such that it becomes the Church’s life, to assimilate it into the various realities of the Church is a form of suffering, and it is only in suffering that growth is realized. To grow is always to suffer as well, because it means leaving one condition and passing to another.

And we must note that there were two great historic upheavals in the concrete context of the postconciliar period.

The first is the convulsion of 1968, the beginning – or explosion, I dare say – of the great cultural crisis of the West. The postwar generation had ended, a generation that, after seeing all the destruction and horror of war, of combat, and witnessing the drama of the great ideologies that had actually led people toward the precipice of war, had discovered the Christian roots of Europe and had begun to rebuild Europe with these great inspirations. But with the end of this generation there were also seen all of the failures, the gaps in this reconstruction, the great misery in the world, and so began the explosion of the crisis of Western culture, what I would call a cultural revolution that wants to change everything radically. It says: In two thousand years of Christianity, we have not created a better world; we must begin again from nothing, in an absolutely new way. Marxism seems to be the scientific formula for creating, at last, the new world.

In this – let us say – serious, great clash between the new, healthy modernity desired by the Council and the crisis of modernity, everything becomes difficult, like after the first Council of Nicaea.

One side was of the opinion that this cultural revolution was what the Council had wanted. It identified this new Marxist cultural revolution with the will of the Council. It said: This is the Council; in the letter the texts are still a bit antiquated, but behind the written words is this “spirit,” this is the will of the Council, this is what we must do. And on the other side, naturally, was the reaction: you are destroying the Church. The – let us say – absolute reaction against the Council, anticonciliarity, and – let us say – the timid, humble search to realize the true spirit of the Council. And as a proverb says: “If a tree falls it makes a lot of noise, but if a forest grows no one hears a thing,” during these great noises of mistaken progressivism and absolute anticonciliarism, there grew very quietly, with much suffering and with many losses in its construction, a new cultural passageway, the way of the Church.

And then came the second upheaval in 1989, the fall of the communist regimes. But the response was not a return to the faith, as one perhaps might have expected; it was not the rediscovery that the Church, with the authentic Council, had provided the response. The response was, instead, total skepticism, so-called post-modernity. Nothing is true; everyone must decide on his own how to live. There was the affirmation of materialism, of a blind pseudo-rationalistic skepticism that ends in drugs, that ends in all these problems that we know, and the pathways to faith are again closed, because the faith is so simple, so evident: no, nothing is true; truth is intolerant, we cannot take that road.

So: in these contexts of two cultural ruptures, the first being the cultural revolution of 1968 and the second the fall into nihilism after 1989, the Church sets out with humility upon its path, between the passions of the world and the glory of the Lord.

Along this road, we must grow with patience and we must now, in a new way, learn what it means to renounce triumphalism.

The Council had said that triumphalism must be renounced – thinking of the Baroque, of all these great cultures of the Church. It was said: Let’s begin in a new, modern way. But another triumphalism had grown, that of thinking: We will do things now, we have found the way, and on it we find the new world.

But the humility of the Cross, of the Crucified One, excludes precisely this triumphalism as well. We must renounce the triumphalism according to which the great Church of the future is truly being born now. The Church of Christ is always humble, and for this very reason it is great and joyful.

It seems very important to me that we can now see with open eyes how much that was positive also grew following the Council: in the renewal of the liturgy, in the synods – Roman synods, universal synods, diocesan synods – in the parish structures, in collaboration, in the new responsibility of laypeople, in intercultural and intercontinental shared responsibility, in a new experience of the Church’s catholicity, of the unanimity that grows in humility, and nonetheless is the true hope of the world.

And thus it seems to me that we must rediscover the great heritage of the Council, which is not a “spirit” reconstructed behind the texts, but the great conciliar texts themselves, reread today with the experiences that we have had and that have born fruit in so many movements, in so many new religious communities. I arrived in Brazil knowing how the sects are expanding, and how the Catholic Church seems a bit sclerotic; but once I arrived, I saw that almost every day in Brazil a new religious community is born, a new movement is born, and it is not only the sects that are growing. The Church is growing with new realities full of vitality, which do not show up in the statistics – this is a false hope; statistics are not our divinity – but they grow within souls and create the joy of faith, they create the presence of the Gospel, and thus also create true development in the world and society.

Thus it seems to me that we must learn the great humility of the Crucified One, of a Church that is always humble and always opposed by the great economic powers, military powers, etc. But we must also learn, together with this humility, the true triumphalism of the Catholicism that grows in all ages. There also grows today the presence of the Crucified One raised from the dead, who has and preserves his wounds. He is wounded, but it is in just in this way that he renews the world, giving his breath which also renews the Church in spite of all of our poverty. In this combination of the humility of the Cross and the joy of the risen Lord, who in the Council has given us a great road marker, we can go forward joyously and full of hope.

> With the priests of the diocese of Belluno, Feltre, and Treviso, July 24, 2007

Acton Institute interview with Russell Hittinger

The Higher Law That Undergirds Virtue, Liberty, and the Government

Professor Russell Hittinger is the William K. Warren Professor of Catholic Studies and Research Professor of Law, at the University of Tulsa. He teaches and publishes in the areas of philosophy, theology, and law. His most recent book is entitled The First Grace: Rediscovering the Natural Law in a Post-Christian World and addresses contemporary issues involving the natural law. He also regularly lectures on the Natural Law and related topics.

R&L: You have done extensive research and written books on the subject of natural law. What is natural law?

Hittinger: The history of philosophy, theology, and jurisprudence is replete with different definitions. Some definitions emphasize the first principles of practical reason— principles which are implicit whenever we reason about conduct. We can call this order in the human mind. If we emphasize the order of nature, then we bring into view human nature itself as a standard for what ought or ought not to be chosen. We can call this order in nature. While Stoic thinkers of antiquity defined natural justice in relation to divine providence, it was Christian theologians who carefully defined natural law as lex indita, a law imprinted on our being by the Creator. The most famous definition is that of Thomas Aquinas: “This sharing in the Eternal Law by intelligent creatures is called natural law.” Thomas, of course, did not mean the entirety of the Eternal Law, but rather that part of it we can know naturally. All three definitions—order in the human mind, order in nature, and order in the divine mind—are correct, though Thomas was especially adept at harmonizing the three foci.

R&L: One of your recent books on natural law is The First Grace: Rediscovering the Natural Law in a Post-Christian World, published by ISI Books. Why do you consider the natural law to be the first grace?

Hittinger: The title of this book is taken from the letter of a presbyter named Lucidus who taught that after the sin of Adam no work of human obedience could be united with divine grace, that human freedom was not weakened or distorted but totally extinguished, and that Christ did not incur death for all human beings. At the Second Council of Arles (473), Lucidus retracted his position. In the letter of retraction, the natural law is mentioned twice. The natural law is said to be the “first grace of God” (per primam Dei gratiam) before the coming of Christ (in adventum Christi). Lucidus also affirmed that, according to Romans 2:15, the natural law is “written in every human heart.” This did not suggest that, after sin, and without the restoration of the human soul by grace, that mankind know the natural law in every detail, or with perfect clarity. Nor did it suggest that what remains of human moral responsibility after sin is sufficient for the righteousness communicated by Christ. But it did mean that the early church rejected Lucidus’ position that human beings are unable to do any moral good.

R&L: Why must the natural law be “rediscovered?”

Hittinger: Natural law is always “discovered,” at least in the sense that it is not constructed or “made” by the human mind. The sub-title of my book, however, bids us to understand once again that the fundaments of morality constitute a “higher law.”

