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