Chicago Studies Fall 2021/Winter 2022

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Chicago Studies Editorial Board Thomas Baima

Melanie Barrett

Lawrence Hennessey

John Lodge

Martin Zielinski 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 Indexed in The Catholic Periodical & Literature Index and New Testament Abstracts. Cover Design by Thomas Gaida. Copyright © 2022 Civitas Dei Foundation ISSN 0009-3718


The Splendor of the Catholic Social, Spiritual, and Theological Tradition Editor’s Corner – Fall 2021/Winter 2022 By Rev. Martin Zielinski, Ph.D. and Dr. Melanie Barrett, Ph.D./S.T.D.* In 1990, at the initiative of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, the Chester and Margaret Paluch Chair of Theology was established at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. One of the responsibilities of the holder of this chair is to present two public lectures for the university community. The most recent lectures were given by Dr. William Murphy, Jr. and constitute the first two articles of this issue. “Liberalism, Conservatism and Social Catholicism for the 21st Century?” and “St. Paul, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Social Catholicism as Agent of Societal Reconciliation?” examine the Catholic social tradition and its prospects for renewal in the twenty-first century. The additional articles in this volume explore other riches of the Catholic theological tradition. Rev. Peter Nguyen, S.J., in his essay, “Renewing the Social Dimension of the Sacred Heart,” ascertains the theological, spiritual, and social dimensions of the Sacred Heart devotion, drawing upon the writings of Hans Urs von Balthasar, Henri Ramière, S.J., and Pope Francis. Rev. Emery de Gaál’s essay, “Mary, an Indelible Part of Early United States History,” provides an overview of the historical development of Marian devotion beginning in the Spanish colonial period. Dr. Angela Franks, in her essay, “John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and the Gift of Children,” contrasts the anti-child ideology of eugenic population control with Pope John Paul II’s emphasis on self-gift as conducive to authentic human flourishing. Dr. Elisabeth Rain Kincaid’s essay, “Holiness and Humility: Insights on Preaching from St. John Henry Newman’s Parochial and Plain Sermons,” analyzes Newman’s homiletic approach to ascertain how preaching can contribute to the transformation of the individual and the renewal of the church.

* For this issue, we substitute for Rev. Thomas A. Baima, our usual author for the editor’s corner, who currently is dealing with health issues.


Liberalism, Conservatism, and Social Catholicism for the 21st Century? By William F. Murphy, Jr., S.T.D. Introduction In treating the topic of “Liberalism, Conservatism and Social Catholicism for the 21st Century?” 1 my approach is inspired by the late nineteenth and early twentieth century “social Catholics” beginning with Bishop Wilhelm von Ketteler in Germany, whose example inspired various so-called “study circles” of laity and clergy throughout Europe, the most prominent among them being the Fribourg Union. These social Catholics, including the American Msgr. John A Ryan, worked toward solutions to address the central social question of the industrial revolution. This question concerned how to improve the dire situation of workers, one that already had led not only to the 1848 “Communist Manifesto” of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, but also to various insurrections throughout Europe that threatened social stability. These so called “social Catholics” sought solutions through dialogue with the main alternatives of their time, including the socialists who had gained broad support from industrial workers by advocating for their rights, the industrialists who argued for the laissez-faire economic freedom to run their businesses as they saw fit, and the progressive reformers in the United States. 2 My approach also strives to follow the example of St. Thomas Aquinas who exemplifies a dispassionate and thoughtful consideration of the views of his most important interlocutors, both within the Catholic tradition and outside of it. Such considerations included an appreciation of whatever was true in the views of his conversation partners as a reflection of Divine Truth. This appropriation of his interlocutors’ insights into truth fed into Thomas’s own response to the questions at hand, which typically advanced the state of the question by making distinctions and clarifications and ordering the insights he had gained within a broader, sapiential vision. 3 It seems to me that an authentically Catholic, Thomistic, and publicly-reasonable approach to the most urgent social questions of our day—including violations of human rights, global warming, increasing inequality, ongoing systemic injustices, tribalization, and the breakdown of constitutional and global governance—would benefit from a consideration of three overlapping traditions. These are, as my title suggests, liberalism (in the sense of constitutional democracy with a market economy), conservatism and Catholic social teaching. In what follows therefore, I will offer a relatively brief engagement with key aspects of those three traditions, in the hope of outlining a narrative that both illumines some of the most important issues at stake in our day and facilitates a further conversation. Whereas it seemed with Pope Pius IX’s 1864 Syllabus of Errors that Catholicism and liberalism were irreconcilably opposed, I wish to discuss not only the surprisingly degree of reconciliation they achieved in the twentieth century through the Second Vatican Council and subsequent Catholic social teaching, but also the renewed alienation that soon followed, especially in the United States amidst tension with the rise of new left on the one hand, and a growing alliance of American Catholics with the conservative movement on the other, which was effected with the help of appeals to fear and bias as in Richard Nixon’s “southern strategy” marked by “dog whistles” about “law and order,” etc.. With the future of the liberal world order of constitutional democratic states and international institutions in serious question and no viable alternatives in sight, I will sketch an argument about those aspects of conservatism that Catholics should accept


and reject, and outline a case that the avoidance of a dystopian future may depend on whether Catholics—especially those in the United States—finally and quickly adopt a social and political stance that subordinates ideological and partisan inclinations to the principles of Catholic social teaching. Based on such a stance, I will argue that Catholics have the potential to play an indispensable role in fostering the fraternal collaboration and solidarity to work for the common good of a peaceful, just, and sustainable future with those of good will, which will require rebuilding and reforming our public and international institutions to meet the grave—but not unsurmountable—challenges of the 21st century. In the first of these parts, I will discuss some key points I have selected regarding the “liberalism” that had gained a broad consensus in the post-World War II era into which I was born in 1962. In so doing, I will note the perhaps surprising degree of harmony that seemed to exist between this liberal world order and post-Conciliar Catholic social thought, especially since a century before it seemed that any reconciliation between liberalism and Catholicism was impossible. By the time the evolving liberal world order had triumphed over its main rival with the end of the Cold War in 1989, a leading public intellectual like Francis Fukuyama could famously raise the question of whether we had reached the “end of history” regarding political forms with liberalism as the only foreseeable option. In the second part, I similarly will treat what seem to me the most important considerations regarding the conservatism that was coming into prominence with the Reagan Administration when I initially entered the workforce in 1984, as a newly-minted computer systems engineer with IBM. I will focus not only on some of the foundational insights of the conservative tradition that made it attractive to religious believers and others in a time of accelerating change, but also on some of the developments that have led to renewed discussions of nationalism and illiberalism, as well as some of what I think are more promising initiatives in American conservatism. In so doing, I will also note how the conservative movement in the U.S. related to Catholic social teaching. In the shorter and concluding third part, I will state a thesis and propose a challenge that I think follows from the first two parts; I also will outline some of the main supporting arguments. I propose the following thesis: a reorientation of especially American Catholics to embrace a new social Catholicism for the 21st century offers the best hope for a future in which a renewed and unified Church—acting as “salt and light” in a world facing serious threats of a frighteningly dystopian future—fulfills an indispensable role in fostering a broad collaboration to meet the existential threats of our day. The Past Development, Apparent Triumph, and Present Peril of Liberalism How should we understand liberalism? Why does it often have such bad connotations in our day, especially in our context of Catholicism in the United States? Did not Pope Pius IX in 1864 anathematize anyone who said the Church could be reconciled with it? Did not too many Catholics become naïve about liberalism following the Second Vatican Council? And as influential conservatives like Rod Dreher emphasize, do we not need primarily to be concerned about the coming soft totalitarianism of the left that would follow if liberals got political power? 4 In this first part, my goal is to shed sufficient light on the notion of liberalism to illumine both its past glories— including a perhaps surprising degree of alignment with Catholic social teaching—and its present peril. This will provide a basis for understanding how it has related to different aspects of the conservative tradition, and how it has and might relate to different forms of social Catholicism.