R&L: How does or should a proper understanding of the natural law affect the political and social institutions of society, if at all?

Hittinger: One of the questions that haunts the modern mind is whether moral judgment is bereft of any note of authority save the private estimation of the individual subject. In my view, no one expressed the question, with all of its ramifications, better than Thomas Hobbes. To be sure, individuals make judgments; but whose judgments have public authority? Slowly, but inexorably, modern culture posited a dichotomy between individual judgment and public authority. Natural law could no longer be reckoned a higher law, expressing a supra-public order of law. In our country, we were fortunate indeed that at the time of our founding, natural law still was deemed a higher law that rendered individuals and societies subject to a divine bar of authority. Disagreements or skepticism about matters of revealed theology and ecclesiology did prevent the founders from affirming a transcendent source of moral norms. James Madison’s Memorial and Remonstrance (1785) argues very explicitly that the ground of religious liberty is the antecedent duty of every human soul to the Creator of the natural commonwealth.

It is the duty of every man to render to the Creator such homage and such only as he believes to be acceptable to him. This duty is precedent, both in order of time and in degree of obligation, to the claims of civil society. Before any man can be considered as a member of civil society, he must be considered as a subject of the governor of the universe.

R&L: Many commentators contend that the reigning philosophy of law within the courts of the United States is positivism. Would you agree? How is the positivist philosophy of law different than the natural law?

Hittinger: Positivism can mean different things. On the one hand, there is a kind of lawyerly positivism that insists that the descriptive task of saying what the law “is” is analytically separate from what the law “ought to be.” This kind of positivism allows a moral critique of human law. On the other hand, there is what I call a “cosmological positivism,” according to which all norms of conduct are imposed, posited by the human mind. The great myth of Prometheus, told in Plato’s Protagoras, is still the best example of cosmological positivism. On this view, there is no separation of law and morality, for civic morality is entirely a creature of human law.

I propose that although our legal culture sometimes seems to hover between these two kinds of positivism, we still exhibit a deep and persistent expectation that human law satisfy moral norms. Americans believe that human commands ought to comport with moral rights. Every nook and cranny of human law is litigated, as though law must fall in line with natural justice. In ways that are truly astonishing, Americans demand not only that law be just, but also that society be just. At the same time, Americans are reluctant to impose “morality.” From one point of view, this is a contradiction. From another point of view, it indicates how difficult it is to shake ourselves loose of natural law. The most controversial Supreme Court decisions—on religion, sexual conduct, marriage and family, affirmative action—bear the marks of dissatisfaction with legal positivism. Typically, both sides in these disputes appeal to something like natural law and natural rights.

R&L: In Casey v. Planned Parenthood, The United States Supreme Court has defined individual liberty as “the right to define one’s own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life.” Is this definition of liberty consistent with the natural law? If not, what definition of liberty would be consistent with the natural law?

Hittinger: Clearly, this dictum does not appeal to the black-letter law of the United States Constitution. Rather, it appeals to a transcendent notion of justice—transcendent, in the sense that there are norms more fundamental than the rules imposed by human legislators. Our Court routinely “discovers” (rather than claiming to “make”) natural standards of justice. The reader of my book will not be in doubt that I believe that the Court’s discoveries are very flawed. For one thing, the Court often asserts liberties which subvert law itself. The Casey dictum, literally understood and applied, would cancel out obligation to obey the Court’s own verdicts.

R&L: What role should religion play within the formal process of lawmaking within a society, if any?

Hittinger: This is difficult to answer abstractly because “religion” can mean so many different things. Some Supreme Court decisions have gone so far as to say that “religion” means the conviction that there exists transcendent sources of morality; religion can mean the merely subjective “religious” state-of-mind of the legislator; religion can also mean the religious-historical sources of custom and common law relating to matters of marriage and family, crime, civil associations, and so forth. Thus, “religion” has become an artificial category, sometimes expanded, sometimes cut and trimmed, for the purpose of winning legal, political, and policy arguments. Because ordinary human beings tend to make judgments according to standards that transcend mere human rules, and because relatively few of us have a highly articulated super-structure of philosophy or theology, religion is a rather foggy and elusive target. An extreme version of First Amendment jurisprudence interprets the establishment clause in such a way as to forbid the state from recognizing the specifically religious content and importance of the free exercise clause. To recognize specifically religious conscience is to establish religion. The danger here is that the right of free exercise of religion is drained of content, and then tends to be collapsed into an all-purpose right of free-speech or self-expression. Although academic legal literature abounds with efforts to define religion, the issue remains unsettled. At the national level, all kinds of religious discourse is in evidence, and courts rarely try to intercept it on First Amendment grounds; yet, at the level of a local public school, even a moment of silence can be struck down as a violation of the establishment clause.

R&L: Is it appropriate for religion to have any impact on the development of law within a society, such as the United States, that places a high value on individual liberty?

Hittinger: We are a free society. Society is not a creature of the state. So long as people are religious, religion will have at least an indirect bearing upon public policies and laws through society itself. A state would have to either destroy religion or destroy society for it to be otherwise. Compared to other political cultures, Americans tend to enjoy a very vivid sense of social liberties distinct from the institutions of the state.

R&L: Does a person need to be a Christian before he or she can accept the principles of the natural law?

Hittinger: No, of course not. Read the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.

R&L: Do you think that Christianity—and any other theistic religion for that matter—is currently being excluded from public policy debates? If so, what effect do you think this has on societal norms and values?

Hittinger: Increasingly, truly believing Roman Catholics and Protestant Evangelicals are regarded by the elite culture as having no sense of public justice, as having a private lust to impose their religion. This cartoon-like view is especially apparent whenever one gets into the precincts of public law and academia. It is much less true in the world of business, sports, civic associations, and in the day to day life of municipal culture.

R&L: As a scholar and professor, how does your faith inform your studies and teaching?

Hittinger: You carefully phrased the question “as a scholar and a professor.” Taken in just this way, let me say that I am very inclined to look for the good sense in our western habits and institutions. I view even the most adamant secularist positions as part of our common culture. A Christian can take a more inclusive view of the quest for truth. Christ is our redeemer by the cross, but he is also the second Adam, and hence the consummator of human history.

R&L: Does your contact with university students leave you optimistic or pessimistic regarding the rediscovery of natural law within society?

Hittinger: Speaking generally, I do not think that students are very well formed in their respective theological traditions. Over some twenty years of teaching, I have seen more students arrive at the university with an amorphous sense of religion accompanied by a therapeutic sense of morality. By way of exception, I often find that orthodox Jews and some Reformed tradition students are more attentive to their traditions at the intellectual level. Catholics are usually somewhere in between. Students mature very rapidly in their 20s, and therefore it is a crucial time in their lives. Usually, by the age of 25 or so it is clear whether a young man or woman will develop an intellectual curiosity about the big questions of morality, the soul, and God. Every generation is a work in progress.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Christopher Mirus, Aristotle's Teleology and Modern Mechanics

His Ph.D. dissertation here; you may need some sort of academic library affiliation to gain access.

Societas Scholasticorum

Societas Scholasticorum

Formed by Francisco Romero-Carrasquillo; his blog entry on this new group over at Ite Ad Thomam.

Vatican Official: Ecumenism Needs Truth

Vatican Official: Ecumenism Needs Truth
ARANJUEZ, Spain, JULY 25, 2007 ( The secretary of the Vatican's doctrinal congregation emphasized again that the dicastery's recent document on the doctrine of the Church is an aid to ecumenism.

