Wednesday, June 30, 2010

A Catholic Christian

A glorious Wednesday has dawned here in Chicago. This makes me forget how long and cold the winters are here in the Midwest.

Thanks for all your comments yesterday. Please, if you haven't had the chance, read through the comments. I would like to address one, made by my friend Diezba. He wrote:

"Being Catholic is about giving up my own opinion and submitting in humility to the Magisterium. As someone who had to give up my own theological, liturgical, and ecclesiological opinions upon my conversion to the Church, I recognize in you, Jerry, someone who (despite reservations about the translation itself) has a deeply Catholic understanding of what it meant to be a Catholic Christian."

I want to be clear about my own understanding of what it means to be a Catholic Christian. Diezba states that, upon his conversion, he gave up his own opinion. Merriam-Webster defines "opinion" as "a view, judgment, or appraisal formed in the mind about a particular matter." If being a Catholic Christian means that I have given up my own opinion and submitted in humility to the Magisterium, then I really don't want any part of this Catholic experience, so defined. God has given me an intellect and free will. I spent years and years studying philosophy and theology. My mantra, which still gives me life, is Saint Anselm's "fides quaerens intellectum," faith seeking understanding. I interpret this to mean that I am free to use my intellect to form views and judgments that I place in conversation with my faith (the most important conversation partner I have within me), always seeking deeper understanding. Do I sometimes reach an opinion that is in contrast to the expressions of the Magisterium? Absolutely! Do I then jump on a soapbox or write an article slamming the Magisterium? Absolutely not! Because I am a human person, baptized into the Catholic faith, I continue to think, to pursue understanding in conversation with the teachings of the Magisterium. Do I give up my own opinions? No, and I don't believe that this is what I am asked to do as a Catholic Christian.



Recently Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, archbishop of Vienna, was chided by Pope Benedict for remarks (opinions) he posited about a certain remark by a cardinal in a Roman dicastery. I have met Cardinal Schonborn and have followed the development of his career and his thought. I have a great deal of respect for him. While I disagree with some of what he has done (particularly with regard to Medjugorje), I did agree with his assessment—his opinion—of the remark made by the Roman cardinal, for which he has apparently now had his hand slapped. I believe that blind submission to the teachings of the Magisterium—or to the interpretation of remarks interpreted themselves by the Roman Pontiff—without the ability to offer an opinion is not consistent with the fides quaerens intellectum approach. Are there not ways that the Church itself is always reforming? Reform cannot happen without dialogue and dialogue cannot happen without the positing of opinions.

Gosh, I've gone on much too long here. I hope that I haven't expressed any heresy. If so, please point it out to me. I am still on the road here. As I say to people who minister with catechumens and candidates, particularly those who have a tendency to over-catechize, who feel that a catechumen must know everything Catholic before Baptism—I say to them, "Are you 'done' yet?" The answer is always the same, "Of course not." So. I am definitely not "done" myself. So, I'll still posit my own opinions and feel 100% Catholic along the way.

Thanks for listening. And please, please weigh in here. Sometimes I need all the help I can get!

Gotta sing. Gotta pray. Gotta opine!










6 comments:

Diezba said...

Jerry my comment in response to this is too long to post... think you'd let me email it to you?

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Diezba, of course and you must know that I am looking forward to it:
galipeauj@jspaluch

Anonymous said...

On Tuesday, Jerry, you said that," you are ready to throw your hands up in the air about all of this". The other major Catholic pulishers do not yet even have a blog like this. As a Catholic Publisher-Editor of a company owned by a dedicated Catholic family, thousands of Catholics, clerical and lay, will be depending on you to help them through the changes of the next two years. As I told you in our phone conversations, my parish has been in the "We Celebrate Program" twentyone years, to my great satisfaction. So, I would like to stay in the Program, through and beyond the changes.

Jeffrey said...

"My mantra, which still gives me life, is Saint Anselm's "fides quaerens intellectum," faith seeking understanding. I interpret this to mean that I am free to use my intellect to form views and judgments that I place in conversation with my faith (the most important conversation partner I have within me), always seeking deeper understanding.

Calling on your extensive studies, surely it may occur to you that St. Anselm might flinch a bit at that idea... the phrase "place in conversation with my faith" seems to imply that it may be possible for one's own opinions or views to change the tenets of one's faith. I think Anselm would have flatly rejected such a suggestion.

Anselm's methodology assumes what he calls a "Confident Faith" which seeks an intellectual understanding of it's own foundation. But for Anselm, the Faith remains unchanged (confident), and if it conflicts with intellectual reason after extensive scrutiny, then it is the REASON that is flawed. For Anselm, the tenets of the Faith must remain unchanged while seeking their intellectual underpinnings....thus, for Anselm, the inability of rational thought to understand Faith is a flaw in rational thought, not proof of the error of the Faith.

Jerry Galipeau, D. Min. said...

Jeffrey, thanks for your comment. Frankly, at the end of a long day here at the "home office," I can't quite wrap my brain around this to make a cogent response. Not sure if I could do it freshly tomorrow morning either, but I will try.
Jerry

Anonymous said...

I am totally amazed that so many people who seem to be educated in various aspects of the Catholic church, this include the clergy and the bishops ,especially in the USA, have such an infantile knowlege of Catholic church history. Even a quick reading of church history would indicate that there have been many disputes over the years. Bravo Cardinal Schonborn.