Summer 2015

Nature and Grace: The Sacramental Reality of Marriage

John Paul II

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

The Logos and the Logoi | Articles | Communio

Summer 2015

The Logos and the Logoi

Maximus the Confessor

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Authority Versus Power | Articles | Communio

Summer 2015

Authority Versus Power

Augusto Del Noce

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The Light of Glory: From Theosis to Sophiology | Articles | Communio

Summer 2015

The Light of Glory: From Theosis to Sophiology

Stratford Caldecott Adrian J. Walker

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Being, Gift, Self-Gift: A Reply to Waldstein on Relationality and JPII’s Theology of the Body | Articles | Communio

Summer 2015

Being, Gift, Self-Gift: A Reply to Waldstein on Relationality and JPII’s Theology of the Body

David L. Schindler
“Political Correctness” as a Form of Humanism, and the Christian Mission | Articles | Communio

Summer 2015

“Political Correctness” as a Form of Humanism, and the Christian Mission

Ricardo Aldana

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Totalitarian Tendencies and the Perversion of Language | Articles | Communio

Summer 2015

Totalitarian Tendencies and the Perversion of Language

Jean-Pierre Batut

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The Saving Difference | Articles | Communio

Summer 2015

The Saving Difference

Adrian J. Walker Rachel M. Coleman
Introduction: Saving the Differences | Articles | Communio

Summer 2015

Introduction: Saving the Differences

La Fede e il Sacramento del Matrimonio | Articles | Communio

La Fede e il Sacramento del Matrimonio

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Faith and the Sacrament of Marriage: A Response to the Proposal of a New “Minimum Fidei” Requirement | Articles | Communio

Summer 2015

Faith and the Sacrament of Marriage: A Response to the Proposal of a New "Minimum Fidei" Requirement

The Real World: A Metaphysical Reflection on The Great Divorce | Articles | Communio

Spring 2015

The Real World: A Metaphysical Reflection on The Great Divorce

Rachel M. Coleman

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The Music of Eternity | Articles | Communio

Spring 2015

The Music of Eternity

Élisabeth-Paule Labat

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Hope and History | Articles | Communio

Spring 2015

Hope and History

Josef Pieper

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The Christocentric Mystagogy of Joseph Ratzinger | Articles | Communio

Spring 2015

The Christocentric Mystagogy of Joseph Ratzinger

Robert P. Imbelli

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The Church as the Sacrament of Creation: A Reading of Origen’s Commentary on the Song of Songs | Articles | Communio

Spring 2015

The Church as the Sacrament of Creation: A Reading of Origen's Commentary on the Song of Songs

John C. Cavadini

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God and the Cross: The Doctrine of God in the Work of Hans Urs von Balthasar | Articles | Communio

Spring 2015

God and the Cross: The Doctrine of God in the Work of Hans Urs von Balthasar

Martin Bieler

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Vatican II and the Catholicity of Salvation: A Response to Ralph Martin | Articles | Communio

Spring 2015

Vatican II and the Catholicity of Salvation: A Response to Ralph Martin

Nicholas J. Healy , Jr.
“Further Up and Further In!” C.S. Lewis on Heaven | Articles | Communio

Spring 2015

"Further Up and Further In!" C.S. Lewis on Heaven

Carol Zaleski
“The Father Without the Son Would Not Be the Father”: The Concept of God at the Council of Nicaea | Articles | Communio

Spring 2015

“The Father Without the Son Would Not Be the Father”: The Concept of God at the Council of Nicaea

Jan-Heiner Tück

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Introduction: “Our Father, Who Art in Heaven” | Articles | Communio

Spring 2015

Introduction: “Our Father, Who Art in Heaven”

A Meditation on Givenness | Articles | Communio

Winter 2014

A Meditation on Givenness

John Paul II
Nature and Notes of the Church | Articles | Communio

Winter 2014

Nature and Notes of the Church

Emile Mersch

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

“The Mystery of Mysteries”: On Péguy’s Vision of HOpe | Articles | Communio

Winter 2014

“The Mystery of Mysteries”: On Péguy’s Vision of HOpe

Paolo Prosperi

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Fruitfulness and the Rediscovery of Finitude | Articles | Communio

Winter 2014

Fruitfulness and the Rediscovery of Finitude

Antonio López

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“In the Beginning Was the Word”: Mercy as a “Reality Illuminated by Reason” | Articles | Communio

Winter 2014

“In the Beginning Was the Word”: Mercy as a “Reality Illuminated by Reason”

David L. Schindler
Conscience, the Emperor, and the Pope: The Witness of St. Maximus the Confessor | Articles | Communio

Winter 2014

Conscience, the Emperor, and the Pope: The Witness of St. Maximus the Confessor

Adrian J. Walker

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Ecclesia de Trinitate | Articles | Communio

Winter 2014

Ecclesia de Trinitate

Ricardo Aldana

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The Unity of the Church | Articles | Communio

Winter 2014

The Unity of the Church

Roch Kereszty

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Introduction: Ecclesiam Unam | Articles | Communio

Winter 2014

Introduction: Ecclesiam Unam

Editor
In Memoriam: Stratford Caldecott (1953-2014) | Articles | Communio

Summer 2014

In Memoriam: Stratford Caldecott (1953-2014)

