Amidst the chatter and gossip that often pass for substantive ecclesiastical discourse are occasional utterances by the pope or by the magisterium that go unnoticed. In early January, Pope Francis delivered an address at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile on the topic of university education. While the speech spotlighted the peculiarities of the Chilean
Volume 79 Number 2
Evolution raises problems for some Christian beliefs, such as the character of God’s creating act, whether God intervenes in nature’s consistency, God’s purpose in the light of nature’s randomness, and whether we can refer to anything specific God does in history. This article addresses these issues first with some abstract conceptions of God, and then with considerations of the nature of God creating, the immanence and transcendence of God, and God’s “action” in the world. It concludes with reflections on the Christian life in the light of this theological construction.
Maurice Blondel’s philosophy makes strong claims about the theological enterprise. Namely, philosophy and theology achieve their fulfillment only in mutual dependence and both court superstition to the extent that they attempt self-sufficiency. This symbiotic relationship drives Blondel’s seminal work Action, which not only deduces a hypothetical necessity for the supernatural from a realist phenomenology but also establishes strictly philosophical exigencies with theological import: a true revelation in sensory signs, a historical Savior as Mediator, and a sacramental practice, a robust response to the Enlightenment critique of the Christian religion.
Looking at the relationship between theological, philosophical, and scientific methods within the thought of twentieth-century philosopher Josef Pieper, the author argues that Pieper’s perspective is that theology, philosophy, and science are limited in their ability to obtain knowledge because they are human methods of inquiry. However, theology and philosophy as conceived by Pieper welcome this restriction while modern mechanistic views of science deny it. This article focuses on the distinctive differences that Pieper sees between philosophy as an apophatic discipline and modern scientific methods. It concludes with a discussion on the relationship between philosophy and the virtue of hope.
There is no explicit authoritative Catholic teaching on gender reassignment surgery (GRS). Catholic bioethicists have debated the origin of gender dysphoria and the effectiveness of GRS. A further ethical question is whether some forms of GRS involve “mutilation in the strict sense.” The principle of totality does not apply to GRS as the reproductive organs are a cause of distress only because the object of distress. This analysis leaves open the status of GRS which does not compromise biological function.
This article responds to Pope Francis’s call in Laudato Si’ for an ecological expansion of mission and seeks to provide it with theological support. This support comes by way of a trinitarian rendition of the missiological concept missio Dei. Drawing from Thomas Aquinas and Bernard Lonergan’s accounts of the trinitarian missions, it articulates a theological ecology (as opposed to an ecological theology), in which the traditional doctrine of God is the controlling motif. Through the missions of the Son and Holy Spirit, God transforms the moral-intellectual-volitional comportment of humanity and recruits them into a shared mission of environmental concern.
Living Indefinitely and Living Fully: Laudato Si’ and the Value of the Present in Christian, Stoic, and Transhumanist Temporalities
Transhumanism promises to overcome human finitude by indefinitely extending human life, enabling a vast increase in valuable experiences. Yet transhumanism depends on social processes of what Pope Francis calls rapidification and sociologists call social acceleration, which are causing people to experience a lack of time, driven by increasing speed of work and fears of missing out on opportunities for enjoyment. In contrast, Francis and the Stoics encourage people to confront finitude by flourishing through a qualitative transformation of character marked by a temporality focused on God’s providential presence and on serving the present needs of others.
Three stages can be traced in the Catholic Church’s magisterial teaching on the status of nonhuman creatures in the eschatological New Creation. In this article I ask three questions: which, why, and how: Which creatures are in the new creation, why are they part of the New Creation, and how will they be there? I argue that Laudato Si’ gives a new magisterial answer to these three questions and constitutes an important new development in the teaching on New Creation.
Among the various iconographies of the Trinity which emerged in Christian art, the three-headed or trifrons image has a contested history. Warned about and censured by two popes, Urban VIII and Benedict XIV, this iconography, despite condemnations, was applied, however, by leading Renaissance artists and survived into the nineteenth century in folk art. This article considers its pre-Christian background, the sixteenth-century theological debates, and, finally, in a detailed engagement with a range of tricephalous images, it critically reevaluates and seeks to demonstrate the disputed orthodoxy of this iconography from a theological, artistic, and aesthetic perspective.