To do so, I will attempt to sketch the most relevant points in each of six stages in the tradition of liberalism. These include: (1) the proto-liberalism of the American founding, (2) the “refounding” of American liberalism after the civil war but bearing fruit only in the 20th century, (3) the post-World War II liberal consensus into which I was born, (4) the emerging cleavage between liberalism and Catholicism, (5) the apparent triumph of liberalism with “the end of history” following the Cold War, and (6) the present peril of liberalism in alienation from conservative Catholics. The Proto-Liberalism of the American Founding and the French Revolution The remote roots of modern liberalism can be traced back to Greco-Roman republican theory, to medieval understandings of mixed regimes, to the early roots of English constitutionalism such as the Magna Carta, or to the social contract theory and popular sovereignty of Thomas Hobbes and John Locke. 5 An argument can be made, however, for starting with the American founders, who drew upon these earlier sources but also made the significant advances needed to establish a constitutional government of sufficient stability not only to endure over centuries but also to inspire much of the world to emulate it. Although the American founders did not use the word liberal to describe the government they created, the enduring success of the socalled “American experiment in ordered liberty” was foundational for the widespread proliferation of what subsequently would be called liberal states. The famous prologue to the Declaration of Independence reflects three of the most important principles of this incipient or proto-liberalism, namely human equality, human rights, and popular sovereignty. The text reads as follows: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.” Whether we consider the original American Articles of Confederation, or the Constitution that was adopted in 1787 and subsequently amended and interpreted by the Supreme Court, these three principles of the prologue to the declaration would seem to indicate some of the most fundamental aspects of the liberal tradition that would develop over time, namely human equality, rights, and sovereignty. The American founders tended to describe what they had created as a federalist form of republic in which the national government had supremacy over the states, while its powers were limited by various checks and balances. 6 The success of this revolution helped to inspire the French Revolution of 1789. Because it tragically descended into the murderous terror of the guillotine, it helped to alienate Catholicism from “liberalism” for well over a century. We should note, however, that the word liberal was introduced into the discussion only in 1797 by Frenchman Benjamin Constant. 7 Whereas the Catholic Church was alienated from the liberalism of the French Revolution, it later came to flourish under the more religiously-neutral liberalism of the American Revolution. 8 The American constitution of 1787 provided the foundation for a more stable form of popular sovereignty than could have been expected by past human experience. As spelled out in Federalist #1 by Alexander Hamilton, one of the primary concerns of the founders was to design a form of republic that would not fall into tyranny through the election of a demagogue, a politician who gains power by deceptively appealing to the prejudices and desires of the people. Of course, the Constitution also included many flaws, the most serious of which was its toleration of the institution of slavery, but was an ingenious achievement, nevertheless.


The Refounding of American Liberalism after the Civil War, Realized in the Twentieth Century With the 1865 conclusion of the Civil War and the ratification of the three reconstructionera constitutional amendments by 1870, 9 it would seem that the decisive pieces were in place for a refounding of American liberalism—or constitutional democracy—one that better aligned with the profession of belief in the equal creation, unalienable rights, self-governance of “all men” that Thomas Jefferson had articulated so artfully in the prologue to the Declaration of Independence. The realization of this refounding was delayed, however, with developments that began under the Presidency of Andrew Johnson, who assumed office after the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. Being a former slaveholder from the South, Johnson sought a prompt restoration of seceded states to the Union without taking steps to protect the liberated former slaves. Conflicts over this reconstruction policy led to his impeachment and near removal in 1868. Struggles over reconstruction continued through the disputed 1876 election, which was settled through a “backroom deal” that gave the required electoral votes to Rutherford B. Hayes in exchange for withdrawing federal troops from the South. This effectively ended reconstruction and opened the way for the regime of so-called Jim Crow laws that disenfranchised most blacks and a lesser percentage of poor whites. The long era of minority rule by the wealthier whites during the Jim Crow era followed a philosophy articulated earlier in the nineteenth century by South Carolina politician and political theorist John C. Calhoun (1782-1850). Although initially a modernizer and proponent of a strong national government, Calhoun became a proponent of “state’s rights,” limited government, and “minority rule,” to protect the social order in the American South, especially the institution of slavery, which he defended as a “positive good.” We will hear more of Calhoun’s influence in the 20th century, and to the present day. The end of Reconstruction era in 1877 coincided with the beginning of the so-called “Gilded Age,” a name that suggested a thin layer of gold gilding that masked grave social disorder. This was the era in which the industrial revolution took hold in the United States, spurred on by the growth of railroads and related industries including steel and coal. This industrial boom took place during a time when there was no precedent for government oversight of business, when the views of both industrialists and political leaders were influenced by a “social Darwinist” understanding of the survival of the fittest along with a theory of laissez-faire unregulated capitalism. 10 The great business interests were organized into “trusts,” which were said to have purchased the U.S. Senate as depicted in political cartoons of the day. These so called “Fat Cats” lived in splendor and “called the shots” politically while the masses worked in conditions approaching slavery and struggled to survive. In Europe, these conditions resulted in insurrections in various cities, threatening social stability. In response to the European situation, a movement of “social Catholics”—a collaboration of laity and clergy—emerged following the example of Bishop Wilhelm Emmanuel von Ketteler who would come to be considered the father of social Catholicism. These Catholics worked for solutions to what was called “the social question” regarding the plight of industrial workers. They did so through dialogue with the main alternatives of their day which were the socialists on one side, and the so-called “economic liberals” on the other. In the United States, priests and bishops were slow to respond to the plight of workers throughout most of the nineteenth century. Although the workers had many reasons to join unions like the Knights of Labor, and many Catholics did, the clergy often opposed such organizations because of the mixed membership and fears of socialism. The Knights of Labor had been founded in 1869 by a Catholic named Terrance Powderly, and soon had 700,000 members just in the United States; it was opposed by some


bishops who were concerned about its secrecy and their fears of socialism. In Canada, members of this union even were excommunicated, greatly undermining it. Cardinal Gibbons of Baltimore, on the other hand, saw the plight of the workers and the value of the Knights of Labor and traveled to Rome in 1887 to prevent the condemnation that some of his fellow bishops had sought. His letter was a tour de force, providing compelling reasons why the condemnation was neither merited nor necessary nor prudent, but instead would be dangerous, inefficacious, self-defeating, and cruel. In addition, he asked Pope Leo XIII to write on the ethical aspects of the conflict between capital and labor. These efforts resulted in a series of reform proposals that were reflected in the first modern Catholic Social encyclical Rerum Novarum: On the Condition of Workers, which was published in 1891 by Leo XIII. It built on classic principles of Catholic morality, like justice and the common good, and offered judgments about what is to be accepted and rejected in the positions of the disputing parties. Against the ideology of socialism, Leo rejected its teaching regarding the communal ownership of the means of production, and he upheld the right to possess private property; with St. Thomas Aquinas, however, he limited this right by the duty to use property consistent with the universal destination of goods. Against the ideologies of economic liberalism (or laissez-faire capitalism) and social Darwinism, Leo called for state intervention to uphold the rights of workers, and specifically affirmed their right to unionize, to receive a just wage, to have safe working conditions and to enjoy Sunday rest. By so doing, he provided the principles to guide a broad movement of Catholics to work for a more just society consistent with the common good. By not only affirming the need for government intervention against grave injustices but also articulating a broad notion of the common good, 11 Rerum Novarum opened the way for a deepening tradition of social encyclicals. In the United States, during the years immediately following the promulgation of Rerum Novarum, many similar social reforms were articulated by the so-called progressive movement (1890-1920). This movement was made up especially of the emerging urban and educated professional class and was rooted in the Republican party under the leadership of President Theodore Roosevelt (1901-9). Although the Republican party after Abraham Lincoln came to align with the business interests and industrialists of the Gilded Age, Roosevelt was distinguished by his efforts to break up the monopolistic industrial trusts, and to establish the national park system. To keep a pledge that he had made imprudently, Roosevelt declined to run for a new term in the 1908 election, basically leaving the office to his former vice-president William Howard Taft, whose policies were more favorable to the business interests. When Roosevelt’s third-party campaign to unseat Taft split the vote in the 1912 election, the beneficiary was Woodrow Wilson. A few words about Wilson are important to our discussion of liberalism. He was a Southerner by way of his birth in Virginia and his early years in Georgia. 12 As an accomplished scholar of political philosophy and history, president of Princeton University, and governor of New Jersey, Wilson had a broad perspective within which he appropriated the central aspects of the progressive social reform that was advanced especially in the journal The New Republic. His own thought went far beyond the progressive reformers, looking to build international institutions—a liberal internationalism inspired by Immanuel Kant—to foster cooperation and discourage war, and to foresee the national institutions of the welfare state. Because he placed the comprehensive reform agenda under which he ran under the heading of “New Freedom,” 13 the terminology of “liberal” came to edge out that of “progressive,” aided by the fact that America had a long tradition of liberal “rugged individualism” that Wilson also wanted to attract. 14


