chicago studies FALL/WINTER 2019/2020 | VOLUME 58.2
Facing Social Crisis Through Public Theology Fr. Thomas A. Baima Editorâ€™s Corner Joshua Farris Christian Physicalism? Issues in Contemporary Protestantism Joshua Farris Thomist Survivalism? The Cartesian Alternative Fr. David Olson Spiritual Fatherhood in Priestly Identity Fr. Martin Zielinski The New Visions and Directions of 1919: An Assessment 100 Years Later
Chicago Studies Editorial Board Thomas Baima
Founding Editor George Dyer
CHICAGO STUDIES is edited by members of the faculty of the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary for the continuing theological development of priests, deacons, and lay ecclesial ministers. The editors welcome articles and letters likely to be of interest to our readers. Views expressed in the articles are those of the respective authors and not necessarily those of the editorial board. All communications regarding articles and editorial policy should be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org. Indexed in The Catholic Periodical & Literature Index and New Testament Abstracts.
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Copyright ÂŠ 2020 Civitas Dei Foundation
Facing Social Crisis Through Public Theology Editor’s Corner – Fall/Winter 2019- 2020 By Very Rev. Thomas A. Baima, S.T.D. Chicago Studies, over the last half-century, has tried to occupy the space between a peerreviewed theological journal and a practical magazine about parish ministry. I describe it as a theological journal for ministerial professionals. Our official description claims: “While sacrificing nothing in scholarship or scope, Chicago Studies is always written with the parish minister in mind. From its inception, Chicago Studies has had this singular goal to provide high quality continuing theological development for parish ministers.” This is a hard piece of ground to occupy. I am reminded again and again of the geography of the Holy Land. My first surprise visiting Israel/Palestine was how small the distances were. As one who was born and raised in Chicago, it is a long way to any international boarder. The closest by car is probably south of Detroit. Not so in the Holy Land. I remember during my post-doctoral studies in Jerusalem sitting on the balcony of one of the professor’s home which was in the hills around the Holy City and looking to the east. In the distance were the lights of a city. “What is that?” I asked. “That’s Philadelphia” what his reply. Seeing from my expression that I didn’t get the joke, he added, “Of course, that’s its ancient name. You know it today as Amman, Jordan.” Geography cannot be understood outside the context of history. And history is not just the telling of events, but a journey of understanding the ideas which shaped those events. Public conversation right now in many parts of the world is poorer for missing the contribution of thought leaders commonly called public intellectuals. While we are a small theological institution, the University of Saint Mary of the Lake has striven to keep public theology a part of our mission. Four such efforts are based at Mundelein. The first two are endowed visiting lectureships. The Chester and Margaret Paluch Chair of Theology allows us to bring professors to campus to supplement the course offerings of Mundelein Seminary. The Albert Cardinal Meyer Lecture Series supports annual public lectures with a wide scope of topics ranging from the arts and literature, to sociology, philosophy and theology. The James N. Perry, Jr. and Mary D. Perry Chair in Theology supports the Center for Scriptural Exegesis, Philosophy and Doctrine which sponsors both yearly conferences with senior scholars in a specific field, and graduate student conferences which bring the best young Ph.D. students from the top Catholic universities to help foster a community of practice to accompany them into their academic careers. Finally, the faculty of the University of Saint Mary of the Lake and the Civitas Dei Foundation sponsor Chicago Studies. While each of these efforts fulfill a specific mission within theological education, together they represent a sustained commitment to what is best described as public theology. Which brings me to the current issue “Facing Social Change Through Public Theology.” At first glance, the essays in the pages of Chicago Studies for this Fall/Winter issue seem unrelated to each other, and perhaps also unrelated to pastoral ministry. As I read them all in a single sitting, however, I came to see that there is a common thread which joins all four essays. That thread is
how they touch on the critical issues which are in the background of public theology right now in 2020. Right now, as we continue the journey through the COVID-19 pandemic, we see our parish life disrupted at so many levels. We hear parish ministers say, “We have to open our churches fully, or people will get out of the habit of church going.” “We have learned to minister through live-stream technology.” “Our parishes are moving from a passive approach to service (waiting for the parishioner to come to us) to active outreach.” All these comments are true at the same time. In this time of uncertainty, on thing we can be sure of is that the coronavirus will change parish life over the long-term. Bishops and religious leaders (both Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant) report that while most clergy are deeply anxious to re-open and return to the familiar, the faithful for the most part are cautious – not anxious to return to normal, at least until there is a vaccine in wide use. At the same time, the shut down of society has provoked reflection on some of the biggest issues in life and society. We have an opportunity to engage our people around truly substantive matters. To do so, we must take public theology seriously. By taking it seriously, I mean that we must recognize that public theology is different from what other public intellectuals do. Public theology is done by believers who are in relationship with a faith community. It is about achieving integration and depth which in turn more both individual and community toward spiritual maturity, so that they can be effective missionary disciples. One example of this is Fr. David Olson’s essay on spiritual fatherhood. Father Olson asks us to move beyond sound-bytes and slogans of identity to a reception of the richness which the Christian tradition has to offer about ordained leadership. He takes up the controversial topic of clericalism. He calls for a sober and mature use of the tradition as an appropriate way to engage contemporary problems and to frame enduring solutions. Another example comes to us from Dr. Joshua Farris, an evangelical theologian who is exploring the Catholic tradition, especially in philosophy, around issues of theological anthropology. While at first, this may seem quite far from the experience of parish ministry, like a visit to the Holy Land, geography opens our eyes to a deeper appreciation of reality. We live in a Protestant Christian culture which is in the process of secularizing. Parish ministers can see this in funeral practices. More and more parish ministers describe how parishioners are choosing not to have Funeral Masses, but instead hold a “celebration of life” sometime in the future, and not in the church. Any parish priest, deacon, or lay ecclesial minister will tell you there is a generational shift going on, but where did the ideas that drive that shift come from. Dr. Farris explains how the ideas of materialism have found their way into even the theological thinking of some Protestant philosophers and theologians. Since the USA is culturally Protestant, these ideas eventually impact all religious practice, including our own. By understanding this shift in ideas and building an argument from the authentic Christian tradition in response, we prepare ourselves to help our people. The global pandemic has brought issues of mortality front and center. This is an opportunity for the public ministers of the Church to offer guidance. But to do so, we have some hard thinking to do, and Dr. Farris helps us do that in both essays. It has been said that “everything is first of all its history.” To return to my experience in the Holy Land, I asked one of the priests serving there if he could explain to me why the State of Israel did not allow civil marriage? The only way to get married in Israel is in a religious ceremony, either Jewish, Christian or Muslim. The priest answered, “Oh, yes, I can explain. You see in 1453 . . .”
Now, I’m an American. 1776 seems like the distant past. But 1453? What could history so long past have to do with the practical, pastoral question I had asked. Well, when the Ottoman Empire gained final control of the region, they instituted a system of plural law. They divided the population by religions and each person had to follow the family law of that religion. It was easier for Israel when it became a state to simply leave that system in place concerning marriage. Right now, the United States is confronting serious issues about a system we have left in place from colonial times. Father Zielinski’s essay takes us back a mere century, and shows us a rich trajectory of thought by the U. S. Catholic bishops around social reconstruction. One cannot turn on the news today and not realize that this moment is different from many before it. There are many voices of social unrest, yet one voice has been absent. I am referring to what Joseph Donders called “our best kept secret—the Catholic social doctrine.” Father Zielinski’s essay reveals the sophistication and depth of this part of our tradition. Since the issues the bishops were addressing in 1919 are still current, their teaching offers important resources for parish ministers today guiding their communities in this time of social unrest. I want to end by applying something Fr. Zielinski states in his essay to the whole issue. Quoting the U.S. Bishops’ Program on Social Reconstruction, we read, “Changes in our economic and political systems will have only partial and feeble efficiency if they be not reinforced by the Christian view of work and wealth.” We might just as well expand that to say “Addressing the issues of clericalism, materialism, secularization, race, gender, ministerial practice, etc. will have only partial and feeble efficiency if they be not reinforced by the Christian vision of the dignity of the human person and the solidarity of the human community. These essays directly speak to the critical issues in recent public theology. The editors hope they contribute something to the current challenges parish ministers face.
Christian Physicalism? Issues in Contemporary Protestantism By Joshua Farris, Ph.D. Introduction This first of two essays on theological anthropology in philosophical perspective is concerned with a growing trend in contemporary theological discourse, namely, Christian physicalism. 1 In short, Christian physicalism is the position that the created world is wholly physical, including humans, and that this is consistent with Christian doctrine. I say “growing trend” for a reason because Christian physicalism is a novelty in the wider Christian tradition, but, as of late, it has garnered significant attention as a plausible alternative to traditional anthropologies. Specifically, by considering Christian physicalism, I seek to answer two questions: (1) What is the state of the art on the physicalism/dualism discussion? (2) Is contemporary physicalism compatible with the tradition’s “similarity thesis” between God and humans? I set out to achieve this in three stages. First, I summarize the present state of the physicalist/dualist dialectic. Second, I explore one reason that favors the tradition’s identification of the human representation of God with the soul. Third, I lay out some recent contemporary defenses for the soul. I suggest that behind the defense of the soul reflected in the Christian tradition (both Catholic and Reformed) is what I term the “similarity” thesis between God and humans, and I deny that a physicalist anthropology has the resources to account for it. 2 The Present Physicalist/Dualist Dialectic Fascinating discussions are taking place in the analytic philosophical literature on human constitution. These discussions are, however, limited in perspective to a local frame. In other words, what does it mean to be a physical thing or a non-physical thing? Can a physicalist ontology of humans account for consciousness, first-person consciousness, moral knowledge, freedom of the will, and, most important, the persistence of personal identity (of which there is a not insignificant set of literature)? These are important discussions, undoubtedly, and the jury is still out on the merits of a physicalist ontology of human beings or, at least, whether it has significant advantage over a traditional immaterialist ontology that considers humans beings embodied souls. A materialist or physicalist holds the view that I am a physical being through and through and all the way down. Physicalists take it that there are different ways of thinking about the nature of what it means to be a human being, but they all share this common assumption that humans are physical bodily beings. There are of course different kinds of physicalism that focus on what is often called the hard problem of consciousness. The hard problem of consciousness concerns the nature of how consciousness as a distinct set of properties define properties of material things like gunk, particles, atoms or other higher-order physical objects that exist as organic products of the eco-system. Eliminative Physicalism is the view that these experiential properties of conscious experience are simply not a part of the ontological furniture as real substances, properties, or events. Reductive physicalism is the view that properties of the mind, qualia (properties of phenomenal experience, e.g., what it is like to taste chocolate), reduce to and are accounted for by the underling physical bits. Identity physicalism is the view that consciousness, or properties of a
mental type, just are properties of neural bits or that these properties are states or structures of neural signals firing as one unit. Functionalism is similar to Identity token physicalism, and it is the view that properties of minds are not simply states of neural firings, but states in action. More important and relevant to our discussion is what is called non-reductive physicalism. Nonreductive physicalism rejects the view that the hard problem of consciousness is solved by neurology alone because defenders of this position recognize that consciousness is neither identical to nor reducible to neural bits of matter. Instead, defenders of non-reductive physicalism recognize the hierarchal nature of mental capacity and consciousness as distinct from its underlying base. Most importantly, defenders of non-reductive physicalism celebrate the fact of top-down causation as the distinctive feature of consciousness unaccounted for on lower levels of physicalism. Substance dualism, on the other hand, or mind-body dualism has some affinity with nonreductive physicalism in that it rejects the theses that mind is reducible to underlying neural bits, identical to them, or merely functional states in action. 3 Defenders of both dualism and nonreductive physicalism recognize the uniqueness of consciousness in the physical world and grant it unique powers otherwise non-detected at lower physical levels of the world. The difference on mind-body dualism is that the mind is substantial (i.e., a property bearer), namely, a primitive unity that serves as the base for novel properties and powers like first-person consciousness, free will, and moral conscience. The mind, or soul, is a sui generis substance that is a primitive. In the contemporary dialectic, it is argued by defenders of mind-body dualism that it has several advantages. Most important, the fact of a distinct mental substance furnishes a peculiar status to personhood that allows for persistence, which is otherwise difficult to come by on physicalist ontologies of human beings. With that brief description of the various positions on offer, there is a distinctive need to create new conceptual space in the literature for re-considering afresh the prospects of Christian physicalism. My concern as stated is modest. I remain skeptical—and I believe the philosophical defenses of the soul hypothesis bear this out—that Christian physicalism can support the robust consciousness experienced by humans, which includes free will, moral awareness and the like. I also remain skeptical that Christian physicalism can supply us with a satisfying account of the persistence of personal identity (or an account of personal identity simpliciter). I am skeptical because material objects are complex in nature, whereas personal identity depends on a metaphysically simple entity that exists and can persist through time, even upon losing parts (i.e., parts of the body) given that it is a metaphysical simple. In other words, I am identical to the metaphysically simple soul. 4 However, there is another concern that may at first appear as disconnected from present analytic discussions on the philosophy of mind. This concern is motivated by a dogmatic item in the wider Christian tradition, which serves to reframe the discussion not by excluding discussions of local ontology, but situating local ontology in a global ontology. It is through this lens that it appears to raise additional doubt on the merits of Christian physicalism. Doing a bit of retracing steps could help to position Christian physicalism in another light. Namely, humans have served as metaphysical analogues for God. Knowledge of God is predicated upon the fact that we are souls, or ensouled beings, who aptly serve as representations of God’s being (i.e., in analytic philosophical terms, “the similarity thesis”). It is unclear how a physical object could sustain this analogue.
Mis-framed Objections to Traditional Anthropology A growing number of contemporary biblical-theological scholars would have you believe that not only is there no evidence for the soul, but there is no need for a soul. There are, at a minimum, four sets of objections to the soul that are commonly advanced in the contemporary literature. The first set of objections are from authority. The second set of objections are from science. The third set is scriptural. The fourth set is philosophical and theological. 5 Making a veritable cottage industry of attacking the traditional doctrine of the soul, Nancey Murphy and some of her Fuller Seminary colleagues often appeal to the first and second set of objections to the soul. She states: While body-soul dualism is a hot topic now in conservative Christian circles in the United States, the debate over dualism versus physicalism is thought to be settled by scholars in a variety of fields…. [B]iblical scholars called body-soul dualism into question beginning a century ago (but given the current popularity of books for and against the soul, they apparently neglected to inform their congregations!). The concept of the self has long served as a replacement for the soul in a number of disciplines, such as psychology, and in ordinary language as well. No significant neuroscientist has been a dualist since the death of Sir John Eccles. 6 Murphy attacks the common belief in the soul and implies that it is both outdated and not informed either by biblical scholarship or serious science. Unfortunately, her critique here is all too typical and indicative of the fallacy of an appeal to authority (and I might add that it is an appeal that is dubious at best for there are several neuroscientists who affirm dualism), i.e., the implication that because some purported authority says it is true it must be true. Granted we are not opposed to the right use of authority, for the present argument is based on authority from Scripture and the tradition. That said, the authority purported in Christian theology is so derived properly from revelation as a testimonial starting point of which scientists are not properly authorities (or if they are in some nuanced sense it is not explained here). Neither is it clear that the rejection of the soul is the consensus of the scientific community(s). If it is, it is not clear at all why she thinks scientific authority should undermine the authority of the religious tradition (with its commitment to a global ontology of God, as an immaterial mind, who creates human minds in his likeness in its locality) when the stated central beliefs are intrinsic to the testimony of the received authorities within that tradition. Murphy doesn’t stop there. In a number of places, including the above quote, she goes on to proffer an instance of the second set of objections that neuroscience has no need of the soul. In one place, she states: “all of the human capacities once attributed to the immaterial mind or soul are now yielding to the insights of neurobiology.” 7 Presumably she is referring to the data from brain scans, which yield a set of correlative data regarding mental functions. Typical of these types of objections, she is surely aware of the fact that brain scans fail to establish an identity relation between activity in the brain and the corresponding mental capacities that retain, at a minimum, a dualism of properties, which if it can be shown require a subject than an immaterial mental subject. More importantly, both of these critiques fail to take as the dogmatic starting points for the soul, namely that which is the received tradition and interpretation of Scripture concerning human beings. In other words, it misses, once again, the way in which the soul is a part of the dogmatic
furniture (or an entailment from it) and how the soul serves as an important explanation for central Christian doctrine. It is suggested, then, that the extensive and complex brain scan data rules out the need for a soul. What is striking about this type of objection is that somehow science has come on the scene with such power as to rule against an immaterialist metaphysic, and one which served as a global ontology for which to frame our local ontology. Not only is it questionable that science has no need of immaterialism (with mentalism, i.e., the notion that minds are substantial with properties and powers), it is not clear that this set of data establishes any new evidence. For example, it is not as if contemporary materialism of persons was unfamiliar to the ancients or medievals. Is there scriptural support for the soul? Some say no. And this is the third set of objections. Take, for example, traditional translations of nephesh. It is now commonly assumed that the consensus from biblical scholars is that nephesh refers not to some soul that could persist disembodied, but to “vitality” or “life.” The well-known biblical scholar, Joel Green, advances this view when he says, “Scripture itself teaches us that we are made of the stuff of the earth, like other animals; that we are given the breath of life ( ֶנפֶשׁ, nephesh, “vitality,” sometimes translated “soul”) just as other animals are; and that our destiny is enmeshed with that of the rest of creation (Gen. 1-2; Rom. 8:19-23).” 8 The theologian Alister McGrath likewise upholds this opinion when he comments on the soul: Yet it is widely agreed that this is not how the writers of the Bible understood these ideas. The notion of an immaterial soul was a secular Greek concept, not a biblical notion. The Old Testament conceives of humanity “as an animated body and not as an incarnate soul.” The biblical vision of humanity was that of a single entity, an inseparable psychosomatic unit with many facets or aspects. “Soul” is an AngloSaxon term used to translate a variety of biblical terms, often having the general sense of “life.” Thus the Hebrew word nephesh, translated as “soul” in some older English Bibles, really means a “living being.” 9 Green and McGrath press the following question: “If, in the mind of many, what distinguishes the human person from other creatures is human possession of the soul, what are we to make of the singular lack of support for this view in Scripture itself?” 10 However, there is, in fact, pretty good exegetical evidence to the contrary from specific Old Testament texts, and nephesh, in some cases, necessitates a translation of “soul” (i.e., referring to a soul that is distinct, as a property-bearer from the body, and can even exist apart from the body) rather than “life.” And what it means by “soul” is not “life” generally but refers to an immaterial substance that could be disembodied. 11 The fourth and final set of objections is philosophical and theological. It is not uncommonly argued that the soul does little to no work for our theology, but historically this is not the case (e.g., the soul is immortal hence bringing about a radical discontinuity between immaterial things and material things). If we lack scientific, biblical, and theological evidence, then we have no need for the soul. Joel Green raises this sort of concern when he asks: What need do we have of the soul?12 For the reasons listed already, there seems, to Green at least, to be no theological reason for accepting it. I have briefly pointed the reader in the direction of responses to the first three sets of objections. I wish now to focus on the fourth objection which will comprise the rest of the essay.
