Winter 1994

On the Responses to the Conference Papers

Stratford Caldecott

With such a wealth of papers to publish within a single issue, it is not possible here to do justice also to the remarks of the official respondents. Theirs was the task of providing in each case a brief commentary, a note of appreciation or criticism, a few words that would serve to provoke further reflection and to open up the discussion the conference organizers hoped would ensue. All I can do is provide a few quotations from the respondents whose texts have reached me, and include some notes of my own made at the time, in partial commentary upon the conference for those who were not able to attend.

There was no respondent to the opening address by Bishop Angelo Scola, but there were several questions asked which drew out some of the themes and implications of the bishop's stimulating presentation under the chairmanship of Bishop John Sheets. "The event [of Christ] posits the method"—the method, among other things, of evangelization. While Msgr. Richard Malone connected this lapidry statement to the contemporary debate in catechesis, and others focused on the challenge posed by contemporary forms of nihilism, Fr. Marc Ouellet drew attention to its implications for the renewal of sacramental theology. The Holy Spirit is in some sense himself the "method" posited by the "event," because he is the Spirit of Christ, and his mission is communio and memory in the Church, the sacramental mediation between time and eternity. The Church's responsibility to teach and her responsibility to administer the sacraments are thus two aspects of one and the same sacramental function, distinct but impossible to separate.

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