In parallel to and in dialogue with these progressive and liberal reforms was the work of Msgr. John A. Ryan, who became known for his work advocating a living wage while teaching at St. Paul Seminary in Minnesota. 15 While there, he also published “A Program of Social Reform by Legislation” (1909), referring to the reforms he thought needed to be implemented through public policy. These included minimum wages, maximum work hours, regulations to protect women and children from dangers, ways of handling employment disputes, unemployment relief, health insurance, and control of monopolies, along with public ownership of utilities, mines, and forests. He also advocated for income and inheritance taxes, for the regulation of stock exchanges, and for the taxation of the increased value of land. Ryan’s influence expanded considerably following his appointment in 1915 as a professor of moral theology at the Catholic University of America, where his ethical analysis was deeply informed by scholarship and teaching in economics and sociology. Inspired by Rerum Novarum and in dialogue with progressive reform, he argued in his scholarship—and lobbied in his public life—for the role of government in fostering justice and the common good through a variety of practical reforms. Among the reforms and programs advocated by Ryan were “public housing, social security, medical insurance, unemployment insurance, and women’s rights in the workplace,” all of which reflected his rejection of “unregulated free-market capitalism” as contrary to sound economics and sound ethics. 16 He was the primary author of “The 1919 Bishops’ Program of Social Reform,” and guiding light for the conference on social ethics through the 1930s, setting the trajectory for the social teaching and outreach of the US Bishops for generations, at least until the more conservative turn that gained momentum through the 1980s. 17 Ryan’s work promoting trade unions and social legislation put him at odds with the Republican administrations during the “roaring” 1920s, which forsook progressive reform for more laissez-faire or unregulated free market policies. Ryan’s efforts, on the other hand, greatly endeared him to the new administration of Franklin Delano Roosevelt during the Great Depression. The closeness between Ryan’s work and the Roosevelt administration can be seen not only in the policy priorities noted above, but in Ryan’s prominent role in two of Roosevelt’s inaugurations, and through his nickname of Right Reverend New Dealer. In response to the massive unemployment, poverty and suffering brought on by the Great Depression, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt advanced a series of institutions and programs under the heading of the New Deal. 18 These were experimental, so it is not surprising that a number of them failed. Many others were more successful, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Social Security Administration, the Federal Housing Administration, the Public Works Administration, the Works Progress Administration, the Food and Drug Administration, the Tennessee Valley Association, and the Civilian Conservation Corps. After some experimentation and missteps, the administration embraced the economic thought of John Maynard Keynes, who advocated what came to be called a “mixed economy” which included market activity with government institutions and services providing regulation, oversight, and a social safety net. Roosevelt’s broader vision was captured in his “Four Freedoms” Speech of 1941, where he distinguished the freedoms of speech, of worship, from want, from fear. The freedom from want pointed toward a right to at least a subsistence. Freedom from fear would later be addressed through a further development of the liberal internationalism advanced by Woodrow Wilson, which Roosevelt updated with advocacy for the United Nations System that would help foster democracy and a rule based international order to secure peace and prosperity.


As the Second World War moved toward completion in December of 1944, Pope Pius XII gave a Christmas address that is important for understanding the position of the Catholic Church regarding the liberal order that was being planned to form out of the allied nations. In this Christmas address, Pius noted the broad yearning for democratic rule. 19 He recalled, however, the traditional concern about the vulnerability of democracies to “the masses” 20 as distinguished from “the people.” He was especially concerned about leaders of depraved moral character who might be empowered by the masses and subvert democracy with what he called “state absolutism,”21 which today we would call autocracy. This concern was fresh for him because Hitler had come to power democratically in 1930s Weimar Germany, before bending the democratic institutions to his will. Similarly, amidst political chaos of which he was a significant cause, Mussolini declared that only he could bring order to the country and basically was allowed to seize power. Pius, on the contrary, further granted in his Christmas message that the liberal/democratic model offered the best hope for postwar peace and prosperity, and he encouraged the formation of international institutions to foster peace. 22 Toward the end of the war and after, Pius worked to foster European integration, which eventually led to the founding of the U.N., and the E.U. He was clear in his Christmas message, however, that the success of a democratic future was inseparable from “the religion of Christ and his Church.” 23 Not everyone agreed with the Keynesian “mixed economy” that had gained credibility during the Great Depression, especially those who formed the Mount Pellerin Society (1938, 1947ff). These included the Austrian-British Friedrich von Hayek, and the Americans James McGill Buchanan, and Milton Friedman. Amidst the Great Depression, Hayek rose to prominence for his defense of the importance of market mechanisms against some who had advocated going beyond Keynesian intervention and adopting a planned economy after the example of the Soviet Union. 24 His most famous work, The Road to Serfdom (1944) offered many valuable insights. It basically suggests, however, that government involvement in the economy leads to socialism; subsequent experience, however, would seem to militate against this alarming but influential assertion. Economic developments since especially the 2008 financial crisis, moreover, offer serious challenges to such views, and the tradition of social encyclicals leans strongly against them. Buchanan, on the other hand, is known especially for his work in founding the branch of economic study called public choice theory, which critically scrutinizes government intervention in the economy. His work in founding the Virginia School of Political Economy is under renewed scrutiny for its reliance on the work of John C. Calhoun, the South Carolina politician and political theoretician of white minority rule in the South before the Civil War. Milton Friedman was a leading public intellectual for decades, and a leading figure in Chicago School economics. Post-World War II Liberal Consensus Although I obviously did not realize it at the time, I was born in 1962 into an era of a considerable postwar consensus regarding American liberalism, among Catholics in America who were coming into prominence through many key figures and institutions. Then as now, one of the more publicly visible institutions was the Notre Dame Football team. The most known and respected Catholics included Fulton Sheen as intellectual and churchman, Thomas Merton as man of the world turned monk, Dorothy Day as social conscience, and President John F. Kennedy as symbol that Catholics had assumed the highest positions of leadership in the free world. Kennedy’s support by about 80% of American Catholics in the 1960 election was a highpoint of political consensus among them. Catholicism was earning a prominent place in post-war America, where the dissenters from liberalism were a minority.


Political consensus could be seen in the continuities between the Democratic Kennedy Administration and the preceding one of Republican Dwight Eisenhower, who had accepted the New Deal institutions and programs from his Democratic predecessors. He also oversaw a massive public works program reminiscent of the new deal, namely a significant portion of the interstate highway system. As Democratic presidents would after him, Eisenhower was also focused on the problem of civil rights in America, and appointed Fr. Theodore Hesburgh to his new civil rights commission that would be continued by Kennedy. Hesburgh’s contributions would prove indispensable, moreover, to the commission’s ability to reach consensus. At the time of my birth, therefore, to be “liberal” in America did not have the derogatory connotations of recent decades. It instead meant a free society, a constitutional democratic state with a broad distribution of powers. The postwar liberal consensus embraced a so-called “mixed economy” that was powered by vibrant free/liberal markets that were embedded within a broader context of public institutions. According to this arrangement, government provided services like defense, law and order, infrastructure, research and development, the Federal Reserve System, the Postal Service, education, consumer safety, and a social safety net. Liberal simply meant the alternative to the totalitarianism of Soviet communism. It meant the governmental model of the free world, and the rule-based international order that promised not just to prevent great power conflict but to foster a peaceful and prosperous future. At the more global level as well, the Catholic Church was not merely tolerant of this postwar liberal order but a significant force behind its coming into prominence, as was suggested by the above discussion of the 1944 Christmas message Pope Pius XXII. Somewhat behind the scenes before the end of the war, Pius XII’s early efforts toward European integration not only would foster the establishment of the United Nations but also would lead to the eventual formation of the European Union. Also crucial to this formation were European statesmen informed by Catholic social teaching including Konrad Adenauer of West Germany, Robert Schuman of France, and Alcide De Gasperi who formed the Christian Democracy Party in Italy. Catholic thought was also influential in the formation of the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was shepherded through drafting and adoption by Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of the late President, who had an appreciation for Catholic social teaching through the collaboration with Msgr. John Ryan. 25 The writings of the Catholic philosopher Jacques Maritain, moreover, helped to prepare the way for the Declaration among Catholics and more broadly. Catholics who contributed in different ways to the crafting of the Declaration included Maritain, who served on a preparatory committee, and Papal nuncio to Paris, Angelo Roncalli—the future Pope John XXIII—who is said to have provided “discreet personal encouragements.” 26 After some early foreign policy disasters in an attempt to establish a position of greater strength from which to negotiate with the Soviet Union—namely deploying nuclear missiles in Turkey and launching the failed Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba— President Kennedy later shifted to an approach closer to that laid out in John XXIII’s 1963 encyclical Pacem in Terris: Peace on Earth, which sought peace through the establishment and respect of human rights. This shift was reflected especially in Kennedy’s 1963 “Peace Speech.” As he assumed office following the assassination of President Kennedy on November 23, 1963, President Lyndon Johnson was focused first on achieving passage of the civil rights and voting rights acts which finally brought an end to Jim Crow subjugation of African Americans in the South, but also opened a fissure between the Democratic Party and especially southern white Christians who resented the prospects of forced desegregation, as did an increasing number of northerners. The primary goal of Johnson’s early presidency was to address the grinding poverty