The Need for Framing Theological Anthropology The Dogmatic Consensus Contemporary physicalist discussions reflect a departure from the traditional consensus that humans are ensouled beings that reflect their Creator. Prima facie support comes from the Chalcedonian statement on Christology concerning human nature, i.e., as a “reasonable soul and body.” 13 In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we have one of the clearest statements that humans are ensouled. The Catechism states: “Endowed with ‘a spiritual and immortal’ soul, the human person is ‘the only creature that God has willed for its own sake.’ From his conception, he is destined for eternal beatitude” (1703). Notable is the connection between the soul and knowledge of God, i.e., “eternal beatitude.” Augustine in his Confessions, Book VII, reasons that God must be an immaterial being. This pivotal moment in the history of the development of Christian dogmatics is important because thereafter the relation that humans as certain kinds of things bear to God as a certain kind of thing becomes foundational to the shared wisdom of the Church’s reflections on anthropology. That said there is an interesting rationale in theological tradition that grounds the “similarity thesis” in the soul of humans. 14 To this we turn as one interesting line for considering the merits of Christian physicalism. Terence Nichols summarizes the traditional argument for the intellective capacity as a specifically soulish or spiritual capacity. For Nichols, if we humans are mortal and material like other creatures, “then even in heaven we could not know God directly, through intuition; for that to happen, we would need a spiritual receptor, a faculty by which we could perceive the spiritual God. . . . Without such a faculty, we can know God only indirectly.” For Nichols, the soul is a central piece of dogmatic furniture, and it serves an important function in grounding our epistemic access to God’s nature. 15 Still affirming the centrality of the soul to anthropological discussions historically, Lewis Ayres offers a different rationale that undergirds historic Catholic teaching on the soul. Ayres has stated it is the soul that furnishes the “anthropological context within which the structure of traditional discussions of grace and sanctification and the restoration of the imago Dei can be articulated.” 16 Lest we think the Reformed tradition is any different, Reformed orthodoxy affirms the centrality of the soul across the confessions. Consider the authoritative Reformed statement on Reformed dogmatics, which summarizes the Reformed confessions on dogmatic teachings, the Synopsis Puris Theologia (i.e., the Leiden Summary) comments: God added to this sort of body by putting the soul or the breath of life into it, which goes by the general Hebrew word ruaḥ, “spirit.” More precise is nefesh, “soul,” which applies only to a living creature; and most precise is neshama, that is “breath” or “exhaling,” which is usually applied to mankind. In Latin a similar distinction exists between spirit, soul, and mind [literally: “wind”], not because the spirit is some sort of blowing, or wind, or an exhaling or something fleeting, but because the subtlety and the power of its nature is portrayed by its similarity to them, namely its spiritual as opposed to bodily nature. 17 The Leiden Synopsis further takes it that what is meant is that humans are directly created by God because the material is “unfit” for humanity. 18 “And the soul also was not created or made from
any one essence whatsoever, whether celestial or elementary; but for that first man the soul was blown ‘out of nothing’ into his face, mouth, and especially his nostrils, and it was created by means of the blowing, as Augustine puts it.” 19 Further: “To be clear, two facts must be observed here: That the soul came from without, and, that it corresponds to the divine essence by analogy.” 20 Part of this knowledge is predicated on an importantly related attribute of both humans and God to immateriality, namely immortality. In agreement with the Roman Catholic Catechism on this score, the Reformed theologians across the confessions hold that God is immortal (as an entailment from his immateriality) and that we too have immortal souls. This plays a role in concept formation about the knowledge of God. Summarizing the data above, the “similarity thesis” of which the soul is predicated stands behind several creational and redemptive aspects of a traditional theological anthropology. Concerning a creational anthropology, it stands behind and accounts for a set of creational attributes including the intellect, the will, and the immortality thesis. Concerning a redemptive anthropology, it stands behind and accounts for a set of redemptive attributes, namely righteousness, holiness, and beatified knowledge of God. At the heart of these discussions is a commitment to the soul. In other words, jettisoning the soul is not so easy to come by. If you are one who is persuaded by the tradition, then this might be sufficient for you. You might think along the following lines: If the traditional consensus of theological authorities takes it that x is true, then based on the testimonial nature of Christianity on x these theological authorities yield the truth that y is true or probably true. Notice that would be different than the authority argument given earlier by Nancey Murphy because Christianity has internal to it a set of premises and authorities that are based on testimony or revelation. In which case, intrinsic to this testimony is a set of ideas and authorities (and, arguably, a global ontology that impinges on a local ontology). The two are relevantly different in that it is assumed that there is something about the nature and constitution of the human, as an ensouled being, that is properly placed in the provenance of theology, hence the authority structure according to Murphy above, of deriving from the sciences is out of bounds as the primary authority for this kind of inquiry. The claim is something like the following: take y to be the proposition that the soul is the basis or ground for our similarity reflection of God. So, if x testifies to the truth that y, then y is true. Alternatively, you might be inclined to make a weaker claim. Something like the following: the traditional consensus of theological authorities (x) intends y, as being the proposition that the “similarity” thesis is true, but the ontology is important only insofar as it provides an account for y. 21 Maybe the set of data above is insufficient for your arriving at the truth that humans are ensouled beings. There is another route for defending the belief that humans are likely souls. The argument is something like the following: x is y, x creates z like x, so z is probably like y. Highlighting One Reason for Thinking That the Soul Grounds the “Similarity” Alvin Plantinga, J.P. Moreland and others have advanced a common-sense paradigm argument for the fact that humans are souls, or ensouled beings, based on the fact that God is something of an ensouled being who created humans like himself. And in order for humans to be similar reflections of the Divine Being (i.e., as metaphysical analogues), given that God created us like him it is likely that he created as beings with souls (i.e., x is y, x creates z like x, so z is probably like y). Alvin Plantinga famously argues for the coherence of the soul based on an implicit paradigm of persons that we have through a common-sense epistemology. 22 On the basis of the fact that God is immaterial (which we can presume he has good philosophical reasons for thinking
in addition to reasons derived from catholic tradition). On this basis, he supposes that it is rational to believe that we too are immaterial beings, or souls, because God himself is something of a soul: souls being those immaterial substances that have properties and powers of mental beings that can enter into deep and meaningful experiences. Further, Plantinga argues that with this paradigm we are able to weaken the strength of the interaction problem between physical and non-physical or mental things. 23 In this way, the paradigm grants us with warranted beliefs that we, as mental beings, can interact with physical things because God, presumably, interacts with the physical world. Yet, there is an analogous benefit to have a paradigm of persons that works the other way. If, in fact, God is an immaterial/mental being that has the capacity to enter into deep and meaningful relationships, then all other personal beings by analogous reasoning are immaterial/mental beings. This is buttressed by a further argument. In traditional Christian theology, human beings are created by God in his image. As his image bearers, we bear a similarity relation that sufficiently makes us proper analogues or metaphysical representations of God’s being. Undoubtedly, there is a recent trend to functionalize the image, as we find with Christian materialist Kevin Corcoran: “I do not believe that our being created in the image of God means that we are immaterial as God is immaterial.” 24 The immediate intuitive challenge to Corcoran is not simply that the tradition holds to the belief that the soul is the proper ground and context for human reflection of God, but that if God created us like himself, then it follows that if God is a mental or immaterial being, then we too are likely mental and immaterial beings rather than material beings that are contrasted with God. Functionalizing the image still presumes that humans have all the necessary capacities to perform the proper functions ascribed to God as a mental and immaterial being. 25 There is a cluster of attributes (e.g., moral conscience, robust consciousness, freedom of the will, purposive action) that are predicated of a certain kind of thing that stands in certain relations to another kind of thing and can carry out all of these functions purposively as the kind of being it is. So once again, if God is a mental and immaterial being who creates humans like himself, then it follows not only that humans are like God, but as his representatives who are certain kinds of beings they are likely mental and immaterial beings themselves. And, such reasoning is likely presumed in the wider tradition’s inclination toward the notion that humans are ensouled beings with the soul bearing a similarity relation to God. In the contemporary literature, there are three other approaches used for shoring up a defense for the doctrine of the soul. The first is biblical and it challenges the objection raised above that the biblical material, including the interpretation of Old Testament words like nephesh and ruach as well as pneuma in the New Testament, are rightly referring to an immaterial and spiritual soul. 26 The second is theological and it argues that the soul is entailed by a canonical reading of the Scriptures regarding the intermediate state of disembodied existence. 27 The third is more philosophical in that a soul of a particular kind is necessary as an accounting of identity at time and across time, which is most pressing when we come to the doctrine of the intermediate state and the physical resurrection. Conclusions: What is Potentially at Stake This opens up conceptual space for additional questions for the Christian physicalist. Already being out of step with the ontological commitments concerning human anthropology, with its doctrine of the soul, it may be less clear how out of step they are concerning the soul’s role as an accounting for a wide set of theological topics and commitments within the tradition. The web
of relations for which the soul is so central in Christian dogmatic development, evidenced above, should, at a minimum, clarify how out of step they in fact are. The Christian physicalist has three responses available to her, in my estimation. First, she can reject the wide-ranging implications the soul has in a Christian anthropology by denying the “similarity thesis.” Undoubtedly, they already have taken one obvious step in this direction in rejecting the doctrine of the soul. Second, she can accept a more radical revision of their doctrine of God and claim that God too is a physical being thereby keeping a symmetry between God and humans. 28 Third, she can maintain that God is mental, which means that he is an immaterial substance, and that humans are mental but that they are physical substances. There are one of two possible routes that I can see at the moment. One is simply that the representation is merely functional. Alternatively, this may also mean that the ontological grounding of similar natures is grounded in an abstractist account of personal and mental natures rather than in a concretist understanding of personal natures. For a concretist account of personal natures to make coherent sense of the similarity of God and humans some analogical ground of the nature is needed, but on an abstractist account if the natures of persons is founded in the attributes of intellect, freedom, and moral awareness (assuming physical objects can instantiate these properties). And, if a physical anthropology (although the jury is still out) is sufficient to account for these attributes, then this might be an acceptable route. One might argue this is not a steep cost and given the other motivations for accepting a physical humanity the cost of revising a creational and redemptive anthropology is worth the price, but more work is needed than we have at present from the Christian physicalist to show that an abstractist account of human nature does all the work traditionally attributed to the soul. This leaves the Christian physicalist in an awkward position. In one important way, Christian physicalists are already outside of the wider consensus of the Christian tradition. That they are out of step with the wider tradition is probably apparent to them. But, that they are working against what appears to be a central dogmatic piece of furniture which has done significant work historically suggests that the dogmatic costs are more extensive than is often supposed. 29
1 For a representative sampling of the analytic theological literature touching on mind-body dualism and physicalism, see: Kevin Corcoran (ed), Soul, Body and Survival: The Metaphysics of Human Persons (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2001); Joshua R. Farris and Charles Taliaferro (eds), The Ashgate Research Companion to Theological Anthropology (London: Routledge Publishers, 2017); Joshua R. Farris and S. Mark Hamilton (eds), Idealism and Christian Theology (New York: Bloomsbury Publishers, 2017); R. Keith Loftin and Joshua R. Farris (eds), Christian Physicalism (New York: Lexington Press, 2018); Georg Gasser (ed), Personal Identity and the Resurrection (London: Routledge, 2011). For a representative sampling of the philosophical literature on these subjects, see: Jonathan J. Loose, Angus J.L. Menuge and J.P. Moreland (eds), The Blackwell Companion to Substance Dualism (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2018); Stewart Goetz and Mark C. Baker (eds), The Soul Hypothesis (New York: T&T Clark, 2011); Andre Lavazza and Howard Robinson (eds), Contemporary Dualism (London: Routledge, 2014); Robert C. Koons and Georg Beeler (eds), The Waning of Materialism (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010); Peter van Inwagen and Dean Zimmerman (eds), Persons: Human and Divine (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007); Richard Swinburne (ed), Free Will and Modern Science (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012); Benedikt Paul Gocke (ed), After Physicalism (Notre Dame: Notre Dame Press, 2012). But, I must make clear that we will not address the supposed position that God is physical directly for that too could fall under the term “Christian physicalism.” For one fine example, see Stephen Webb, Jesus Christ, Eternal God: Heavenly Flesh and the Metaphysics of Matter (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).
2 In what follows, I make a common assumption to the modern and contemporary literature about the nature of the soul as mind. Throughout the essay, I use the words interchangeably. I will grant that this has a more complicated history than is often admitted. For example, on a Thomist understanding, following Aristotle in some respects, the soul is not the mind, but the mind is one faculty or part of the soul. That said, there is something relevantly similar and overlapping with the modern discussion and that is that there is an immaterial soul being (see Thomas in ST 75) that can exist disembodied, is like God, and has the capacity to see God. The equivalent to the mind, is that humans are rational natures of intellectual sort who have ends which are predicable of the soul as substance. It is not my intention here to analyze all the nuances of the soul as mind or something else or to address the precise nature of the soul or mind (e.g., as a phenomenal subject, an acting being, or as Descartes would say a “thinking thing”). 3 I am not taking mind-body dualism to be synonymous with substance dualism because one could be a mindbody dualist and not a substance dualist. One might prefer to use the language of substance dualism with the “vulgar” and mind-body dualism with the “learned.” Alternatively, you might be agnostic on the ontological status of the body as a substance. See John Foster, The Immaterial Self: A Defence of the Cartesian Dualist Conception of the Mind (London: Routledge, 1991). John Foster begins presuming a common-sense view, which he believes is substance dualism of parts (e.g., body and soul), but ends arguing for a mentalist immaterialist substantial conception of the mind and an idealist conception of the body—something akin to Bishop Georg Berkeley’s view. Also see David Lund’s excellent defense of the immaterial mental substance, The Conscious Self: The Immaterial Center of Subjective States (Amherst: Humanity Books, 2005). 4 The most thorough collection comprised of the most important contributions historically is Raymond Martin and John Barresi (eds), Personal Identity (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2001). Possibly the most important defense of the simple theory of personal identity is Richard Swinburne’s in Sydney Shoemaker and Richard Swinburne (eds), Personal Identity (Oxford: Blackwell, 1984). Also see the most recent collection of new essays, Georg Gasser and Matthias Stefan (eds), Personal Identity: Complex or Simple (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015). 5 Kevin W. Wong gives a thoughtful survey of the recent theological dialectic on the soul and physicalism in, “Christian Physicalism is Not Crazy: A Survey of Contemporary Scholarship.” (unpublished paper) 6 Nancey Murphy, “Reductionism and Emergence: A Critical Perspective,” in Human Identity at the Intersection of Science, Technology and Religion, ed. by Nancey Murphy and Christopher C. Knight (New York: Routledge, 2010), 79. Sir John Eccles is one of the most important neuroscientists of the last century! Murphy doesn’t quite capture how important he is. Murphy brings up the recent biblical scholarship, which highlights that this is not a soul as substance. Not unsurprisingly many biblical, especially OT interpreters, have interpreted words that often refer to the soul to refer not to parts but to features or aspects of the self. Famously, James D.G. Dunn argues this in his monograph which encouraged a whole host of literature. James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 54, emphasis original. See also Hans Walter Wolff, Anthropology of the Old Testament (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1974), 10 – 58; J. Gordon McConville, Being Human in God’s World: An Old Testament Theology of Humanity (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2016), 48. 7 Nancey Murphy, “Science and Society”, in Systematic Theology, vol 3: Witness, by James Wm. McClendon Jr., with Nancey Murphy (Nashville: Abingdon, 2000) 99-131 (126). Also see, Nancey Murphy, Bodies and Souls or Spirited Bodies (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 1-39. 8 Joel Green (ed.), “Body and Soul, Mind and Brain,” In Search of the Soul, second edition (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2005), 24. 9 Alistair McGrath, The Big Questions: Why We Can't Stop Talking About Science, Faith, and God (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2015), 137-8. There has been a flurry of literature that has placed a charge against the tradition concerning its Greek imposition on Scriptural categories. Again one of the most important texts arguing for this understanding in the Old Testament is James D. G. Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle. Also see: Ian G. Barbour, Religion and Science: Historical and Contemporary Issues (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1997), 9; Murphy, Bodies and Souls, or Spirited Bodies?, 11 – 22; Mark Harris, “When Jesus Lost His Soul: FourthCentury Christology and Modern Neuroscience,” Scottish Journal of Theology 70 (2017): 75 – 77. Peter van Inwagen, “Dualism and Materialism: Athens and Jerusalem?,” Faith & Philosophy 12 (1995): 478 – 79, 486 – 87; Kärkkäinen, “‘Multidimensional Monism,’” 203; Creation and Humanity, vol. 3 of A Constructive Christian Theology for the Pluralistic World (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015), see 310 – 15. Many Old Testament scholars believe that the various Hebrew terms often taken to refer to different parts should instead refer to different aspects of persons. Karen Gloy, “Leib/Leiblichkeit,” Theologische Realenzyklopädie, ed. Gerhard Müller and Gerhard Krause (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1990), 22:638 – 39; Brevard S. Childs, Old Testament Theology in a Canonical Context (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986), 199; John Goldingay, Israel’s Faith, Old Testament Theology vol. 2 (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2006), 548 – 50; McConville, Being Human in God’s World, chap. chp. 3; Wolff, Anthropology of the Old Testament, 7– 9; Horst Dietrich Preuss, Old Testament Theology (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 1995),
2:109 – 208, but esp. 110; Robert A. Di Vito, “Old Testament Anthropology and the Construction of Personal Identity,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 61 (1999): 221, 225 – 30. John Cooper responds to many of these criticisms, here: “Scripture and Philosophy on the Unity of Body and Soul: An Integrative Method for Theological Anthropology,” Ashgate Research Companion to Theological Anthropology, ed. by Joshua R. Farris and Charles Taliaferro (New York: Routledge, 2017), 31– 32. 10 Joel Green, “Body and Soul, Mind and Brain,” In Search of the Soul, second edition ed. by Joel B. Green (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2005), 24. 11 Richard C. Steiner, Disembodied Souls: The Nefesh in Israel and Kindred Spirits in the Ancient Newar East with an Appendix on the Katumuwa Inscription (Atlanta: SBL Press, 2015). John Cooper’s work on The Soul, Body and Life Everlasting deserves a mention as well. 12 Joel B. Green, “Why the Imago Dei Should Not Be Identified with the Soul,” in Ashgate Research Companion to Theological Anthropology, ed. Joshua R. Farris and Charles Taliaferro (New York: Routledge, 2017), 180 – 81. 13 See Donald Fairbairn and Ryan M. Reeves, The Story of Creeds and Confessions (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2019), 80-109. Granted, one could argue that this is insufficient to establish dogma but it rather shows the language of the framers, leftover from Aristotelian ontology. 14 Augustine, Confessions trans. by Henry Chadwick (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008), 111. 15 Terence Nichols, Death and Afterlife: A Theological Introduction (Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2010), 123. Also see Paul Helm, John Calvin’s Ideas (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005), 371. For a theological defense of the soul, also see: Matthew Levering, Jesus and the Demise of Death (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2012), 97109. 16 Ayers, “The Soul and the Reading of Scripture: A Note on Henri De Lubac,” Scottish Journal of Theology, issue 61 (2008): 183n22. 17 Dolf te Velde (ed.), Synopsis of a Purer Theology, vol. 1 disputations 1-23 (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 321. 18 Synopsis, 319. 19 Synopsis, 321. 20 Synopsis, 323. “from without” probably entails creationism. 21 Oliver Crisp makes this type of argument in “Materialist Christology”, God Incarnate: Explorations in Christology (London: T&T Clark, 2009). 22 Common-sense epistemology is the epistemology that humans have a design plan and when human minds are functioning properly in a conducive environment and those minds are properly aimed at truth, then certain prima facie beliefs, which carry with them warrant, will follow. In this case, we arguably have intuitive knowledge of God because he is a person and we are persons. Given that he is a person, and we have a concept of persons (in a paradigm), then we too have knowledge of God on the basis of the design plan that our minds are inclined in the direction of this kind of knowledge. 23 Alvin Plantinga, “Materialism and Christian Belief,” Persons: Human and Divine (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). 24 Kevin Corcoran, Rethinking Human Nature (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2006), 81. 25 This is an important point that should not be overlooked or discarded quickly. One could hold a functional interpretation of the imago Dei, and remain committed to the tradition in that there are still ontological commitments that undergird the imago Dei and remain a part of the background content to it. Functionalizing the image is a common view today. For a sampling, see the following: John H. Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate (Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2009), 102-108; J.T. Turner, “Temple Theology, Holistic Eschatology, and the Imago Dei,” in Theologica: An International Journal of Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theology vol. 2 (2016); Richard Middleton, The Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1 (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2005); also see, Gregory Beale, We Become What we Worship: A Biblical Theology of Idolatry. Downers Grove: IVP Academic. 26 Richard Steiner has given us one of the most sophisticated defenses of the Old Testment to date. See Steiner, Disembodied Souls. 27 To date, the two most sophisticated works include: John Cooper, Soul, Body, and Life Everlasting; and Joshua Farris, The Soul of Theological Anthropology. This comports well and is supported by the tradition’s emphasis on the fact of the soul’s immortality to sustain the persistence of personal identity. 28 We already are seeing some proposals to this effect. See, for example, Stephen Webb’s excellent work, Jesus The Material God (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006). If pressed in precisely the way I have attempted here, I wonder how many would opt for a material God.
