Spring 2013

Introduction: Catholicity and Education

Also in this issue we present the second part of Giorgio Buccellati’s “Trinity spermatiké: The Veiled Perception of a Pagan World (Part 2).” The author claims that trinitarian reality affects human experience at its most basic, even when no conscious position is taken vis-à-vis the nature of the “mystery” as understood in Christian thought. A series of “no exit” situations is described where the experience hits a barrier, whether one starts from a secular (polytheistic) or from a trinitarian (monotheistic) mindset. Thus if the logos is seen as a fragmented and controllable activity that accounts for all of reality (in a secular mode), one arrives at a very static and ultimately illusory paradigm of knowledge: “as we encase reality in our own finite logos, in the well construed, all encompassing frame of a static matrix, we come up against the ultimate aporia: precisely because we have nowhere to go, we point unwittingly beyond the ultimate barrier.” If on the other hand (in a monotheistic mode) one accepts that the logos is the Logos, one finds it difficult to see how the inherent unpredictability of personhood can be susceptible of definition and predictability, in the way in which we normally understand logic as based on explanation. This approach seeks to shed a stark light on both the trinitarian claim of a dynamics within the absolute and the secular self-assuredness that its absolute be accepted at face value. A conclusion is then drawn regarding the impact that this has for the confrontation that the missionary dimension of Christianity entails: the “mission” is in sharing the personal dimension of the absolute, relating “him” to common human experience and to a logos discourse, but without flattening the “him” dimension to the level of a pure stasis.

In Retrieving the Tradition, we include Hans Urs von Balthasar’s “The Absoluteness of Christianity and the Catholicity of the Church” wherein the author ponders what these extra-biblical words “catholic” and “absolute” mean, especially insofar as the Church does not include everyone (here represented concretely by Israel), and that the Church is made up of sinners, who never can live up to Christ’s comprehending love of the world. The key to both problems, Balthasar argues, is two structurally different points in the Church, where the fullness of Christ’s love receives an adequate answer: Mary and Peter. “Just as the aspect of holiness within the Church’s unity is centered in a person (in Mary),” Balthasar writes, “the official function of unity is and remains personal (Peter in the midst of the College), and it therefore demands a personal apostolic succession.”

Finally, to close our issue, we also include in Retrieving the Tradition George Grant’s “Faith and the Multiversity.” Grant’s guiding question in the article is how a man of faith, and therefore someone who believes in transcendent truth, goodness and beauty, is to live an intellectually serious life in a situation as fragmented as the modern multiversity. A deep disjunction “has fallen on Western existence, the disjunction between truth and beauty,” Grant comments. He identifies and elaborates this disjunction, arguing that it is the source of the destruction of a true university.

—The Editors