Thursday, July 18, 2013

John Cavidini reviews George Weigel's Evangelical Catholicism: Church as Sacrament

Is Cavidini making too much of Weigel's use of friendship?
For example: “Evangelical Catholics know that friendship with the Lord Jesus and the communion that arises from that friendship is an anticipation of the City of God in the city of this world.” Despite the echo of Augustinian language, the theological syntax is foreign to the ­Augustine of the City of God and to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which invokes his ecclesiology of the totus Christus. The communion of the Church does not arise from personal friendship with the Lord Jesus, but from Christ’s undeserved, atoning love which, mediated by the sacraments, makes the Church. The Church is the bond of communion, whether it is consciously known in a subjective friendship or not.

Do Protestant Evangelicals talk about friendship with Christ? Or a personal relationship? Friendship with God can also be a way of understanding caritas (Aquinas's definition, after all) - which is itself a gift of God and the Church can be understood as the social dimension of caritas.
It is significant that Weigel claims Dei Verbum, not Lumen Gentium, is “the key Vatican II document for the deep reform of the Catholic Church.”He never mentions the doctrine, prominent in Lumen Gentium and emphatically repeated in the Catechism, that the Church is the sacrament of communion with God and of unity among human beings.

I don't plan on reading Weigel's book in the near future; but what if his "friendship" with Christ is equivalent to "communion"? What is the relationship of the Church to this? Does Christ save individuals as individuals? Or as members of a new people? It could be that Weigel is not sufficiently precise in his writing and that the book is as problematic as Cavidini suggests.

John Burger on Orientale Lumen

CWR: Grassroots Ecumenism of Friendship Keeps Orthodox-Catholic Hopes Alive by John Burger
Orientale Lumen Conferences Boost Participants’ Knowledge of Issues, Forge Ties

Pope in a Minefield by Tim Kelleher

Ancient Faith Radio: Searching for the Sacred Symposium (mp3)