Friday, May 08, 2020

Fr. David Anderson: The Sunday Experience of the Resurrection

One of Fr. David's wishes is to write a book on write book on Paschaltime. May God bring it to fruition!

How is our Lord breathing upon the apostles (John 20:22-24) different from what happened at Pentecost? Was this gift of the Holy Spirit a kind of ordination, to give them the power to do the acts necessary to minister to Christians before Pentecost, a prefiguration of the gift of the Holy Spirit to the Church Universal?

As for Fr. David's memories of Sunday Mass: in the Latin ecclesial tradition (justified by texts in the Roman rite?) is the exclusive or almost-exclusive identification of the Eucharist with the "sacrifice of our Lord on the Cross a possible reason why Sunday doesn't feel like a ceelbration of the Resurrection? Maybe Mass wouldfeel more like a mini-Good Friday if anything. In contrast, the Byzantine rite is more holistic in how it understands the sarifice of our Lord, looking at the entirety of His life, both here on earth and after His ascension.

Russell Hittinger on the Compendium of Catholic Social Doctrine

From Pecknold's essay:

Hittinger’s critical analysis comes to a head when he discusses the Compendium’s treatment of the common good. He notes that the older metaphysical definition of the common good—that which belonged to the common philosophical infrastructure of Leo XIII and Pius XI—had given way in the Catechism to a weaker definition lifted from Vatican II’s Gaudium et Spes, which suggested that the common good was concerned with “the sum total of social conditions.” But the compilers of the Compendium are aware that this “sum total” account differs from the older and more precise definition of the metaphysical primacy of the common good. So what do they do? As Hittinger observes, they don’t try to reconcile them, they just “juxtapose” them, like this: 

a. The common good indicates “the sum total of social conditions which allow people, either as groups or as individuals, to reach their fulfilment more fully and more easily.”

b. The common good does not consist in the simple sum of the particular goods of each subject of a social entity. Belonging to everyone and to each person, it is and remains “common”, because it is indivisible.
Hittinger thinks that the authors of the Compendium juxtapose these two passages without reconciling them because they don’t know how to do so. They are actually perpetuating the problem that John Paul II was trying to solve. The juxtaposition is not only lazy, but dangerous—in such juxtapositions, usually the weaker, less binding of the formulas wins out. This loss of philosophical coherence leads to a loss of moral authority, ecclesial unity, and evangelical witness.
Hittinger observes that “at best these are equivocations about what the common good means.” What was needed was not a mere juxtaposition, but a synthesis that strengthens rather than weakens principles. Hittinger even suggests an elegant way the Compendium authors could have done so. Rather than let a thousand principles bloom, they could have clarified that the first “broadly accepted sense” of the common good is not an aggregate definition at all but simply concerns “social conditions,” whereas the second is a definition of the common good in the strict and stronger sense. If they had done the work that John Paul II had asked for, Hittinger reckons, they would have secured the tradition instead of exchanging it “for a mess of pottage.”

Httinger is correct, and it should be noted that the Compendium was released with Rome's authority.

C.C. Pecknold on R. Hittinger and RCST

First Things: Defend Us From Ideology by C. C. Pecknold

Yet Hittinger sees “warning signs” beginning with Pope Pius XII. Pius was well-schooled in the same philosophical infrastructure, yet issued no social encyclicals from 1940 until his death in 1958. Pope John XXIII began writing social encyclicals again, but no longer “to all bishops,” as was the Leonine custom. Rather, he addressed them “to all men of good will.” This shift of address drastically changed the scope and coherence of social doctrine, since it no longer assumed the shared philosophical infrastructure and distinctions that had been essential to the tradition.

Should a bishop be preaching moral theology to non-believers or Christ instead?

Does Rome have the authority to promulgate principles of moral theology, other than precepts of the Divine Law, as definitive? By what competence? Rome can only affirm that such principles (and conclusions of moral theology) are free from heresy but Rome cannot guarantee that their formulation is true or sound as they stand, at least not with the authority of the pope as defined so far. Not only that, but the Compendium does not include an exhaustive list of the precepts of Divine Law regarding political communities and political life.
Some might take this as a counsel of despair, but I take Hittinger to be issuing an invigorating challenge. If we want to guard ourselves against ideology and corruptions of our traditions, we need to strengthen principles through coherent philosophical definition and reflection. Hittinger concludes, “it is not only rigid thinking that’s vulnerable to ideology, but also weak thinking is vulnerable to ideology.” 

This is true for the political common good as well as the ecclesial common good. Skepticism that eschews a strong, coherent public philosophy will not help us. Only a philosophically coherent account of the American common good will save us from our descent into ideological incoherence.

Preaching the "common good" never transformed a tyranny to a just regime. While we need to critically examine the principles of RCST, I do not think that Latins will have the courage to take such an examination that far, as it may run contrary to accepted beliefs about the state and other beliefs taken from liberalism, egalitarianism, and other political ideologies.

Fr. Stephen Brock Has a New Book