29 Thank you to Mark Hamilton, Jordan Wessling, Layne Hancock, and Kevin Wong for discussing parts of the Chester and Margaret Paluch lecture of 2019 from which this essay originated. Also, thank you to Andrew Hollingsworth and Matthew Levering for reading the essay and offering suggestions of a stylistic nature.
Thomist Survivalism? The Cartesian Alternative By Joshua Farris, Ph.D. Contemporary Christian theology presents something of a challenge concerning the hope of survival after somatic death. The contemporary tension of disembodied hope and re-embodied hope raises a question about what is central to a Christian theology of hope. In the present article, I will focus on the first part, namely, the hope of disembodied survival because it crystallizes the problem of personal survival. The Christian tradition teaches that humans will persist in the disembodied state. Accounting for disembodied persistence is difficult. There are two commonly proposed views that account for the intermediate state, Thomism and Cartesianism. I will show that there are significant doubts regarding the merits of Thomism, and that Cartesianism (or the minimal Cartesian thesis that it is my soul that makes me me) is likely true. In order to accommodate the challenges from human embodiment to Cartesianism, toward the end of the article I will put forward an updated Cartesianism that takes seriously the structural properties of the brain as common or normative to the proper functioning of the mind. In order to account for the intermediate state, the following desiderata will need to be accommodated: 1. Souls survive somatic death. 2. Persons are their souls. 3. Persons can persist disembodied (and not simply souls or informing principles). 4. Persons anticipate being re-embodied. Central to my survival is that the individuator consists in the type of soul I have. If I am to persist disembodied, then it is my soul (as the carrier of the individuator) that would make me who I am. Hence, I would not be wholly material or partly material. On all or most Thomist accounts of personal survival, I am either wholly material or partly material. Thus, my soul is probably not a Thomist soul because I would not survive but the part that previously composed me would survive in a disembodied state. The main claim: my persistence as a soul requires that I be essentially identical to my soul or that the essential part of me that carries my personal identity is my soul. The basic logic is as follows: If I’m not identical with my soul, I don’t persist if only my soul does. Further, I show that persistence of personal identity x (the soul) requires z feature (primitive thisness). Y (Thomist soul) almost certainly does not have z feature. Thus, x is probably not y. Souls Survive All of traditional Christianity affirms the doctrine of the soul (i.e., at a minimum as an immaterial ingredient), which underlies and explains the persistence from this life to the next life. 1 The Roman Catholic Catechism explicitly states that humans will survive physical death in virtue of the soul. 2 Yet, this is not simply a dogma of Roman Catholicism; it is a dogma of all the Reformed, albeit catholic, tradition. Recognizable authority in Reformed theology and Princetonian theologian Charles Hodge reflects this, when he comments on Christianity generally: “As all Christians believe in the resurrection of the body and future judgment, they all believe in an intermediate state. It is not, therefore, as to the fact of an intermediate state, but as to its nature that diversity of opinion exists among Christians.” 3 The famous Leiden Synopsis offers a summary of confessional Reformed theological opinion across numerous symbols (hence, there was a conciliar consensus reflected in the confessions, which furnish much of the doctrinal foundations of Reformed churches) of the Reformed theological tradition and it affirms in more than one place
that persons survive physical death and persist into an intermediate state. 4 One important symbol of the Reformed theological tradition, the Westminster Confession, reflects this normative conciliar teaching in all of Reformed theology, when it helpfully articulates the disembodied intermediate state of personal existence as a soulish existence: The bodies of men, after death, return to dust, and see corruption: but their souls, which neither die nor sleep, having an immortal subsistence, immediately return to God who gave them: the souls of the righteous, being then made perfect of holiness, are received into the highest heavens, where they behold the face of God, in light and glory, waiting for the full redemption of their bodies. And the souls of the wicked are cast into hell, where they remain in torments and utter darkness, reserved to the judgment of the great day. Beside these two places, for souls separated from their bodies, the Scripture acknowledges none. 5 In other words, the souls of those who die survive the death of their bodies. The souls of saints will go to be with God and the souls of the wicked will go to eternal torment. Central to this claim is the idea that souls survive somatic death, and this is commonly understood to be the immediate hope of the Christian, though not the final hope (i.e., physical resurrection). 6 The modal fact of our survival is rooted in an actual fact about the nature of our constitution. Charles Taliaferro has proposed a modal argument, which begins with our intuition about the nature and constitution of humans, for what he takes to be a common-sense substance dualism. He argues: “1. If I am the very same thing as my body, then whatever is true of me, is true of my body. 2. But my body may survive without me (it may, for example, become a corpse), and I may survive without my body (I might have a new body or exist in a disembodied state). 3. Therefore, I am not the very same thing as my body.” 7 The modal intuition that I am not identical to my body, or the parts of my body, underlies the logic of Taliaferro’s argument—as the possibilities are grounded in what is actual. We could further motivate the conclusion that I am not identical to my body, or the parts of my body, by advancing the argument from mereological replacement. Consider the following mereological replacement argument. 8 Take any garden variety material part of my body, and you will intuitively take it as fact that you are not that part. When I reflect on the parts of my body, I instinctively believe that I am not the parts of my body. While I reflect on the hands typing in front of me, I realize that it is not I that am identical with those hands. I could conceive of my hands being lopped off and me continuing without my hands. I could apply the same thought experiment with all the other parts of my body and come to the same conclusion. I could conceive of the possibility of losing the lower half of my body, yet the I that “I” identifies remains. We could even speed up the process and the fact of my continuing would presumably remain a possibility. What is under consideration is whether I could exist without any part of my body. In other words, it might be the case that I am non-identical to any parts of my body, yet I still might depend for my ongoing existence on some part of my body (say, for example, my brain and central nervous system). This is where other sources factor into the discussion of the fact that I will survive bodily death or the fact that I will cease to exist. The probability that I will exist will depend on the data from revelation and any potential empirical evidence (i.e., out of body experiences and near-death experiences). Yet, the fact that I could exist from p1 (i.e., point 1in time) to p2 (point 2 in time) is somehow grounded in the fact that I am not identical to my body or the parts of my body—like my brain or central nervous system. In fact, if it is possible that I could exist from p1 to p2 and on
into the afterlife beyond somatic death, then this seems to presume something about me that is not identical to my body. It presumes a fact about me that is essentially something other than my body and the various parts that comprise my body. Based on the reasons given here, it seems that what survives is something other than my body or the parts of it, but, instead, it appears to be something that is metaphysically distinct and unlike the body. That which makes me me is a metaphysical simple, i.e., that which lacks any composition, or so I will argue below. By arguing this, my goal is to distinguish personal identity as something that is not necessarily dependent on the body or any part of a body, but rather is explained by particularized soul. In this way, we are back to the tradition’s reasoning for why we are souls or minds. But, there is something distinctive about the soul that makes me me and not just any ole’ soul. Persons Just Are Their Souls I have given reasons that we are not, strictly speaking, identical to our bodies or the parts of our bodies, which means that there is something else that persists. Historically, this something else has been called a soul or a mind because it is a substance that gives rise to and sustains thoughts, emotions, desires and other properties that are, strictly speaking, non-identical or nonreducible to the parts of the body. With that said, in keeping with our modal argument above, there is a further notion or intuition that must be true in order to develop a coherent theory of persistence beyond somatic death. It is not simply that my soul-part persists, which makes coherent the survival of me, but it is that I actually survive. In order for that to be the case, it would follow that I would need to be identical with my soul (or mind) and not the parts that are separated from my soul at death. In other words, and keeping with good Cartesian intuitions, I just am my soul (where a soul is understood to be a substance that instantiates thoughts, desires, and mental experiences). The Cartesian notion that I just am my soul is the intuitive or common-sense assumption implicit in the possibility that I could survive my bodily demise. Roman Catholic theologian Stephen Yates, in his work, Between Death and Resurrection, reflects this initial sentiment that if souls survive their bodies, then Cartesianism or Platonism—the historical name for what is often later conflated with Cartesianism—is the most likely candidate for this being the case. For if the soul persists and it has operations independent from the body, then it appears to be a substance in its own right that can exist, experience, and live without the body. 9 There is a further fact that makes Cartesianism the most likely accounting of survival. The fact that humans carry a primitive thisness via their souls. Cartesianism provides us with an account of personal identity at a time and across time. Descartes’ most important contribution was likely his insight into the nature of personhood as simple and strictly identical to the soul. It is important to note that Descartes saw the person as persisting because of the soul as that which is separable from the body. Descartes famously represents this intuition, when he says: “We can’t conceive of half a soul.” 10 For Descartes, he not only was his soul, but that soul cannot be split so as to give off a new soul nor can the soul become something else. As it stands, the person as substantial soul is absolute, simple, and enduring. We can develop Descartes’ basic intuition about personhood. If we can grant for the sake of the argument that what is most distinctive about persons is that they are psychological beings, then Descartes’ basic insight becomes quite apparent upon reflection. For Descartes, humans are fundamentally “thinking things” (and by that we can safely include the fact that we are agents, experiencing things, and desiring things). In fact, we are not fundamentally animals for the simple fact that there is no garden variety physical object that we can point to and say, “Hey that’s me”
(consider the thing I see in the mirror). Upon reflecting on our common-sense assumptions, our faculties rub against the notion that we are animals or parts of animals. When I survey various parts of my body, I make the implicit assumption that I am not identical to that part of the body. When I conceive of my hand, I can also conceive of my existing quite apart from my hand. And, in fact, we have cases where individuals continue existing as the self-same individuals quite apart from their hands. The same applies to every part of the body (e.g., from the foot, to the leg, to the arms). While that seems intuitively the case that we are “thinking things” or psychological beings, some have attempted to combine the insight of Descartes with the view that I am an animal (see Olson). By animal, Olson is intending a semi-technical understanding. He is not seeking to convey that we are brute beasts, instead he intends to identify “animal” with that physiological part of which we point to when we point to that person. 11 For the argument goes something like the following: (P1) Presently sitting in your chair is a human animal. (P2) The human animal sitting in your chair is thinking. (P3) You are the thinking being sitting in your chair. (C) Therefore, the human animal sitting in your chair is you. 12 There are common responses to the “thinking animal” argument, which attempts to unify the fact that we are animals and “thinking things.” There are two problems. The first, and most obvious, is the problem from the one and the many. As physics seems to suggest, there is no reason to think that there are physical wholes because physical things are potentially infinitely divisible all the way down. In fact, what is there in the mirror just is an aggregate of physical parts. If we follow the physicalist animalist, Peter van Inwagen, that physical animals are just events, then we are left wondering: if there is a substantial whole that is present in the mirror that I am looking at when I look at myself, or if I am just an aggregate of physical events swirling around in such a way as to appear Joshua-wise. 13 A second problem is that we intuitively, and readily, make a distinction between the thing thinking and the animal constituting the thinking, i.e., the whole is the kind of thing that is distinct from the animal. 14 Further, it is not clear at all why we should assume P2— namely that the thing thinking is identical to the human animal in a strict sense. There is nothing obvious about the animal’s properties that epistemically support the notion that those properties are psychological properties. And, further, there is nothing about the psychological continuity of the thinking thing in the chair across time that is accounted for by the properties of the animal sitting in the chair. So the first concern questions whether there is a “thing,” as a whole, at all that is sitting in the chair or looking at self in the mirror. The second concern questions whether the whole that is thinking is identical to the thing that is sitting in the chair and in the mirror. In order to arrive at a sufficient criterion of the thinking thing, namely the “I” that thinks, we must look elsewhere beyond the animal sitting in the chair or the thing in the mirror. I suggest that I—and you do as well (assuming your cognitive operations are similar to mine)—have a sufficient criterion for my being me, but it will not be found in the physical parts or the physical whole (namely, the animal). Instead, it is something I have access to as a thinking thing. A psychological substance (i.e., what I here assume just is mentalism—is sufficiently similar to a mental substance) is aware upon reflection that s/he is the type of thing that has one property that is presupposed in all discrete acts of thinking at a time and across time. 15 That property is presumed in what some have called self-presenting properties. 16 Self-presenting properties are those properties that are properties of thinking about some property. If I have a thought about such
and such a property, then there is also a property of thinking about that property. But, there is a further property that needs distinguishing. This property is the kind of property that is necessarily present while I am thinking. The fact that I have thoughts about my hands or my animal presupposes that I am thinking those thoughts—and unless or until we can demonstrate that those properties are reducible to the properties of physical things, physicalism of all kinds is necessarily excluded as an explanation for this data. Instead, I am a primitive characterized by the thoughts I have. I am neither the whole animal, the parts of the animal, nor the thoughts that I have—but, I am a substance that makes my thoughts my thoughts, which I show is a feature (or property of distinct souls as mental substances). 17 There are other thought experiments that support the fact that I am a primitive mind or psychological being. Consider the fact that certain qualitative experiences are potentially dependent on my particular substance (something like a trope), but not on any properties that universally explain those qualitative experiences. All we need to show is that my cognitive operations support this modal fact in order to demonstrate that some explanation is missing when it comes to qualitative experiences. Let’s take the qualitative experience of peanut butter. Why is it that some individuals like peanut butter and others do not? It is true that, in some cases, this can be partially explained by the properties of one’s own biology. There are cases that make the tasting of various items different from person to person, but it is not clear that all cases are explicable in terms of said genetic and biological properties. In fact, in all of these cases part of the explanation depends on the reports of the experiences that individuals have, for example of peanut butter. Testimonial reports depend in some way on the fact that there is a mind that has powers of access to one’s own experiential states that are quite invisible to other minds. In other words, the public-private distinction plays an important role in determining what it is that distinguishes one mind from another mind. In this way, there is either a sufficient explanation for my being me or there is not. The apparent distinction I have of my own mind is quite distinct from other minds or other objects and furnishes a sufficient ground for my being me. Coming back around to the question of Thomistic variations of personhood, Thomist understandings of the soul, or the person as soul substance, appear to provide an insufficient ground for understanding identity at a time and across time without this fundamental Cartesian principle. Hence, as some would say, the Cartesian principle regarding the person as a primitive mind is unavoidable. 18 With this in principle in view, let us consider some of the most sophisticated Thomist options. For Aristotle and Thomas, a complete human being cannot exist via the soul alone. Instead, for Thomas (and this goes for Aristotle as well), the disembodied (or unembodied soul, if there is such a thing like God) soul is not a complete human being. Aquinas’ understanding requires that humans are animals because they “can be grasped by the senses and occur in nature.” 19 “Since the soul is a part of the human body, it is not the whole human being, and my soul is not me.” 20 If this is Thomas’ understanding, then, intuitively, it appears that we do not survive our deaths. Yet, on a Platonic or Cartesian conception we can and do, in fact, persist as complete in some sense. There are two models in Thomism that attempt to account for survival beyond somatic death. The first is extinctionism or corruptionism. 21 The second is survivalism. In the next section, I will put forward these Thomist views and advance defeaters (reasons to reject these views) to them.
Defeaters to Thomist Survivalism While I am most interested in versions of Thomist Survivalism, let me say a bit about Thomist Extinctionism. Extinctionism is the view that I will not survive. The human animal with which I am identical does not survive, but, at most, only my soul as a partial substance (or an ingredient to a complete human being) survives later to be reclaimed when it conjoins with the material to comprise the human composite once again. I will touch on this a bit more below. In the dialectic, Thomists struggle to assert the essentiality of the body and the centrality of the soul as a microcosm. They either, like Thomas, tend toward Platonism when they conceive of the soul or, as of late, they do one of two things. First, they try to make sense of an Aristotelian ontology that allows for disembodied persistence. 22 Second, they tend to reconceive of the intermediate state. 23 In an attempt to make sense of a kind of surviving in Thomism, we must consider two types of souls. There are two apparent ways to understand how the soul is individuated on Thomism: (1) One way, the soul is simply individuated by the body. (2) Alternatively, the soul is impressed by the bodily particularity. Both of these understandings yield versions of Thomist extinctionism. Aristotle likely agrees with the first, and some Thomist interpreters take that route while others assume the second option. While the first option is the most likely way to interpret Aristotle, it is not without a significant problem. There is an immediate challenge. Upon somatic death, the body becomes something else and the soul as form persists without individuality or particularity. The second option is more promising as an accounting for the soulâ€™s particularity. Thomas likely takes the second option, according to Pasnau. Thomas describes substantial forms that inform matter as â€œshaped at the very start in accord with the matter to which they are united.â€? 24 But, according to this view, we have a qualitative difference in the soul, i.e., a nonessential property instantiated in the soul, but not an essential property of the soul. This, of course, raises a significant doubt as to the possibility that the soul would lose the distinguishing property (i.e., individuator) of the soul during the disembodied intermediate state. Two problems are apparent for these options. First, both views of particularity form a general problem of being able to account for the persistence of personal identity. For, on such a view, persons would persist in virtue of their souls. While this is the case, the soul only carries with it personal identity as a contingent property of the soul. Yet, if on Thomism, we are strictly or essentially identified with a composite of soul and body, then when the body dies so does the composite. That is the prima facie concern. 25 Second, the traditional view presumes a person who experiences the beatific vision (either initially during the disembodied state or only after somatic resurrection). Roman Catholic theologian Stephen Yates, in his excellent work, Between Death and Resurrection, reflects on the worry over a soul surviving bodily demise, given that the soul would appear to be inactive during the disembodied state, but if this is true then it is tantamount to non-existence. For Thomas, keeping pace with Aristotle, it is quite severe to think of a substance that is inactive. For a substance to be inactive is for that substance to not be. The most obvious alternative is Platonism where the soul is active and participating in a higher reality, but most Thomist interpreters, Yates included, wish to dismiss Platonism.