and social inequality that still existed among significant portions of the population, especially— but not exclusively—among African Americans, who had continued to suffer discrimination of various forms. To achieve this goal, he launched series of domestic programs under the heading of The Great Society, which included a War on Poverty, which became a focus of socially-oriented politicians including the Catholic Robert F. Kennedy, who made a famous “poverty tour.” These programs addressed areas such as health and welfare, education, poverty, and consumer and environmental protection. 27 The conciliar era Catholic social teaching of Popes St. John XXIII and St. Paul VI therefore should be understood as encouraging Catholics to pursue holiness within this emerging Liberal World Order, which means a way of Christian life working collaboratively for the common good. As becomes especially clear through the writings of Pope Paul VI in the more turbulent times of the early 1970s, this social teaching should be understood as a non-ideological and non-partisan collaboration guided by principles including the dignity of every human person, justice, human rights as the basis for peace, 28 the common good including its global scope, 29 the solidarity of the human family, integral human development, the subsidiary distribution of power, etc. Under this teaching, Catholics move into the forefront of global efforts to promote human rights. The social legacy of John XXIII and Paul VI was robustly embraced by Pope St. John Paul II, under whose leadership the Catholic Church become world’s foremost institutional defender of human dignity and rights. 30 This discussion of a relative consensus about a certain compatibility between Catholicism and postwar liberalism helps to explain how earlier generations of Catholic clergy in the United States were mostly Democrats, well into the 1990s. 31 But what happened to this post war liberal consensus in America and the significant Catholic alignment with it? Of course, differing views were always present. One that would be particularly influential regarding Catholic social teaching could be seen as early as 1961, when the National Review under the conservative Catholic William F. Buckley, Jr. responded to John XXIII’s new social encyclical Mater et Magistra: Christianity and Social Progress with an editorial entitled “Mater Si, Magistra No.” Such critical reception of Social Encyclicals by American conservatives would continue until the present day. John Paul II’s 1991 Centesimus Annus enjoyed a much warmer reception, but this was at the expense of some significant distortions, especially regarding neoliberal economics, which entailed opposition to an active state working for justice, anti-institutionalism, and an assertive national defense posture. An Emerging Cleavage between American Liberalism and Catholicism The implementation of Johnson’s Great Society reforms fell victim to the Vietnam War, which we stumbled into through some decisions by Presidents Kennedy and especially Johnson that seemed reasonable at the time but turned out to be disastrous. 32 The war not only discredited Johnson as sponsor of the Great Society, but starved these domestic programs of their funding, and divided the country in a way that undermined such shared goals. The escalating protests against the Vietnam War fostered a climate in which a variety of social movements tended to become radicalized, so that their merits were not easy to separate from their excesses. Through the 1960s, the focus in human rights activism shifted from raising to a modest standard of living those who needed help to enhancing the freedoms and rights of groups that were often already middle-class. This is understandable but led to significant problems for liberalism, leading over several decades to the word “liberal” representing for many not just constitutional democratic states, but left-wing extremism. Women, who had been hindered from education and


employment by hundreds of discriminatory laws, rightly wanted the freedom and right to study and work. With the availability of modern contraceptives, many exercised a new freedom from traditional norms of sexual behavior. The ensuing increase of sex outside of marriage not surprisingly led to the desire for readily available abortion services and no-fault divorces. Those who had been under societal pressures to keep their homosexual practices “in the closet,” moreover, wanted to be free to live as they saw fit; with the “Gay Pride” movement emerging by the late 1960s, they also demanded that their dignity be respected. As movements to secure these new rights grew out of the civil rights efforts that were more associated with the Democratic party, their advocates naturally congregated there, although the coalition was always broad. Socially conservative opponents of these departures from traditional “family values” congregated in the Republican party and made increasingly more effective use of “culture war” issues in electoral campaigns. The tendencies growing out of the so-called sexual revolution were disconcerting to many Catholics who were then members of the Democratic party. They were disconcerting because the Catholic tradition had upheld a demanding sexual ethic, especially to protect the stability of family units which it sees as important to the common good, being the institution most fundamental to raising children so they can live a good life. 33 Tragically, in light of the fruitful relation that had existed for generations between Catholics and the Democratic party that had aligned with so much of Catholic social teaching, disagreements regarding how to address desires for new rights resulted in increasing alienation. Such alienation only increased as the Democratic party embraced more extreme policies, such as supporting partial birth abortions, or allowing the destruction of or experimentation on human embryos, or excluding dissenting Catholics from positions of leadership. One of the most famous examples of the party’s marginalization of Catholics over abortion was when Pennsylvania Governor Bob Casey was denied the right to speak at the 1992 Democratic Convention in favor of adding a minority plank in the party’s platform acknowledging the place of pro-life Democrats. If the hallmarks of liberal tradition had included free exchange of ideas, and protections for the rights of the most vulnerable from the exploitation by the strong, it is not surprising that these Catholics saw an emerging illiberalism of the left, marked by a departure from key principles of the liberal tradition under leftist ideologies. Through the 1970s and 80s, the main—if not only—group of Catholics who were rejecting the twentieth century Magisterial embrace of liberalism (in the form of constitutional democratic states and the liberal world order) had been the schismatic Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) founded by traditionalist archbishop Marcel Lefebvre. By the 1990s, serious Catholic scholars were beginning to argue that liberalism was radically—that is, from its very roots—opposed to Catholicism, though they proposed no serious alternatives for ordering societies. Within a quarter century, a conservative Catholicism had formed in the United States that tends toward what could be called an anti-liberalism, illiberalism, or post-liberalism of the right. But before discussing that, we need to consider the apparent triumph of liberalism with the conclusion of the Cold War in 1989. The Apparent Triumph of Liberalism with “The End of History” Following the Cold War (1989) After the collapse of the Soviet bloc in the late 1980s, there was no serious politicaleconomic rival to the liberal world order that had been built under the leadership of the United States and its allies since the Second World War which led to an overconfidence in the form of it that was ascendent at the time. One of the most frequently cited discussions of this historical


moment was Francis Fukuyama’s The End of History and the Last Man, which asked the question of whether the history of man’s ideological evolution had ended with the universalization of Western liberal democracy. The removal of the Soviet threat—and communist or socialist alternatives to capitalism—opened the way for an accelerated globalization according to the prevailing political-economic wisdom of the day. This wisdom, following the ascendant neoliberalism, heavily favored the self-regulatory capacities of the market and distrusted the possibility of government shaping of globalization. In the United States, there was bipartisan support for allowing market forces—driven by the logic of efficiency as measured by the maximization of profits—to shape the emerging global market and society. In 1996, even Democratic President Bill Clinton declared that “the era of big government is over” as he agreed with Republicans to cut funding for social programs and regulations. Although China was a highly repressive single party society, it was even hoped that welcoming them into the World Trade Association would enable market activity to liberalize it. By the time of the 2008 financial crisis, these presuppositions were proving to be deeply mistaken, as evidenced by the failure of financial deregulation, growing inequality, environmental devastation, the better quality of life in social democracies, and the way that China’s economy had flourished with extensive government involvement. The Present Peril of Liberalism in Alienation from Conservative Catholics Although a fuller consideration of the present perilous state of liberalism makes more sense after treating the evolution of conservatism in part 2 below, I will offer just a few points now in anticipation of what follows. The first is to reiterate that by liberalism I primarily mean constitutional democratic states with market economies, and the rule-based international order that was designed to foster their fruitful coexistence. Despite its overlap with some illiberal tendencies of the left that we have already noted and will further discuss below, this “political liberalism” has been central to the prevention of great power conflict for three quarters of a century, which is an unprecedented historical achievement upon which the survival of humanity depends in an age of widespread proliferation of nuclear weapons. Speaking as someone who was a registered Republican for almost twenty-five years— partially over respect for life issues—but has been an independent for several years, my second point is that both American constitutional government and the liberal world order are in a state that can be described as “teetering on the brink,” or “on life support,” to put it mildly. My third point is that this perilous situation has many causes, which need to be carefully considered if we are to be part of the solution as distinguished from part of the problem. Some of these have been indicated above in what Catholics increasingly saw as an emerging illiberalism of the left. These tendencies have continued in subsequent years to include identity politics, thought police, and “cancel culture,” which have contemporary conservatives fearing an illiberalism or as Rod Dreher puts it “a soft totalitarianism of the left,” which has given birth to an illiberalism of the right, that seems a more immediate threat to constitutional democracy as evidenced by the insurrection of January 6, 2021 and subsequent propagation of the “big lie,” along with nationwide efforts at voter suppression and election nullification. Building on the third point, my fourth point is that the alienation of Catholics from liberalism is grave threat to the institutions and freedoms of constitutional democratic states, to social cohesion, to the rule based international order, and to the ability of humanity to meet the existential challenges of the twenty-first century such as global warming.