David L. Schindler
Divorce and Remarriage in the Early Church | Articles | Communio

Summer 2014

Divorce and Remarriage in the Early Church

Henri Crouzel
God’s Gift of Life and Love: On Marriage and the Eucharist | Articles | Communio

Summer 2014

God’s Gift of Life and Love: On Marriage and the Eucharist

John Paul II
Pastoral Care of Marriage: Affirming the Unity of Mercy and Truth | Articles | Communio

Summer 2014

Pastoral Care of Marriage: Affirming the Unity of Mercy and Truth

Fabrizio Meroni
Gay Marriage, Public Reason, and the Common Good | Articles | Communio

Summer 2014

Gay Marriage, Public Reason, and the Common Good

David S. Crawford
“What God Has Conjoined, Let No Man Put Asunder” | Articles | Communio

Summer 2014

“What God Has Conjoined, Let No Man Put Asunder”

Adrian J. Walker
The Crisis of Marriage as a Crisis of Meaning: On the Sterility of the Modern Will | Articles | Communio

Summer 2014

The Crisis of Marriage as a Crisis of Meaning: On the Sterility of the Modern Will

D.C. Schindler
The Merciful Gift of Indissolubility | Articles | Communio

Summer 2014

The Merciful Gift of Indissolubility

Nicholas J. Healy , Jr.
Marriage’s Indissolubility: An Untenable Promise? | Articles | Communio

Summer 2014

Marriage’s Indissolubility: An Untenable Promise?

Antonio López
The Sacramental Character of Faith | Articles | Communio

Summer 2014

The Sacramental Character of Faith

José Granados
Marriage and the Family Within the Sacramentality of the Church | Articles | Communio

Summer 2014

Marriage and the Family Within the Sacramentality of the Church

Cardinal Marc Ouellet
Marriage and the Family Between Anthropology and the Eucharist | Articles | Communio

Summer 2014

Marriage and the Family Between Anthropology and the Eucharist

Cardinal Angelo Scola
Introduction: Marriage | Articles | Communio

Summer 2014

Introduction: Marriage

Introduction: Health | Articles | Communio

Fall 2014

Introduction: Health

Satan Was the First Philanthropist | Articles | Communio

Fall 2014

Satan Was the First Philanthropist

Jeremy Beer

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Healing the “Healthy” | Articles | Communio

Fall 2014

Healing the “Healthy”

Ruth Ashfield

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Health Between Science and Wisdom | Articles | Communio

Fall 2014

Health Between Science and Wisdom

Hans Urs von Balthasar

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Reconceiving the Organism: Why American Catholic Bioethics Needs a Better Theory of Human Life | Articles | Communio

Fall 2014

Reconceiving the Organism: Why American Catholic Bioethics Needs a Better Theory of Human Life

Michael Hanby

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Health and Disease: Aspects of Wellbeing and Human Flourishing | Articles | Communio

Fall 2014

Health and Disease: Aspects of Wellbeing and Human Flourishing

Dirk Lanzerath

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Human Wellbeing, the Natural Family, and Natural Law | Articles | Communio

Fall 2014

Human Wellbeing, the Natural Family, and Natural Law

Allan Carlson
The Healthy and the Holy | Articles | Communio

Fall 2014

The Healthy and the Holy

D.C. Schindler

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On the Sacramental Nature of Health | Articles | Communio

Fall 2014

On the Sacramental Nature of Health

José Granados
From Nature to Glory: The Grace of Illness | Articles | Communio

Fall 2014

From Nature to Glory: The Grace of Illness

Jean-Pierre Batut

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The Rod, The Root, and the Flower | Articles | Communio

Spring 2014

The Rod, The Root, and the Flower

Coventry Patmore

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Why We Need Coventry Patmore | Articles | Communio

Spring 2014

Why We Need Coventry Patmore

Stratford Caldecott
The Dispute Between Maximus the Confessor and Theodosius | Articles | Communio

Spring 2014

The Dispute Between Maximus the Confessor and Theodosius

Maximus the Confessor

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The Primacy of the Pope and the Unity of the People of God | Articles | Communio

Spring 2014

The Primacy of the Pope and the Unity of the People of God

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger

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“If Philosophy Begins in Wonder”: Aquinas, Creation, and Wonder | Articles | Communio

Spring 2014

“If Philosophy Begins in Wonder”: Aquinas, Creation, and Wonder

Randall B. Smith

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“Faith Is Obvious”: The Apologetics of Creation | Articles | Communio

Spring 2014

“Faith Is Obvious”: The Apologetics of Creation

Mary Taylor
On Reason’s Authority | Articles | Communio

Spring 2014

On Reason’s Authority

D.C. Schindler

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The Witness of the Martyrs in the Early Church | Articles | Communio

Spring 2014

The Witness of the Martyrs in the Early Church

Paolo Prosperi
Introduction: Apologetics | Articles | Communio

Spring 2014

Introduction: Apologetics

Editor

Also in Retrieving the Tradition, we recall a classic example of witness: the trials and torture of St. Maximus the Confessor (580–662), in the “Dispute Between Maximus and Theodosius, Bishop of Caesarea Bithynia.” In 638, the emperor Heraclius, together with the Patriarch Sergius, produced a letter (Ekthesis) defending the idea that Jesus Christ had two natures but one will, a form of Monetheletism that they hoped would be acceptable both to Chalcedonians and to Monophysite (=“one nature”) followers in the empire. This document initially received widespread support, but resistance soon increased, led especially by the monks Sophronius and Maximus. Constans II became emperor in 641; and, in an effort to resolve continuing political unrest, he issued an imperial edict (Typos) in 648 which ordered that all discussion about the Monothelite doctrine must cease, and that all theological positions were to be as they were prior to the controversies. Maximus refused to accept Monotheletism as well as this edict, and was brought to a first trial in 655—following which he was sent into exile—and a final trial in 662.

