Sunday, May 06, 2007

Started reading: Iota Unum

New book arrived this weekend. The introduction has my attention already, with some rather short and pointedly clear ways of articulating things. I included the last item from #22 because it has bearing on Credo in unum deum...

Iota Unum
A Study of Changes in the Catholic Church in the XXth Century,
Romano Amerio (1985)

14. The deviations of the middle ages.

The Church is only in danger of perishing if she loses the truth, not if she fails to live up to it.

17. The denial of the Catholic principle in Lutheran doctrine.

It is not the thing which demands assent, but assent which gives value to the thing.

22. The principle of independence.
The Auctorem Fidei.

Liberty, equality and fraternity were not values that had gone unrecognized by ancient Greek wisdom, or that had not been given universal import by the Christian religion. Where else could they have come from? The Stoics had made them dependent on a natural Logos enlightening every man who came into the world; even if such enlightenment was ineffective, as the history of slavery, for example, proves. Christianity, on the other hand, had made them dependent on the supernatural Logos, Who became man, enlightening and effectively moving man’s heart. Since a natural Logos is ideal, not real, it cannot truly be the principle on which all depends, nor consequently can it be revered and obeyed unconditionally. The true principle is a supremely real being that includes the Idea and which, in Christianity, has made itself a created reality by means of the Incarnation.

The God-Man, Who is ontologically an individual, becomes a social individual in the Church. The latter, according to St. Paul’s famous teaching, is the mystical body of the former, hence dependence on Christ is reflected in dependence on the Church. This is the principle of authority which rules the whole theological organism. It was impugned by the Lutheran revolution because, as has been said, that revolution substituted private judgment in religious matters for the rule of authority. The correlative of authority is obedience, and on could equally well say that the first principal of Catholicism is either authority or obedience; as appears in the famous Pauline passage about the God-Man being obedient, and obedient even unto death, that is, the whole of His life. He was obedient not primarily to save man (though it is legitimate to put it that way) but rather in order that the creature should bow before the Creator and give Him that entire and absolute homage which is the very goal of creation. That is why the Church of Christ always draws people to cooperate together, through obedience and abnegation and to merge themselves in that collective individual which is the mystical Body of Christ, taking the individual and his acts out of their isolation and abolishing any sort of dependence which is not subordinate to dependence on God.

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