All posts by chrismalloy70@gmail.com

About chrismalloy70@gmail.com

I have been a professor of theology at the undergraduate and graduate levels for 13 years and counting. I am married to Flory, and we have five children. I am committed to the communication and defense of the Catholic Tradition for the salvation of souls and the true nourishment of culture.

Gregory Nazianzus on Good Pastoring in Times of Confusion

From his Letter to Cledonius (taken from Christology of the Later Fathers, pp. 223f):

But if anyone who thinks we have spoken rightly on this subject reproaches us with holding communion with heretics, let him prove that we are open to this charge, and we will either convince him or retire. But it is not safe to make any innovation before judgment is given, especially in a matter of such importance, and connected with so great issues. We have protested and continue to protest this before God and men. And not even now, be well assured, should we have written this, if we had not seen that the Church was being torn asunder and divided, among their other tricks, by their present synagogue of vanity. But if anyone when we say and protest this, either from some advantage they will thus gain, or through fear of men, or monstrous littleness of mind, or through some neglect of pastors and governors, or through love of novelty and proneness to innovations, rejects us as unworthy of credit, and attaches himself to such men, and divides the noble body of the Church, he shall bear his judgment, whoever he may be, and shall give account to God in the day of judgment. But if their long books, and their new Psalters, contrary to that of David, and the grace of their metres, are taken for a third Testament, we too will compose Psalms, and will write much in metre. For we also think we have the spirit of God, if indeed this is a gift of the Spirit, and not a human novelty. This I will that thou declare publicly, that we may not be held responsible, as overlooking such an evil, and as though this wicked doctrine received food and strength from our indifference.

Rahner’s Rhetoric: 2

Second podcast on Rahner’s rhetoric. Point is: Although Rahner’s thought is serious and needs serious treatment, his dismissals of prior tradition are sometimes totally unjust, misrepresentations, dismissals of caricatures. That is irresponsible. These instances are not worthy of an undergraduate paper.

Some ODD things about the Communion Controversy

The controversy: Whether person Q who is validly married to A, but having intercourse with B, may receive the Eucharist. Call this person QB.

Question: Are not all agreed that anyone who receives in the state of sin commits sacrilege? I think that all do agree on this. But I raise it as a question. I also premise it in what follows.

So, those who support QB receiving must be holding that he / she is in the state of grace. Let us pursue this. DOGMA: All those in the state of grace are able to fulfill the commandments of God. NOW: If QB may receive the Eucharist, he is in the state of grace. But if QB is in the state of grace, he is able to fulfill the commandments. Now, the commandment of fidelity in marriage is that one should not engage in intercourse with anyone other than one’s spouse. But QB is doing just that. Hence, he is doing what by God’s grace he is able Not to do, if that is, he is permitted to receive the Eucharist. That is, if he is in grace, he can quit B. Dilemma: If he cannot stop committing this objective sin, then it can only be that he is in a state of sin. All those in the state of grace are able to fulfill the commandments. By contrast, those in a state of sin are not necessarily guaranteed to have wherewithal to avoid every mortal sin (though they can avoid each). But if he is in a state of sin, he should not receive.

Another Oddity. The Bishops of certain nation have claimed that in the right circumstances QB may receive. What circumstances? If QB1 is unable to be faithful to the commandment and quit fornicating with B, but he would like to be faithful and quit B, then he may receive. Reason: QB does not have that much freedom. Conversely, if QB2 were able to quit B but doesn’t, then QB2 could not receive the Eucharist. This situation looks odd to me. Why? Because each of us is on a road to maturity. We are supposed to grow day by day. That growth should always take us nearer to the Eucharist. Now, if you fruitfully receive the Eucharist, you should be growing in freedom. Thus, if QB1 fruitfully received the Eucharist, he would be growing in freedom. Presumably, he would grow to the point at which he is able to quit B. At that point, if he quits B, great. If he does not quit B, he may no longer receive the Eucharist. Is it not odd that those with less moral freedom are permitted to receive?

Further oddity: If the goal of QB1 is to quit B, why are some praising QB1 precisely for engaging in intercourse with B, as though he is fulfilling the commandments of God thereby, doing what God is commanding?

In the midst of all this discussion back and forth, there are the countless poor souls who are losing sight of the real commandments and the real power of grace. For even those in the state of sin are objects of God’s love, which is presently calling them to ask him for the grace of conversion. But how can anyone seek grace who doesn’t think he needs it?

Another odd thing: Luther found sin everywhere. Too much sin in too many wrong places. He critiqued the presumptuous. And it is right to critique the presumptuous, those who deny that there is sin. But are we not in our age basically explaining away all sins? But if the sins are explained, they are not forgivable. Only the free evil is forgivable.

Rahner’s Rhetoric

AT THE REQUEST OF AN INQUIRER, I AM RE-POSTING THIS.

A number of posts ago I indicated that I would come back to a treatment of Fr. Karl Rahner. That treatment will take a good bit of time. A post here and there.