Salesian Archbishop Angelo Amato of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith spoke with journalists Tuesday in Spain, before giving a conference on Benedict XVI's book, "Jesus of Nazareth."

The archbishop said that "Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church," as the document was called, is "very positive" for ecumenism because it gives a "precise identity to the Catholic Church."

"Ecumenism is based on truth and the identity of the interlocutors," he affirmed.

The prelate denied that Protestants were "vexed" by the document: "They know that this is our identity and it is not the first time that the congregation has made these affirmations."

The archbishop observed that the document repeats what the Second Vatican Council had already said. He further recalled the 2000 document, "Dominus Iesus," which also detailed the same doctrine.

"The Church of Christ exists in history," he added. "It is a concrete historical reality, which searches for unity, through ecumenical dialogue, with all the other expressions."

The 1965 Ordo Missae

discussion at NLM; the blog devoted to it...

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Albion's seed

by David Hackett, published by OUP

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Benjamin Constant, On the Liberty of the Ancients Compared with that of the Moderns

On the Liberty of the Ancients Compared with that of the Moderns

By Benjamin Constant

Stephen Brock article

Dr. Brock's homepage

Read "Natural Inclination and the Intelligibility of the Good in Thomistic Natural Law"

Fulvio di Blasi's Italian website

here (not much there)

Ethics Without God: Di Blasi
Person or Digital Self? An Argument against AI Theories

Will this be translated into English?

Hmm... what's the quality of this journal?

Which model of philosophy?

Sex and reproduction by Alexander Pruss

Well, there is an attempt in there to illustrate that we know powers (and their associated organs) through their objects. But some of it needs to be better developed; can some of it be characterized as "phenomenological" in its approach to the question? Or is there a more fitting adjective to describe the approach taken here?

The life of a person has a certain sacredness to it, whether we understand this sacredness as Kantian autonomy, or being in the image and likeness of God, or being an unrepeatable individual who has the power of creating his or her or its own life to some extent.

That intercourse is treated by humans in a special way even when it does not result in reproduction, and indeed even when it is not intended to do so, will be no great surprise to the student of our attitudes to the sacred. A book of the scriptures is seen as sacred because of what it teaches. But religious people show respect to a sacred book—sometimes even a sacred book from a different religious tradition—also when the book fails to teaches, say because it is in a foreign or sacred language. The place where a sacred event took place is often venerated, as are items that touched something sacred. Sacredness is seen as communicable. This kind of communicability is not limited to the religious sphere: objects previously owned by people now deceased who were important to us likewise take on a special meaning. If reproduction is sacred, it is understandable that intercourse would partake of that sacredness. And the sacred is surrounded by a multitude of beliefs, customs, mores and traditions.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Cardinal Barragán, On Catholic Teachers of Medicine

On Catholic Teachers of Medicine
"To Reveal Christ the Healer"

ROME, JULY 21, 2007 ( Here is the text of an message written by Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragán, the president of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry on the profile of the Catholic teacher of medicine.

* * *



It is a very drawn out task to establish the profile of the Catholic teacher of Medicine. It involves understanding what a teacher is, what a teacher of medicine is, and knowing what it means to describe them as Catholic.

In the following reflection I will especially look at the term "Catholic." The question has to be asked whether a non-Catholic teacher of medicine will really be different from a Catholic teacher of medicine. And, if so, of what will this difference consist?

I will try to begin by following this sequence in order to answer these questions: the teacher as the one who teaches, the teacher as professor, and the teacher as a Catholic.

To talk about a teacher is to talk about culture. Culture has been defined in very many ways; here I understand it as the humanization of nature. I understand nature to be everything outside individuals that they need to live. Education, seeing culture like this, will be the assimilation of culture. It is necessary to understand the process of culture to understand the process of education. This involves four basic stages: introspection, tradition, assimilation and progress. In introspection, individuals realize their own needs. In tradition, they see what they are offered to meet these needs. In assimilation, they meet them. And in progress, they detect new needs and proceed to create new satisfiers which they have not found in tradition.

I. The Catholic professor of medicine

1. The teacher of medicine as a "teacher"

Teachers of medicine are teachers; they teach. The word "teach" comes from a word meaning a sign. The teacher gives the students the signs that they need and must appropriate. This means that first of all the teacher has to know what the students need in order to guide them in their own introspection and to realize what their needs are.

Once the teacher has taught the students to know their own needs, they show them how they can meet these needs in tradition. This is what tends to be called a "cultural asset."

Having detected the "cultural asset" they also signal the way to be able to appropriate this asset and assimilate it.

They also need to signal new horizons, both in relation to needs and in relation to possible new horizons. They teach the research which leads to the "creation" of new cultural assets as something necessary.

Consequently, medical culture consists of the humanization of medicine, and medical education consists of the assimilation of the humanization of medicine. The task of the teacher of medicine is to signal to the medical student how to assimilate the humanization of medicine.

Following the steps of all culture, in the introspection stage, the teacher of medicine needs to signal to the students the path so that it is the students themselves who find the needs that they have, which lead them to seek the medical tradition as a satisfier of these needs. Here we can see firstly whether or not the students have the aptitude to learn medical culture. If their needs, which are related to their abilities, are not those which are fulfilled with medical culture, the teacher should indicate to the possible student that they should not be educated in a culture that they do not need, or for which they are not capable.

Having passed the introspection step in medical culture, the teacher of medicine should signal the medical tradition. This is the whole set of medical "cultural assets" that exist. Here we find the complex field of medical science, technology and art. The teacher of medicine should have a command of this field, or, given the complexity of current medical know-how, at least the specialty that they are teaching.

In addition to scientific and technical competence, the teacher of medicine, like any other teacher, should be an expert in educational science, especially in Didactics, as when "teaching," they should do so with such clarity that the students can find the medical cultural asset that they are being shown. The teacher of medicine thus tackles the third step of culture, assimilation. It is not sufficient to teach medical culture; rather it is necessary to indicate to the students the practical path which has to be taken to have a command of it.

Once the teacher of medicine has completed this third step, they should open up subsequent paths for the students to recognize subsequent medical needs and, based on that already existing, to succeed in "creating" new medical cultural assets in the future. In particular, they should indicate the paths of medical progress, and how their students should move along these previously unexplored paths.

2. The teacher of medicine as a professor

In addition to a teacher, the teacher of medicine should be a professor, and here we expand our thoughts to enter the field of the Catholic teacher of medicine. As teachers, to a certain extent, they share their personality with any other teacher of medicine, of whatever mentality or ideology. As a professor, it is different.

Indeed, the word professor contains a religious connotation, as it comes from the verb to profess, which means adherence to a faith and its profession. If the teacher just remains at the level of teacher, they will be frustrated and so will their students. They signal health and life sciences and technology but, being realistic, they indicate that the whole of medical science and technology finally lose the battle, because death arrives and, in the face of death, all medical science and technology are shown to be impotent and fail. Being sincere with themselves and with their students, at the levels of introspection and assimilation of medicine to overcome disease, they should signal the ultimate failure of all medical science, technology and art, as death can be found at the end of all their efforts.

Only if they are capable of signaling, together with the same medicine and in a way from it, the overcoming of death, does their teaching have a lasting value and is not lost in just delaying the end as much as possible.

For this they must go beyond the mere level of the teacher and truly become a professor. To profess a faith which opens up health and life to transcendence.

3. The teacher of medicine as a Catholic professor

If the professor of medicine is a Catholic, then this transcendence and this victory over death are not merely beautiful desires which, for many, in our secularized culture, do not go beyond good intentions and palliatives for the failure of death, but rather they are based on the same reality of an irrefutable historical event, the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

On professing this faith, the teacher of medicine becomes a triumphant professor. He and his students advance toward medical culture with the certainty and the joy of knowing that the progress in health science is a foretaste of the full health that they will find for themselves and for their patients in the resurrected Christ.