Upon dismissing a Platonized reading of Thomas where the separated soul is now free to partake of a “higher source,” Yates states: “Appealing alternatives to this are, however, difficult to find. It is tempting to hypothesize instead that because the soul has operations independent of any bodily organ, it would still be able to cognize in the interim state by making use, through reflection and reasoning, of just that knowledge acquired while it was in the body.” For on Thomism, the human intellect (i.e., rational soul) requires phantasms (i.e., representations of reality). Yates concludes that there are three apparent options: Thomas’ preferred option, the ad hoc option or the Platonic option. He states: Given such difficulties, it is worth examining further the view that separation from the body enables the soul to receive divinely impressed species (a view toward which Aquinas seems consistently inclined in his writings on the separated soul) in order to ascertain whether this can be couched in a manner which would preserve it from charges of being either ad hoc or Platonic. 26 The fear, according to Yates, is that Thomas’ option will become ad hoc or slide very quickly into Platonism. Yates argues, however, that there is a way to make sense of the Thomist view without Platonism, which in characterizing his interpretation of Thomism he writes, “constituting as it does, an impoverished and unnatural mode of existence, rather than an ontological and epistemic liberation.” 27 Yates, in distancing himself from Platonism, instead elects to follow Pasnau. There are however two unpalatable consequences. First, he must accept that persons are complex entities, and when one of the essential parts is lost the person effectively becomes half of a person or the part that is lost simply is not essential to that part that survives. Second, he must accept that the identity of persons is a contingent property of the soul during the disembodied state of interim existence. 28 There are alternative Thomist options, which reject Thomist extinctionism and attempt to salvage Thomism as a version of personal survivalism. I will look at two sophisticated Thomist options. Edward Feser on Thomist Soul Survivalism Edward Feser advances one version of Thomist Soul Survivalism. On Feser’s interpretation of Thomas, there are eight ingredients in a Thomist view of human nature. First, all substances, including human substances, have form and matter. Second, human beings, like all other beings, are composites of form and matter. Third, forms are universals. Fourth, there are two types of forms, i.e., substantial and accidental. Fifth, matter is potentiality and form is the actuality. Sixth, forms are tied to specific individual things. Seventh, powers exist where substantial form/matter composites are present. Eighth, powers are non-reducible to their constituent parts. On the surface, there are some odd consequences following from Feser’s interpretation of Thomas’ survivalism. One odd consequence is that accidental forms can exist on their own and apart from substantial forms. 29 Further, there exist different kinds of matter rather than a generic kind of matter that is the stuff of all bodies. This results in the fact that composite substances are described by their powers rather than essential and accidental properties. This raises a question about Thomist substances on Feser’s interpretation. How far can we whittle a substance down to constituent parts before it becomes something else? The answer to this last question is not clear.
For on Feser’s view, humans are beings with a rational nature composed of matter and intellectual form. The intellectual form is distinguished from other kinds of species, namely vegetative forms and sensory forms. In order to illustrate the view and the intuitive nature of survival on it, Feser draws an example from Guardians of the Galaxy. In the story, there is a figure by the name of Groot. Groot is a tree-like figure with some low-form of agency, but what is important is what happens to Groot in part of the story. At one point in the story, Groot is blown apart and the parts that previously composed him are disconnected bits. Yet, somehow Groot survives as a twig like figure that after some time and watering is able to grow again into a matured Groot. Unfortunately, this leaves us with several questions about Feser’s Thomism. 30 The most important question that needs to be answered is: when does a twig become just another twig? Or would the twig survive as the form that could develop into another Groot? In other words, with enough time and watering, why would it not be possible for two different twigs that previously composed original Groot to become Groot again? If that were possible, then we could take twig 1 and twig 2 and after a sufficient amount of watering and time, twig 1 could emerge into Groot (what we will call Groot 1) and twig 2 could emerge into Groot (what we will call Groot 2). At some point, it becomes a bit absurd that there would be two Groots. But, this raises specific ontological questions about Feser’s Thomism, e.g., What are the generables that factor into matter-form composites? What are the non-essential parts that could be lost, and yet, Groot remain the self-same Groot (which violates the x and y principle listed earlier)? What was intended to supply us with an intuitive or common-sense solution to survival, then, actually turns out to be quite silly. Instead, there are far too many questions that remain unanswered. More importantly, the problem of duplicates emerges, namely that there could be two Groots rather than one (and when applied to humans, there could be two persons that were originally one person). And, yet, there is another problem for Feser’s Thomism. Charles Taliaferro raises the problem quite clearly when he discusses hylomorphism and the problem from the “corpse objection.” Discussing Patrick Toner’s version of hylomorphism, which is not significantly distinct from Feser’s Thomism, Taliaferro argues that when separated from the body—the body substantially changes and becomes a corpse and the soul is something other than the body it once formed. Taliaferro explains, Toner rightly notes that what many of us see as death is a substantial change. The difference between a substantial and accidental change is that in a substantial change, you lose a substance or substantive individual, whereas individuals persist through accidental change, as when I cease to be a philosopher and become a circus clown. I think there is an admirable plausibility in Toner’s depiction of the integration of embodiment. When healthy, we identify our bodily parts as forming a functioning, whole organism, whereas after we have died, our hearts, lungs, and so on, no longer function as hearts and lungs…While I believe Toner’s position is ingenious and, if the overall case for hylemorphism is plausible, the preferred solution to the Corpse Objection, I still think it does not outweigh the positive case for dualism and its more common-sense approach to the corpse, which is to claim that it is the very same thing as one’s body, only it is dead. 31 In a similar way, Feser’s Thomism confronts a problem of being able to account for what is most intuitive about what it is that makes an individual human being this individual and not that individual, which is distinguished from his or her body upon somatic separation.
Jeffrey Brower on Thomist Survivalism Jeffrey Brower offers an alternative in Thomist survivalism. Brower offers a nuanced distinction in two types of Thomist survivalism. On extinctionism, as we have seen, it is the fact that souls persist upon biological death, but humans do not. On survivalism, humans persist beyond the grave. However, Brower is convinced that personal identity persists and humans essentially but not actually persist. In this way, he distinguishes his position from Thomist human survivalism. He argues that the problem is as follows: “1. Human beings are essentially human. 2. Human beings cease to be human at death. 3. Human beings do not cease to exist at death, but rather survive.” He states that this forms an inconsistent triad. He begins with one solution: “The Naïve Conception of Natures: (4) If x is essentially F, then x is non-contingently F (and hence such that x cannot cease to be F without ceasing to exist).” He further modifies this in the following by claiming that Thomist human survivalism has it that one cannot survive essentially without the primary nature being intact. So he offers his modified solution in the following: (4’’) satisfies: “If x is essentially F, and F-ness is x’s primary nature, then x is non-contingently disposed to be F (and hence such that x cannot permanently cease to be F without ceasing to exist).” 32 On Brower’s hybrid, the person survives as “essentially” human but not “actually” human, i.e., survival as a human person but not a human being. Apart from Brower’s hybrid being perplexing, his view has the appearance of being adhoc. Distinguishing essentially human from actually human gives the appearance of being ad-hoc precisely because Thomism has it that substances just are matter-form composites. For a matterform composite to lose matter would effectively make it something else. For on a substrata account of substance, substances are matter-form composites all the way down. While there might exist a kind of substance dualism, where the matter-form arrangement is concerned (e.g., the matter-form of the embryo might be distinct from the matter-form arrangement that gives rise to a human being at some point in the process of maturation). And this leads to the specific problem of Brower being unable to account for the fact that an essentially human person persists beyond somatic death without an “independence” thesis of substance. Granted, Brower is working with a distinct understanding of essential as those properties that flow from the form of a thing in question, but not that the thing actually exemplifies those properties to exist. So a human is bi-pedal by essence but not all humans are actually bi-pedal for we could conceive of some humans losing parts that render their not being bi-pedal. Conclusions The further problem is that these Thomist models fail to give an explanatory accounting for the particularity of personhood during disembodiment that is sufficient for my having thoughts and experiencing God in the immediate post-mortem state. Not so on a Cartesian account where the mental substance (as an immaterial thing) is a bare particular that exists independently of material parts. Further, if there is a feature that makes one mental substance this mental substance and not that mental substance, then there is a sufficiency to my being the person that I am. On this understanding of Cartesianism, I just am my soul and I have an essential property of thinking my thoughts, which becomes a ground for experiencing God and the world (the unavoidable Cartesian thesis). If I do exist during the intermediate state, then I exist as a substance (hence the independence thesis). If I exist, then it follows that I exist wholly and not partly. If I were partly material, then I would not wholly exist during the intermediate state (following Pasnau). Granted you might take it as a fact that a substantial whole is either presently existing or it is not presently
existing. Instead, the whole might be less than it was before upon losing parts, but the important question what it is that is essentially a whole that persists. I suggest that I do exist wholly in the intermediate state so I am not partly material nor is it the case that I would essentially be a matterform compound, but, instead, I would essentially be that part that persists (even if my form has the essence of being material or being embodied). But why think that a Cartesian soul would be reunited with a body, as the dogmatic teaching of the physical resurrection demands? This is the challenge for Cartesianism. As I have explained elsewhere, this need not lead us to accept hylomorphism or a version of Thomism. 33 Instead, if the soul is functionally dependent on the brain, then we can grant that the powers and properties of the soul normatively function properly in relation to a brain. On my view, the soul depends on a functionally suitable brain, central nervous system, and body for fully functioning. The generables or determinables of the mind’s cognitive power are functionally dependent on the brain in a finegrained way—similar to the way that an emergent mind is dependent on a properly functioning brain. While there is a substance or fact of the matter concerning personhood in the soul, the functional properties are products of the mind or soul-body compound. A view along the lines of divine creationism mediated through a functional body/brain would supply a story that accounts for the fact of personhood that has a robust functionally integrated dependence relation on a body/brain, thus uniting the virtues of what some might call pure substance dualism (i.e., the view that souls are the carriers of personal identity and are, at least modally, distinct from their bodies) and compound substance dualism (i.e., the view that humans are structured entities with essential properties and teleo-functional, albeit, contingent properties of embodiment). In this way, for full intellectual functioning, one would anticipate being reunited to a body upon somatic death. Guided by a theological reason, we might take it that the beatific vision (or the final end of the saints, which is the elevation of human intellectual capacity) occurs in the physical resurrection and not in the intermediate state of disembodied existence, which lends further credence to the notion that the resurrected body is necessary, but this is the subject of another paper. 34 1
Chalcedon provides initial support for this. See Donald Fairbairn and Ryan M. Reeves, The Story of Creeds and Confessions (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2019), 80-109. The language is reflected in the statement “reasonable soul and body.” Granted the language used reflects Aristotelian language and categories, but I think it would be a stretch to suggest that the language of the framers should be presumed as dogmatic and authoritatively binding. 2 Catholic Church. Catechism of the Catholic Church. Revised in Accordance with the Official Latin Text Promulgated by Pope John Paul II (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1997), 1021 and 1022. The texts use the following language to refer to the immaterial part: “Each man receives his eternal retribution in his immortal soul at the very moment of his death.” 3 Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology vol. 3 (Hendrickson, 1981). 4 Dolf te Velde (ed.), Synopsis of a Purer Theology, vol. 1 disputations 1-23 (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 407-9, 509, 513. This was the common teaching, even dogmatic teaching of traditional Christian theology, and the Reformed theological tradition did not depart from it. Although, they departed on the particulars of what occurred during the intermediate state. 5 GI Williamson (ed.), Westminster Confession of Faith (Phillipsburg: P&R Publishing, 2004), 32.1. While Reformed churches (and traditional Anglican churches for that matter) work with a confessional ecclesiology, the Westminster Confession is one important symbol that codifies enduring and binding teachings in many church denominations. Even if it is not binding, as articulated above, it reflects a conciliar consensus of a core of dogma that is binding on all Reformed Christians. 6 And, this is precisely what Thomas Aquinas develops in his commentary on 2 Corinthians 5. See Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Letters of Saint Paul vol. 38 (Emmaus Academic, 2012). 7 Charles Taliaferro, “Human Nature, Personal Identity, and Eschatology,” The Oxford Handbook to Eschatology, see 539.
Alvin Plantinga famously develops this argument in his: “Against Materialism,” in Michael Rea (ed.), Oxford Readings in Philosophical Theology vol. II (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009), 387-91. 9 Stephen Yates, Between Death and Resurrection: A Critical Response to Recent Catholic Debate Concerning the Intermediate State (London: Bloomsbury, 2018), 189. 10 Rene Descartes, Discourse on Method and Meditations in First Philosophy (Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1998), 32 and 54. 11 The above thinking is not intended to convey that other animals are not persons. 12 Olson, What Are We? A Study in Personal Ontology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007), 29-39. Also see: Blatti, Stephan, “Animalism,” The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2019 Edition), ed. Edward N. Zalta, https://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2019/entries/animalism/. 13 See Peter van Inwagen, Material Beings (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1995), 185. 14 The challenge for a constitutional view of persons is that there is at least one property that makes thinking (and the continuity of thinking) dependent on a particular kind of substance is apparent. When combined with another essential feature of the constitutional view of persons I am not properly speaking a substance yields an unusual view. 15 See Susan Schneider, “Non-Reductive Physicalism and the Mind Problem,” Nous 47, no. 1 (2013), 13553. On non-reductive physicalism, defenders would grant that I am the kind of thing that thinks. Further non-reductive physicalists would not assume that these psychological properties are neither identical to the underlying physical properties nor are they reducible to those parts. Although, they must grant that the psychological being is the whole being that includes the physical (possibly the brain) that includes non-reducible mental properties. The problem as Susan Schneider points out that on all the contemporary views of substance (i.e., the bundle theory or the substratum theory), the non-reductive view is inconsistent with them and unsupportable by our contemporary views of substance. 16 See J.P. Moreland, Consciousness and the Existence of God: A Theistic Argument (New York: Routledge Press, 2009), 39-41. Moreland is drawing from Roderick Chisholm, Theory of Knowledge (Englewood Cliff: PrenticeHall, 1989), 19. 17 Animalists might be able to account for this if they can account for wholes. There are some obvious challenges for the physicalist animalist that I have already touched on. There are fewer challenges on hylomorphist and Thomist versions of Animalism. 18 Howard Robinson, “Naturalism and the Unavoidability of the Cartesian Perspective,” Contemporary Dualism, ed. Andrea Lavazza and Howard Robinson (London: Routledge, 2016), 154-71. Robinson argues that the Cartesian cogito perspective is required. While Robinson argues for a distinctive ontology of minds as wholly distinct from naturalistic physicalism, he does not go so far as to define what minds are as individuals—something implicit in Cartesianism. Also see Richard Swinburne, “What Makes Me Me? A Defense of Substance Dualism,” in the same volume on pages 139-54. 19 Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame, 1976), 2.57.1330. 20 St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on Letters of Saint Paul: Complete Set (Emmaus Academic, 2012), 1 Cor. 15.2, 924. 21 I take these two technical terms as nearly synonymous, but one might argue that one could be an extinctionist that suggests that nothing survives. On corruptionism, the view is that a soul persists but the person (or the whole substance) does not persist—i.e., survive. 22 J.T. Turner takes a different approach outside of the parameters of traditional conceptions of human personhood. He rejects the doctrine of the disembodied intermediate state altogether in his provocative work, On the Resurrection of the Dead: A New Metaphysics of Afterlife for Christian Thought (New York: Routledge, 2018). He argues for a coherent Thomist alternative by defending a version of immediate resurrection rather accounting for survival via the soul between somatic death and somatic resurrection. 23 I will not address these revisionist exercises in this article. 24 Robert Pasnau, Thomas Aquinas on Human Nature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001), 383. 25 The second option deserves further explanation as a potential option if we say that the soul carries with it a contingent particularity by way of being impressed by the body during original embodiment. While this does not account for the primitive particularity that I have argued is present as a property (or feature) of soul, it may provide an avenue for thinking that a particular soul in fact persists during disembodiment, but such a soul is subject to the problem that particularity is a contingent feature and not an essential feature of persons and could be otherwise. Additionally, it raises the question as to the possibility of a reduplicatable particularity that is applied to what otherwise are distinct souls distinguished only relatively by their spatial occupations. Undoubtedly, there is another concern that I cannot explore in any detail here and that is that without the body providing the sense perceptual data, how it is that humans will arrive at a knowledge of God.
