Fall 2005. The World
Table of Contents
The title of the Fall, 2005 number of Communio might be read with a certain puzzlement. Forty years after the close of the Second Vatican Council, the “world” is hardly a new topic for Catholics, and not a little of what has been said in the name of the Council’s “opening to the modern world” has been ideologically skewed.
That, however, is just the point: what the Council really wanted to say about the world—and perhaps did not always manage to say as well as it could have—has not yet been fully received by the post-Conciliar Church. Such, at any rate, is the assumption that has guided us in proposing "The World" as the main theme of the present issue of the journal. If there is a “thesis” common to the articles gathered here under that title, it would be something like this: the world, precisely in its “worldly” character, is a theological reality. The world, is, of course, also the scene of demonic rebellion against God,
but those who see it through the blood of Christ know that it is also the good creation of the Father. To affirm and vindicate that goodness without naïve compromises is one of the most urgent tasks that Christian existence imposes on believers today.
In “The World as Gift,” Nicholas J. Healy, III draws on Thomistic metaphysics, Christology, and trinitarian theology to argue that the world, as something other than God, means something to God; the “worldliness” of the world originates in the Father’s unfathomable self-gift.
Martin Bieler’s “Causality and Freedom” takes up the relay, showing that the liberality of the paternal gift, while excluding any mutation or loss for God, nonetheless implies a free commitment to creaturely freedom—to giving and saving it—that somehow echoes back into the heart of God himself.
José Granados, in “Love and the Organism: A Theological Contribution to the Study of Life” underscores how love pervades the whole of organic nature, both “from below,” and “from above”—downwards and backwards from the Resurrection of Jesus, which is also, in principle, the resurrection of the cosmos.
Jacques Servais’ “Should We Engage Ourselves in the World, or Make Ourselves Indifferent to All Things?” argues that Christian detachment is not a voluntarist
ic negation of the world, but an active disponibility to receive all things as gift.
Finally, in “Towards a Phenomenology of Dwelling,”
Holger Zaborowski rounds out our discussion of the world by recovering the fundamental human act of dwelling—and showing how human dwelling is always a mixture of the permanent and the provisional that reflects man’s status as a being who is at once at home in the world and a pilgrim in it.
2005 marks what would have been the hundredth birthday of one of the founders of Communio: Hans Urs von Balthasar, who had a deep understanding of the theological significance of the world. Under the title Commemorating Hans Urs von Balthasar, then, we present two articles that highlight the comprehensiveness of Balthasar’s theology in complementary ways.
Adrian J. Walker’s “Love Alone: Hans Urs von Balthasar as a Master of Theological Renewal” argues that Balthasar’s claim that “love alone” is the principle of theology is not a recipe for fideism, but for a theology
of the “Catholic And” that brings together nature and grace, philosophy and theology.
Juan M. Sara, writing in “Descensus ad Inferos, Dawn of Hope. Aspects of the Theology of Holy Saturday in the Trilogy of Hans Urs von Balthasar,” shows how Christ’s descent into hell, rather than rupturing the unity of being, is actually at the center of the analogy of the transcendentals between God and the world—and so is the foundation of a hope, in spite of everything, in
the intactness of the world in God.
Retrieving the Tradition continues our commemoration of Hans Urs von Balthasar with “Spirit and Fire,” an oft-cited, but until now untranslated interview where the Swiss theologian speaks candidly about his priorities and concerns as a Catholic theologian.
Avery Cardinal Dulles opens our Notes and Comments section with a lucid and classic theology of the Mass as sacrifice, banquet, real presence, and eschatological promise in “The Eucharist: Living Gift
Antonio Sicari closes the issue with a second contribution to Notes and Comments: “Saint Leopold Mandić,” which sketches the portrait of a remarkable Capuchin, renowned as a confessor, who reminds us that sanctity is not in the first instance a display of heroic virtue, but a manifestation of the presence of God incarnate in our midst.
Go to Table of Contents.
COMMUNIO: International Catholic Review
P.O. Box 4557 | Washington, DC 20017 | 1-202-526-0251 | fax 1-202-526-1934 | www.communio-icr.com | Contact Us