It is obvious that this is incomprehensible for those who do not profess this faith. For a physician who does not have faith in Christ and in his Church, nothing here means anything, and rather it is something absurd which would appear to be for ignorant and mad people as it goes against the biological experimental knowledge which they believe to be the only one valid in medicine: "evidence-based medicine." However, here is another type of evidence, even stronger than laboratory evidence, the evidence of a faith based on an irrefutable fact which is reached for the same reason, but which arises from a free and firm decision of the will of each person. St Paul already said that the announcement of a crucified Messiah was offensive for the Jews and madness for the Gentiles, but it is much wiser than all human wisdom, and what may seem to be weakness in God, is stronger than all human strength (1 Corinthians 1:23-25).

In accordance with this profession of faith, what then should a Catholic professor of medicine be like? The answer is to teach how a physician should be who is not frustrated but rather who opens up health science and technology, the art of curing, toward the full victory over death in the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. A Catholic professor of medicine is one who teaches, signals, to their students, how to be a Catholic physician.

Below I propose a few lines which set out the figure of the Catholic physician and which can be used as a basis for a Catholic professor of medicine to signal to their students how to be a Catholic physician.

II. The Catholic physician

I take as the basis the Charter for Health Care Workers published by the Pontifical Council for the Health Pastoral Care, which in turn refers to the thought of God's Servant John Paul II in this respect and from the identity expressed by the Pope, and in it I try to put together a few ideas to interpret and discuss it.


The Catholic physician is described as follows in the Charter for Health Care Workers:

The Catholic physician's profession requires them to be a custodian and server of human life. They should do this through a watchful and solicitous presence with the sick. The medical and healthcare activity is based on an interpersonal relationship. It is an encounter between trust and conscience. The trust of a man marked by suffering and disease who trusts in another man who can take care of his need and who is going to go to him to assist him, care for him and heal him.

The patient is not just a clinical case, but rather a sick man toward whom the physician should adopt an attitude of sincere sympathy, suffering together with him, through personal participation in the specific situations of the individual patient. Sickness and suffering are phenomena which, when dealt with in depth, go beyond medicine and deal with the essence of the human condition in this world.

The physician who cares for them must be aware that the whole of humanity is involved, and that complete dedication is required. This is their mission, and is the fruit of a call or vocation that the physician hears, personified in the suffering and invoking face of the patient who trusts in their care. Here the physician's mission to give life is linked to the life of Christ, who came to give life and to give it in abundance (Jn 10,10). This life transcends the physical life, to reach the height of the Holy Trinity. It is the new and eternal life that consists of communion with the Father to whom every man is called freely in the Son, through the work of the Holy Spirit.

The physician is like the Good Samaritan who stops by the side of the sick man to become his neighbor, because of his understanding and sympathy, in short because of his charity. The physician thus shares the love of God as an instrument of diffusion and at the same time becomes infected with the love of God for man.

This is the therapeutic charity of Christ who went around doing good and healing all (Acts 10:38). At the same time, it is the charity toward Christ represented in each patient. It is he who is cured in each man or woman, "I was sick, and you looked after me," as the Lord will say in the Last Judgment (Matthew 25:31-40).

It thus results that the physicians' identity is the identity received from their therapeutic ministry, their ministry of life. They collaborate with God in the recovery of health in the sick person's body. The Church accepts the work of the physician as part of its ministry, as it considers the service to sick people to be an integral part of its mission. It knows that physical harm imprisons the spirit, and the evil of the spirit overpowers the body. Through their therapeutic ministry, physicians thus share in the pastoral and evangelizing action of the Church. The paths that they should take are those marked by the dignity of the human being and therefore by Moral law, especially when it is a question of practising their activity in the field of Biogenetics and Biotechnology. Bioethics will provide a channel for them, outlining their principles of action.[1]


A short summary of the Christian identity of the physician can be found in this position of the Pontifical Council for the Health Pastoral Care. As already mentioned, I will strive to reflect on this identity, paying particular attention to the fact that it is an identity received from a vocation and a mission which founds a very special ministry, the therapeutic ministry, the ministry of life, the ministry of health.

The Vocation and the Church

We can begin by referring to the meaning of a vocation in the Church. Etymologies often help to take us back to the original meaning of the words that we use frequently and which appear to be weakened through use. One of them is the word Church. There are two etymologies, the Greek and the Latin. Its Greek etymology takes us to the verb "ekkalein," to call. The Church, "ekklesia," would be the plural participle of the verb "ekkalein," and would mean those who have been called.

Looking from the Latin etymological perspective, the Church is the effect of the "Vocation." The "Vocation," etymologically speaking, is the nominalized Latin acceptance of the Latin verb "vocare," to call, (the same as "ekkalein") and would this mean the same calling which brings together those who have been called, that is which congregates them in the Church. The vocation thus makes the Church.

The only "Vocation" or fundamental calling is the one made by God with the Word with which he calls into existence everything that exists, and this calling, this primitive "vocation," is Christ, who is the Word of God through which everything that exists and each of us is called into existence (cf. Ephesians 1:3-10; Colossians 1:15-20). It is especially interesting to see that God's maximum way to call everything that exists, the maximum presence of Christ in the world, is through the Eucharist, as it is the memorial, the presence of Christ in the present of history (cf. Luke 22:19).

In this calling from God, we discover three essential moments which make it up and which we can summarize in three words: "BEING," "WITH," "FOR." We are thus called to be (to exist), with God, for others.

We can verify this in Christ's call to his apostles (Mark 3:14-15), and most especially his call to the Virgin Mary to be the Mother of God, the Messiah (Luke 1:26-38). But it is a paradigm that spreads throughout the history of Salvation.

We are going to use these three words of the Vocation as a guideline to reflect on the pontifical doctrine on the identity of the Catholic physician which we set out in the Charter of the Pontifical Council.

1. "BEING"

When we talk about "Being" in the vocation, we are talking about total existence. God speaks and everything begins to exist. Genesis says: "God said, Let there be light. And there was light ... (1:3). When God pronounces his Word, it is practical: he does what he says, and everything has its consistency, its beginning and its end, its totality, in it.

When we talk about true Catholic physicians, they are so because of a true vocation received from the same God from which they receive their whole existence, obviously without excluding the same physician's collaboration with the calling. How does God call the physician to the medical vocation, and of what does this vocation consist? Below we offer some characteristics of the " being" of this calling.

1.1. The profession

Firstly, we will say that God calls the physician for a profession which is not the same as for a trade. Historically, three professions are recognized, that of the priest, that of the physician and that of the ruler or judge. It should be noted that, as we said earlier, the profession is somewhat linked to the profession of the faith, is something religious. The profession is not strictly speaking something legal, as what is legal may or may not be carried out, or changed depending on the will of those who take on an obligation. On the contrary, the profession is an obligation and a responsibility which is contracted with God himself. It is a responsibility and responsibility originally meant the capacity to respond, and respond comes from the Greek "Spenden" which originally meant to offer a sacrifice of libation to God. Medical professional responsibility means a commitment (Commitment is "syngrafein" in Greek, which means to write together), which is written jointly by man and God.