Between Death and Resurrection, 189. It is worth noting that nearly all Cartesian accounts today could affirm that the disembodied state is an impoverished state in the sense that Cartesian souls are diminished in their capacity and the controls available to them. If by Platonic, Yates takes it that the disembodied state is essentially a state of “ontological and epistemic liberation” then one could arrive at the conclusion that Platonism is unpalatable, but nothing in Cartesianism yields this unattractive feature. 28 Tim Pawl makes this move in his, In Defense of Conciliar Christology (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016), 32. 29 This is one way that some have made sense of transubstantiation on hylomorphism. That said, I am not suggesting this is the only way to make sense of transubstantiation. 30 Edward Feser, “Aquinas on the Human Soul,” The Blackwell Companion to Substance Dualism, ed. Jonathan J. Loose, Angus J.L. Menuge, and J.P. Moreland (London: Blackwell Publishers, 2018), 88-102. 31 Charles Taliaferro, “Physicalism and the Death of Christ,” in Christian Physicalism, ed. R. Keith Loftin and Joshua R. Farris (Lexington: Lexington Press, 2018), 183-4. 32 Jeffrey Brower, Aquinas’s Ontology of the Material World: Change, Hylomorphism, and Material Objects (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014), 297-299. 33 Joshua R. Farris, The Soul of Theological Anthropology (New York: Routledge, 2017), 76-96. 34 Thank you to Andrew Hollingsworth, Lloyd Dunaway, Matthew Levering, and J.T. Turner for reading and commenting on a previous draft. 27
Spiritual Fatherhood in Priestly Identity By Rev. David Olson, STD Among the tasks of Catholic theologians is addressing popular movements and trends in religion and theology. Specifically, theologians are charged with examining trends or movements to see how they fit, or do not fit, within the broad Catholic tradition. 1 One recent trend is an increasing number of journal articles, books, and talks given on the topic of priestly identity and emphasizing that this identity is that of “Spiritual Father.” Recently while driving through one Midwestern state I happened upon a radio station broadcasting a talk show hosted by two Catholic priests. I found myself listening to the conversation between the two priest/radio hosts and their guests. It was obvious that both priests were ordained only a few years. They approached each of their topics and their work as priests with a considerable amount of enthusiasm. Good for them. I think it appropriate to recognize and applaud such enthusiasm in this time when the church is facing numerous difficulties, especially in the areas of sexual abuse, cover-up, and reform. While I appreciated the enthusiasm, I could not help but form the impression that these young priests seemed to be playing at the priesthood. And, yes you can say I’m passing judgment without knowing them, but it is the impression I was left with. Their self-identification as the “Sons of thunder” only helped cement that impression. It struck me as a role being played and, so far, they were having fun at it. 2 In the course of the radio program, one of the two priests stated that “when I was ordained, I became a spiritual father.” He went on to say he learned what this meant when he was assigned as a chaplain in a Catholic high school and, suddenly, he had numerous “spiritual children.” He described spiritual fatherhood as compensation for, what he called, the “gift of celibacy.” In this short paper I wish to consider the notion of spiritual fatherhood applied to the Catholic priesthood. It strikes me, as it has other observers, that the term spiritual father to describe even the most recently ordained is being used with a great deal of enthusiasm, but perhaps not a sufficient amount of understanding or appreciation for that title within the Tradition. 3 A poor understanding may tie into the perception, expressed in some writings, and by the two young radio host priests, of spiritual fatherhood as compensation for the “gift of celibacy” and the loss of biological generation. I also contend that equating priestly identity and spiritual father raises significant theological and practical questions. In the early Church being a spiritual father was not connected to celibacy, though without doubt spiritual fathers were often celibate monks. The 4th Century description by St. Basil the Great in The Ascetic Life is a good example of the many qualities of a spiritual father. None of which are tied to celibacy. He should be adorned with virtues, bearing witness by his own works to his love for God, conversant with the Holy Scriptures, free from greed, a good quiet man, tranquil, pleasing to God, a lover of the poor, mild, forgiving, one who labours continuously for the spiritual advancement of his children, without vain-glory or arrogance, impervious to flattery, not given to vacillation and preferring God to all things. 4
The idea of spiritual fatherhood is found in the very earliest days of the church. There are two ways in which this phrase is commonly used. St. Paul describes himself as a father to Timothy and this is the first manner of using this phrase. The spiritual father is the one who brings a person to faith and may also baptize the person. St. Paul also describes his work in Thessalonica like that of a father, though tellingly, he also describes his actions like that of a nursing mother. 5 As a spiritual father, he generates the faith and as spiritual mother nurses it to a greater maturity. The hermits and monks of the Egyptian desert likewise were described as fathers by their disciples. The early history of the church, however, makes it very clear that being a spiritual “father” does not depend upon your sex or your age, and certainly not upon the office or position that you hold. 6 Being a spiritual father comes about by the grace of the Holy Spirit. A spiritual father is sought out by the would-be disciples and is identified by the disciples as father. The disciple recognizes someone in whom the action of the Holy Spirit, the grace of God, is present and active. The disciple encounters the other who is grace filled and says to himself “I wish to be like him, and I’ll give myself to his direction.” This is the second manner in which the phrase “spiritual father” is commonly used in the Tradition. The term spiritual father is at times used to refer to a man or woman whom we modernly would call a spiritual director and Pastores dabo vobis, for example, uses it that way. (PDV 50, 66) 7 The early Tradition also points frequently to the founder of a community, someone to whom disciples come, a man of prayer, humility, scripture, and even visions and miracles. 8 While we might wish that all ordained to the priesthood were indeed spiritual fathers, so imbued with the grace of the Holy Spirit they become an icon for others, this simply is not the case. Nor has it ever been so. The recognition by Jesus, which you find repeatedly in the Gospel and subsequently in St. Paul, that some of the laborers are merely hirelings or working for their own purposes should put to rest any notion that office or ordination makes one truly a spiritual father. Some Theological Considerations Scripture presents God the Father as both governing and caring for his creation. The description readily applied to God the Father as the shepherd in the book of the prophet Ezekiel Chapter 34 is sufficient indication of this duality of role. God disciplines, corrects, and judges but, also encourages, loves, and offers salvation to his people. In the New Testament, the Word becomes incarnate as mediator between humanity and the divine carrying out God the Father’s salvific will. In this Jesus willingly lays down his life as the good Shepherd who sacrifices himself for his sheep. He exercises the providential care of God and is the ultimate personification of God’s providence. Of course, no single description of the role of Jesus in salvation is sufficient. While Jesus many times identifies himself as shepherd, at the Last Supper with his disciples, he also identifies himself as their friend and describes them as no longer servants but friends. From this we can see that there are two distinct but interconnected descriptors for Jesus in his relation to others involving both governance and care and which may be applicable to priesthood. There are others, of course, but I think that these are primary because Christ himself uses them. He is shepherd and friend, governing but also willing to lay down his life for his friends. 9 Jesus does not describe himself as “father” because there is one Father. While Jesus does the work of the Father, his identity is not that of the Father. It would be a serious theological error to say that Jesus takes the place of the Father vis-à-vis his creation. The Father is at work in the
world and always has been at work in the world and will continue to be so, he is not displaced by the action of the Son nor of the Holy Spirit. While each of the persons of the Trinity may have a proper attribution in relation to creation, no action of one excludes the action of the others even as the distinction of persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is maintained. In the Catholic tradition the priest is ordained as alter Christus, one who takes the place of Christ, certainly in a secondary way since he is not the Christ, but nonetheless he is meant to be conformed to Christ as shepherd, head, friend, and even spouse. The Catholic priest is not conformed to God the Father. His identification is with Jesus the Christ, the mediator between God and mankind. While the providential function of a mediator in this context may look like the providential care of God the Father, the identification is distinct. The Catholic priest performs the role of Christ and acts in the person of Christ, his identification is with Christ. Aquinas, in his commentary on the gospel of St. John, identifies Peter, the apostles, and good bishops after them as “spiritual shepherds” governing the flock and conformed to the charity of Christ. Note that only [Christ] is the door, because no one else is the true light, but only shares in the light: "He," John the Baptizer, "was not the light, but came to bear witness to the light" (1:8). But we read of Christ that "He was the true light, which enlightens every man" [1:9]. Therefore, no one else refers to himself as a door; Christ reserved this for himself. But being a shepherd he did share with others, and conferred it on his members: for Peter was a shepherd, and the other apostles were shepherds, as well as all good bishops: "I will give you shepherds after my own heart" (Jer 3:15). Now, although the Church's rulers, who are her children, are all shepherds, as Augustine says, yet he expressly says, I am the good shepherd, in order to emphasize the virtue of charity. For no one is a good shepherd unless he has become one with Christ by love, and has become a member of the true shepherd. 10 Thomas goes on to say that the one who shepherds and is conformed to Christ by love would be willing to sacrifice his physical life for the spiritual life of the flock if the need arose. 11 In Vatican II’s Decree on Ministry and Life of Priests, the priest is described as a father to his people. But, in the context of the entire document, this description clearly has to do with the function of the priest; he cares for his people as a father cares for his family. 12 The Decree on Ministry and Life of Priests nowhere uses the term “spiritual father.” The identity of a priest as “spiritual father” is also absent from John Paul II’s Pastores dabo vobis and is nowhere found in the Program for Priestly Formation which is the governing document for priestly education and formation in the United States. 13 The term “spiritual father” has however become common in use by the Institute for Priestly Formation (IPF) in describing the identity of Catholic priests. 14 The prevalence of this term to describe the ordained priest seems to come squarely from the wide influence of the IPF. The language of spiritual fatherhood has also won broad purchase in Protestant denominations, especially among those who bemoan the loss of masculine identity in church leadership and/or the loss of father figures in family units. 15 There is a certain political and cultural agenda in the emphasis upon spiritual fatherhood as a necessary identity for church leadership. A view of the Church and the world which says both have become overly feminized, that men have abandoned their proper role as providential caretakers, and that seminarians are not sufficiently “masculine” has also led to a wider use of the language of spiritual fatherhood. 16 Thus, unfortunately, the
question of priestly identity has become entangled with a certain culture-warrior mentality. The priestly identity as spiritual father is meant to somehow overcome the loss of, or diminishment of, fathers in the culture. In the Catholic context the use of “spiritual father” to identify the newly ordained, or to identify the ordained leader of a community or institution, is a confusion of identity with function. It is a small enough error, but it has significant potential consequence. Being a spiritual father is not gained because of ordination or office. The Catholic priest is conformed to Jesus Christ and is alter Christus, he is not alter Pater. In the broad Tradition, identification of someone, man or woman, as a spiritual father comes from recognition by the disciple, it is the work of the Holy Spirit, not by personal accomplishments, academic degrees, ordination, office or by poorly informed enthusiasm. A true spiritual father is a rarity. Spiritual Fatherhood and Clericalism Can there be a way of using the language of spiritual fatherhood in relation to a priest which has an established place in the tradition? The answer is, “Yes,” of course. But this is simply to state that a priest exercises a fatherly care and concern for his flock. He mirrors God the Father’s providential care instrumentally which is found most fully expressed in the providential work of Jesus who does the work of the Father. 17 This is not to reduce the priesthood to some mere functional administrative and taskoriented role. The priest needs to take on an identity, but I suggest it is properly the identity of Christ, shepherd and friend. As St. Paul put it, “It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me.” In this capacity the priest proclaims the Gospel, bringing new children to birth, and he teaches, allowing them to grow in discipleship. In this manner, contrary to the over-emphasis on the masculine, a priest is both akin to spiritual father and spiritual mother. 18 In chapter 5 of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, the Second Vatican Council stated that all people are called to holiness. There is no difference of degree in that call to holiness between the religious, the ordained, and the laity. One of the potentially problematic issues with spiritual fatherhood as an identity for the newly ordained is an assumption of spiritual superiority to the laity. Metropolitan Anthony Bloom of the Russian Orthodox Church in Great Britain wrote: The great danger to which a young, inexperienced priest, full of enthusiasm and hope, is subject consists in the fact that sometimes young people leaving theological school imagine that being ordained has also bestowed on them wisdom and experience and “the ability to discern spirits.” They become what in the ascetic literature, are called “young elders,” that is, while not yet having achieved spiritual maturity, not yet even having that knowledge which gives people personal experience, they think that they have been taught everything that can help them take a repentant sinner by the hand and lead him from earth to heaven. 19 Metropolitan Bloom emphasizes that being a spiritual father is not of one’s own choosing nor does it depend upon ordination nor office in the church. He writes, “An elder can only become an elder through the blessing of God. It is a charismatic event, a gift. One cannot learn to be an elder, just as one cannot choose one’s own path into genius.” 20
Does this spiritual superiority of the priest as “spiritual father” tie into a clerical culture which infantilizes the laity- they are children who need a father – and foster a privileged sense for the priest who now tells his people what to do, and what not to do, so he can take them to heaven? Spiritual Fatherhood and Celibacy Several questions arise when the notion of spiritual fatherhood is tied directly to procreation and celibacy. Language which implies that the individual priest is married to the Church and in the nuptial union between the priest and his bride, the church, spiritual children are born is indeed problematic. It overly spiritualizes sexual union in some phantasmagorical relation of the individual priest with the Church and is a distortion of metaphorical language found in the tradition. 21 Part of the issue here is that a legitimate identification of the priest as a friend of the Bridegroom - and not the Bridegroom - is ignored. The confusion of metaphor for metaphysical reality in defining the Church as bride and the priest as bridegroom, and would be father, opens a Pandora’s box of theological conundrum. Christ himself is the quintessential model of priesthood. This being so, how would the desire for fatherhood and marriage, which every man has, or should have, according to some “spiritual father” proponents, work with Jesus? He is not married and certainly didn’t intend to do so. Likewise, he has no intention of being a father in any physical sense of that word. As the Divine Word, he certainly would never have intended to do either of these two things, be married or have children. It also is theologically untenable that in his perfect human nature Jesus found these to be “frustrated” natural human desires. He is not ordained to a celibate priesthood, so it seems he voluntarily chose a single life, anticipating his early death coming from his preaching and teaching. The language of marriage and fatherhood ignores the reality of a vocation to the single life. While traditionally holy orders, marriage and religious life are distinct vocations only a convicted Platonist would think the reality of single life should be ignored. Are all men and women who do not want to be married disordered/neurotic/insane or just losers who cannot get a date? How would the positions of some strong proponents of priest as spiritual father, emphasizing the desire to be a father in the biological sense, address the Scripture, “some are voluntarily eunuchs for the kingdom” Matt 19:12? As with the earlier example of the two young priests who received the “gift of celibacy” and then became “spiritual fathers,” is celibacy seen as a loss which is then overly spiritualized? The desire to be a biological father which, according to some proponents of priest as spiritual father, every man “should have” is subordinated to a spiritual generativity. This, in turn, raises the question of same sex attracted men entering the seminary. Something the proponents of this individualized nuptial view of priesthood must reject. Is the emphasis on the masculine priesthood and physical generativity meant to preclude same sex attracted men from the priesthood regardless of their ability to integrate their own self-identity and celibacy? Alternatives Rooted in Tradition A combination of both shepherd and friend following the example of Jesus Christ is more appropriate to the Catholic priesthood than the identification of the priest as spiritual father. The Ratio Fundamentalis 22 references the priest’s “spiritual fatherhood” one time. And, this is a description of his function vis-a-vis the flock, not his identity. By contrast the language of
“shepherd” specifically relating to priestly identity is found 13 times in the Ratio Fundamentalis. In the new Ratio, the identity of the priest is to be conformed to Christ the Shepherd. Pope John Paul II’s 1992 Apostolic Exhortation, Pastores dabo vobis, never once mentions priests as spiritual fathers, but the opening sentence is a quote of Jeremiah 3:15 “I will give you shepherds after my own heart.” 23 PDV also refers to the ontological bond uniting priesthood with Christ as high priest and good shepherd. (PDV 11); the configuration of priest with Christ head and shepherd (PDV 12); the priest’s sacramental representation of Christ head and shepherd (PDV 15); the priest’s fundamental relationship is to Jesus Christ head and shepherd (PDV 16); he is “configured in his being” to Christ, head and shepherd (PDV 18). That the priest is configured to Christ head and shepherd is stated more than 20 times. Pastores dabo vobis also uses the language of friendship. The Council text, while taking account of the absolute transcendence of the Christian mystery, describes the communion of future priests with Jesus in terms of friendship. And indeed it is not an absurdity for a person to aim at this, for it is the priceless gift of Christ, who said to his apostles, "No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you" (Jn. 15:15). PDV 46. This language of friendship is applied to the relationship of the priest to Christ and is also lauded as a valuable sign of human maturity and proper affective maturity. (PDV 44) It is in the exercise of priestly ministry in a dialogue of friendship that the priest realizes his deep communion with the People of God as a brother among them and not over them. (PDV 74) The language of both Shepherd and Friend is Scriptural. It is the language of Jesus himself; it is more in conformity with Christ’s actions; it does not displace Christ as the Bridegroom (properly understood in relation to the Church collectively not individually) and places the priest in the role of one who governs sharing in Christ’s capacity as good shepherd in love with his flock. 24 The Shepherd guides and loves and, as both shepherd and friend, is willing to sacrifice his own physical needs and well being for the flock’s spiritual good. This identification with Christ as shepherd in friendship with both Christ and his flock spills over into the priest bearing witness to Christ’s spousal love as the singular Bridegroom. Because the priest is not the Savior, he is also not the true Bridegroom marrying the church. Ideally, he exhibits Christ’s love because he is a most intimate friend of the bridegroom. The priest is called to be the living image of Jesus Christ, the spouse of the Church.(49) Of course, he will always remain a member of the community as a believer alongside his other brothers and sisters who have been called by the Spirit, but in virtue of his configuration to Christ, the head and shepherd, the priest stands in this spousal relationship with regard to the community. "Inasmuch as he represents Christ, the head, shepherd and spouse of the Church, the priest is placed not only in the Church but also in the forefront of the Church."(50) In his spiritual life, therefore, he is called to live out Christ's spousal love toward the Church, his bride. Therefore, the priest's life ought to radiate this spousal character, which demands that he be a witness to Christ's spousal love and thus be capable of loving people with a heart which is new, generous and pure - with genuine self - detachment, with full, constant and
faithful dedication and at the same time with a kind of "divine jealousy" (cf. 2 Cor. 11:2) and even with a kind of maternal tenderness, capable of bearing "the pangs of birth" until "Christ be formed" in the faithful (cf. Gal. 4:19). PDV 22. If priests are “alter Christus” then shepherd is the primary image of priestly identity along with friend and spouse of the community. One must conclude that “spiritual father” to denote a priest in the strong sense of metaphysical identity is an aberration and a potentially problematic one. Spiritual father properly understood is a gift of the Holy Spirit entirely separate from ordination or orders. Nor is it restricted by sex, age, or position in the Church. It would be wonderful if every priest were a spiritual father. That is not, however, what the Holy Spirit has done. The Church needs priests who are men with age appropriate maturity, who are in a loving friendship with Christ, and who, by experience as priests, come to be in love with their flock. This leads to collaborative governance, a lessening of clerical privilege, and real friendship in the day to day of parish life. This true pastoral charity respects the complimentary roles of laity and clergy, who are both disciples, and does not infantilize the laity. This will not come about by calling newly ordained priests “spiritual fathers,” nor seminary formation emphasizing spiritual fatherhood as compensation for celibacy, because mislabeling is never helpful.
See, Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Instruction, Donum Veritatis, On the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian, (May 24, 1990), http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/congregations/cfaith/documents/ rc_con_cfaith_doc_19900524_theologian-vocation_en.html. 2 See, Clare McGrath-Merkle, Generativity and the U.S. Roman Catholic Bishops’ Responses to Priests’ Sexual Abuse of Minors,” Journal of Religion and Health, (Online Journal 25 September 2009) Identity foreclosure was one of the indicators of abuse and its cover-up where, “an individual under pressure, usually from others, prematurely accepts an identity ascribed to him by others.” Might this apply in cases where we dress up seminarians as priests when they have yet to work through their own identity as human beings, i.e., a mature human formation, before taking on a new identity dressed up as priests? Are they still playing at priest, when they leave the seminary and could this account for some of the uptick in the recently ordained leaving the priesthood when the game is no longer fun? 3 See, “What does it mean to be a Spiritual Father?” The Presbyter, The Publication of the Archdiocesan Presbyters Council, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, March 2009, vol. XI, issue 1, http://apc.goarch.org/assets/files/presbyter/presbyter-march2009.pdf. 4 Basil the Great, The Ascetic Life, quoted in The Presbyter, op. cit. p. 25. 5 1 Thessalonians 2:7. One can see here the importance of knowing the difference between metaphor and metaphysical reality since one could not be ontologically both spiritual mother and father. Similarly, the distinction between function and identity needs to be discerned. Failure to note metaphor/metaphysical and function/identity differences is often found in the discussion of “spiritual fatherhood.” An example of not making these distinctions is found in Perry Cahall and James Keating, “Spiritual Fatherhood,” Homiletic and Pastoral Review, Nov. 2009, 14-23. 6 See, The Presbyter, op cit. for its various descriptions of spiritual fatherhood in the Eastern Tradition. 7 John Paul II, Apostolic Exhortation Pastores dabo vobis, March 15, 1992. http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_25031992_pastores-dabovobis.html. 8 See, Steven Tsichlis, “The Spiritual Father in the Pachomian Tradition,” in The Presbyter, op. cit. 6-11.
