Ubi Caritas — Duruflé

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"Christianity is not an intellectual system, a collection of dogmas, or a moralism. Christianity is instead an encounter, a love story; it is an event."

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

"In 1969, in his extensive commentary on the notion of human dignity in Gaudium et spes, Cardinal Ratzinger described as nothing more than a ‘fiction’ the notion that it is ‘possible to construct a rational philosophical picture of man intelligible to all and on which all men of goodwill can agree, the actual Christian doctrines being added to this as a sort of crowning conclusion.’ While at that time such criticisms sounded like an off-key performance, much contemporary natural law thinking actually begins with the anthropological foundations set down in paragraph 22 of Gaudium et spes, the explicitly christocentric section preferred by Wojtyla and Ratzinger, which renders the Christian doctrine foundational rather than a ‘crowning conclusion.’ For Ratzinger, and many contemporary Catholic moral theologians, natural law presupposes a trinitarian Creator God. The idea that a theologically neutral or merely theistically colored account of human nature and its dignity could provide an adequate foundation for its defense, is being explicitly rejected. Cardinal Angelo Scola has argued that a culture that does not accept the revelation of the trinitarian God ultimately renders itself incapable of understanding sexual difference in a positive sense. In other words, the Church cannot ultimately defend her teaching on such subjects as marriage and the reservation of the priesthood to those of the male sex without recourse to trinitarian anthropology. This need not mean, of course, that reason can tell us nothing about human nature; it means, rather, that what reason can tell us is intrinsically open to, and finds its fulfillment in, the revelation of the triune God. The problem is not the idea of a stable, God-created nature; the problem is the de-theologizing construal of that stability as neutral to the Creator."

Tracey Rowland, “Natural Law: From Neo-Thomism to Nuptial Mysticism

"Don’t let yourself forget that God’s grace rewards not only those who never slip, but also those who bend and fall. So sing! The song of rejoicing softens hard hearts. It makes tears of godly sorrow flow from them. Singing summons the Holy Spirit. Happy praises offered in simplicity and love lead the faithful to complete harmony, without discord. Don’t stop singing."

Hildegard of Bingen (1098-1179)

(Source: simply-divine-creation, via lawrenceop)

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In Dante, freedom is liberation from compulsion to do what we know is wrong, and replacing them with the desire to do what is right. I think the problem here is with the word “compulsion,” which ordinarily implies an irresistible feeling spurring one to action that one might not choose. Dante would say that our freedom consists of a voluntarily given perfect obedience to the will of God — which, to one determined to worship one’s Self, not God, seems like slavery.

But you gotta serve somebody. Either you will be a slave to God, a slave to yourself, or a slave to someone, or something, else. I don’t think there’s actually that much difference between Dante and Dessler. The Israelites are, as Brooks says, moving away from slavery to Pharaoh, but they are moving toward slavery, of a sort, to God. But it is a servitude that liberates, and in any case a servitude they are always free to refuse — but they must suffer consequences if so. And as the Hebrew Bible teaches us, they do.


Rod Dreher, AmCon

"The dominance of the liberal reading of ‘Gaudium et Spes’ among Catholic scholars notwithstanding, a significant convergence is emerging between the critiques of modernity and post-modernity in the works of the predominantly Anglican Radical Orthodoxy scholars and those to be found in the publications of the Catholic ‘Communio’ scholars."

Tracey Rowland
“Ratzinger’s Faith”

"In any event, my last remark is only this: reunion of the Orthodox and Roman Churches has become an imperative, and time is growing short. I say this because I often suffer from bleak premonitions of the ultimate cultural triumph in the West of a consumerism so devoid of transcendent values as to be, inevitably, nothing but a pervasive and pitiless nihilism. And it is, I think, a particularly soothing and saccharine nihilism, possessing a singular power for absorbing the native energies of the civilization it is displacing without prompting any extravagant alarm at its vacuous barbarisms. And I suspect that the only tools at Christianity’s disposal, as it confronts the rapid and seemingly inexorable advance of this nihilism, will be evangelical zeal and internal unity. I like to think—call it the Sophiologist in me—that the tribulations that Eastern Christianity has suffered under Islamic and communist rule have insulated it from some of the more corrosive pathologies of modernity for a purpose, and endowed it with a special mission to bring its liturgical, intellectual, and spiritual strengths to the aid of the Western Christian world in its struggle with the nihilism that the post-Christian West has long incubated and that now surrounds us all, while yet drawing on the strengths and charisms of the Western church to preserve Orthodoxy from the political and cultural frailty that still afflicts Eastern Christianity."

THE MYTH OF SCHISM by David Bentley Hart


(via pegobry)

(via pegobry)

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"When natural law is marketed as universally reasonable without any accompanying theological baggage, it can begin to sound, in Russell Hittinger’s memorable phrase, like ‘a doctrine for Cartesian minds somehow under Church discipline.’ It was perhaps for such reasons that Cardinal Ratzinger, as he was, described natural law as a ‘blunt instrument’ in dialogues with secular society. This was not because he personally rejects belief in natural law, but because he believes that it presupposes a concept of nature in which nature and reason overlap, a view which he further claims was ‘capsized’ with the arrival of the theory of evolution. Without a foundational belief in a divinely created cosmos, the doctrine falls on incredulous ears. It lacks persuasive force."

Tracey Rowland
Natural Law: From Neo-Thomism to Nuptial Mysticism

Eat your heart out, DBH!