A journal of academic theology

Volume 79 Number 4

From the Editor’s Desk – December 2018

As we go to press, the crisis besetting the Roman Catholic Church continues to unfold. The magnitude of the developments presents a challenge to comprehending not only the fact of unspeakable crimes against youth, but the sheer number of them, the majority having been committed by priests publicly vowed to chastity. Add to this the

Sacred Heart, Beatific Mind: Exploring the Consciousness of Jesus

Traditional Christologies have focused attention on the question of Jesus’ beatific knowing. On the other hand, recent explorations into Spirit Christology raise different questions about his affectivity. Both issues highlight a concern with Jesus’ psychological experience. The present article proposes that both these issues can be fruitfully examined through the lens of the psychological analogy for the Trinity. In particular, Bernard Lonergan’s developments of the analogy drawing as they do on the experience of grace, shed a new and helpful light on the question of Jesus’ knowing and loving. This approach alleviates some of the more problematic aspects of the traditional approach to Jesus’ beatific vision, while also providing a more solid trinitarian basis for Catholic devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Style is Substance: Origins of John W. O’Malley’s Contribution to the Interpretation of Vatican II

This article explores three aspects of John W. O’Malley’s contribution to the critical study of the Second Vatican Council: his contention that Vatican II reflects a new “style” or philosophy of history; that the distinctive rhetorical style of the conciliar texts is itself an expression of their substantive teaching; and finally, that the council is a decisive response to the crisis of modernity. A full appreciation of these insights requires that we consider his study of Vatican II against the horizon of his works on renaissance and early modern church history.

A Tale of Two Translations: Rhetorical Style and the Post-Conciliar English Translations of the Mass

John O’Malley’s study of the rhetorical style of Vatican II bears also on the question of post-conciliar vernacular translations of the liturgy. This article proposes a “hospitality” model of liturgical translation as consonant with the conciliar style. Of the key instructions on liturgical translation, Comme le prévoit (1969) and Liturgiam Authenticam (2001), the earlier is more consistent with a hospitality model. Analysis of selected collects in the English translations of the Mass based on these instructions, The Sacramentary (1974/1985) and the Roman Missal (2010), respectively, indicates that The Sacramentary translation is likewise better in representing the hospitable style of Vatican II called for in the present liturgical context.

Liturgical Prayer and the Theology of Mercy in Thomas Aquinas and Pope Francis

Thomas Aquinas’ theology of mercy is deeply marked by the liturgical tradition of the Order of Preachers, incorporating many explicit and implicit references to liturgical prayers in praise of God’s mercy. This article explores the liturgical context of Thomas Aquinas’ theology of mercy, demonstrating the influence of the Dominican liturgy on Thomas’ understanding and articulation of mercy and showing the subsequent influence of Thomas on Pope Francis’ theology of mercy.

The Historical and Ecumenical Value of Kenneth Kirk’s Anglican Moral Theology

Anglican moralist Kenneth Kirk is an early twentieth-century forerunner of Catholic revisionism. Kirk critiques the moral manuals and defends a historicist, biblically grounded virtue ethic forty years prior to Catholic figures like Bernard Häring. Kirk also utilizes inductive casuistry in analyzing concrete cases to the end of promoting Christian freedom and mature Christlike character. For these reasons his moral theology has historical and ecumenical importance.

On Women’s Health and Women’s Power: A Feminist Appraisal of Humanae Vitae

Catholic feminism has flourished in the decades following Humanae Vitae. Still, Catholic women do not speak with one voice on the issue of birth control. I argue that Humanae Vitae has had far-reaching damaging effects on many Catholic women and their spirituality, moral agency, and fertility. Nevertheless, any feminist critique of the document must also take seriously the experiences of Catholic women who express that practicing natural family planning has brought empowerment, good health, and increased spousal intimacy. Further ecclesial discernment is needed, with special attention to women’s leadership on this issue.

Humanae Vitae and Its Ecclesial Consequences

This article explores the ecclesial consequences of Humanae Vitae in relation to four seminal contributions of Vatican II: (1) a renewed appreciation for the sensus fidelium; (2) the theological recontextualization of doctrine; (3) episcopal collegiality and ecclesial subsidiarity; (4) the revitalization of the church’s pastoral mission. The article argues first, that Humanae Vitae, directly or indirectly, impeded the full reception and implementation of these four contributions; and second, that the pontificate of Pope Francis has helped rehabilitate precisely those conciliar contributions that were most affected by the controversies associated with Humanae Vitae.

Discerning the Meaning of Humanae Vitae

The landmark encyclical Humanae Vitae is frequently viewed in isolation from its context. This essay addresses this lapse by understanding the encyclical in light of the history which preceded its publication, as well as factors that followed it. The full story includes the carefully nuanced position of the majority report of the pontifical commission, the meaning of responsible parenthood in Gaudium et Spes, and the fact that Paul VI did not intend Humanae Vitae to be the last word on the meaning of conjugal morality. Nevertheless, the intrinsic link between the unitive and procreative dimensions of conjugal morality posed by the encyclical is maintained and developed in subsequent papal teaching. The major contribution of Pope Francis to the discussion is the principle of discernment as applied to the reception of the encyclical’s teaching.

The Mysticism of Resistance: The Global Suffering of Women as an Ethical Imperative for the Church

The Catholic Church’s evangelizing and healing presence throughout the world also entails the unintended reinforcement of cultural forces of misogyny that contribute to the suffering of women. This presents an urgent ethical imperative for the church to examine and reform its patriarchal structures of decision-making, ministry, and worship. Ecofeminist epistemologies and Schillebeeckx’s theory of the proportional norm are employed in a movement through the steps of a theological reflection process that the author learned in collaboration with women theologians from Latin America. The symbolic paradigm guiding the movement is the Lukan Gospel’s bentover woman, standing up straight and glorifying God.

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