The identification as "shepherd" also includes the identity of one who guides and governs. In this guiding and governing sense Jesus’s own self- identification as shepherd includes what St. Paul will later use; Christ is the Head of the Body. Pastores dabo vobis extensively utilized the phrase “Christ, head and shepherd.” Pastores dabo vobis will also use the spousal image in relation to the shepherd image. The use of spousal or nuptial language is more difficult because one must very carefully maintain the metaphorical nature of the description. The images of shepherd and friend can be used analogously, and then applied to priesthood, but I think nuptial language must be only metaphorical. The priest can be friend of the bridegroom but cannot take his place as spouse in any real or even analogous sense. He is metaphorically like a spouse in his care and self- sacrifice for the community. In metaphor we can say “My God is a rock.” But there is nothing about God which is hard, dull gray or heavy even though God can be thought of as a shelter as a large enough rock can provide shelter. In analogy there is a true likeness even while there is a great un-likeness. Jesus is mediator in a way no one else can be, but each of us can in fact be a mediator. Christ is the Good Shepherd bringing about universal redemption while we can be a shepherd in a limited, though like, sense. The spousal relation is intimately linked to the redemption wrought in the Paschal Mystery but no one else can be Redeemer. 10 St. Thomas Aquinas, Commentary on the Gospel of St. John, (trans. Fabian Larcher, O.P., Magi Books, Albany, N.Y., 1998) Chapter 10, Lecture 3, n. 1398. 11 Ibid. 12 Presbyterorum Ordinis 16 connects celibacy to a paternal function. Celibacy makes the priest “apt to accept, in a broad sense, paternity in Christ.” If there is an identity element in that paragraph, it is tied to the priest as bride or virgin dedicated to one man, Jesus, which only emphasizes again the need for awareness of metaphorical language. 13 United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Program of Priestly Formation, Fifth Edition, (Washington D.C., 2006), http://www.usccb.org/upload/program-priestly-formation-fifth-edition.pdf. 14 See, Perry Cahall and James Keating, “Spiritual Fatherhood.” op cit. Some of the language is bombastic and at times overly spiritualized lauding the role of men, and by extension the priest, as spiritual father. “Every man is called to be a husband and a father” (15). “A father cannot be a father without first being a spouse. Everyone has a natural desire to be married, at least everyone should” (15). “The priest’s sacrifice of genital sexual expression . . . readies the husbands of the parish to look to the priest for spiritual counsel on the meaning of the cross.” (15). “To be a father is not a function . . . it has to do with being itself” (15). “Fathers are called to feed their children from their own broken lives. The priest experiences this in a unique and irreplaceable way as he offers himself personally in celebrating the Eucharist to feed his children” (18). Much of the error involves the confusion of activity and function with identity. However, the error is combined with decrying the loss of masculine, self-sacrificing men in family units and thus confuses historically conditioned action and function of good husbands with identity in the priesthood. The Institute on Priestly Formation (IPF) has advocated the identity of priest as spiritual father for at least 15 years. See the 2003 and 2009 symposia on “Spiritual Fatherhood: Living Christ’s own Revelation of the Father,” held respectively at the Pontifical North American College and Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and sponsored by IPF. Annual Symposium on the Spirituality and Identity of the Diocesan Priest published by IPF, Omaha, NE. Keating has long been associated with the IPF and is currently one of their directors for formation. The influence of IPF for good or ill should not be underestimated as upwards of 200 seminarians annually attend retreats and summer programs sponsored by the IPF along with their frequent ongoing conferences and seminars for priests and those involved in seminary formation. IPF has become a well-funded, multi-faceted organization. 15 See, for example, S. Philip Hunter, The Pastor as Father (MA thesis), https://rts.edu/wpcontent/uploads/2019/05/201405-Hunter-Phillip.pdf. 16 A review by Janet Smith of the book, Why Celibacy? Reclaiming the Fatherhood of the Priest, written by Carter Griffin, is an example of the thinking that the absence of biological fathers is a root cause of societal ills and, most importantly, that this will somehow be countered by a more “masculine” priesthood. Griffin, “Why Spiritual Fatherhood and Celibacy Are a Natural Fit” (August 25, 2019), https://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/why-spiritualfatherhood-and-celibacy-are-a-natural-fit. 17 In fairness to the IPF, at the symposia sponsored by them in 2003 and 2009 nearly every speaker used the functional aspect of fatherly care for the people of God as the definition for spiritual fatherhood. The priest exercises a spiritual fatherhood, he isn’t identified with being, in the ontological sense, a spiritual father any more than the priest is ontologically a spiritual mother. The line of thought I argue against is that which sets aside metaphorical and analogical language and emphasizes the priest becoming ontologically a “spiritual father.” Spiritual fatherhood becomes a form of compensation for celibacy and/or is tied to a culture warrior mentality bemoaning the loss of fathers generally.
See, Raniero Cantalamessa, “Spiritual Fatherhood according to St. Paul,” Eighth Annual Symposium on The Spirituality and Identity of the Diocesan Priest, (IPF, Omaha NE, 2009), 7-11. 19 Metropolitan Anthony Bloom, “Pastors, Spiritual Fatherhood and Spiritual Life” in The Presbyter, The Publication of the Archdiocesan Presbyters Council, Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, March 2009, vol. XI, issue 1. 26-27, 26. 20 Ibid. 21 A prime example of confusing metaphorical language with metaphysical reality describing the church as bride in relationship to seminarians and priests is the "Morning of Prayer" address by Deacon James Keating at Mundelein Seminary on March 1, 2017, http://intranet.usml.edu/wordpress/. 22 Congregation for the Clergy, The Gift of Priestly Vocation, Ratio Fundamentalis Institutionis Sacerdotalis, (December 8, 2016), http://www.clerus.va/content/dam/clerus/Ratio%20Fundamentalis/ The%20Gift%20of%20the%20Priestly%20Vocation.pdf. 23 John Paul II, Post Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Pastores dabo vobis, (March 25, 1992). http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/apost_exhortations/documents/hf_jp-ii_exh_25031992_ pastores-dabovobis.html. 24 See Thomas Aquinas, op. cit. 1398-1399. A Bishop, and by extension a priest, cannot be a “good shepherd” without love nor can you simply love without guiding.
The New Visions and Directions of 1919: An Assessment 100 Years Later By Rev. Martin Zielinski, Ph.D. Note: This article is based on a talk given at Saint Mary Seminary in Wycliffe, Ohio for the Mullen Lecture. Introduction Historians love to celebrate centennial events. It gives them a chance to organize a conference, hold a symposium, or write an article. This year – 2019 – has a number of interesting centennial celebrations. For example, the 18th Amendment establishing prohibition was ratified on January 16, 1919. Also, on June 4, 1919, Congress approved the 19th Amendment which gave women the right to vote. It was ratified by the states the following year. Sadly, 1919 is also remembered for the World Series scandal of the “Black” Sox. In teaching Church History for over thirty years at the Mundelein seminary, I know that certain historical events have such a dramatic impact that a paradigm shift takes place. The mentality of people, the structure of society, the forms of government, religious beliefs, and the focus of culture change because of these events. For example, Europe was different after the Protestant Reformation and after the French Revolution. So, was the world different after 1919. 1919 was a year of paradigm shifts for the world because of the Versailles Peace Conference, because of the publication of the Bishops’ Letter on Social Reconstruction, and because of the promulgation of the encyclical Maximum illud. A new vision for international relations was promoted at Paris. A new role for the American bishops was defined by their letter on social reconstruction. A new model for Church evangelization was offered by the encyclical of Pope Benedict XV. Versailles Peace Conference Since the topic of the peace conference is too large to adequately cover for this article, I am limiting my comments to the role of Pope Benedict XV before and during the conference and American Catholic opinion on the conference as expressed in the articles of America magazine. 1 Two months after his election as the successor of St. Peter, Pope Benedict XV issued his first encyclical – Ad Beatissimi apostolorum – in which he offers his view of the current conflict. He wrote: 3. The combatants are the greatest and wealthiest nations of the earth; what wonder, then, if, well provided with the most awful weapons modern military science has devised, they strive to destroy one another with refinements of horror. There is no limit to the measure of ruin and of slaughter; day by day the earth is drenched with newly-shed blood, and is covered with the bodies of the wounded and of the slain. . . .Yet, while with numberless troops the furious battle is engaged, the sad cohorts of war, sorrow and distress swoop down upon every city and every home; day by day the mighty number of widows and orphans increases, and with the interruption of communications, trade is at a standstill; agriculture is abandoned; the arts are
reduced to inactivity; the wealthy are in difficulties; the poor are reduced to abject misery; all are in distress. 4 . . . we implore Kings and rulers to consider the floods of tears and of blood already poured out, and to hasten to restore to the nations the blessings of peace. . . Surely there are other ways and means whereby violated rights can be rectified. Let them be tried honestly and with good will, and let arms meanwhile be laid aside. It is impelled with love of them and of all mankind, without any personal interest whatever, that We utter these words. Let them not allow these words of a friend and of a father to be uttered in vain 2. In the next month, the pope established the “Office for Prisoners” as a department of the Secretary of State. By the end of the war, this office had handled 600,000 items of correspondence dealing with missing persons, appeal for repatriation of sick and wounded, and letters between prisoners and families. 3 The most dramatic and best-known initiative for peace on the part of Pope Benedict XV was his August 1, 1917 Peace Note. The groundwork for this initiative was begun when Monsignor Eugenio Pacelli was sent as nuncio to Bavaria in April 1917. One part of his diplomatic responsibilities was to sound out German political and military leaders on their interest in negotiating an end to the war. With some encouragement from those quarters, Pope Benedict issued his seven-point proposal for peace. 4 The public response of the Allied and Central Powers was negative. The Germans had recently defeated a Russian offensive and were waiting to see further political developments on the Eastern Front. The French were dealing with mutinies in their army following the disastrous Nivelle Offense. The British just had begun their next “big push” at Passchendaele which resulted in over a half million casualties for both sides by the end of the year. President Woodrow Wilson “gave a cool, critical reception” to the proposal. 5 As John Pollard noted: The Pope and his Secretary of State had gambled all the diplomatic influence of the Holy See in a major attempt to end the ‘horrible slaughter’ and had failed. The episode demonstrated the limits of Vatican diplomacy: such diplomacy, based almost exclusively as it was on the moral authority of the head of the Catholic Church had limited influence on mainly Protestant powers like Germany, Great Britain and the United States, Orthodox Russia and Liberal-masonic powers, France and Italy. 6 Just a few months later, President Wilson delivered an address to a joint session of Congress. He gave his Fourteen Points for Peace. 7 Although the President’s points are in greater detail, at least three of them – reciprocal disarmament, international arbitration of disputes, and freedom of the seas – were ones in Pope Benedict XV’s proposal. One might think, that given the common ground between the points of Pope Benedict’s Peace Proposal and President Wilson’s Fourteen Points, the presence of these two leaders would be beneficial for the work of the conference. That was not the case. The Holy See was prohibited by Article 15 of the Treaty of London from participating in the peace conference. 8 Despite efforts on the part of the Holy See to get this prohibition reversed, no official representative of the Holy See attended the Versailles Peace Conference. 9
What was the task facing the leaders of the Allied nations in Paris? Alan Sharp in his book, Versailles 1919: A Centennial Perspective, gives a concise answer. “The peacemakers assembled in Paris in 1919 had thus to treat not only what they perceived to be the root causes of the conflict, but also to find solutions to problems either created or exacerbated by the war itself.” 10 Their task would be complicated by “the lack of an agreed priority of issues or agenda.” 11 Nevertheless, the conference opened on January 18, 1919. The French President, Poincare, told them, “’you hold in your hands . . . the future of the world.’” 12 One of the first concrete accomplishments of the conference was the approval of a proposal to create the League of Nations on January 25, 1919. At first glance, the establishment of the League of Nations was a concrete expression of President Wilson’s fourteenth point and Pope Benedict’s third point in his 1917 Peace Proposal and thus would enjoy the support of these two prominent leaders. However, as John Pollard points out in his book on Pope Benedict XV, that does not seem to be the case. Although the Assembly of the League of Nations would not formally convene its first session until November 15, 1920, Italy had raised concerns regarding the Vatican membership in the body in May 1919. Pope Benedict gave a noncommittal response about membership during a meeting with an Italian government official. Based on a June 1920 article in Civilta Cattolica expressing hostility to the League of Nations, Pollard noted that the Jesuit journal “was faithfully expressing Benedict’s deepest feelings. 13 It would seem that the principles animating the League of Nations were not what Pope Benedict XV had in mind in his Peace Proposals. 14 Although papal interests and those of the Allies seemed divergent regarding the League of Nations, American Catholics, at least readers of America magazine, were urged to support the proposal of their President. Even before the conference began, Father John Ryan, moral theology professor at the Catholic University of America, wrote a series of articles about the peace conference. In one he discussed the League of Nations. He wrote: “Undoubtedly the establishment and maintenance of such a revolutionary institution as a League of Nations will require great skill, prudence, faith, patience and sacrifices.” 15 After reviewing some of the arguments, pro and con, Ryan offered his conclusions. The case for the League of Nation is simply this: America and the other great nations must either establish it, or continue the policy of great national armaments. Experience warns us that the latter course involves intolerable burdens and leads with moral certainty to war, while the present attitude of the world assures us that the outlook for the League of Nations is sufficiently promising to make the project worthy of an earnest trial. Catholics are called upon to show an especially active sympathy and cooperation with the scheme. 16 The attitude of the Allied nations may have been “sufficiently promising” at the conference to support a League of Nations, but as the weeks passed more practical issues, such as the return of Alsace and Lorraine to France, the amount of war reparations that Germany would pay, the territorial concessions that Italy would receive from Austria, and what would happened in the Middle East, to name a few, dominated the sessions of the conference. A staff writer from America magazine, J.C. Walsh, tracked the developments at the conference in a series of articles from February through June 1919. 17 In a February 1919 article, Walsh noted: “As the Conference opens, therefore, it may be said that the prime concern all round is one of interest.” 18 By the middle of that month, he expressed concern that the conference seemed
more intent on “carving up the carcasses” (of empires) rather than showing “any conscious concern for mere humanity.” 19 A few weeks later, Walsh remained wary of the work of the conference and the prospects for the League of Nations. Although he believed that a foundation for the work of the league would be laid in Paris, he was troubled by two facts – “not much is heard about right and justice” and that conventions on labor, ports, rivers, and railways “will be based on expediency rather than right.” 20 A draft of the treaty finally was presented to the Germans on May 7, 1919 (fourth anniversary of the sinking of the Lusitania). The president of Germany said it was a “monstrous document.” The chancellor, in addressing the national assembly, said that the treaty would make Germany an enormous jail. Demonstrations against the treaty took place in Berlin, Breslau, Konigsberg, and Danzig. Many Germans thought a national plebiscite should be held on the matter. 21 The writer for America summed up the mood of many after the Germans received the draft: It may be that the Peace Conference has done much towards making war improbable. It may even be that somewhere in the League of Nations proposals, there is hidden away a touchstone by resort to which peace can at all times be preserved. The fact remains that those who came here thinking the world would be started off on an assured footing of peace are very downhearted. 22 Although the Germans made efforts to get some of the articles of the Peace Treaty revised, few substantive changes were made. Finally, on June 28, 1919 – the fifth anniversary of the killing of Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, in Sarajevo, -- the treaty was signed in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles. 23 In his final article from Paris, J.C. Walsh compared the conclusion of the 1919 conference with two other significant European conferences – Westphalia in 1648 ending the Thirty Years’ War and Vienna in 1815 ending the Napoleonic Wars. Walsh summarized the work of the Peace Conference in these words: In its great lines it is the peace that will prevail. . . If it realizes many aspirations it leaves some of the noblest unrealized. If it heals old wounds, it warns of new quarrels. It consecrates a new world order and at the same time indicates wherein that new world order is threatened with destruction. It adumbrates new policies, any of which provoke new conflicts. It mirrors the state of the world today, as the peace of 1815 or the peace of 1648 mirrored the world of their times. And it is at least credible that those who made it, with all its faults, were hopeful that disaster to humanity might be staved off for another 100 years, perhaps for good and all. 24 The day the treaty was signed (June 28th), President Wilson sent a note to the American people. He acknowledged the severe penalties the treaty imposed. More importantly the President emphasized that the treaty brought the free governments into the League “in which they are pledged to use their united power to maintain peace by maintaining right and justice.”25 Furthermore the treaty strengthened international law through League sanctions; rejected the right of conquest and annexation; and upheld the rights of nationality. He concluded: “’There is ground here for deep satisfaction, universal reassurance and confident hope.’” 26 Unfortunately, members of the United States Senate were not as sanguine about the treaty as the President. Without any
alterations to the treaty, it failed ratification in November 1919. Without ratification, membership of the United States of America in the League of Nations became a dead letter. 27 Conclusions on the Versailles Peace Conference You may be wondering, at this point, given the evidence I have presented exactly how the Versailles Peace Conference was a paradigm event. Neither the expectations of Pope Benedict XV’s 1917 Peace Proposal or all the Fourteen Points of President Wilson were fulfilled at Versailles or through the subsequent League of Nations. Too many times during the discussions, national self-interest won out over noble ideals. The hope of January 1919 that a new world order would be created did not seem evident in June 1919. All that is true, but historians take the long view. From the long view, one can consider the Versailles Peace Conference as a paradigm event. Alan Sharp acknowledges at the beginning of his book that: The peacemakers in Paris were constrained by domestic expectations, the limits of their own power to implement decisions, the overwhelming nature of the task and the circumstances in which they operated. 28 Despite these constraints, one of the British members of the treaty drafting committee, James Headlam-Morley, would write in 1925: ‘We are too timid and modest about our own achievements; there is too much criticism and not enough defence. Cannot we recognize that the settlement of 1919 was an immense advance on any similar settlement made in Europe in the past? In broad outline, it represents a peace of reason and justice, and the whole fabric of the continent depends on its maintenance.’ 29 This is substantively the same point, the America staff writer, Walsh was trying to make in his final article from Paris. The pattern of European relations based on treaties and alliances pitting one side against another no longer was to be the operative model. In theory all member nations of the League of Nations had an internationally recognized body to bring disputes and seek adjudication without resorting to war. Maybe less appreciated, but also important outcomes of the Versailles Peace Conference were the International Labor Organization which became an agency of the League of Nations. It established agreed upon principles and rights for workers, such as wages, length of workweek, and prohibition of child labor. A new manner of administering European waterways and international rivers was part of the treaty. The boundaries of Europe remained “more or less intact” until the 1990s. Efforts were made to reduce armaments through the Washington Disarmament Conference (1921-1922), and the two London Naval Treaties (1930 and 1936). 30 Let me leave you with a question to ponder regarding the Treaty of Versailles as a paradigmatic shift. Would the current European Union have been possible without the Versailles peace conference, as a first attempt at a supranational governing body, as a predecessor? Bishops’ Program of Social Reconstruction With the declaration of an armistice on November 11, 1918, a basic question in the minds of millions of people was “what now?” One response to the question took place in the months of
the Versailles Peace Conference. Yet, the primary focus was on the terms of the peace treaty, the League of Nations, and the drawing of a new map for Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia. The war had a dramatic impact on the domestic life of nations. For example, it was unrealistic to think that life in the United States would return to the way society operated as it had before the war. The United States had mobilized its industrial power to arm the Allied military forces. The country had drafted millions of young men; trained them for combat; and shipped them to France to fight. How would the country return to a peacetime economy? What effects would demobilization have on the economy and society? Social reconstruction became the topic of discussion in the early months of 1919. Among the various groups that issued statements on social reconstruction, the American Catholic bishops added their thoughts and ideas to the discussion. Although the United States had remained neutral since August 1914, the revelations of the Zimmerman telegram, and the plans for the German Navy to resume unrestricted submarine warfare resulted in a declaration of war against Germany on April 6, 1917. 31 In October 1917, President Wilson asked for a National Day of Supplication and Prayer. The Archbishop of Baltimore, Cardinal James Gibbons, wrote a letter in late October to American Catholics. In it he wrote: ‘Our people, now as ever, will rise as one man to serve the nation. Our priests and consecrated women will once again, as in every former trial of our country, win by their bravery, their heroism and their service new admiration and approval.’ 32 The Cardinal of Baltimore promoted a sense of Catholic unity regarding the war effort that was more a hope than a current reality. From 1914 to 1917, American Catholics, especially in the Irish and German immigrant communities, were divided in the support for the Allied cause. Yet, the Cardinal was asking that the Catholic community line up “as one man” to serve the nation. This was easier to request than achieve. The lack of a national organization for the American hierarchy to coordinate the American Catholic war effort delayed Catholic efforts. However, the Knight of Columbus did have the national outreach, organization, and membership to undertake some work. The Knights of Columbus already had received recognition from the government as an official Catholic service organization earlier in 1917. With that, the Knights agreed to support and maintain forty-eight recreation centers at army bases. By August, the Knights had established a War Camp Fund to raise three million dollars. 33 Another effort was spearheaded by Reverend John J. Burke, C.S.P, editor of Catholic World and head of the Chaplain’s Aid Association. Encouraged by like-minded friends and with the approval of three American cardinals, Burke sent invitations to diocesan bishops and national Catholic organizations to attend a meeting at the Catholic University of America on August 11, 1917. More than sixty dioceses and twenty-seven Catholic societies sent representatives to the meeting. Overcoming misunderstanding, confusion, and mistrust of the Knights, these representatives approved four resolutions to create the National Catholic War Council (NCWC). 34 These resolutions were sent to Cardinal Gibbon with the request that they be discussed at the next meeting of the board of trustees of the Catholic University of America. With the approval from the archbishops on November 14, 1917, Cardinal Gibbons then sent a letter to the rest of the American hierarchy. After gaining majority support from the hierarchy, the project went forward. Bishops Muldoon (Rockford), Russell (Charleston), Schrembs (Toledo), and Hayes (auxiliary of New York) agreed to serve on the Executive Committee. At their first meeting, January 16, 1918, a new structure was set. 35 The importance of the National Catholic War Council went beyond the