We publish here the exchange between Maximus and Bishop Theodosius, who was sent by the emperor in 656 to persuade Maximus, while he was in exile, to accept the “compromise” of the Typos. The “Dispute” is a word-for-word account of the exchange that was probably written by Anastasius, the disciple of Maximus, along with Maximus, shortly after the events took place, in 656–57. In the exchange, Maximus insists again and again that he is not committed to his own teaching, but rather to the common teaching of the catholic Church. To Theodosius’s insistence that the Typos was demanding the “silencing of words” in order “that all might be at peace with each other,” Maximus responds by asking: “what believer accepts an arrangement which silences words that the God of all arranged to be spoken through the apostles and prophets and teacher?” Maximus continues: if, therefore, in examining innovative doctrines which have emerged in our times, “we find that they have resulted in this utmost evil, beware lest under the guise of peace we are found to be sick with apostasy, and preaching it, which the divine apostle said would come before the advent of
the Antichrist.”

In the face of the assertion against Maximus that “the laity [might] be harmed by too subtle words” in the continuing controversy over the Typos, Maximus replies: “On the contrary, each person is sanctified by the scrupulous confession of the faith, not through the abrogation of it, which is found in the Typos.” When it is objected to Maximus that the Typos “did not abrogate but ordered silence, in order that we might all enjoy peace,” Maximus responds: “The silencing of words is the abrogation of words: through the prophet the Holy Spirit says: ‘There are no speeches nor words of which their voices will not be heard.’ Therefore, the word that is not uttered in no way exists.” The final trial of Maximus ended with his tongue being ripped out, so that he could never speak again; and his right hand being cut off, so that he could never write again. Maximus died a few months later. His teaching was formally affirmed by the Church at the Third Council of Constantinople in 680–81.

Finally, in Why We Need . . . , we present Stratford Caldecott on Coventry Patmore. Caldecott explains why Patmore, a little known nineteenth-century English Victorian poet and essayist, represents “the best part of the Romantic movement,” while at the same time surpassing it: Patmore holds at the core of his thought that “nature’s innermost form is symbolic.” Combining this insight of Patmore with his great attentiveness to nature—in particular to the relationship between male and female—Caldecott suggests why Patmore “could be called—somewhat anachronistically, but no less rightly—the Poet of the Theology of the Body.”

We follow Caldecott’s article with excerpts from Coventry Patmore’s book of aphorisms and short poems, The Rod, the Root and the Flower. Patmore writes in the foreword that he wishes to discover and report “how the ‘loving hint’ of doctrine has ‘met the longing guess’ of the souls who have so believed in the Unseen that it has become visible and who have thenceforward found their existence to be no longer a sheath without a sword, a desire without fulfillment.”

—The Editors

Death by the Brain Criterion: A Response to Shewmon | Articles | Communio

Death by the Brain Criterion: A Response to Shewmon

Nicholas Tonti-Filippini

2. Defining Integration

In his critique, Alan Shewmon, asserts that I have not provided a definition of what integration means in this context.7  In the original article, I had written,

We can take from the doctrine proclaimed at the Council of Vienne that the ongoing causative effect of the soul is its informing the body. Therefore the type of integration which is relevant is a communication of information to all parts of the body that keeps the body united and functioning as a single whole.8

This would seem to be consistent with John Paul II's teaching that death is the separation of the soul from the body; that it consists in the total disintegration of the unitary and integrated whole that is the personal self; and that therefore what we are looking for is evidence or “clinical markers” that indicate the loss of the integrated and coordinated life of the person as a single living organism in which the soul forms and informs the matter to maintain the unity of the body. The relationship between soul and body is thus dynamic.

In defending John Paul II’s acceptance of determining death by the brain criterion, I proposed only that the loss of all brain function is a state of loss of dynamic unity of the body, not that the brain is the master organ, as Shewmon expresses it. As indicated above, the same claim can be made about loss of circulation. When the heart stops beating there is also a loss of integration, largely because vital organs such as the brain permanently cease to function soon after and the parts of the body have no means of communication if there is no circulation. The heart and the lungs perform an essential function in keeping the organs of the body alive, though the latter die at different rates when the heart stops beating.

The problem a faithful physician has in medically determining that death has occurred is that the soul is not observable. The doctrine, however, implies that the effects of the soul may be observable. When we observe the integrated functioning of the organic unity that is the human body, as a matter of faith we are confident that that body is formed by a human soul, and therefore that the human soul must be present. Though there is no event that marks the separation of the soul at death, what the physician observes is the disintegration of the body that results from that separation. Loss of a communicative relationship between the parts of the dynamic unity that is the body would indicate loss of the dynamic role of the soul.

