Fall 2012

Introduction: Death

The present issue also continues a discussion of brain death begun in the Summer, 2011 issue of Communio. Two articles were then published on whether brain death is the death of human person. Now we present Nicholas Tonti-Filippini’s reply to Robert Spaemann in “‘Bodily Integration’: A Response to Spaemann.” Tonti-Filippini argues that the brain is necessary for true bodily integration “because without the brain the integration that remains is only between parts of the body rather than the body as a whole.” D. Alan Shewmon, to whom much of Tonti-Filippini’s criticism is leveled, also weighs in on the debate, in a reply to Tonti-Filippini. Shewmon argues that “there is absolutely no compelling philosophical or scientific reason to suppose that brain death, however total and irreversible, is ipso facto the death of a human being as such.” In his article, “You Only Die Once: Why Brain Death is Not the Death of a Human Being,” Shewmon draws on his medical experience and research, as well as the hylemorphism Tonti-Filippini wishes to defend, in order to demonstrate that it is not the brain, but the soul, which constitutes bodily integration, and therefore, life.

Lastly, we include the final installment of a decade long series on The Mysteries of the Life of Jesus. Begun in Spring, 2002, we now close the series with an article on “The Return of Christ.” In “The End of History: The Parousia of Christ as Cosmic Liturgy,” Luis Granados asks what meaning the Parousia holds for us, and what its relevance is for the path Christ walked in the mysteries of the flesh. Granados examines the Parousia’s relationship to the other mysteries of the life of Jesus in order to shed light on the meaning of the time that unfolds between the Resurrection and the Final Judgment. If Christ is truly the end of history, it will be his life that should reveal to us the meaning of the ages. Between the coming in poverty and the coming in glory, time dilates and opens up to the action of the Spirit in man. This divine work is actualized in the mystery of the liturgy, which is a foretaste of the end of human history and that of the whole cosmos. In liturgy, Granados argues, we discover the bridge between present life and definitive life, and thus also the meaning that the mystery of the Parousia has in the divine plan.

Finally, Communio is pleased to welcome Katherine G. Quan as our new managing editor, and we extend our profound gratitude to Emily Lyon neé Rielley, who leaves the managing editor’s position she so capably filled for the past ten years. We wish her abundant joy and fruitfulness in her new way of life, and we cherish the memories of the time she spent with us.

—The Editors