practical programs of the Committee on War Activities and the Committee on Special War Activities (CSWA). As Elizabeth McKeown noted: The recognition won by the CSWA as a ‘capable agency’ in promoting both Catholic interests and shaping national policies marks its real achievement. For the first time American representatives of the Catholic Church succeeded in establishing themselves in Washington as a special-interest group, determined to make the influence of the church felt in shaping of the national consensus. The CSWA accomplished this by overcoming a formidable public relations deficit, persuading both Catholics and the public of the necessity of national Catholic responsibility. 36 With the armistice, the need for the continuation of the National Catholic War Council was questioned. The war council was a response on the part of the American bishops to the emergency of war-time conditions. Was there any reason for the body to continue its work in a different form after the war? Now the task was to convince the American hierarchy to make permanent a national body whose initial purpose had been envisioned to be temporary. Cardinal Gibbons wanted to see the NCWC continue. He asked Bishop Russell to make inquiries among the bishops about their support for the full-time organization. In mid-December 1918, Bishop Russell sent a letter to all the bishops laying out the reasons for continuing the NCWC. One was that other religious denominations through the Federal Council of Churches already had such a permanent body in Washington. A similar Catholic organization would engage in lobbying efforts, oversee Catholic welfare issues on the national level, and coordinate Catholic post-war activities. There never was any intention or desire to form a Catholic political party. 37 When the ninety-five members of the American hierarchy met at the Catholic University of America on September 24, 1919, Cardinal Gibbons addressed the body regarding the main point of business. “’The social and political conditions of the country, as well as the religious, point to the necessity of forming a permanent organization of the Hierarchy.’” 38 As the matter of a permanent organization was discussed, objections were raised on the canonical status of the body; on the issue of whether or not the bishops would be exercising jurisdiction in other dioceses that would conflict with the constitution of the Church; and that the administrative committee of the permanent body would threaten episcopal prerogatives and authority. With clarifications that the administrative committee did not have legislative authority and that the jurisdiction of the body did not supersede that of the local ordinary, a resolution was passed establishing the National Catholic Welfare Council. 39 Interestingly, before the formal establishment of the National Catholic Welfare Council, the Administrative Committee of the National Catholic War Council had issued the Bishops’ Program of Social Reconstruction on February 12, 1919. The origins of this statement go back to the work of the Committee on Special War Activities and its associated Committee on Reconstruction formed on April 13, 1918. Even before the end of the war, the NCWC was anticipating challenges and issues that would arise in the post-war period of reconstruction. Reverend John O’Grady (Columbus, OH) was appointed the secretary to the Committee on Reconstruction, and played a critical role in the process leading to the issuing of the Bishops’ Program on Social Reconstruction. 40 Without going into an exhaustive explanation of the various steps, let me briefly outline the developments leading to the issuing of the statement. Father O’Grady had a short time to
produce results for the Committee on Special War Activities. With the signing of the armistice in November 1918, the NCWC wanted a program developed to address post-war issues. At the end of November 1918, the Committee on Reconstruction reported to the executive committee of the CSWA that ‘the work of the Committee (Reconstruction) is primarily educational and directive. It will endeavor to supply information to Catholics on the various social and industrial problems arising during the reconstruction period and to develop service programs for Catholic societies.’ 41 The purpose was clear. What specific material did the committee have in its “endeavor to supply information on the various social and industrial problems”? None immediately at hand. Fortunately, O’Grady found an ally in Father John Ryan, who was thinking about the issue of social reconstruction and giving lectures on industrial problems. O’Grady was advised by Father William Kerby to draft a statement on reconstruction then get it approved by the four bishops of the administrative committee of the NCWC. 42 Easier said than done. O’Grady talked to Ryan about a statement, but Ryan was not supportive. Nor did Ryan have the time to work on the statement. O’Grady was persistent. He went back to Ryan and discovered that the moral theology professor had been working on a speech on reconstruction that he intended to give at the Knights of Columbus convention in Louisville, Kentucky. After some begging and pleading on O’Grady’s part, Ryan agreed to do that statement. Due to the press of time, Ryan did not rewrite his draft but dictated verbal corrections and added some additional written paragraphs. 43 After some revisions by O’Grady, he took the statement to a meeting of the CSWA. After reading the statement, the members of the committee moved ‘that the Committee on Special War Activities approve and endorse the article on Social Reconstruction submitted by Dr. O’Grady; that it be sent to the Administrative Committee of Bishops for approval with the request that the CSWA be permitted to publish this paper, embodying the program of reconstruction, under the name of the National Catholic War Council.’ 44 The bishops of the Administrative Committee gave their approval of the document on December 16, 1918. It only remained to decide when to release the document. First a public relations program was developed to coincide with the release of the document. They chose February 12, 1919 as the release date since it was the birthday of Abraham Lincoln. In doing so, the bishops wanted to connect their statement with the spirit of Lincoln and identify with the spirit of wisdom and charity of Lincoln’s Civil War Reconstruction. 45 We need to appreciate what had been accomplished in a very short time. As Joseph McShane wrote: In less than a month, and under considerable pressure, the church had made substantial progress in her search for social justice. Before 26 November 1918, there had been no authoritative Catholic statement on postwar reconstruction, let alone on social problems in general, and no American strategy for dealing with those problems in a practical manner. By 16 December 1918, the American church was in possession of both. 46
Let me review the Bishops’ Program of Social Reconstruction and highlight some significant points. 47 In the opening paragraph, the bishops noted that “the only safeguard of peace is social justice and a contented people.” 48 The current unrest is identified as “the most serious menace to the future of peace of every nation and of the entire world.” 49 The document then reviews other statements on reconstruction from the British Labor Party, American Federation of Labor, British Quaker Employers, National Chamber of Commerce, and the British Interdenominational Conference of Social Service Unions. The deficiencies of these statements are addressed. 50 The statement continues with the observation the United States should not expect to see as great a social change as in European countries since the impact of the war – loss of life, physical destruction, and cost of the war – has not been as dramatic here. Because the United States enjoys greater natural resources and advantages, as well as, better industrial and social conditions, the expectation for revolutionary change here is less likely. 51 After these preliminary observations, the bishops emphasize that they are not offering a comprehensive program. Their attention “will be confined to those reforms that seem to be desirable and also obtainable within a reasonable time, and to a few general principles which should become a guide to more distant developments.” 52 The first practical issue is dealing with the returning military personnel. The expectation is that many of them will go back to their previous jobs, but others might find those jobs unavailable to them. Some veterans might seek new fields of employment. The bishops endorse the solution of a government official who suggested that returning veterans be employed to prepare cut-over timber lands, swamps, and other marginal land for cultivation. The federal government and states should help to finance this project. 53 Another practical proposal is that the United States Employment Service, a war-time agency, be continued to help veterans returning to the industrial sector. Since veterans are returning to jobs in the industrial sector, this raised the question about displacing women who filled those jobs. 54 The bishops optimistically suggested that with an efficient national employment service then returning veterans would help in land development, return to the industrial sector with good wages, and displaced women could find employment in other industrial fields or domestic employment. 55 Continuing in this practical vein, the bishops recommended the continuation of the War Labor Board and its guiding principles of a “family living wage for all male adult laborers; recognition of the right of labor to organize and deal with employers through chosen representatives; and no coercion of nonunion laborers by members of the union.” 56 They also argued that the wage rate should not be lowered even if the cost of living decreases. 57 During the war housing projects were built because of population shifts from rural areas to urban ones. Although the bishops did not expect the federal government to continue these projects, they hoped that many cities will continue this work, “at least to such an extent as will remove the worst features of a social condition that is a menace at once to industrial efficiency, civil health, good morals, and religion.” 58 Another practical concern was that fact that the cost of living had risen 75% above 1913 levels. Some limit to the rising cost of living was addressed through the government setting prices for coal and bread. The bishops did not expect this to continue, but offered, as the means to regulate prices, the establishment of cooperative stores, such as had been done in England and Scotland. 59 The bishops advocated for a legal minimum wage. This wage should be adequate for the needs of the family, but gradually rise. “They should be ultimately high enough to make possible that amount of saving which is necessary to protect the worker and his family against sickness,
accidents, invalidity, and old age.” 60 Until workers received an adequate wage to cover future needs, the bishops recommended a: comprehensive provision for insurance against illness, invalidity, unemployment, and old age. So far as possible the insurance fund should be raised by a levy on industry, as is now done in the case of accident compensation. 61 The final practical recommendations of the bishops encouraged the right of labor to organize and deal with employers through representatives, vocational training, and a tax of ten percent on goods made by children. 62 The bishops believed that all of their proposals and recommendations would have immediate value for social reconstruction and gain a sympathetic response from the public. 63 In the final part of the statement, the bishops addressed the points of ultimate aims and a systematic program. They first examined the present industrial system and saw no likely change from the capitalist system of private ownership to some collectivist model. 64 In their view, a socialist system “would mean bureaucracy, political tyranny, the helplessness of the individual as a factor in the ordering of his own life, and in general social inefficiency and decadence.” 65 In noting that they did not expect any change in the present system, they did identify the major defects that needed change. 66 The bishops thought the defects could be remedied through workers becoming partners in the means of production by copartnership arrangements; through the increase of incomes for workers; preventing monopolies; adequate government regulation of public service monopolies; and heavy taxation of incomes, excess profits, and inheritances. 67 In the concluding paragraph of the statement, the bishops observed: Changes in our economic and political systems will have only partial and feeble efficiency if they be not reinforced by the Christian view of work and wealth. Neither the moderate reforms advocated in this paper nor any other program of betterment or reconstruction will prove reasonable effective without a reform in the spirit of both labor and capital. 68 What was the reaction to the Bishops’ Program of Social Reconstruction? The NCWC had hired Larkin Mead, a New York public relations specialist, to help them get the word out on their statement. Through a carefully designed program, Mead later claimed that sixty million readers had access to stories about the statement or the statement itself. 69 The NCWC received positive correspondence on the statement from labor groups, an official of the YMCA, and the Boy Scouts of America. Articles supporting the statement were printed in America and Ave Maria. The wellknow Protestant journal, The Christian Century, had positive comments but wondered what the concrete results would be. However, the support with the American Catholic community varied, especially those connected with the German Catholic Central Verein. Ethnic rivalry between German American Catholics and Irish American Catholics contributed to the opposition by the Germans. 70 That was the short-term reaction. What was the legacy of the program in the long term? Let me offer three comments from Joseph McShane who wrote a book on the Bishops 1919 Letter. He wrote: Its publication marked the emergence of the Catholic Church from its self-imposed isolation from the decidedly Protestant tradition of American reform. 71
Next: As a result, American Catholics began to perceive themselves as the true guardians and interpreters of the meaning of America’s natural law ideas of social responsibility, particularly in the area of industrial relations. Consequently, Catholics in the 1920s and thereafter became quixotically passionate in their advocacy of social justice. 72 Last: Hence the program was important for the church first because it broke her long silence on social issues and second because it did so in a way that was both public and authoritative. 73 The concrete evidence for all this is demonstrated by the fact that one of the original departments of the National Catholic Welfare Conference was the Social Action Department whose task was to promote education and practical programs in the areas of industrial relations and Catholic social teaching. 74 This task has been inherited by the Domestic Social Development and the Justice, and Peace and Human Development departments of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Another example would be the increased number of letters and statements from the American bishops on social, cultural, religious, and political topics. One of the standard resources for these letters and statements is the Pastoral Letters of the United States Catholic Bishops edited by Hugh Nolan. All the statements made by the American Catholic Bishops between 1792 and 1940 total only twenty-five and fill only one volume by Nolan. Since 1940, another six volumes of the Pastoral Letters of the United States Catholic Bishops had been published by 1997. Talk about breaking out of a “self-imposed isolation” and “breaking a long silence.” The effort that went into the writing and publication of the 1919 letter on social reconstruction gave the American hierarchy a confidence to publicly speak about issues relevant to American society beyond their local diocesan viewpoint. This is a tradition that has continued for one hundred years. Although some may disagree, a high point of this tradition was the 1983 The Challenge of Peace and the 1986 Economic Justice for All letters by the American Bishops. The Encyclical Maximum illud The First World War not only caused disruption and destruction to the Catholic Church in Europe but also to Catholic missions throughout the world. At the Versailles Peace Conference an effort was made by the Belgians, British, and French governments to acquire former German colonies and to expel the German missionaries. Pope Benedict XV sent Monsignor Cerretti to Paris to prevent the expulsion of the missionaries. With the support of President Wilson, this was accomplished. 75 The larger issue was the practice of the European powers using Catholic missionaries to support their colonial efforts in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. Pope Benedict wanted to stop the manipulation of Catholic missionaries in serving European colonial interests.76 This is one of the reasons he issued his encyclical Maximum illud on November 30, 1919. The major theme was the propagation of the faith in the world. In the initial paragraphs of the encyclical, the pontiff briefly reviewed the history of Catholic missionary work from post-Apostolic times to the present. He first addressed the superiors of the mission to acknowledge their hardships and encourage their continuing dedication,
zeal, and effective governance. 77 He warns against a superior treating the mission “as a piece of private property.” 78 Benedict XV then moved on to a critical issue – indigenous clergy. 14. There is one final, and very important, point for anyone who has charge of a mission. He must make it his special concern to secure and train local candidates for the sacred ministry. In this policy lies the greatest hope of the new churches. For the local priest, one with his people by birth, by nature, by his sympathies and his aspirations, is remarkably effective in appealing to their mentality and thus attracting them to the Faith. Far better than anyone else, he knows the kind of argument they will listen to, and as a result, he often has easy access to places where a foreign priest would not be tolerated. 15. If, however, the indigenous clergy is to achieve the results We hope for, it is absolutely necessary that they be well trained and well prepared. We do not mean a rudimentary and slipshod preparation, the bare minimum for ordination. No, their education should be complete and finished, excellent in all its phases, the same kind of education for the priesthood that a European would receive. For the local clergy is not to be trained merely to perform the humbler duties of the ministry, acting as the assistants of foreign priests. On the contrary, they must take up God’s work as equals, so that someday they will be able to enter upon the spiritual leadership of their people. 79 Benedict lamented the fact that in many parts of the world where the faith has been established for centuries there still was an inferior clergy and no local bishops. He had some solutions in mind. From these facts it is obvious that in some places the system ordinarily used in training future missionaries has up to now been feeble and faulty. To correct this difficulty, We are ordering the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith to apply remedies adapted to the various regions of the world, and to see to the founding of seminaries for both individual regions and groups of dioceses. Where seminaries already exist, this Congregation will see to it that they are adequately administered. However, the task to which the Congregation is to devote itself with particular care is the supervision of the growth and development of the local clergy in our Vicariates and other missions. 80 The pope then moved to address the missionaries themselves. He did not hold on back on a major problem: 19. It would be tragic indeed if any of our missionaries forgot the dignity of their office so completely as to busy themselves with the interests of their terrestrial homeland instead of with those of their homeland in heaven. It would be a tragedy indeed if an apostolic man were to spend himself in attempts to increase and exalt the prestige of the native land he once left behind him. Such behaviour would infect his apostolate like a plague. It would destroy in him, the representative of the
Gospel, the sinews of his love for souls and it would destroy his reputation with the populace. For no matter how wild and barbarous a people may be, they are well aware of what the missionary is doing in their country and of what he wants for them. They will subject him in their own way to a very searching investigation, and if he has any object in view other than their spiritual good, they will find out about it. Suppose it becomes clear that he is involved in worldly schemes of some kind, and that, instead of devoting himself exclusively to the work of the apostolate, he is serving the interests of his homeland as well. The people immediately suspect everything he does. And in addition, such a situation could easily give rise to the conviction that the Christian religion is the national religion of some foreign people and that anyone converted to it is abandoning his loyalty to his own people and submitting to the pretensions and domination of a foreign power. 20. We have been deeply saddened by some recent accounts of missionary life, accounts that displayed more zeal for the profit of some particular nation than for the growth of the kingdom of God. We have been astonished at the indifference of their authors to the amount of hostility these works stir up in the minds of unbelievers. This is not the way of the Catholic missionary, not if he is worthy of the name. No, the true missionary is always aware that he is not working as an agent of his country, but as an ambassador of Christ. And his conduct is such that it is perfectly obvious to anyone watching him that he represents a Faith that is alien to no nation on earth, since it embraces all who worship God in spirit and in truth, a Faith in which “there is no Gentile, no Jew, no circumcised, no uncircumcised, no barbarian, no Scythian, no slave, no free man, but Christ is everything in each of us” (Col 3:11). 81 Clearly, Benedict XV did not want the destructive spirit of nationalism that had contributed to the outbreak of World War I to further infect the missionary work of the Catholic Church. The pope then discussed the training of missionaries. They needed to “acquire proficiency in all the branches of learning” during their training. 82 This would include both teaching in the science of missiology and knowledge of the language of the country to “be able to speak it readily and competently.” 83 The pope did not overlook the importance of sanctity and moral integrity. Give the missionary, if you will, every imaginable talent of mind and intellect, endow him with the most extensive learning and the most brilliant culture. Unless these qualities are accompanied by moral integrity they will be of little or no value in the apostolate. On the contrary, they can be the cause of disaster, both to himself and to others. 84 In the final part of the encyclical, Benedict XV addressed all Catholics. He asked for their help in three ways: support the Apostleship of Prayer, foster vocations, and provide economic help. 85 In his conclusion, the pope said: If all Catholics, both the missionaries in the field and the faithful at home, meet the obligations of this task as they should, then We have good reason to hope that our missions will quickly recover from the severe wounds and losses inflicted
by the war, and that they will in a short time again show their old strength and vigour. 86 The practical results of this encyclical took time to flower. Although Benedict urged the creation of a native hierarchy, it would be left to his successor, Pope Pius XI, to initiate that with the consecration of six Chinese bishops in 1924. 87 However, by the time Pius XI died in 1939, there would be forty-eight mission territories led by native bishops. The decree “Ad Gentes” from the Second Vatican Council builds on some of the points of Benedict XV’s encyclical. Ad Gentes makes nine references to Maximum illud, especially reinforcing the importance of having a native-born clergy. 88 How the native clergy is to be trained is explained in more detail in this document than in Benedict’s one. 89 Also the decree from the council discusses what contributions each culture can make to the universal Church and encourages a process so that “the Christian life will be accommodated to the genius and the dispositions of each culture.” 90 Chapter IV of Ad Gentes is devoted to the training of missionaries. Among the key points from this chapter are: All these different kinds of formation should be completed in the lands to which they are sent, so that the missionaries may have a more thorough knowledge of the history, social structures, and customs of the people; that they may have an insight into their moral order and their religious precepts, and into the secret notions which, according to their sacred tradition, they have formed concerning God, the world and man.  Let the missionaries learn the languages to such a degree that they can use them in a fluent and polished manner, and so find more easy access to the minds and the hearts of men. Furthermore, they should be properly introduced into special pastoral problems. 91 These few examples from Ad Gentes give a clear idea of how the key points in Maximum illud were brought forward into the conciliar decree. The decree, however, is a longer document and develops in a more thorough manner many of the points in Benedict’s encyclical. Benedict lamented that fact that some missionaries “forgot the dignity of their office so completely as to busy themselves with the interests of their terrestrial homeland instead of with those of their homeland in heaven.” 92 Maximum illud marks an important step for the Catholic Church in overcoming the limitations of national identity that had so hampered the missionary endeavor. There is no such reference to this disruptive nationalist spirit in Ad Gentes. This is an indication that a change in missionary consciousness had taken place since 1919. Final Conclusions In this article, I have argued that the centennial of 1919 deserves attention and appreciation for three events – the Versailles Peace Conference, the Bishops Letter on Social Reconstruction, and Pope Benedict XV’s encyclical Maximum illud. The first offered a different model for international relations in the hope of giving nations a new way to resolve disputes without a resort to war. The second example showed how the American hierarchy took a step forward to engage the issue of social reconstruction after World War I and established a tradition of episcopal
statements on American life. The final example initiated a change of mentality for missionary activity in the Roman Catholic Church. The three examples from 1919 gave new visions and directions for the world, for American society, and for the Churchâ€™s efforts in evangelization. Ultimately, at the foundation of these three visions lay the beginning of something new â€“ an awareness that we are part of something larger that should not be constrained by local and national identities.