The Origins, Development and Present Crisis of Conservatism In this second part, my goal is analogous to that of the first part. That is, I seek to offer a sufficient sketch of the conservative tradition to support my proposal that especially the Church in the United States needs to embrace a new era of social Catholicism that appropriates from conservatism what is valuable and compatible with Catholicism—including Catholic social teaching—and rejects what is not, namely the emerging illiberalism of the right. I will proceed in five steps to consider (1) the early conservatism of Edmund Burke and his successors, (2) the fusion conservatism of the Reagan era (1980-2008), (3) the more radical conservatism ushered in by N. Gingrich and conservative media; (4) the neoconservatism of the George W. Bush administration in collaboration with the Catholic neo/theoconservatives; and (5) the present crisis and signs of promise among contemporary conservatism. The Early Conservatism of Edmund Burke and His Successors As a preliminary definition, we can understand conservatism as a basic disposition to preserve valued institutions, traditions, or social conditions. It can be seen to arise naturally from human wariness regarding the uncertainty that accompanies change and has been occasioned by the increasing rapidity of social disruption that has followed since the unfolding of industrialization in the late eighteenth century, and through recent decades of neoliberal globalization. 34 The Irish-born member of British Parliament, Edmund Burke (1729-97), is often seen as the founder of the conservative intellectual tradition. Although he was a lifelong Anglican, Burke had a Catholic mother and thus an appreciation for the Catholic tradition. Although he was open to the social change that economic development was starting to drive, Burke sought to correct what he saw as the excessive trust in reason and corresponding dismissal of tradition that characterized Enlightenment thinkers of the 17th and 18th centuries. In both these ways Burke’s thought is amenable to Catholic sensibilities, although Catholicism will also reject excesses in the form of either a traditionalist ideology of insisting on something just because it existed at some point in the past, or the tendency to denigrate the power of human reason that we will see among more recent conservatives, like those who resist the overwhelming scientific consensus regarding global warming or the effectiveness of vaccines or masks against the spread of Covid 19. Burke’s early work on the sublime and the beautiful 35 was central to his efforts to correct the Enlightenment tendencies to dismiss tradition or to put excessive confidence in reason. Whereas the Enlightenment political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679) and John Locke (1632-1704) built upon thought experiments about a hypothetical “state of nature,” Burke argued that such experiments led to neglecting the natural bases of actual human societies. 36 These, he argued, result from the union of mothers and fathers in the natural institution of the family, whereas social contract thought experiments typically led one to neglect this reality and to embrace a false, individualist anthropology that denied the communal nature of human existence. Similarly, Burke insists that societies, therefore, need to be understood more as living organisms than as the collection of isolated individuals that arose from these thought experiments. On all these points, the Catholic tradition has strong affinities with the early conservatism of Burke, although—as we have seen—Magisterial Social Teaching does not reject but favors the liberal political forms that had evolved by the mid twentieth century (with roots in these thought experiments of social contract theory). Burke’s conservatism included, therefore, a presupposition in favor of preserving existing institutions including not just the family but the Church and the aristocracy, the latter of which he


saw as providing an invaluable force in moderating social change. Based on these intellectual foundations, he wrote his Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), in which he predicted that the growing hostility of revolutionaries to these institutions would destabilize the society and lead to disaster. When his predictions were quickly realized, considerable credibility and fame as social commentator ensued, ensuring Burke foundational place in the subsequent conservative tradition in Britain. Whereas Burke was looking to preserve the British aristocracy and other basic institutions like the family and Church, subsequent conservatives can be identified precisely by the primary institutions and social conditions they sought to conserve, usually under the pressure of social change driven by the unfolding of market activity. As the industrial revolution progressed through the nineteenth century, businessmen typically wanted to preserve the situation in which they could run their businesses without government intervention or taxation. Those in more rural settings, on the other hand, wanted to preserve the more communal and familial values that migration to cities was undermining. In the American South, property holding whites wished to preserve the many privileges they enjoyed, including minority rule, social prestige, and cheap labor. A constant refrain from those who thought and wrote about these social changes driven by evolving economic developments was that they tended to erode the virtues upon which society depended. 37 The Fusion Conservatism of the Reagan Era. Late 1970s and Following Given that so many of us who make up what we might call the “institutional infrastructure” of the Church—the clergy, the academics, committed laity—came of age and thus were shaped by the conservatism that came into prominence in this era, it is vital that we understand how it emerged, what its main characteristics were, and how it relates to what has followed. Several developments from the mid-1960s through the 1970s led to the impression that the country was on the wrong path economically, internationally, and socially and set the stage for the solidification of a new conservative coalition by the early 1980s during the Presidency of Ronald Reagan. Regarding the economy, those of us with a sufficient proportion of grey hair will remember the so-called economic stagflation that plagued several of the leading market economies from 1973 through 1982. 38 Regarding international relations especially as concerns national security, the country was dispirited by a sense of decline and fear following the loss of the war in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, and by Soviet military aggression in Afghanistan and covert activities in many countries, topped off by a failed attempt to rescue Americans who were being held hostage by Islamic revolutionaries at the embassy in Tehran, Iran. Regarding the culture, there was a widespread concern among more traditionally minded Americans about various cultural developments including the rising divorce rates and breakdown of the traditional family unit, the drug culture, the ongoing sexual revolution, the legalization and proliferation of elective abortion, and the movements for women’s and gay rights. Also significant was also a reaction among especially Caucasian citizens against the implementation of civil rights reforms, such as the forced school busing that had been implemented across the country, which led to the so-called “white flight” from urban neighborhoods to the suburbs. These developments provided the opportunity for the establishment of a new governing majority from the various strands of conservatism that existed in the country, and this opportunity was seized by leading operatives including the Catholic William F. Buckley, Jr. who edited the The National Review. This new conservative majority—what was subsequently called “fusion conservatism”—resulted from the joining of economic, national defense, and social conservatives,


and an exclusion of extreme elements such as the white nationalists and the conspiracy theorists as typically associated with the John Birch Society. Regarding economics, this new conservative coalition advanced approaches that relied more heavily on the self-regulatory capacities of the market and sought to reduce the role of the government, whether in social programs, regulation, or taxes. The various terminology used to describe this new conservative economics included supply-side, market-oriented, libertarian, Austrian School, neoconservative, and—ironically—neoliberal, referring to the laissez-faire approach that dominated in the era of social Darwinist ideology before the progressive reforms of the early twentieth century and the rise of the welfare state. This new economic direction was the fruit of decades of work among opponents of the postwar welfare state, most famously the Mount Pellerin society led by thinkers including Fredrick von Hayek, James Buchannan, and Milton Friedman, all of whom would have a significant impact in shaping especially the American economy over the last several decades. Various Catholic intellectuals who were both skeptical of the Keynesian mixed economy that the Catholic Social encyclicals favored, and advocates of this more market-oriented direction, made influential arguments in support of their views. By the time the U.S. Bishops published their pastoral letter on “Economic Justice for All” in 1986, its focus on building a just economy and society that benefits everyone sounded obsolete to those who were enjoying a period of increasing economic prosperity that was being attributed to having freed the market through reductions in regulations, taxes, and social programs. It would be over twenty years before objections to this neoliberal era in economics received a serious reconsideration, after decades of deregulation and cuts to the social safety net contributed not only to the Great Recession following the 2008 financial crash, but also to a massive shift of wealth to the top earners, and an accompanying growth in poverty and ensuing social decay that would internally destabilize Western democracies. Regarding foreign policy, this fusion conservatism embraced a significant increase in military spending and a policy of more firmly opposing Soviet expansionism. Key interventions included the deployment of battlefield nuclear weapons to Europe, supplying arms to anticommunist forces in Nicaragua, and anti-aircraft missiles to Afghan forces opposing the Soviet occupation. This “conservative” foreign policy of the Reagan-era presupposed the importance of the international institutions of the post war liberal order, including the NATO alliance that had deterred Soviet aggression in Europe, and the United Nations system, which greatly expanded American soft power through a global array of allies who benefitted from different aspects of the rule based international order and international institutions. Also integral to the conservatism of the Reagan era was the promotion of human rights; in this it overlapped with a key aspect of Catholic social teaching, which saw the promotion of peace as following from the dignity of the human person and the demands of justice. Regarding the socially conservative component of the fusion conservatism that solidified in the 1980s, an emerging coalition of Catholics and Evangelical Protestants was central. Although Catholics primarily had been aligned with the Democratic party since the progressive era reforms for industrial workers and New Deal provision of a social safety net, they were becoming increasingly alienated from it: especially as the Democratic coalition came increasingly to support initiatives to advance personal and sexual freedoms, whereas Catholics tended to see these as corrosive to the natural foundations of society in stable family units. With the 1973 “Roe V. Wade” decision of the US Supreme Court, which essentially legalized elective abortions throughout the entire nine months of pregnancy, the decisive issue around which this Evangelical and Catholic coalition would form was in place. In the early years following the decision, however, the primary