This sacred nature of the medical profession led to the Hippocratic oath, which is the oath not to harm the patient, to always do good to them and to look after all stages of life, an oath which is not a promise made to the patient, but rather directly to God. In this context the physician's vocation is a vocation which is born from the love of God, and it is God that the physician follows in this profession, as extremely benevolent Good.[2]

1.2. The love of God in the physician

However, despite the sublime nature of this Hippocratic position, it is limited and defective. We were talking about the love of God, but this love, in accordance with the classical Greek mentality, the mentality of Socrates and Plato, which Hippocrates shared, is defective because it presupposes need and is never plenitude. Indeed, for classical Greek philosophy, God does not love. He is extremely benevolent, but he does not love, as love would mean a lack and God cannot lack anything. Love is only characteristic of the needy man interested in sating himself, not of God the All-perfect. In Greek mythology, love arises from Poros and Penia in Aphrodite's wedding. Poros represents expediency, need, and Penia, poverty; on bringing together need and poverty, love is born as self-interested desire.

This mentality is completely corrected by the divine Revelation: God himself is Love. This is the deepest definition of God. His love does not consist of him lacking something, but rather of the greatest circulation of his kindness, which is presented is such a way that God the Father loves the world that he created so much that, out of his love for it, he gives his one and only Son in death (John 3:16).

The Christian medical profession is therefore centered on love, but not on self-interested and poor, Hippocratic, love, but rather it imitates the perfect love of God and has its paradigm in the Good Samaritan, thus suffering together with the sick, pitying them and providing them with everything they need to cure them. The Good Samaritan is thus the example to be imitated by the Christian physician. The Good Samaritan is the figure of Christ who takes pity on the whole of sick and fallen humanity, and raises it up to deification. He is infinite love and is in both those who love and those who are loved. He is in both as plenitude. The Good Samaritan is thus the figure which identifies the physician who takes pity to such an extent on their patient that they do everything they can to return them to health, out of love of plenitude.[3]

Talking about the love that physicians must have for God and thus for their patients, Pope Pius XII talks to us about the commandments of the law of God in the sphere of medicine. He talks to us about the first commandment which is to love God above all else and about the second which is to love your neighbor like yourself, and the identity of physicians consists of this love when their relations with the patient are surrounded by humanity and understanding, gentleness and devotion.

The same Pope Pius XII complements the characteristics of the physician on referring to two other commandments in particular, the fifth, "you shall not murder" and the eighth, "you shall not give false testimony."[4]

1.3. Respect for and Defense of Life

The fifth commandment reminds us how the identity of the Christian physician means that, because of the love they are obliged to have for God and for their patient, they are totally obliged to defend life at any of its stages, but especially at the stages at which it feels the weakest, which are the initial and the terminal stages. Their personality is formed from a clear and absolute no to abortion and no to euthanasia. The whole meaning of human life is contained in the fifth commandment, as a gift given by God to be merely administered by man and by woman, and which should only have its origin in marriage.

1.4. Medical training

The eighth commandment, "you shall not give false testimony," tells us about the physician's clear commitment to the truth, both to the truth of disease and of health, and to the truth of medical science.[5]

The physician's identity comes from the training that they receive. However, if we look at what is occurring in many Faculties of Medicine, we can see that this training has many defects. Indeed, the curriculum of the medical degree has two essential parts. The first is the basic knowledge and the second is the knowledge that is obtained from the clinical science divided into disciplines or from a consideration of the different organs of the human body. It is obvious that these subjects should be taught, but at the same time it is noted that there is a bio-technical reductionism. On presenting the subjects, their anthropocentric value and the ethical, affective and existential values have been lost. The physician is seen from the requirements of the patient and the demands of an economicist health system with complete indifference for the violations of human rights, especially human life.

We often find as a paradigm of the current clinical applications a fragmentation and reduction of the patient to organs and biological or technological functions and to medicines. The intention is to obtain a command of fragmented specialized knowledge without the perspective of the whole, through knowledge and relational competence with other human fields outside medicine. The idea of health is proposed as a passive adaptation to pathogenic stimuli and to those of a bio-physical nature. The adaptation of the clinic is carried out with often exclusive reference to the requirements, even of an economic nature, of the national health system. A loss of the ethical values in medicine and the anonymity of the patients are observed. It is even seen that little value is given to the existential aspects of the medical profession, to the person of the patient, of the physician and of the nurse.

In the face of these problems of the medical "being" from the beginning of the training that is received, a series of methods has been conceived to make the teaching active, especially from the so-called PBL (Problem-Based Learning) and the teaching method oriented toward the community which sees the physician as a necessarily competent person on a relational and scientific level, inserted in a community reality, capable of collaborating with other health figures and of administering the resources available with continuing learning, always an advocate of the patient's health, capable of combining knowledge with medical practice, and therefore with continuing training.

This kind of medical training would offer a new understanding of health and of disease. It would deal with prevention and the handling of the disease in the context of the individuality of the patient complemented by their own family and society as a whole. It would thus develop a learning based more on curiosity and continuous investigation than on passive acquisitions. It would reduce the information load. It would encourage direct contact with the patients through a personalized analysis of their problems and of the whole of their curriculum.

A program should therefore be prepared which is based on the following principles: 1. Existence of a comprehensive and ultimate meaning of medical knowledge. 2. Definition of its epistemological orientation. 3. Definition of the values, the motivations, the psychological maturity, the quality of the objective knowledge and the methodological, relational and technical capacities, applied to the exercising of the profession. 4. Definition of the values, the motivations, the capacities and the quality of the training of the teachers. 5. Definition of the general and partial objectives of the training. 6. Definition of the teaching methods. These principles contain the epistemological knowledge of present-day medicine which considers health as a psycho-biological construction determined by the possibility and the quality of the person's resources and whose aim is to give a single response to the fundamental questions of human existence.[6]

1.5. Lifelong learning

The physician's identity is not shaped once and for all in their initial training, but rather is prolonged in their lifelong learning. It demands a very careful preparation of students of medicine, but at the same time requires the continuing and progressive preparation of the lecturers who teach any medical subject, a preparation that should never be lacking. The lecturers in particular have the responsibility to promote new physicians, and they will never achieve this if they are not sure of each student's capacity to carry out such a delicate mission.

The same eighth commandment obliges all physicians to keep professional secrecy and, as we have already mentioned, to have a sound medical culture which should be improved constantly through lifelong learning.[7]

2. "WITH"

We said that the second characteristic of the Christian vocation is expressed with the preposition "with," with God. That is to say that any vocation is to be with God our Lord, who prepares man to carry out a mission which, without his strength, it would be pointless to carry out. In the book of Exodus we can read what Moses says to God on mount Horeb: "Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt, and God said: I will be with you ..." (Exodus 3:12).

2.1. Revelation of Christ the physician

In this section we set out the deepest values that should shape the identity of the Catholic physician. The personality of the Christian physician is identified with the revelation of Christ the physician. Christ sent his apostles to cure all ailment and disease and said to them, I will be with you to the end of the age (Mark 16:17; Matthew 28:20). The physician performs the therapeutic ministry in this way, beside the apostles, as a continuation of the mission of Christ and with his revelation.

The whole breadth of this revelation should be understood. The physician should reveal the whole life of Christ, which is the presence of Christ in the physician. Because Christ cures all ailments and disease with all his action taken as a whole. The miracle cures that he performed, including the resurrection of the dead, were not definitive in his struggle against the evil that exists in humanity, against its ailments and death, but rather just a sign of the profound reality that entails his own death and resurrection.

