Chasing the Incarnation

1 04 2019

A haunting image that has been etched into my mind manifested itself to me in a Russian Orthodox church during the All-Night Vigil for the Feast of the Annunciation. At a certain point during Matins (I won’t bore you with the context too much), the bearded priest stood before the icon of the Annunciation and chanted one of those old leftover ancient Slavonic chants with censer in hand. I am not sure why this made such an impression on me: it was a good hour into the service, and I know little Old Slavonic (I can sort of muddle my way through understanding what is going on.) The priest wore a sky blue phelonion gilded in gold, the robust baritone voice echoed through the church, and the melismatic chant reached back into time and grabbed from it some hidden reality that gleamed like the clouds at dusk… Read the rest of this entry »


Nature – Supernature – State

21 04 2009


Fr. Peter Bernardi, S.J. on Maurice Blondel, Charles Maurras, and the Future of the Past in Catholic Europe

Fr. Peter Bernardi, S.J. gave a talk on his book, Maurice Blondel, Social Catholicism, and Action Française: The Clash over the Church’s Role in Society During the Modernist Era at Loyola University in New Orleans last night. The talk did not just address the evolution of Catholic political movements in France in the early twentieth century, but also focused on the main theological problem that the Church struggled with in the 20th century: the divide between nature and supernature, the state of man in his “normal condition” and man under the influence of grace. According to Bernardi, Blondel and the pro-Action Française Jesuit Pedro Descoqs represented polar opposite approaches in addressing the role of supernature in the natural political order. While the Jesuit defended in the name of neo-scholastic extrinsicism the French theorist Charles Maurras’ theory of the union of Church and State , Blondel advocated “social Catholic” collaboration with the liberal state in the hope of being a Christian influence that could reverse the trend of an increasingly secularized society. For Bernardi, Blondel’s liberalism resulted from his philosophical principles in which nature was never sufficient unto itself and needed to be transformed by evangelical ideas of justice and love.
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“Partial Communion”

2 02 2009


Some personal reflections of a post-traditionalist

Over at the traditionalist blog, Cornell Society for a Good Time, they have posted a brief essay about the ambiguity of the term “imperfect” or “partial” communion. Of course, this has become almost an official term in the Catholic Church to categorize our “separated brethren”, that is, those people who profess Christ but are not in communion with the See of St. Peter and the Holy Roman Church. The general tenor of the post is critical in that it calls out the vacillation involved in such terminology; as I summarized it, it seems that one cannot be partially in communion anymore than one can be partially dead or partially pregnant. If the axiom “salus animarum supremus lex” (the salvation of souls is the highest law) holds, why would we toy around with such concepts asserting that people have one foot in the Kingdom and might be saved? Is such phrasing a fundamental abandoning of the mission of the Church? What other factors are involved?
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