opposition was voiced by Catholics whereas a broad range of Protestants, including Southern Baptists, had supported Roe Vs. Wade. By the late 1970s, however, Southern Baptist pastor Jerry Falwell was encouraged and supported by some Republican political operatives to form an organization called the “Moral Majority,” the purpose of which was to mobilize conservative, and especially Southern, Christians to influence politics. 39 These operatives included Paul Weyrich, 40 the co-founder of the Heritage Foundation think tank and other allied organizations. 41 Interestingly, Weyrich was a former Roman Catholic who left for the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, largely because he thought the Catholic Church had become too liberal. Whereas the primary political concern for Southern conservatives like Falwell was on some court cases that threatened the tax exempt status of southern Evangelical schools that practiced racial segregation, 42 Weyrich helped them to see that forging a political alliance with conservative Catholics centered on the issue of abortion would be the most effective means for gaining a degree of political power that he thought “could well exceed our wildest dreams.” 43 This is not to question the motivations of many in the pro-life movement who sought to protect the most vulnerable, but to point out some of the moral ambiguities in the very foundations of the alliance of social conservatives centered on the issue of abortion. These ambiguities concern not only the original segregationist motivations of the “moral majority,” but those of operatives like Paul Weyrich, whose political views conflicted with especially post conciliar Catholic social teaching that had endorsed the postwar mixed economy with its social safety net. With the completion of the Reagan Presidency in January of 1989, followed quickly by the collapse of the Soviet Union and prompt end of the Cold War under his former Vice President, George H.W. Bush, those of us who had come to identify as conservative Republicans were confident in our politics, in the future, and in the prospects for a new flourishing of Catholicism under the inspirational leadership of Pope John Paul II. A book that captured the spirit of the time was The Catholic Moment: The Paradox of the Church in the Postmodern World (1990) by a recent convert named Fr. Richard John Neuhaus. As suggested by the title, the book makes a winsome case for how Catholicism, drawing on the achievements of the Second Vatican Council and the leadership of John Paul II, and his key collaborator Joseph Ratzinger, was uniquely positioned to provide a leading role in fostering not only a more united and interreligiously attuned Christianity, but “a religiously informed public philosophy” with great relevance for an era in which the global consensus for liberal—that is, constitutional democratic—government was reaching new highs. The conversion of Richard John Neuhaus to Catholicism, and his subsequent founding of the journal First Things, were crystalizing events in the rise of fusion era conservatism, precisely by fostering the growing alliance of religious and especially social conservatives, including not just Catholics and Evangelicals, but also Jews. Aided by the attention that Neuhaus’s cultural commentary was attracting, this journal quickly became an intellectual point of reference for a conservative movement that was growing in not just prominence but political influence. First Things was also a home for initiatives like Evangelicals and Catholics together, which deepened the connections between these traditions. Neuhaus’s so-called “neoconservative” or “theoconservative” Catholic collaborators, especially Michael Novak and George Weigel, advanced the cultural and political project. Novak focused on promoting the merits of marketoriented economics in the years of accelerated globalization following the end of the Cold War and traveled extensively throughout Latin America and newly liberated Eastern Europe to spread his message of economic liberty. Weigel, on the other hand, supported the more assertive military


posture of the Republicans with a 1987 book that criticized the directions of the Papal Magisterium regarding peace and war since John XXIII, and especially in the 1983 pastoral letter by the U.S. Bishops “The Challenge of Peace: God’s Promise and Our Response.” 44 After having appreciated the economic growth of the Reagan era, the vastly improved international situation after the Cold War, and seeing the potential for some social stabilization after the disruption of the 1960s, many social conservatives were distraught with the results of the 1992 Presidential election. Running with the disadvantages of both a recession and the third-party candidacy of populist Ross Perot, 45 sitting President George H. W. Bush, whose approval ratings had previously exceeded 80%, lost his bid for reelection to Democrat Bill Clinton. Whereas Bush was widely respected for his military and government service, and as a last representative of the WASP elite who had led the nation for generations, Clinton was regarded broadly by social conservatives as unworthy due to his draft-dodging, pot smoking, womanizing, fast talking and looseness with the truth, to say nothing of his wife Hillary, who was an outspoken feminist and advocate for abortion rights. Clinton’s election was quickly followed by the rapid expansion of conservative talk radio and a rapid growth in those who saw themselves as conservative, especially in what we would now call the red states, where talk radio is especially popular. The Rise of Radical Conservatism: Newt Gingrich and the Rise of Conservative Media A corresponding, and equally important, development that crystalized during the early 1990s was the emergence of a more radical form of conservatism, especially under the influence of Newt Gingrich as is described in a detailed piece published in 2018 in The Atlantic by McKay Coppins. 46 As Gingrich explained to Coppins, his approach to politics traces back to his fascination with animals, and the ferocity of the struggle for existence as seen in one of his favorite books, Chimpanzee Politics by Frans de Waal. This book develops the thesis that human politics is a development of the brutality and ugliness seen in the rivalries among communities of chimps. On this basis Coppins describes how Gingrich “pioneered a style of partisan combat—replete with name-calling, conspiracy theories, and strategic obstructionism—that poisoned America’s political culture and plunged Washington into permanent dysfunction.” 47 Although many of his Republican colleagues had valued an earlier era of relative bipartisan comity to do the nation’s business, the fact that his tactics were effective in gaining political power eventually won the day. One of the most important aspects of Gingrich’s program was the way he also taught his colleagues how to propagate it, degrading American politics and grinding the legislative branch to a dysfunctional halt. To spread his tactics, the GOPAC group Gingrich headed developed and distributed a pamphlet entitled “Language: A Key Mechanism of Control,” which trained Republicans “how to talk like Newt.” This meant to use a lexicon of positive words for their themselves and their initiatives—like freedom, liberty, prosperity, moral, principled, responsible—and negative ones for their opponents, including “liberal” (which became almost an expletive), pathetic, sick, shallow, radical, self-serving, traitorous, corrupt, obsolete, incompetent, failed, greedy, or bizarre. Coppins describes Gingrich’s 2018 view of the current wreckage of modern politics as “gleeful,” because he approves of the fact that “The old order is dying…the system isn’t working…” Having appreciated the apparent gains of the Reagan-Bush years and having been troubled by some of the policies of the Clinton Administration during its first two years—like the promotion of abortion as a human right through the State Department and United Nations—many conservatives were sympathetic to the resistance led by Gingrich, although few understood his tactics, or what they would do to the legislative branch of government and broader political


climate. Many of the Catholic conservatives during the Reagan-era were similarly sympathetic to the rise of conservative media, especially given the biased way the mainstream media covered cultural debates like that surrounding abortion. The growth of conservative media was made possible by the Reagan Administration’s 1987 removal of the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) “fairness doctrine” that had been instituted in 1949 to foster equitable and balanced broadcasting regarding controversial topics. Few, however, could have envisioned the polarization of media and citizens that this loss of the fairness doctrine would facilitate. As minority leader of the House Republicans with the help of an explosion of conservative talk radio, Gingrich was able to lead a defeat of the legislative agenda of Clinton’s first two years and become Speaker of the house through the 1994 midterm elections. Under the leadership of Gingrich, one of the primary characteristics of the new Congress was an inclination to deconstruct what Newt called the “warshington [sic] bureaucracy.” For our purposes, another important result was how a weakened Clinton pivoted to cut deals with the Republicans. These included not just “welfare reform,” but a more market-oriented or neoliberal economic and trade policy, as seen especially in the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which will later be widely criticized for driving business offshore. By the end of Clinton’s two terms in the year 2000, he had survived being impeached for an affair with an intern, the economy was booming, the budget was balanced, and the country was at peace. The impeachment was orchestrated by Gingrich, who was a serial philanderer himself, and soon found a home within conservative Catholicism. The Neoconservative Presidency of George W. Bush in Alliance with Catholic Neo/Theoconservatives With the election of Republican George W. Bush in the year 2000, an administration was formed that was profoundly shaped by the neoconservative movement that had been growing in strength during the Clinton years, whether in the burgeoning conservative think tanks or in lesser political offices. As of this time, there was still a strong consensus for the tripartite fusion conservatism of the Reagan era: an emphasis on freeing market activity from regulatory or tax burdens, on an assertive defense posture, and on an alliance with religious and social conservatives, especially on issues like abortion. Regarding the first, a neoliberal model of market-oriented globalization was spreading rapidly, with free movement of capital and labor and the rise of the Asian economies, including China. Regarding foreign policy, neoconservative thinkers who congregated in think tanks—like the Project for the New American Century—during the Clinton Administration had been considering policy options for when the Republicans were back in power. They planned their policy considering the fact that the United States was the world’s sole superpower following the collapse of the Soviet Union and given that there were areas of instability in the world—especially the Middle East—that threatened the prospects for peace and prosperity in the new century. Since the United States had unrivaled military power, would it not make sense to “impress order” on the Middle East, starting with one country like Iraq, and then spreading democracy throughout the region? The attacks on the World Trade Center towers would provide an occasion to carry out these plans. Through his international bestseller Witness to Hope: The Biography of Pope John Paul II (1999) George Weigel gained a new level of credibility as a Vatican insider who could authoritatively mediate the meaning of this dynamic Pontificate to the Church in the United States, which he did through widespread speaking engagements and a column published in diocesan newspapers. Weigel continued to help align conservative Christians with the more assertive