2.2. Pain

He took all suffering, all ailments, all disease, without exception, and summarized them in his own death as the death of God who had become man, so that no pain would remain outside, and from his death he exploited death itself, he conquered it in the plenitude of his resurrection. One of the physician's main doubts is always the problem of pain. This question only has its answer here, when pain does not appear as something negative, but rather as a positivity which, it is true, ends in death, but in a death full of resurrection.

The physician should thus cure, revealing the death and the resurrection of Christ. An identification of the physician as such, as a healer, with Christ the healer, is necessary for this revelation. This identification is now carried out especially through the Eucharist and through the other sacraments. The sacraments are the historic presence of Christ in the present, at the specific moment that we are crossing in life.

2.3. Health

Consequently, the physician should realize that health is complexive and bodily health should not be talked about as something radically different from the complete health that we call eternal health or salvation. The physician's ministry is therefore an ecclesiastic ministry which is directed toward the salvation of man from his body, but which involves other aspects.

We thus describe health as a dynamic tension toward physical, mental, social and spiritual harmony and not just the absence of disease, which prepares men to carry out the mission with which God has entrusted them, in accordance with the stage of life at which they are.

The physician's mission is therefore to ensure that this dynamic tension toward complete harmony exists, as required at each stage of the life of this specific man who is their patient, so that they can carry out the mission with which God has entrusted them. Thus, the contradiction of reducing the medical function to the single physical and chemical aspect of the disease. This function is complete and moreover cannot be static, but rather should be inserted within the dynamism of the patients who tend toward their own harmony.

In this context, death is not a frustration for the physician, but rather a triumph, as they have accompanied their patient in such a way that they have been able to use their talents to the full at each stage of their life. When it has reached its end, the medical function ends, not with a cry of impotence, but rather with the satisfaction of a mission fulfilled, both by the patient and by the physician.

Thus, the physician truly is with Christ and their profession is identified in this communion with Christ, and then the physician joins together with our Father God like a son with his father, and their professional love becomes the action of the Love of God in himself, which is the Holy Spirit. A Christian physician is therefore one who is always guided by the Holy Spirit. From the Holy Spirit and with the Holy Spirit is all the sympathy that must exist between the physician and the patient, all the due humanization of medicine and all the demand for updating and lifelong learning, as the Love of the Holy Spirit makes the physician an essentially open person for the rest, as they are obliged to do so before God because of their profession of Faith represented by their medical profession. We thus succeed in outlining the third trait of the medical identity, being for others, is the "FOR" of their vocation and of their professional identity.

3. "FOR"

When God chose Moses, it is very clear that he did so to remove his people from the power of the Egyptians. God says, "I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians" (Exodus 3:8).

Physicians cannot withdraw into themselves. They cannot simply think that they already have enough money, that they do not need to work any more, and that therefore they will now leave their profession. A true physician is a physician for life. If they have truly received this vocation, they will have it for ever and they must practice it for humanity as a mission specifically received for the good of all, and for which they must account to God when He says to them, "I was sick, and you looked after me" (Matthew 25:36,43).

3.1. Openness to the patient

We said that love of the medical profession imitates the love of God which is disseminated. Physicians cannot hide their knowledge in pure theories and laboratories, but rather should expand them in favor of the community. They have received the gift of taking care of life and making it grow. Their vocation is for life, never for death, which would be to blind the mission with which God has entrusted each human being. According to Pope John Paul II, nowadays the religious ministry is connected to the therapeutic ministry of physicians in the affirmation of human life and of all those specific contingencies in which life itself can be endangered by deliberate human will. Their deepest identity involves being ministers of life and never instruments of death. This is the most intimate nature of their noble profession. They are called to humanize medicine and the places where they practice it, and to use the most advanced technologies for life and not for death, always having Christ, the physician of bodies and of souls, as their supreme model.[8]

According to Pope Pius XII, Catholic physicians should place their knowledge, their strengths, their heart and their devotion at the disposal of the sick. They should understand that they and their patients are subject to the will of God. Medicine is a reflection of the goodness of God. They should help the sick to accept their illness, and they should make sure they are not dazzled by technology and use the gifts that God has given them and not give in to the pressure to assaults on life. They should remain firm in the face of the temptations of materialism.[9]

The good physician must therefore have dianoetic virtues and skills and convert them into virtuosity, that is to say into a habit, so that both the virtues of theoretical science and those of practice come together in them as if they were second nature.[10]

3.2. Fundamental qualities of the physician

The fundamental qualities of the physician have thus been classified under 5 sections: Awareness of responsibility, humbleness, respect, love and truthfulness. Awareness of responsibility leads them to work with the patient and be aware that it is the physician who gives the direction. Humbleness tells them that physicians look after their patients and not the opposite. Humbleness makes them see themselves as indebted to the patient. Physicians cannot talk about "their" patients, but rather the patients will talk about "their" physician. Physicians should receive their patients as written on the lintel of an old German hospital: "recipere quasi Christum"; they should receive their patients as if they were Christ himself.

Respect and love for the patient, about which we have already spoken, are the basis for their humbleness. They know that they have received a mission for which they do not have the necessary strength, but rather they receive it from the person who sends it for this reason. Truthfulness entails being aware of the great trust that the patient places in them on revealing their personal matters. Truthfulness is required in the diagnosis and in the therapy, not just on the bodily but also on the complete, mental, social, psychic, spiritual level. They should never experiment on the patient if this involves a danger disproportionate to the good that they intend to do. This must be absolutely necessary and the patient must agree to it. They should notify the patient of the development of their illness, tell them the truth about their condition in the most appropriate way and at the most appropriate time possible. They should complement their action with the action of the priest as both missions, that of the priest and that of the physician, are closely connected.[11]

3.3. Portrait of the physician

The "Portrait of the perfect physician," described by Enrique Jorge Enriquez in 16th century Spain in the flowery language of the time, is still current: "The physician should be fearful of the Lord and very humble, and not haughty and arrogant, and be charitable to the poor, meek, kind, affable and not vengeful. They should maintain secrecy, should not be talkative or gossipy, flattering or envious. They should be prudent, restrained, not be too audacious … should be distinguished and given to honesty and reserved. They should work on their skill and flee from idleness. They should be a well-read physician and should know how to give information about everything."[12]

Nowadays, we would talk about medical excellence. This would be what Aristotle called the "Teleios iatrós" (perfect physician), or Galen called "Aristós iatrós" (best physician).

3.4. Morality and Law

Initially we said that the medical profession is something that goes beyond the Law and is positioned in the framework of Morality, and this is true, but this does not mean that we can do without medical Law. Medical Law without adequate morality would be arbitrariness based on shameful interests. Morality without medical Law would just be general principles without direct application. The rules of medical Law must be sufficiently clear and brief to aid the physician's action. The leading principle is always the same: the physician's purpose is to help and to heal, not to do harm or to kill.

It is worth mentioning in particular the field of Ethics, the field of Morality, in which the physician must be competent, but in which so often they are not specialists. Bioethical committees are therefore required in each health centre, and should also be created in the teaching centers, in open dialogue with the specialists in the different subjects taught.

Physicians are thus trained to bear witness to God in all the medical, trade union and political environments, etc. They can even be valid bearers of ecumenical dialogue and dialogue with other religions, as sickness does not know religious barriers. The physician will thus actively belong to the Church as an individual person and as a group.[13]

3.5. Teamwork

In order to carry out such a demanding mission, physicians cannot stay enclosed in their own individuality, but rather should first open up to other physicians and be sufficiently humble to work in collaboration and as a team, both on strictly physiological matters, and especially on those relational matters connected to fields of which they do not necessarily have a command and which to a certain extent are outside their competence, namely sociological, anthropological and political aspects, and those from technical fields beyond their profession, namely everything connected to the strictly computing field.

