Friday, November 16, 2018

Sandro Magister: Synodality Up in Smoke. Exercises of Pontifical Monarchy in the United States and China

A Coup? Sounds like Fake News.

Rorate Caeli: De Mattei: The “Viganò case” and the “impasse” of Pope Francis

The Institution Is the Problem

Because it does not live like a community with mutual responsibility and accountability among its members.

The Smoke of Satan provides clear, concise analysis of the episcopal crisis by Gregory J. Sullivan
Philip Lawler ably depicts the tumult that has brought us to this point and he provides a larger context for the collapse of episcopal authority.

What Are Legitimate Responses to Transgressions of the Limits of Authority?

Or if there is no legitimate authority to begin with? This essay does not address those questions.

Church Life: Why Is Christian Citizenship a Paradox? by Émilie Tardivel-Schick

Youth Ministry?

Church Life: Discipleship Isn’t as Exciting as Youth Ministry Makes It Seem by Timothy O'Malley

My adaptation of Fr. Giussani’s method of education involves three dimensions: provocation, hypothesis, and verification. This method of catechesis depends on the authority of a teacher who knows his or her students, who is capable of serving as an authentic source of authority and love. It is an approach that is long-term, requiring the building of a relationship over years.

The first dimension of this method is provocation. Provocation is not equivalent to getting someone’s attention. Too often, the large events discussed above, get someone’s attention. They provoke an experience of social solidarity that is unparalleled. But the “event” fails to provoke additional questions—it stands as an experience apart from life.

Giussani’s understanding of provocation is different. The human being has been made to ask ultimate questions. What is the meaning of life? What is love? What is authentic friendship? For Giussani, each human being has this religious sense, this orientation to the ultimate that sin has not destroyed.

But, the human person also has been taught to not ask such questions. We embrace ideologies that make it impossible to wonder, to ask questions that matter. We do not ask about the meaning of life, about the nature of love, or what constitutes real friendship. Instead, we simply live our day-to-day lives, a kind of practical atheism whereby only the visible and tangible matter.

The goal of provocation is to reawaken the young person to asking questions. A good teacher provokes not through emotional manipulation but daring to ask the ultimate questions to the student. Students want to talk about the nature of love. They want to discuss friendship. They want to be provoked.

Big events can be aids to provocation. They may allow the student to enter into the kind of liminal space where they do ask the big questions. But, it is not the “event” that is the telos of such formation. It is the moment of provocation, the moment in which the student asks, “What is the meaning of life?”

Christian provocation has two key dimensions. First, provocation is always grounded in the scriptures. It is Jesus Christ who is the answer to the human heart’s deepest longings. It is the God-man, fully human and fully divine, who provokes in us the ultimate question: What does it mean to be human, now that God has dwelt among us? A “big event” approach to ministry cannot attend to the one-on-one conversations that are necessary for good provocation.

Second, provocation emphasizes beauty, silence, and contemplation. Provocation is an inward awakening, for every person has to ask the ultimate questions on his or her own. Too often, big events in ministry overwhelm the young Christian, functioning almost as a saturated phenomenon, taking away all capacity for wonder. We need to allow space for the young person to work on his or her inner life, to encounter the ultimate questions that are always present in the human heart, if only we listened. Who am I? What is my destiny? Learning to attend to these questions is not simply a task of the young adult but an essential task of Christian maturity.