foreign policy stance of fusion conservatism. Against Pope John XXIII’s emphasis on working to extend human rights to avoid war, Weigel had championed an understanding of “war as an instrument of statecraft.” Against the repeated pleadings of John Paul II that the neoconservative George W. Bush Administration refrain from its threatened 2003 invasion of Iraq—which the Pope feared would destabilize the region and harm ancient Christian communities—Weigel published a series of articles in First Things building support among religious conservatives for what would become one of the worst foreign policy blunders in American history. 48 By the end of 2008, the Neoconservative administration of President George W. Bush was enduring some of the lowest presidential approval ratings in history. Not only had what was clearly an elective war against Iraq proven to be a disaster, but the deregulatory policies of neoliberal globalization had contributed significantly to a financial crisis that threatened to collapse the global economy. Besides this, public opinion had turned increasingly against social conservatism, as evidenced in the growing support for gay marriage. Thus, all three pillars of fusion conservatism had collapsed, which also left the Catholic theoconservatives in disarray as Barack Obama assumed office in 2009. The Present Crisis of Conservatism; Some Promising Initiatives A vast literature now exists for those interested in understanding the history, forms and present crisis of conservatism, which has always had extreme elements. 49 One needs only a passing familiarity with current events, however, to see that American conservatism has degenerated into a more radical movement marked by right-wing illiberalism, widespread efforts to suppress voting of opponents, a broader opposition to constitutional democratic governance, tendencies toward ethno-nationalism, isolationism, disinformation, and hostility to scientific knowledge. The crisis of American conservatism is of great importance to the Catholic Church, especially given that so many who make up our “institutional infrastructure”—including clergy, intellectuals, and other influential persons—have been formed in recent decades of conservative ascendence and tend to identify as conservative. As sketched above, however, American conservatism has morphed into something that is not easily reconciled with Catholic social teaching. Rather than elucidate these troubling developments at greater length, it may be more helpful to note some positive developments in the American conservatism with which a new era of social Catholicism could be in dialogue, perhaps helping to foster more moderate forms of conservatism on which the survival of democracy may depend. Among the more promising of today’s conservative scholars in my opinion is Yuval Levin. His book on The Great Debate, for example, offers insight into the origins of conservative thought in Edmund Burke. Levin traces Burke’s lively debate with Thomas Paine, one of the more radical figures in the American Revolution who went on to support the French Revolution, the radicalization of which Burke predicted. Levin’s latest book, A Time to Build, argues gently but persuasively for conservatives to gain a new appreciation of institutions, not just the ones they have traditionally valued like the family, the Church and mediating institutions, but the public institutions of federal, state, and local government. This offers a point of contact within conservatism for preserving democratic government, regarding which Catholics could be decisive. Regarding economics, the American Compass web portal provides a home to ongoing efforts of some promising young conservatives who are breaking from the “market fundamentalism” that has marked the Republican Party for decades. Looking back to the example of Msgr. John A. Ryan, it seems to me that social Catholics should be putting the principles of


their tradition in dialogue with the vigorous rethinking of economics that is occurring on both the right and left. Regarding Foreign Policy, the Catholic conservative Andrew Bechevich offers a compelling break from the militarism of the neoconservative Catholics of past decades. Regarding local social action, New York Times columnist David Brooks has a nationwide project he calls the weavers, who are those working locally to address social problems and build community. Although he is more of a centrist, Brooks still considers himself a conservative, and remains appreciative of his mentor Bill Buckley. Although they are more closely aligned with the conservatism of recent decades, I think that Robert George’s Witherspoon Institute at Princeton fosters a high-level and broad exchange of ideas. One can find good material there, for example, to illustrate some of the best arguments against the radical anti-liberalism embraced by so many contemporary conservatives, including many Catholics. In my opinion, such initiatives illustrate some of the most promising work among selfidentified conservatives that is clearly distinct from the more radical trends of recent years. They would be an important part of a dialogue of those working for a new social Catholicism for the twenty-first century. Conclusion: A New Social Catholicism for the Twenty-First Century? My concluding section will be brief, returning to the thesis I articulated in the introduction. I propose that a reorientation of especially American Catholics to embrace a new social Catholicism for the twenty-first century offers the best hope for a future in which a renewed and unified Church—acting as “salt and light” in a world facing serious threats—fulfills an indispensable role in fostering a broad collaboration to meet the existential threats of our day. I have not sought here to argue comprehensively for this thesis, which is beyond the scope of what could be accomplished here, but to share my attempts to sketch the broad lines of a narrative that would be an important part of such an argument. In my opinion, this thesis follows naturally from not only a deep understanding of Catholic social teaching, but especially from a critical consideration of it in light of the unfolding of the traditions of liberalism and conservatism, separating the wheat from the chaff in each. I have tried to show that despite the bad connotations that liberalism has had in recent decades in the United States—especially among social conservatives and those in the pro-life movement because of various illiberal tendencies of the American left—the tradition of liberalism has had surprisingly close affinities with the emergence of Catholic social teaching, reaching a high-water mark in the decades after World War II. There are no serious alternatives to the constitutional democratic and international institutions of “liberalism,” though they can always be reformed considering best practices and contemporary circumstances. Examples from history suggest, therefore, that the best prospects for the flourishing of both constitutional democratic societies and Catholicism are when they are in fruitful collaboration with each other. But—as we all know—they have become increasingly estranged in recent decades over moral disputes that seem irresolvable, an estrangement that seems profoundly harmful for each at a time when there are well-grounded fears of a dystopian future without unified efforts to prevent it. Well aware of this situation, Pope Francis has emphasized in his recent social encyclical Fratelli Tutti that the fundamental stance of the Church toward the social realm in our day should be one marked by a spirit of fraternity, of fraternal charity, of solidarity with each human person and with the human family working together for a better future. In so doing, he is basically reiterating the


fundamental shift of postwar Catholic social teaching from more paternalistic approaches that entangled the Church with authoritarian regimes in the decades between the two World Wars. This reaffirmation of a basic methodology of fraternal solidarity—what the Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church describes as an “integral and solidary humanism”—should be understood together with Pope Francis’s emphasis in Laudato Si on the urgent need for decisive steps to care for our common home, and on a missionary discipleship rooted in the joy of faith (Evangelii Gaudium), which is integral to living out a social Catholicism informed by the principles of Catholic social teaching. Although this perspective is distinct from a widespread tendency of conservative Americans to double down on culture war issues by further aligning with an emerging illiberalism of the right as we see in neo-integralism and forms of post-liberalism, it manifests a profound continuity with the tradition of social encyclicals, especially those since Pope John XXIII’s 1961 Mater et Magistra: On Christianity and Social Progress. This approach traces back further, however, not only to the postwar efforts of Pope Pius XII toward European integration, and key insights of Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum. It also traces back to the great moral synthesis of St. Thomas Aquinas, for whom Christian Charity is understood according to Aristotle’s model of friendship, where we act for the good of the other. And it is a fundamental Thomistic principle that grace builds upon nature, suggesting that a basic stance of friendship is the best way toward both natural and spiritual ends. This emphasis of Pope Francis also traces back to the teaching of Jesus, who called his disciples friends in the 15th Chapter of John’s Gospel. It aligns especially well with the example and theology of St. Paul, for whom evangelization and pastoral ministry were rooted: in exemplifying and participating in the self-sacrificial love of Christ, in emptying oneself out in the form of a servant, and in becoming all things to all people to win them for Christ. I will close with a challenge. That is, that we all take the occasion of Fratelli Tutti to consider its message carefully and prayerfully with the receptivity toward Papal teaching that is intrinsic to the Catholic faith. I can say from personal experience that some of the statements and teachings of the Holy Father have been a challenge to someone who came of age in the conservative era in the United States. But I can also say from experience that trying to understand him better—for example by reading the books by Austen Ivereigh, Paul Vallely, or the “Where Peter Is” blog—can bring a much deeper appreciation of the important message that Francis has for us, if we only have the ears to listen. At the risk of sounding melodramatic, which those who know me will confirm is not my nature, I honestly think the future of the Church, the fecundity of our ministries, and the future of human society hangs in the balance.