Appendix: President Woodrow Wilsonâ€™s Fourteen Points
Open covenants of peace, openly arrived at, after which there shall be no private international understandings of any kind but diplomacy shall proceed always frankly and in the public view. Absolute freedom of navigation upon the seas, outside territorial waters, alike in peace and in war, except as the seas may be closed in whole or in part by international action for the enforcement of international covenants. The removal, so far as possible, of all economic barriers and the establishment of an equality of trade conditions among all the nations consenting to the peace and associating themselves for its maintenance. Adequate guarantees given and taken that national armaments will be reduced to the lowest point consistent with domestic safety. A free, open-minded, and absolutely impartial adjustment of all colonial claims, based upon a strict observance of the principle that in determining all such questions of sovereignty the interests of the populations concerned must have equal weight with the equitable claims of the government whose title is to be determined. The evacuation of all Russian territory and such a settlement of all questions affecting Russia as will secure the best and freest cooperation of the other nations of the world in obtaining for her an unhampered and unembarrassed opportunity for the independent determination of her own political development and national policy and assure her of a sincere welcome into the society of free nations under institutions of her own choosing; and, more than a welcome, assistance also of every kind that she may need and may herself desire. The treatment accorded Russia by her sister nations in the months to come will be the acid test of their good will, of their comprehension of her needs as distinguished from their own interests, and of their intelligent and unselfish sympathy. Belgium, the whole world will agree, must be evacuated and restored, without any attempt to limit the sovereignty which she enjoys in common with all other free nations. No other single act will serve as this will serve to restore confidence among the nations in the laws which they have themselves set and determined for the government of their relations with one another. Without this healing act the whole structure and validity of international law is forever impaired. All French territory should be freed and the invaded portions restored, and the wrong done to France by Prussia in 1871 in the matter of Alsace-Lorraine, which has unsettled the peace of the world for nearly fifty years, should be righted, in order that peace may once more be made secure in the interest of all. A readjustment of the frontiers of Italy should be effected along clearly recognizable lines of nationality. The peoples of Austria-Hungary, whose place among the nations we wish to see safeguarded and assured, should be accorded the freest opportunity to autonomous development. Rumania, Serbia, and Montenegro should be evacuated; occupied territories restored; Serbia accorded free and secure access to the sea; and the relations of the several Balkan states to one another determined by friendly counsel along historically established lines of allegiance and nationality; and international guarantees of the political and economic
independence and territorial integrity of the several Balkan states should be entered into. XII. The Turkish portion of the present Ottoman Empire should be assured a secure sovereignty, but the other nationalities which are now under Turkish rule should be assured an undoubted security of life and an absolutely unmolested opportunity of autonomous development, and the Dardanelles should be permanently opened as a free passage to the ships and commerce of all nations under international guarantees. XIII. An independent Polish state should be erected which should include the territories inhabited by indisputably Polish populations, which should be assured a free and secure access to the sea, and whose political and economic independence and territorial integrity should be guaranteed by international covenant. XIV. A general association of nations must be formed under specific covenants for the purpose of affording mutual guarantees of political independence and territorial integrity to great and small states alike.
For a history of the Versailles Peace Conference see Margaret Macmillan, Paris: 1919 (New York: Random House Trade Publications, 2003). 2 Pope Benedict XV. “Ad Beatissimi apostolorum, November 1, 1914,” https://www.papalencyclicals.net/ben15/b15adbea.htm. 3 Pollard, John, “Papal Diplomacy and The Great War,” New Blackfriars 96 (March 2015): 153. For a history of Pope Benedict XV see: John Pollard, The Unknown Pope: Benedict XV (1914-1922) and the Pursuit of Peace (New York: Geoffrey Chapman, 1999). 4 The seven points were: (1) the re-establishment of the moral force of international law, (2) reciprocal disarmament, (3) international arbitration of disputes, (4) freedom of the seas, (5) reciprocal renunciation of war reparations, (6) evacuation and restoration of occupied territories, and (7) the conciliatory negotiation of rival territorial claims, Pollard, “Papal Diplomacy and the Great War,”154. 5 Ibid., 155. 6 Ibid. 7 See Appendix at end of text. https://wwi.lib.byu.edu/index.php/President_Wilson's_Fourteen_Points, accessed October 25, 2019. 8 ARTICLE 15. France, Great Britain and Russia shall support such opposition as Italy may make to any proposal in the direction of introducing a representative of the Holy See in any peace negotiations or negotiations for the settlement of questions raised by the present war. Treaty of London (1915) signed by France, Russia, Great Britain, and Italy on April 26, 1915, https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Treaty_of_London_(1915), accessed on October 25, 2019. Italy had been a member of the Triple Alliance with Germany and Austria-Hungary since 1882 and was expected by the terms of the treaty to side with those two powers at the start of the war. Instead, Italy remained neutral in the first eight months of the war until joining the Allies in April 1915. 9 Pollard, The Unknown Pope, 141-142. Frank J. Coppa in Politics and the Papacy in the Modern World, (Westport, Connecticut: Praeger, 2008), indicates that in the January 1919 meeting between Pope Benedict XV and President Wilson “was there any effort on the pope’s part to be included in the impending negotiations,” 91. 10 Alan Sharp, Versailles 1919: A Centennial Perspective (London: Haus Publishing Limited, 2018), 10. 11 Ibid., 11. 12 Quoted in Macmillan, Paris 1919, 63.
Pollard, The Unknown Pope, 146-147. Pollard also refers to Pope Benedict XV’s May 23, 1920 encyclical, Pacem Dei, as using milder language to oppose the League. This encyclical makes no direct reference to the League of Nations. The pope writes in paragraph 17: “Things being thus restored, the order required by justice and charity re-established and the nations reconciled, it is much to be desired, Venerable Brethren, that all States, putting aside mutual suspicion, should unite in one league, or rather a sort of family of peoples, calculated both to maintain their own independence and safeguard the order of human society. What specially, amongst other reasons, calls for such an association of nations, is the need generally recognized of making every effort to abolish or reduce the enormous burden of the military expenditure which States can no longer bear, in order to prevent these disastrous wars or at least to remove the danger of them as far as possible. So would each nation be assured not only of its independence but also of the integrity of its territory within its just frontiers.” Pope Benedict XV, “Pacem, Dei munus, May 23, 1929,” https://w2.vatican.va/content/benedict-xv/en/encyclicals/documents/ hf_benxv_enc_23051920_pacem-dei-munus-pulcherrimum.html. 14 Coppa argues that the impression of Vatican opposition to the League of Nations is not accurate. “The pope and the curia did have reservations about the League’s restricted membership, the distribution of power within the organization, and the initial exclusion of the vanquished states. Despite these concerns, from the first Pope Benedict embraced the president’s efforts on behalf of an international organization, which in large measure reflected his own thoughts and sentiments,” 91. 15 John A. Ryan, “A Substitute for Militarism, America 20 (December 7, 1919): 209. 16 Ibid., 211. 17 J.C. Walsh, “Conflicting Interests at the Peace Conference,” America 20 (February 8, 1919): 438-440; J.C. Walsh, “League of Nations Projects,” America 20 (February 15, 1919): 461-463; J.C. Walsh, “The Rocks Ahead,” America 20 (March 1, 1919): 517-518; J.C. Walsh, “Awaiting the Germans,” America 21 (April 26, 1919): 63-65; J.C. Walsh, “Cross Currents at Versailles,” America 21 (May 17, 1919): 141-143; J.C. Walsh, “The World’s Fresh Start,” America 21 (June 7, 1919): 217-219; and J.C. Walsh, “1648 – 1815 – 1919,” America 21 (June 21, 1919): 269271. 18 Walsh, February 8, 1919: 440. 19 Walsh, February 15, 1919: 463. 20 Walsh, March 1, 1919: 517. 21 “Chronicle,” America (May 24, 1919): 161. 22 Walsh, America, May 17, 1919: 141. 23 For a description of the ceremony see: Macmillan, 474-480. 24 Walsh, America, June 21, 1919: 271. 25 Quoted in “Chronicle,” America 21 (July 5, 1919): 317. 26 Ibid. 27 In 1921, the United States Senate would pass a series of resolutions that formally ended hostilities with Germany and Austria-Hungary. 28 Sharp, Versailles 1919, 11. 29 Quoted in Sharp, 11 30 Ibid., 159. 31 Arthur Zimmermann was the State Secretary for Foreign Affairs. The January 16, 1917 telegram was sent to the German ambassador to Mexico. It contained a proposal that, in the event of war between Germany and the United States, the German government would provide Mexico with funds and arms to reconquer Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. The telegram was intercepted by British codebreakers and given to the American ambassador on February 20, 1917. After authentication the telegram was sent to President Wilson who then released it to the media on February 28, 1917. 32 Quoted in Joseph M. McShane, S.J., “Sufficiently Radical: Catholic Progressivism and the Bishops’ Program of 1919 (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1986), 66-67. 33 Douglas J. Slawson, The Foundation and First Decade of the National Catholic Welfare Council (Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, 1992), 27. 34 Ibid., 28-29. The four resolutions were: “(1) that the American Catholic Church should create a national organization to promote the care of military personnel; (2) that a committee be appointed to devise a plan for this organization, which was to be called the National Catholic War Council; (3) that the Knights of Columbus ‘be recognized as the representative Catholic body for the special work they have undertaken’; (4) and that the resolutions and war effort by supported by all.” 35 Ibid., 31-33. The structure included the Executive Committee of Bishops, Committee of War Activities (Knights of Columbus) and Committee on Special War Activities (CSWA). This second committee worked to get
Catholic colleges to accredit training programs for officers; establish visitors’ houses run by women near camps; establish service clubs at training camps, ports, and overseas; establish the National School of Social Service for Women. 36 Elizabeth McKeown, War and Welfare: American Catholics and World War I (New York: Garland Publishing, Inc., 1988), 101. For a thorough description of the work of the National Catholic War Council, see McKeown, 71-126. 37 McShane, 86-87. 38 Quoted in Slawson, 63. 39 Ibid., 62-67. 40 McShane, 138-142. 41 Quoted in McShane, 146. 42 Father Kerby was the first professor of sociology at the Catholic University of America and one of the founders of the National Conference of Catholic Charities. 43 McShane, 156. 44 Quoted in McShane, 156-157. 45 Ibid., 175. 46 Ibid., 173. 47 The complete text can be found in Hugh J. Nolan ed., Pastoral Letters of the American Hierarchy (Washington, D.C.: National Conference of the Catholic Bishops, 1984), I: 255-271. 48 Ibid., 255. 49 Ibid. 50 Ibid., 256-259. 51 Ibid., 259. 52 Ibid. 260. 53 Ibid., 260-262. 54 “Mere justice, to say nothing of chivalry, dictates that these women should not be compelled to suffer any greater loss or inconvenience than is absolutely necessary; for their services to the nation they have been second only to the services of the men whose places they were called upon to fill. One general principle is clear: no female worker should remain in any occupation that is harmful to health and morals.” Ibid., 261. 55 Ibid. 56 Ibid., 262. 57 Ibid. “Even if the great majority of workers were now in receipt of more than living wages, there are no good reasons why rates of pay should be lowered. After all, a living wage is not necessarily the full measure of justice. All the Catholic authorities on the subject explicitly declare that this is only the minimum of justice.” 58 Ibid., 262. 59 Ibid., 264. 60 Ibid., 265. 61 Ibid. 62 Ibid., 266-267. The bishops note in their statement the abolition of child labor seems unlikely at the present time because of a court ruling. The only practical way to diminish child labor is increasing that tax on the goods they produce. 63 Ibid., 268. 64 Ibid. 65 Ibid. 66 Ibid. “Its main defects are three: Enormous inefficiency and waste in the production and distribution of commodities; insufficient incomes for the great majority of wage earners, and unnecessarily large incomes for a small minority of privileged capitalists.” 67 Ibid., 269. 68 Ibid., 270. 69 McShane, 176. 70 For a thorough analysis of the reaction to the bishops’ statement see McShane, 190-238. 71 McShane, 278. 72 Ibid., 279. 73 Ibid. 74 Slawson, 73. 75 Pollard, 201.
Ibid., 201-202. Pope Benedict XV, “Maximum illud, November 30, 1919,” https://w2.vatican.va/content/benedictxv/en/apost_letters/documents/hf_ben-xv_apl_1919,1130_maximumillud.html, sections 2-5. 78 Ibid., section 12. 79 Ibid., sections 14-15. 80 Ibid., section 17. 81 Ibid., sections 19-20. 82 Ibid., section 23. 83 Ibid., section 24. 84 Ibid., section 26. 85 Ibid., sections 33-38. 86 Ibid., section 41. 87 Pollard, 204. 88 “For the Church drives deeper roots in any given sector of the human family when the various faithful communities all have, from among their members, their own ministers of salvation in the order of bishops, priests, and deacons, serving their own brethren, so that the young churches gradually acquire a diocesan structure with their own clergy .” Decree Ad Gentes on the Missionary Activity of the Church, http://www.vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat-ii_decree_19651207_adgentes_en.html. 89 Ibid. “Therefore, let the minds of the students be kept open and attuned to an acquaintance and an appreciation of their own nation's culture. In their philosophical and theological studies, let them consider the points of contact which mediate between the traditions and religion of their homeland on the one hand and the Christian religion on the other.(20) Likewise, priestly training should have an eye to the pastoral needs of that region; and the students should learn the history, aim, and method of the Church's missionary activity, and the special social, economic, and cultural conditions of their own people. Let them be educated in the ecumenical spirit, and duly prepared for fraternal dialogue with non - Christians.(21) All this demands that studies for the priesthood be undertaken, so far as possible, in association and living together with their own people.(22) Finally, let care be taken that students are trained in ordinary ecclesiastical and financial administration.” 90 Ibid., section 22. 91 Ibid., section 26. 92 Maximum illud, section 19. 77
Author’s Page Joshua Farris Dr. Joshua Farris is the 2019-20 Chester and Margaret Paluch Lecturer in Theology at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake. He is concurrently serving as assistant professor of theology and Director of the Academy at Houston Baptist University. He has authored or edited five books, including The Soul of Theological Anthropology: An Exploration in Cartesian Ontology (Ashgate) and contributed articles and essays to such journals as: Heythrop Journal Neue Zeitschrift fur Systematische Theologie und Religionsphilosophie, Philosophy and Theology, Religious Studies, and Philosophy Now. Dr. Farris’ primary teaching focus is theology, great books, theological anthropology, and philosophical theology. During his time with us at Mundelein, he will be exploring he engagement of faith and culture around through philosophical theology. An additional focus will be on scholarly apologetics in American Protestantism, to help us understand the way efforts at the new evangelization are contextualized in the wider American religious culture. Dr. Farris’ took degrees in philosophy and religion, and church music at Missouri Baptist University. He went on to receive the Master of Divinity from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His doctoral studies were in theology and religious studies at the University of Bristol. He did post-doctoral studies at Heythrop College of the University of London.
David P. Olson The Reverend David P. Olson is a priest of the Diocese of LaCrosse and Assistant Professor of Dogmatic Theology at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake. Fr. Olson is the author of Christology in the Context of Interreligious Dialogue: Thomas Aquinas and Jacques Dupuis, A Comparative Analysis. He was previously pastor of Newman Catholic Parish in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish in La Crosse and associate pastor of Saint Michael Parish in Wausau. He teaches in the areas of doctrine of God, ecclesiology and Christology. He holds a J.D. from the University of Wisconsin, and a S.T.D. from the Pontifical University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome.
Martin A. Zielinski The Reverend Martin Zielinski is a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and associate professor of church history at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake. He previously served as associate pastor of Saint Margaret of Scotland Parish in Chicago. His research has focused on American Catholicism and Catholic efforts to confront racism. His is the author of Doing the Truth: The Catholic Interracial Council of New York, 1945-1965. Father Zielinski served two terms as Dean of the Graduate School of Theology. He subsequently served as Vice President for Ongoing Formation where he developed the successful Pastoring Conferences, a year-long series of seminars for newly appointed pastors to acquaint them with their new responsibilities through initial training in leadership and governance. As a theological educator, Father Zielinski has been active with the National Association of Catholic Theological Schools, the American Catholic Historical Association and the U.S. Catholic Historical Society. He holds a Ph.D. from the Catholic University of America.