Pope John Paul II, expressed this in the following way:

It is helpful to recall that the death of the person is a single event, consisting in the total disintegration of that unitary and integrated whole that is the personal self. It results from the separation of the life-principle (or soul) from the corporal reality of the person. The death of the person, understood in this primary sense, is an event which no scientific technique or empirical method can identify directly.
Yet human experience shows that once death occurs certain biological signs inevitably follow, which medicine has learnt to recognize with increasing precision. In this sense, the "criteria" for ascertaining death used by medicine today should not be understood as the technical-scientific determination of the exact moment of a person's death, but as a scientifically secure means of identifying the biological signs that a person has indeed died.9

John Paul II does not proclaim doctrinally the diagnosis of death by the brain criterion. His words are more cautious. He gives permission for health practitioners to adopt the neurological criterion:

the criterion adopted in more recent times for ascertaining the fact of death, namely the complete and irreversible cessation of all brain activity, if rigorously applied, does not seem to conflict with the essential elements of a sound anthropology. Therefore a health-worker professionally responsible for ascertaining death can use these criteria in each individual case as the basis for arriving at that degree of assurance in ethical judgement which moral teaching describes as "moral certainty". This moral certainty is considered the necessary and sufficient basis for an ethically correct course of action.10

It is, however, open to a faithful Catholic to challenge the medical empirical grounds on which the Pope based his judgement.

Nevertheless, one would reasonably expect that challenge to be based on accepting that the separation of the soul at death results in loss of integration and that the latter means a loss of dynamic unity in which not all the remaining parts of the body are unified through being interrelated to one another in a communicative sense (forming and informing). My concern with Shewmon’s position is not that he rejects Pope John Paul II’s permission for health professionals to use the brain criterion to determine death - it is open to him to challenge the empirical grounds for that permission - but that he does not accept the notion of integration that the Pope engaged which implies dynamic unity of the organism that is the life of the person. Shewmon’s notion of integration does not require that unity.

Shewmon’s key point is that his notion of integration is more in line with reality. However his distinction between life-constituting and life-sustaining types of integration is problematic.

A difficulty that I have with Alan Shewmon’s treatment of integration is that he seems to considerate it sufficient that some parts of the body remain related to other parts of the body for the body to be considered integrated. This is not unity of the body in the sense implied by the doctrine proclaimed at Vienne, a unity that is a result of the soul forming and informing the matter. He also criticizes me for thinking in terms of levels of integration. That may have been a misunderstanding in that I conceded that what he refers to as “integration” was an acceptable meaning of the word and that could be taken to imply different levels of integration. But for the purposes of understanding what integration must mean in the context of understanding the concept as a necessary element of being a living human person, his meaning will not do at all, because the concept must at least imply a dynamic intercommunicative unity between the parts. We take it that that dynamic unity, taking its form from the immortal soul, persists from the formation of the zygote until the soul separates from the body at death, even though in both Donum Vitae and Dignitas Personae the Congregation of the Faith is a little more circumspect about declaring that the zygote has a soul. It instead poses a question:

Certainly no experimental datum can be in itself sufficient to bring us to the recognition of a spiritual soul; nevertheless, the conclusions of science regarding the human embryo provide a valuable indication for discerning by the use of reason a personal presence at the moment of this first appearance of a human life: how could a human individual not be a human person?11

Shewmon devotes a great deal of space to his own theoretical analysis of integration, contrasting life-constituting and life-sustaining “types” as he expresses it and envisioning integration as being on two different axes. The analysis is novel and interesting but ungrounded. There is no anthropological starting point and no apparent basis in existing philosophical or theological perspectives within the Tradition.

To try find an answer to this question of death that is consistent with our Tradition or, at least, a development of the Tradition, we do need to work from the point of view of trying to understand theologically what happens at death and what it is to understand what an individual life is from the single cell zygote until death: we need to develop an anthropology that makes sense of what it is to have an immortal rational soul that forms and informs the matter so as to be the unity that is a human person, as we understand the latter to be from the doctrine proclaimed at the Council of Vienne, and renewed many times since. At Vienne the doctrine was not presented as a philosophical thesis but instead offered a theological starting point by being based upon John’s Gospel:

When Jesus had received the vinegar, he said, "It is finished"; and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 31 Since it was the day of Preparation, in order to prevent the bodies from remaining on the cross on the sabbath (for that sabbath was a high day), the Jews asked Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away. 32 So the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first, and of the other who had been crucified with him; 33 but when they came to Jesus and saw that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 But one of the soldiers pierced his side with a spear, and at once there came out blood and water. 35 He who saw it has borne witness--his testimony is true, and he knows that he tells the truth--that you also may believe.12

Linked to this Gospel account in our Tradition is the teaching that

Jesus "descended into the lower parts of the earth. He who descended is he who also ascended far above all the heavens." The Apostles' Creed confesses in the same article Christ's descent into hell and his Resurrection from the dead on the third day, because in his Passover it was precisely out of the depths of death that he made life spring forth.13

In summary, the Catechism expresses the teaching in the following words:

In his human soul united to his divine person, the dead Christ went down to the realm of the dead. He opened heaven's gates for the just who had gone before him.14

Also in developing this anthropological understanding, we must include the imago dei15 and the significance of being a person in the image of the Persons of the Blessed Trinity, again from the time we are a zygote until death, and then in the continuity of being a body after resurrection.