Today, the treatment regards Fr. Rahner’s rhetoric.

THE QUESTION: Whether some key claims of Rahner — which constitute rejections of traditional theological explanations — are “fair” rhetorically.

For some reason, Firefox had difficulty with this podcast. Safari does work.

Dogmatic Theology 1.18: Basic Dogmas on Trinity

In this podcast, we lay out the basic dogmas on the Holy Trinity. But before going through the sundry dogmas, we lay out the several conceptual stages for rightly thinking about this mystery. Although the  Mystery is Simple in itself, it is complex in our understanding. If we are rightly to order our minds towards the Mystery, we need to have a sense of how the different terms signify God differently. Then, we can have a better sense of the Mystery, however feeble it is, so that we might break forth into contemplation and love.

It would be of considerable help to have a set of published outlines with you as you listen to the podcast. The link to these outlines is HERE.

Why dogma? Why doctrine? Jesus has gifted us with the Truth. The Truth is both the way to  love and the final end of love. For Truth is the Real, and we Love not just “to love” but “The Real.” A person. In fact, Three Persons. Hence, dogma is foundational to the Catholic way of life.

Dogmatic Theology 1.17b: Classic Heresies 2

In this podcast, we treat Subordinationism, aka Arianism. The life and death of Arius (good fun here) and his sundry theses, some reasons for these theses, and why these theses are erroneous. Also, how to classify subordinationism: Is it tritheist (the standard diagnosis) or monarchianist (my diagnosis)?

Reason for the picture? All heresy is rubbish and wasteland.

Dogmatic Theology 1.17a: Trinitarian Heresies 1

In this podcast, the first of two, we take up a dogmatic or speculative analysis of the varieties of heresy concerning the Trinity. The two major extreme heresies are these: Monarchianism (which denies the distinction of persons) and Tritheism (which denies the unity, simplicity, and unicity of substance or essence). Question is: What about Subordinationism? We will take up that topic next podcast.

All heresy yields bad fruit. Hence the image.

Dogmatic Theology 1.16: Early Development of Trinitarian Doctrine

In this podcast, we make the pivot from Scripture to Dogma. The topic is Trinity. This is the podcast “in between.” We offer some guidelines for sound Catholic study of history. An absolute must is the historian’s commitment to this proposition: Dogma is infallible and unchangeable. The historian who refuses to acknowledge this will almost always go astray in the reading of history. After all, we are reading theologies. Theology is a sacred science. The historian who refuses to accept dogma as infallible (certainly true) and unchangeable will fail to have the equipment necessary to read things in the best light.

We do see the Fathers and Doctors struggling in this early time. Hence, the image above of “furrowing the ground.”

Dogmatic Theology 1.15: Trinity in Scripture

With this podcast, we begin our treatment of the Most Holy Trinity, the heart of Christian faith. We explore various biblical points of departure for this Mystery. We do so in the manner that dogmatic theology does. This does not involve re-inventing the wheel of labor in biblical theology. Rather, it involves reaping the harvest of the heavy labors of those in biblical theology. We reap, also, with the aid of dogmatic theological precision and of Magisterial Dogmas and Doctrines.

 

Whose Side are the Dubia Cardinals On?

All know about the four cardinals who submitted several dubia (questions) to Pope Francis. They are seeking clarification on certain issues that seem to be confused in people’s minds ever since March 2016.

Some portray their action as aggressive. As confrontational. As non-obedient. These cardinals are portrayed as going against the common man.

What is the truth? The truth is that the Church has already in her constant and universal teaching given us the answers to these various dubia. The answers are infallible. All adultery is evil. All fornication with one not one’s spouse is adultery against one’s spouse. There is no such thing as divorce. It is a sheer chimera, a figment of the imagination. An “Annulment” is not a divorce. It is a simple declaration: “We are morally certain that a valid marriage never took place.”

Now, if all adultery is evil, it harms the perpetrator as well as the victim. The spouse being cheated on is the victim. Counselors will tell us that adultery is often an act of great anger against one’s own spouse. It is victimizing one’s spouse. Dashing the spouse against the rocks of indifference. Since marriage is so central to life, adultery is practically a moral murder of the spouse.

So, whose side are the Cardinals on anyway? They are on the side of the victim, the one who is cheated on. The helpless one. They are also on the side of the sinner, the perpetrator. For the perpetrator cannot go to heaven having committed adultery, unless he/she repents. Let no one deceive you. No One. Let no one deceive you. The Church has already infallibly clarified these matters. No one who has committed grave sin is going to heaven without repenting of grave sin. The one who stuffs that truth under a bushel barrel is not helping the poor sinner. The poor and the outcast. Rather, the one who silences this message is ushering the sinner to eternal perdition. It might look gentle and caring to be holding the sinner’s hand. But if this holding of the hand is a walking towards a cliff, rather than a call to turn aside from the Abyss whose jaws salivate, then it is not gentle and caring in the least sense of the word.