In a certain way, within this opening-up, in the Spanish field of medicine what two authors call the decalogue of the new physician is designed. They express it like this: 1. Multidisciplinary teamwork with a single person ultimately responsible. 2. The more scientific the professional, the better. 3. The human aspects will be strengthened in professional practice. 4. Action will be adapted to agreed scientific diagnostic and therapeutic protocols. 5. They will be aware of the expense. In addition to the protocols, they will use guides to good practice. 6. They shall aid coexistence and solidarity with work colleagues and with the patients. 7. They shall think that all healthcare acts can involve a preventive action, and even a promotion of health. 8. They shall bear in mind at all times the need to care for the satisfaction of the user of the service. 9. The Patient Service Units will be strengthened, circulating the complaints and suggestions which arise among the people affected. Frequent opinion surveys will be held. 10. It will be essential to apply ethical principles to the professional activities.[14]


Being a Catholic physician is a ministry which arises from a vocation in the Church. It is a therapeutic ministry. It is closely linked to God our Father, revealed in Christ the physician, full of the Love which is the Holy Spirit. Being a physician is a path to achieve the plenitude of the human being, to initiate the resurrection already. It involves proximity and a special intimacy with God, and at the same time represents an opening-up and a complete gift to others. This is the Catholic identity of the physician, to reveal Christ the healer.

Being a Catholic professor of medicine is to have far-reaching sight to be able to see the resurrection in death. It is not just this, though. It is the ability to sense a harmonious tension in health which leads to plenitude, in accordance with the different stages of the life of people. And it is to feel in medical science, technology and skills the all-powerful force of God who resurrects his Son Jesus Christ and who already gives us a foretaste of the resurrection in medical progress. Being a Catholic professor of medicine is to teach the Love with which the Holy Spirit delivers Jesus Christ on the cross to the Father, who with his loving strength brings him back to life. Being a Catholic professor of medicine is to teach the physician to be the loving caress of God who looks after his children in sickness and in death, making their condition more bearable for them and opening up for them a complete expectation of health which will not now be tension toward harmony, but rather the total harmony of love. Being a Catholic professor of medicine is to teach the physician to be the revelation of Christ the healer.

Vatican City, 15 April, 2007.

+ Javier Card. Lozano Barragán
President, Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry

--- --- ---

[1] Cf. Pontifical Council for the Health Pastoral Care, Charter for Health Care Workers, Vatican City, May 1995, 1-7.

[2] Cf. Gracia Diego, "El Juramento de Hipócrates en el desarrollo de la medicina," Dolentium Hominum, 31, 1996, 12-14.

[3] Cf. Capelletti Vincenzo, "Donde hay amor por el arte médico hay amor por el hombre," Dolentium Hominum, 31, 1996, 22-28.

[4] Cf. Pius XII, "Discorsi ai medici," Orizonti Medici , Rome (1959), 46-54.

[5] Cf. Pius XII, "Discorsi ai medici," Orizonti Medici , Rome (1959), 46-54.

[6] Brera Giuseppe Rodolfo, "La formazione dei medici del terzo Millennio. La scuola medica come scuola di uomini e di umanità." Conferenza inaugurale dell'anno accademico 1998-1999. Università Ambrosiana di Milano, inaugurazione della scuola di Medicina.

[7] Cf. Pius XII, "Discorso ai medici...," op. cit .

[8] Cf. John Paul II, in the XV Congresso dei Medici Cattolici, AMCI, "Cinquent'anni di vita per la vita," Orizonti Medici (1994), 105-114.

[9] Cf. Pius XII, Radio Messaggio al VII Congresso Internazionale dei Medici Cattolici (11.09.1956), "Discorso ai medici," 503.

[10] Cf. Gracia Diego, "El Juramento de Hipócrates...," 12-14.

[11] Cf. Martini P., "Arzt und Seelsorge," in LTK (1).

[12] Cited by Gracia Diego, "El Juramento de Hipócrates...," op. cit., 26.

[13] Cf. Leone Salvino, Orizonte Medico, 6, Nov-Dec.1996 , 10-11.

[14] Asenjo Miguel Angel-Trilla A., "Necesidad de nuevos profesionales para las nuevas situaciones sanitarias," Todo Hospital, 149, Sept.1988, 497-499.

[Text adapted]

Joseph Ratzinger's Primer on Ecclesiology


Joseph Ratzinger's Primer on Ecclesiology

Interview With Ave Maria University's Father Matthew Lamb
Part 1

NAPLES, Florida, 23 JUNE 2005 (ZENIT)

When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger released his book "Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today," he called it a primer of Catholic ecclesiology.

In it, the future Benedict XVI outlined the origin and essence of the Church, the role of the papacy and the primacy of Peter, and the Body of Christ's unity and "communio."

Father Matthew Lamb, director of the graduate school of theology and professor of theology at Ave Maria University, shared with ZENIT an overview of some of those themes as they appear in Cardinal Ratzinger's book.

Part 2 of this interview will appear Friday.

Q: What is Cardinal Ratzinger's understanding of the origin and essence of the Church, as outlined in his book?

Father Lamb: Reading "Called to Communion" is a feast for mind and heart.

At the time of its release, Cardinal Ratzinger called it a "primer of Catholic ecclesiology." As with his other theological writings, this book beautifully recovers for our time the great Catholic tradition of wisdom, of attunement to the "whole" of the Triune God's creative and redemptive presence.

"Catholic" means living out of the "whole" of this divine presence. Such a sapiential approach shows how the New Covenant draws upon and fulfills the covenant with Israel. Israel was chosen and led out of Egypt in order to worship the true and only God and thus witness to all the nations.

In his preaching, teaching and actions, Jesus Christ fulfilled the messianic promises. At the last supper Our Lord initiated the New Covenant in his most sacred body and blood. Ratzinger wrote in "Called to Communion": "Jesus announces the collapse of the old ritual and ... promises a new, higher worship whose center will be his own glorified body."

Jesus announces the eternal Kingdom of God as "the present action of God" in his own divine person incarnate. As the Father sends Jesus Christ, so Jesus in turn sends his apostles and disciples.

The origin of the Church is Jesus Christ who sends the Church forth as the Father sent him. The Apostles and disciples, with their successors down the ages, form the Church as the "ecclesia," the gathering of the "people of God."

Drawing upon his own doctoral dissertation on the Church in the theology of St. Augustine, Ratzinger shows that the people of God are what St. Paul calls the "body of Christ." The essence of the Church is the people of God as the Body of Christ, head and members united by the Holy Spirit in visible communion with the successors of the Apostles, united with the Pope as successor to Peter.

The Church continues down the ages the visible and invisible missions of the Son and the Holy Spirit through preaching and teaching, the sanctifying sacraments and the unifying governance of her communion with the successor of Peter.

Q: In "Called to Communion," what were his thoughts on the role of the Pope in the Church?

Father Lamb: "You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church ... I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven." In Matthew 16:17-19, these true words of the Lord Jesus transcend confessional polemics. From them Ratzinger brings out the role of the Pope.

Reflecting on the commission given to Peter he sees that he is commissioned to forgive sins. As he writes in "Called to Communion," it is a commission to dispense "the grace of forgiveness. It constitutes the Church. The Church is founded upon forgiveness. Peter himself is the personal embodiment of this truth, for he is permitted to be the bearer of the keys after having stumbled, confessed and received the grace of pardon."

Q: What did Cardinal Ratzinger note about the primacy of Peter and the unity of the Church?