Shewmon makes no apparent attempt to link his theories of integration to doctrine and Tradition or to any accepted philosophy.

His account leads to an oddity in his discussion of the notion that a person might consist of a “brain in a vat”. If this view is linked to his idea that the body could be considered to continue as a living person after the brain has died, then a person could be at the same time two persons – the isolated brain in a vat and the body left behind. There is something distinctly odd about a notion of integration that would allow for such a division which would contradict the essential unity of the human body. The possibility highlights the fact that Shewmon does not understand integration as implying the role of the soul in forming and informing the dynamic unity that is a human being.

I recall standing in an IVF clinic, a result of serving in a government role, and wondering about the precious content held within the tanks of liquid nitrogen. In the tanks there were literally hundreds of straws held in racks, each containing a human embryo, dried and frozen and held in a state of suspended animation. By the latter I mean that there was no growth and no biological activity of any kind. But as a matter of faith, I believed that each embryo instantiated a human soul and, because of that, each was the form and the reality of the adult he or she would become, if given the right environment in which he or she would be rehydrated and thawed and then transferred to a woman’s uterus. Each of those straws contained such an extraordinary reality. Each was just a cluster of cells, but at the same time so much more than just cells, because those clusters of cells were human lives. They already contained the form of that person. As a cluster of cells they were linked together as a single entity already pre-programmed to develop in a predictable fashion, given the right conditions.

At another time I chaired a government committee16 to develop ethical guidelines for the care of people in a post coma unresponsive state, (sometimes unfortunately referred to as a persistent vegetative state). It was brought home to me, by those caring for the patients I visited, that the unresponsiveness was just what we observed. What was happening within those individuals remained so much a mystery to us despite our brain scanning technologies. They had brain activity, but it was not connected to any observable expression of that activity. I also met some rare individuals who had survived several years in that state before recovering to a point that they could speak of their experiences.

I asked one young such man, (he had been over two years without showing any responsiveness), who came to the launch of the ethical guidelines, what he remembered of his experience. He said he recalled conversations being held about whether to continue nutrition and hydration delivered through a PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy). He said that he was also aware of the love of his parents (his father, a general medical practitioner, and his mother, a nurse), and had confidence that they would protect him, as indeed that did.

There is, however, such a contrast between post-coma unresponsiveness which includes sleep-wake cycles, on the one hand, and, on the other, a person whose brain has completely died and the harsh reality of seeing the images of that patient’s contrast angiogram showing no blood supply to the brain. In the latter case one knows that on autopsy the brain would be found to be a liquid without structure or life, and that it is only technology that sustains a semblance of the dynamic unity possessed by both the frozen-dried embryo and the person in an unresponsive state. In fact, no such unity exists once there is complete absence of brain function because the systems that communicate between organs, the neural and endocrine systems, are missing a vital element. Circulation can be maintained, with assistance, but circulation without a brain is like a postal system, without mail. Circulation is the means of communication, it is not in itself communication. The dynamic unity that is a personal life has been lost. Shewmon’s insistence on circulation being a form of integration really misses the point that integration implies a dynamic intercommunicative unity. To be a unity in a meaningful sense the parts must be in actual communication with each other, not just be collocated with a system that could carry communications. The fact of the matter is that without the functions of the brain, the neural and endocrine systems have been profoundly interrupted. Circulation may be maintained, for a time, and thus the system for carrying communications, but the means of generating those communications is no longer present. There is thus no empirical evidence of the forming and informing that the doctrine refers to as the functions of the soul.in the unity that is the life of the person.


7. Shewmon, Op. Cit. p. 429.

8. “You Only Die Twice: St. Augustine, St. Aquinas, and the Concept of Death by the Brain Criterion,” Communio 38 (Fall 2011).

9. John Paul II, Op. Cit., n. 4.

10. Op. Cit., n. 5.

11. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Donum Vitae (1987) 5, I , 1.

12. John 19:30-35.

13. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 631. The doctrine from the Apostle’s Creed on the descent into Hell, as a doctrine based in Scripture, is complex. The Scriptural basis for the doctrine includes: Acts 3:15; Rom 8:11; 1 Cor 15:20; Heb 13:20; 1 Pet 3:18-19; Phil 2:10; Acts 2:24; Rev 1:18; Eph 4:9; Pss 6:6; 88:11-13; 481 Cf. Ps 89:49; 1 Sam 28:19; Ezek 32:17-32; Lk 16:22-26; Mt 27:52-53; 1 Pet 4:6; Jn 5:25; cf. Mt 12:40; Rom 10:7; Eph 4:9. Heb 2:14-15; Acts 3:15; and Rev 1:18. I am not a Scripture scholar and take what is in the Apostle’s Creed as a matter of faith.

14. CCC, n. 637.

15. Genesis 1.

16. Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, Working Committee to Develop Ethical Guidelines for the Care of People in a Post Coma Unresponsive State or Minimally Responsive State, 2007–2009.

The Confession of the Casta Meretrix | Articles | Communio

Winter 2013

The Confession of the Casta Meretrix

Jacques Servais
Content and Form: From Linguistics to Abstract Art | Articles | Communio

Winter 2013

Content and Form: From Linguistics to Abstract Art

J. Jacob Tawney

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

The Eclipse of the Good in the Modern Rights Tradition | Articles | Communio

Winter 2013

The Eclipse of the Good in the Modern Rights Tradition

Mark Shiffman

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

Political Ambition and the Christian Life | Articles | Communio

Winter 2013

Political Ambition and the Christian Life

Thomas W. Smith

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

Confirmation: A Sacrament of Christian Initiation | Articles | Communio

Winter 2013

Confirmation: A Sacrament of Christian Initiation

Cardinal Marc Ouellet

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

The Communion of Saints and the Vocation to Holiness | Articles | Communio

Winter 2013

The Communion of Saints and the Vocation to Holiness

Marianne Schlosser

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

“Blessed Is She Who Believed”: Mary’s Faith and the Form of Christian Existence | Articles | Communio

Winter 2013

“Blessed Is She Who Believed”: Mary’s Faith and the Form of Christian Existence

Antonio López
Introduction: Ecclesiam Sanctam | Articles | Communio

Winter 2013

Introduction: Ecclesiam Sanctam

Editor
“Sacrosancta Ecclesia”: The Holy Church of Sinners | Articles | Communio

Winter 2013

"Sacrosancta Ecclesia": The Holy Church of Sinners

Roch Kereszty
Introduction: The Eucharist | Articles | Communio

Summer 1985

Introduction: The Eucharist

Hans Urs von Balthasar

We need not make any special mention of the remaining aspects of the celebration: reconciliation of the congregation through a confession of sins through the listening to the Word, through the offering of one's self, together with the gifts of bread and wine, through the inclusion in Christ's "surrender," and through the complete union with him during communion. Assuming these truths are not disputed, we may turn immediately to a few important questions which remain unanswered despite what has already been said.

First, we have refrained from using the term "sacrifice" and used "surrender" instead. One surely cannot proceed from the concept of sacrifice as attested to by all religious people who carry out sacrifices to their gods when, for instance, a human being (Iphigenia and others) is sacrificed in place of the people or when human beings sacrifice their lives (such as Roman heroes or soldiers in general) for the fatherland, and subsume all these under Christ's sacrifice. We cannot even proceed from the Old Testament food and animal sacrifices in order to draw nearer to the cross. This is expressly forbidden by the letter to the Hebrews. Furthermore, we cannot equate Jesus' self-surrender with a man's renunciation of an amenity or a good for moral (or other) reasons, even though it may benefit another human being. Jesus' "sacrifice" is entirely unique and cannot be equated with anything, not even with Mary's "sacrifice" under the cross, with that of the holy women or the apostles or other saints, and not even with the sacrifice of a St. Paul who can say: "It makes me happy to suffer for you, as I am suffering now, and in my own body to do what I can to make up all that has still to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his mystical body, the church" (Col. 1:24-25). In so far as these things are the suffering of Christ they lack nothing; they are complete and more than sufficient. It is only by cirtue of his grace that there remains a place for his mystical body, the Church, to participate in his suffering, since Christ and the Church are the "head" and "body" of Christ (the "body" owes its existence and everything else to the "head"). It is not forbidden to speak of the eucharistic sacrifice, but one must keep in mind the analogous nature of the term.

The Unity and the Multiplicity of Aspects in the Eucharist | Articles | Communio

Summer 1985

The Unity and the Multiplicity of Aspects in the Eucharist

Walter Kasper

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

“Do This in Remembrance of Me”: The Sacrifice of Christ and the Sacrifice of the Faithful | Articles | Communio

Summer 1985

“Do This in Remembrance of Me”: The Sacrifice of Christ and the Sacrifice of the Faithful

Peter Henrici

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

Introduction: Sin and Forgiveness | Articles | Communio

Winter 1984

Introduction: Sin and Forgiveness

Introduction: Religious Education | Articles | Communio

Spring 1983

Introduction: Religious Education

The ‘Brief Formulas of Faith’ Question Again. Some Comments. | Articles | Communio

The ‘Brief Formulas of Faith’ Question Again. Some Comments.

Joseph Ratzinger

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

Beyond Death | Articles | Communio

Beyond Death

Joseph Ratzinger

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

Unity of the Church - Unity of Mankind. A Congress Report | Articles | Communio

Unity of the Church - Unity of Mankind. A Congress Report

Joseph Ratzinger

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

Introduction: Caritas in veritate | Articles | Communio

Winter 2010

Introduction: Caritas in veritate

D. C. Schindler, in “Enriching the Good: Toward the Development of a Relational Anthropology,” argues that “a radically relational concept of the person, which Benedict calls for as a response to modern poverty, depends in part on a rich notion of the good that lies at the basis of all human relations.” Drawing on the Platonic tradition, Schindler shows that a genuinely transcendent notion of goodness can be affirmed only if we think of goodness not exclusively in terms of final causality but also in terms of efficient and formal causality.