Father Lamb: He first shows the mission of Peter in the whole of the New Testament tradition. The essence of apostleship is witnessing to the resurrection of Jesus. Ratzinger shows the primacy of Peter in this role, as attested by St. Paul who, even when confronting St. Peter, acknowledges him in First Corinthians 15:5 as "Cephas" — the Aramaic word for "rock" — in his witness to the risen Lord.

As such he is the guarantor of the one common Gospel. All the synoptic Gospels agree in giving Peter the primacy in their lists of apostles. The mission of Peter is above all to embody the unity of the apostles in their witness to the risen Lord and the mission he entrusted to them.

As Ratzinger states in "Called to Communion," later the sees or bishoprics identified with apostles become pre-eminent and, as Irenaeus testifies in the second century, these sees are to acknowledge the decisive criterion exercised by "the Church of Rome, where Peter and Paul suffered martyrdom. It was with this Church that every community had to agree; Rome was the standard of the authentic apostolic tradition as a whole."

Q: How does the papacy facilitate communion or "communio" in the Church?

Father Lamb: The papacy facilitates "communio" precisely by witnessing to the transcendent reality of the risen Lord. This was evident in the first successors to Peter. Like him, they witnessed to the commission Peter received — many early popes were martyred.

The keys of the Kingdom are the words of forgiveness only God can truly empower. The papacy promotes communion by fidelity to the truth of the gospel and the redemptive sacramental mission of forgiveness. In "Called to Communion" Ratzinger writes: "By his death Jesus has rolled the stone over the mouth of death, which is the power of hell, so that from his death the power of forgiveness flows without cease."

Later Ratzinger returns to this theme of the need of the apostles and their successors for forgiveness as they are given a mission only the Triune God could fulfill.

His words in "Called to Communion," then, find an echo after he was elected Benedict XVI: "The men in question" — the apostles — "are so glaringly, so blatantly unequal to this function" — of being rock solid in their faith and practice — "that the very empowerment of man to be the rock makes evident how little it is they who sustain the Church but God alone who does so, who does so more in spite of men than through them."

Only through such forgiveness in total fidelity to Jesus Christ and under the guidance of the Holy Spirit will full communion in the Body of Christ come about. Ratzinger's "Eucharistic ecclesiology" follows the Fathers of Church in uniting the vertical dimension of the risen body and blood, soul and divinity of Christ in the Eucharist with the horizontal dimension of the gathering of the followers of Christ.

"The Fathers summed up these two aspects — Eucharist and gathering — in the word 'communio,' which is once more returning to favor today," Ratzinger wrote. ZE05062321


Interview With Ave Maria University's Father Matthew Lamb

Part 2

NAPLES, Florida, 24 JUNE 2005 (ZENIT)

Benedict XVI sees the teachings of the Second Vatican Council as a compass for Catholicism in the third millennium, says an American theologian.

Father Matthew Lamb, director of the graduate school of theology at Ave Maria University, shared with ZENIT highlights from the then Joseph Ratzinger's book "Called to Communion: Understanding the Church Today" and his first statement as Pope.

Part 1 of this interview appeared Thursday.

Q: In his first statement, Pope Benedict said he wanted to pursue the commitment to enact the Second Vatican Council. What does that mean?

Father Lamb: It means that he is fully committed to follow his predecessors in enacting the teachings of Vatican II. He sees the Council as a "compass" with which to embark on the third millennium of Catholicism. We do not need another Council — the Church is still drawing upon the riches of Vatican II.

He also indicates how this enactment is truly "Catholic," or according to the "whole." For such an enacting can only occur "in faithful continuity with the two- thousand-year tradition of the Church." Only in communion with the whole Church as the body of Christ down the ages "do we encounter the real Christ."

Cardinal Ratzinger vigorously counteracted those theologians and others who misread Vatican II as a break from the Church's past. Unable to ground such misreading in the texts of the Council itself, they often resorted to such terms as the "spirit" or "style" of the Council. The Pope pledges that he will follow his predecessors in promoting the genuine renewal of the Council within the whole of the Catholic tradition.

Q: In the same statement, Pope Benedict struck a cord of collegiality. What is his understanding of the papacy and the role collegiality plays in it?

Father Lamb: The relation between the pope and the college of bishops is the continuation of the primacy of Peter among the Twelve Apostles.

As he stated: "As Peter and the other apostles were, through the will of the Lord, one apostolic college, in the same way the Successor of Peter and the bishops, successors of the apostles — and the Council forcefully repeated this — must be closely united among themselves."

This unity and collegiality is, as the Pope remarks, "concerned solely with proclaiming to the world the living presence of Christ." This first statement of the Holy Father illustrates how his theology is born from his own profound friendship with Jesus Christ in his total dedication to the mission Jesus entrusted to his Church.

Q: What did Cardinal Ratzinger outline as the nature of bishop and priest in his book "Called to Communion"?

Father Lamb: The Eucharist and the other sacraments are not something any human person by his own powers can do truthfully. The Word Incarnate in Christ Jesus is the only one who can truthfully speak "This is my body" or "Your sins are forgiven." Only because Jesus sent forth his apostles as he was sent by the Father do we have a Church with her sacraments.

The Church as Eucharistic can only be found in communion with the bishops as successors of the apostles. Gathered around the altar, the Church is Eucharist. It is always both local and universal, just as it unites the vertical and horizontal.

Cardinal Ratzinger has emphasized that the universality of the Church was present in Jesus Christ as the Word Incarnate. The Church is Eucharist — each local community celebrating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass is taken up within the whole Christ embracing all of the faithful throughout all time. At Mass we invoke the heavenly hosts as well as Our Lady and all the saints, as well as praying for the dead.

No local community on its own can give itself a bishop, any more than it is simply a celebration of itself cut off from the whole Catholic Church. The consecration of bishops make evident how they are in communion with the successor of Peter and receive their mission from the Lord himself mediated down the ages in communion with the apostles themselves who were called by Jesus.

Benedict XVI referred to this in his beautiful first statement as Pope reflecting on his being called to be a successor of Peter: "We have been thinking in these hours about what happened in Caesarea of Philippi 2000 year ago: 'You are Christ the Son of the living God,' and the solemn affirmation of the Lord: 'You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church ... I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven.'"

Like the Holy Father, each bishop is entrusted with the mission of fostering the unity and the catholicity of the Church entrusted to his care. Without unity, as Ratzinger observes, there would be no true holiness, for this demands the gifted love that is the bond of unity.

The bishop must cultivate an ever-deepening union with Christ — like the apostles he must be "Christ's contemporary" — for otherwise he would only be an ecclesiastical functionary.

Similarly, ordained priests share in the mission of the bishops just as chosen disciples shared in the mission of the apostles. As genuine apostolic activity is not the product of their own capabilities, so it is with ordained bishops and priests.

It is Christ speaking and acting through them as his instruments when they teach true doctrine, celebrate the sacraments, and govern properly. They can call "nothing" their own. It is all Christ's presence and action, just as all he had is from the Father in the Holy Spirit.

Cardinal Ratzinger sums this up well in "Called to Communion": "This is precisely what we mean when we call the ordination of priests a sacrament: ordination is not about the development of one's own powers and gifts. It is not the appointment of a man as a functionary because he is especially good at it, or because it suits him, or simply because it strikes him as a good way to earn his bread. ...

"Sacrament means: I give what I myself cannot give; I do something that is not my work; I am on a mission and have become a bearer of that which another has committed to my charge."

As with the bishop, so the "foundation of priestly ministry is a deep personal bond to Jesus Christ."