The next article, although not explicitly concerned with Caritas in veritate, develops the kind of metaphysics envisioned by Pope Benedict when he writes: “Truth, and the love which it reveals, cannot be produced: they can only be received as a gift. . . . That which is prior to us and constitutes us—subsistent Love and Truth—shows us what goodness is” (n. 52). Stefan Oster, in “Thinking Love at the Heart of Things. The Metaphysics of Being as Love in the Work of Ferdinand Ulrich,” introduces and explores the thought of one of the most important Catholic philosophers of our time. According to Oster, “Ulrich’s philosophy draws its life from having received the gift of being as love gratis. Its roots, then, lie in an original experience of creatureliness, so that it is permeated with an expectation of the mysterious ‘ad-vent’ of being as gratuitous gift.”

Finally, the issue concludes with two articles that help to frame a forthcoming series on The Mystery of Church. Over the next four years, the international Communio will devote one issue each year to the mystery of Church as One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 811). Antonio Maria Sicari, in “The Vision of the Church in St. John of the Cross,” reflects on the ecclesiological dimension of the Carmelite Mystical Doctor. “The most famous and influential ascetical treatises,” Sicari suggests, “are not strictly speaking ascetical but rather intended to describe the way in which the Christian person becomes ecclesial and trinitarian.” Henrique Noronha Galvão, in “The Mystery of the Church in the Theology of Joseph Ratzinger,” traces the development of Ratzinger’s ecclesiology from doctoral dissertation through his reception of Lumen gentium. The unifying thread of Ratzinger’s ecclesiology is the affirmation that “at the very heart of who she is, the Church is the sacrament, the efficacious manifestation of the salvific design of God the Father, realized by his Son, Jesus Christ, in the Holy Spirit and actualized by the celebration of the Eucharist.” 

—NJH

Introduction: Natural Law | Articles | Communio

Fall 2008

Introduction: Natural Law

In continuity with Schindler’s argument about the nonneutrality of the political order, Thomas Rourke’s “Fundamental Politics: What We Must Learn From the Social Thought of Benedict XVI” shows how for Benedict XVI “the state’s openness to God, far from leading to theocracy, is actually the only thing that enables the state to distinguish itself properly from the Church, and thus to resist the twin temptations of utopianism and totalitarianism.”

In “Homosexuality: The Semblance of Intimacy,” José Noriega reflects on the moral significance of intimacy, “which expresses the space that is generated within a person when he discovers the presence of another, which prompts him to receive the other and to promote the other’s good.” “Intimacy,” Noriega argues, “demands the acceptance . . . of the person in his entirety . . . [including] in his sexual identity.” By implicitly denying that sexual difference is a constitutive element of personal identity, homosexual acts instrumentalize the body and provide only a semblance of intimacy.

In honor of the memory of Alexander Solzhenitsyn, who died in August of 2008, we include two essays by the late Fr. Alexander Schmemann. In “On Solzhenitsyn,” Schmemann suggests that Solzhenitsyn is the first great Russian writer of the Soviet period “precisely because he accepted the ‘Soviet’ as the inalienable fate of his art, as the chalice which he could not leave unemptied, as that experience which art is obliged to embody, reveal, and illumine with the light of truth.” In his review of The Gulag Archipelago, Schmemann extends this reflection by highlighting Solzhenitsyn’s profound understanding of the vocation of the artist in light of the unity of goodness, truth, and beauty. Although Solzhenitsyn wrote “almost exclusively of darkness and sin, of crime and suffering, there always comes from his writings a mysterious light. This light has a content—a very ancient and eternal one: faith, love, hope.”

In Notes and Comments William L. Portier offers a review essay on Fergus Kerr’s book Twentieth-Century Catholic Theologians:From Neoscholasticism to Nuptial Mysticism (Blackwell Publishing, 2007). Portier situates Kerr’s book in the context of a growing Thomist resurgence whose central claim is that “Henri de Lubac, and by implication, Pope John Paul II, have ruptured and destabilized Catholic theology.” While welcoming Kerr’s contribution to the ongoing debate about nature and grace and about nuptial theology, Portier recalls the suggestion of David Schindler that any alternative proposal to de Lubac’s on the relation of nature and grace “must show how it can better account for the double burden presented by the Gospel, of an utterly gratuitous gift on God’s part coupled with the human person’s profound—non-arbitrary—desire for this gift.”

The final essay of the issue returns to the theme of natural law. In “Natural Law and Divine Law,” Rémi Brague argues that “[w]ithout an exterior point of reference, without someone who is capable of affirming, as God does in the first account of creation, that the human is ‘very good’ (Gn 1:31), we cannot know whether the existence on this earth of the species homo sapiens is or is not a good thing.”

—NJH

Introduction: Hope | Articles | Communio

Summer 2008

Introduction: Hope

In a slightly different direction, Roch Kereszty’s “Toward the Renewal of Theology and the Theologian” considers the state of theology itself and what the Church and the world can hope from it and from those to whom its care is entrusted. Starting from an analysis of what biblical studies, if they are to flourish, must cultivate and what they must dispense with from twentieth-century postconcilar theology, Kereszty then turns to the person of the theologian and his task of allowing his own subjectivity to be “snatched away from itself” and then, having been fitted into the subject of Christ, to “receive itself anew.”

Jean-Pierre Batut, writing in “Divine Goodness! Notes on the Goodness of the Father According to Origen,” reflects the earlier theme of the ever-greaterness of divine love in a discussion of Origen’s insistence on the filial character of the “likeness” to God that men, already made in the divine “image,” are to attempt to reach in Christian life. The dimension of charity borne by the filial relation to God the Father picks up where philosophical attempts to reach knowledge of God leave off, a limit which, as Batut notes, Origen identifies for perhaps the first time in the history of Christianity. The “final conflagration of the universe” will be a conflagration of charity, then, when the laws of creation and of the universe are revealed to be love and the glory of the goodness of God.

Finally, “Retrieving the Tradition” reprints Communio’s 1985 article, “On Hope,” by Joseph Ratzinger. This text, delivered upon the jubilee of the Roman Antonianum, draws in part on St. Bonaventure to relate the virtue of hope to poverty and the life of St. Francis. Ratzinger explains St. Paul’s use of “hyparxis” and “hypomene” in Hebrews to characterize the Christian hope that does not pass away as do worldly goods and hopes, and the article ends with a meditation from the future pope on the Tridentine Catechism’s linking of hope and the Our Father: “We know that there is someone who has the goodness and the power to give us anything, and it is to him that we stretch out our hands.”

—ER

Religious Liberty After Liberalism: Re-Thinking DH in an Age of Illiberal Liberalism | Articles | Communio

Summer-Fall 2013

Religious Liberty After Liberalism: Re-Thinking DH in an Age of Illiberal Liberalism

Patrick J. Deneen

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

Liberalism, Religious Freedom, and the Common Good: The Totalitarian Logic of Self-Limitation | Articles | Communio

Summer-Fall 2013

Liberalism, Religious Freedom, and the Common Good: The Totalitarian Logic of Self-Limitation

D.C. Schindler

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

Absolute Pluralism: How the Dictatorship of Relativism Dictates | Articles | Communio

Summer-Fall 2013

Absolute Pluralism: How the Dictatorship of Relativism Dictates

Michael Hanby

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

“All Things Counter, Original, Spare, Strange”: Liberal Society and Pluralism | Articles | Communio

Summer-Fall 2013

“All Things Counter, Original, Spare, Strange”: Liberal Society and Pluralism

Frederick C. Bauerschmidt

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

The Church in History: Status Viatoris | Articles | Communio

Summer-Fall 2013

The Church in History: Status Viatoris

Glenn W. Olsen

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

Christian Culture and the Form of Human Existence | Articles | Communio

Summer-Fall 2013

Christian Culture and the Form of Human Existence

Antonio López

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

The Right and the Good, and the Place of Freedom of Religion in Human Rights | Articles | Communio

Summer-Fall 2013

The Right and the Good, and the Place of Freedom of Religion in Human Rights

Paolo G. Carozza

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

The Pretention of Universality: Liberal Culture and Religious Freedom | Articles | Communio

Summer-Fall 2013

The Pretention of Universality: Liberal Culture and Religious Freedom

Bishop Jean Laffitte

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

Is Religious Liberty Possible in a Liberal Culture? | Articles | Communio

Summer-Fall 2013

Is Religious Liberty Possible in a Liberal Culture?

David S. Crawford

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

Religious Freedom and Truth: The Contribution of Pope Benedict XVI | Articles | Communio

Summer-Fall 2013

Religious Freedom and Truth: The Contribution of Pope Benedict XVI

Nicholas J. Healy , Jr.

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

Karol Wojtyła and DH: A Historical Perspective | Articles | Communio

Summer-Fall 2013

Karol Wojtyła and DH: A Historical Perspective

Andrzej Dobrzyński

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

Dignitatis humanae: Origins and Unexpected Consequences | Articles | Communio

Summer-Fall 2013

Dignitatis humanae: Origins and Unexpected Consequences

George Weigel

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

America and Religious Freedom | Articles | Communio

Summer-Fall 2013

America and Religious Freedom

Carl A. Anderson

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

Religious Liberty and the Church’s Voice in Transforming Our Culture: An American Perspective | Articles | Communio

Summer-Fall 2013

Religious Liberty and the Church’s Voice in Transforming Our Culture: An American Perspective

Cardinal Donald Wuerl

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

The Nature and Scope of Religious Freedom in Our Contemporary Culture | Articles | Communio

Summer-Fall 2013

The Nature and Scope of Religious Freedom in Our Contemporary Culture

Cardinal Angelo Scola

This article can be found in the printed issue only.

Freedom, Truth, and Human Dignity: An Interpretation of DH on the Right to Religious Liberty | Articles | Communio

Summer-Fall 2013

Freedom, Truth, and Human Dignity: An Interpretation of DH on the Right to Religious Liberty

David L. Schindler
Introduction: Dignitatis Humanae and the Rediscovery of Religious Freedom | Articles | Communio

Summer-Fall 2013

Introduction: Dignitatis Humanae and the Rediscovery of Religious Freedom

Editor