1 This text is a fuller version of the Chester and Margaret Paluch Lecture given at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, Mundelein Seminary, on October 21, 2020. I have omitted some introductory remarks that were more fitting in the context of the public lecture but less so for this published text. 2 The desire of businessmen—both in then and now—to be left free from government regulation reflects not only market pressures on time and costs, but also the influence of philosophies that permeate given societies. Whereas the laissez-faire and social Darwinist ideologies of the nineteenth centuries—like the neoliberalism or market fundamentalism of recent decades—foster neglect of workers, more communitarian approaches foster concern for their flourishing. 3 Thomas’s example of providing dispassionate assessment of rival positions would seem an especially important one for us to emulate, given the tribalism and incivility that pervades the broader society in which we live. To the extent that our lives display what St. Paul describes in Galatians 5 as “the fruit of the Spirit”—love, joy, and


peace—we are in a privileged position to enter into discussion about contested matters in a way that avoids what he calls in the same chapter the “works of the flesh,” which include anger, enmity, strife, dissention, or party spirit. Besides St. Paul, contemporary neurobiology shows the wisdom of Thomas’s detached perspective which follows from his understanding that the intellect is naturally truth-attaining unless distorted by the passions. When considering the social and political realm, the distorted passions to be avoided are those of the irascible faculty which are engaged when we perceive struggle, as in the presence of a political opponent or someone on “the other team.” For some great insights on the underlying neurobiology, Robert Sapolsky of Stanford is helpful source. See, for example, his Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst (New York: Penguin, 2017). Sapolsky discusses how contemporary science shows how reactions by the perceived “us” against the perceived “them” is deep in our DNA. Our friendly reactions to those perceived as “us” and fearful or angry ones to those perceived as “them” are shared throughout the animal kingdom. This physiology provides a foundation for demagogues to manipulate us by appealing to fear or anger regarding the other, which can easily overcome our reason as seen, for example, in mob behavior. But the good news is that we can perceive ourselves as belonging to multiple groups. This suggests the importance of seeing ourselves as Christians and Catholics before any ideological or partisan preferences, a point fundamental to Catholic social teaching. I would argue further that the subordination of any ideological or partisan preference is essential to being a Christian who lives as St. Paul says by having the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16) which is ordered to building up others into the communion of friendship with God as St. Thomas Aquinas would say. 4 See his Live Not by Lies: A Manual for Christian Dissidents (New York: Sentinel, 2020) in which Dreher warns his conservative Christian readers of the preeminent threat coming from progressive social justice warriors and woke capitalism, but remains largely blind to the threats coming from right wing illiberalism which resulted in the Capitol Insurrection of January 6, 2021, soon after this book was published. 5 In this part I am drawing on James Traub, What Was Liberalism? The Past, Present, and Promise of a Noble Idea (New York: Basic Books, 2019). 6 Whereas Alexander Hamilton saw a strong national government as essential for competing economically with European powers, James Madison—who was the primary architect and defender of the constitution—conceived a strong national government as necessary to defend the rights of citizens. As he famously argued in Federalist 51 (see Traub, Liberalism, 14), the separation and balance of powers between the three branches of the national government, along with the sharing of power between federal, state, and local jurisdictions was the best way to protect citizens from the encroachment of their rights by not just government entities but also other citizens. Rather than a state guided by a knowable public good ((see Traub, Liberalism, 15), Madison thus crafted a state to be guided by a clash between competing interests. In so doing, he sought to foster a balance between the equality implied by popular sovereignty and the liberty from coercion that was so important to the early generations of Americans. As Traub discussed, they had been influenced by the writings of Thomas Paine. 7 He did so especially with his 1797 essay “Of Political Reactions.” In opposition to arbitrary rule and echoing the American founders, Constant used the word liberal to describe a strong constitutional, republican government grounded in the principles such as the famous “liberty, equality and fraternity” of the Revolution. In light of the ancient understanding of the civic liberty of the citizen that included a subjection of the individual to the community, Constant wrote with some trepidation of how modern men increasingly saw liberty as “the enjoyment of security in private pleasures” and “the right to be left alone” ((see Traub, Liberalism, 28). Whereas the ancient tendency could lead to violation of rights and subjection to oppressive regimes, the modern could lead to behaviors that undermine personal and communal flourishing. 8 In the late 20th Century, this was a central point emphasized by the Catholic “neoconservative” Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, who was part of an American conservatism that was explicitly supportive of constitutional democracy, whereas many contemporary conservatives have a more ambiguous relation to it. 9 For this section, the literature is so abundant that a source like Wikipedia can be helpful. The 13th amendment abolishing slavery was ratified by the states and adopted in 1865. The subsequent Civil Rights Act of 1866 was vetoed by President Johnson, but the veto was overridden by both chambers of Congress to become law. The 14th amendment was crafted to ensure the disputed constitutionality of this act. It was adopted in 1868 to define citizenship, protect privileges and immunities of citizens, and articulate their rights to due process and equal protection under law. With the adoption of the 15th amendment in 1870, the denial of the right to vote was prohibited. 10 Richard Hofstadter, Social Darwinism in American Thought, reprint edition (Boston: Beacon, 1992). 11 “The foremost duty, therefore, of the rulers of the State should be to make sure that the laws and institutions, the general character and administration of the commonwealth, shall be such as of themselves to realize public wellbeing and private prosperity. This is the proper scope of wise statesmanship and is the work of the rulers. Now a State chiefly prospers and thrives through moral rule, well-regulated family life, respect for religion and justice, the moderation and fair imposing of public taxes, the progress of the arts and of trade, the abundant yield of the land23

through everything, in fact, which makes the citizens better and happier. Hereby, then, it lies in the power of a ruler to benefit every class in the State, and amongst the rest to promote to the utmost the interests of the poor; and this in virtue of his office, and without being open to suspicion of undue interference - since it is the province of the commonwealth to serve the common good. And the more that is done for the benefit of the working classes by the general laws of the country, the less need will there be to seek for special means to relieve them.” (no. 32). See 12 As a Southern Democrat before the civil rights era, he was a segregationist. Thus, although he appointed the first Roman Catholic and Jew to the Princeton faculty, he excluded African American students. 13 See Traub, Liberalism, chap. 3. For some of these basic facts, see also the Wikipedia entry on Woodrow Wilson. His domestic agenda focused on tariff reductions to reduce benefits to special interests at the expense of citizens, banking reform centered in the creation of the Federal Reserve system, trust regulation as realized by the Clayton Antitrust Act of 1914 and the creation of the Federal Trade Commission, and the conservation of natural resources. 14 Traub, Liberalism, chap. 3. 15 Besides the various books by and on John A. Ryan, see the Wikipedia entry on him. 16 See Wikipedia on John A. Ryan. 17 Ibid. The National Catholic War Council was formed in 1917; it was renamed the National Catholic Welfare Council in 1919. Bishops O’Connell of Boston and Dougherty of Philadelphia sought to have it suppressed in 1922 as a manifestation of a new rise of Americanism. But most other bishops agreed about the need for the organization, so they petitioned the Pope. 18 19 “Taught by bitter experience, they are more aggressive in opposing the concentration of dictatorial power that cannot be censured or touched, and call for a system of government more in keeping with the dignity and liberty of the citizens. These multitudes, uneasy, stirred by the war to their innermost depths, are today firmly convinced—at first, perhaps, in a vague and confused way, but already unyieldingly—that had there been the possibility of censuring and correcting the actions of public authority, the world would not have been dragged into the vortex of a disastrous war, and that to avoid for the future the repetition of such a catastrophe, we must vest efficient guarantees in the people itself.” (no. 12) “In such a psychological atmosphere, is it to be wondered at if the tendency towards democracy is capturing the peoples and winning a large measure of consent and support from those who hope to play a more efficient part in the destinies of individuals and of society?” (no. 13). See 20 “The masses, on the contrary, wait for the impulse from outside, an easy plaything in the hands of anyone who exploits their instincts and impressions; ready to follow in turn, today this flag, tomorrow another.” (no. 24) “Hence follows clearly another conclusion: the masses—as we have just defined them—are the capital enemy of true democracy and of its ideal of liberty and equality.” (no. 27) 21 Pius discusses how democratic leaders should be of “Christian convictions, straight and steady judgment, with a sense of the practical and equitable, true to themselves in all circumstances; men of clear and sound principles, with sound and clear-cut proposals to make; men above all capable, in virtue of the authority that emanates from their untarnished consciences and radiates widely from them, to be leaders and heads especially in times when the pressing needs of the moment excite the people's impressionability unduly… of clear views, kindly interest, a justice equally sympathetic to all, and a bias towards national unity and concord in a sincere spirit of brotherhood.” (no. 44) On the other hand, he is concerned about “mandatories of a mob, whose interests are often unfortunately made to prevail over the true needs of the common good” (no. 44), those who “take their places in order to make politics serve their ambition, and be a quick road to profit for themselves, their caste and their class, while the race after private interests makes them lose sight of completely and jeopardize the true common good.” (no. 45) 22 “The decisions already published by international commissions permit one to conclude that an essential point in any future international arrangement would be the formation of an organ for the maintenance of peace, of an organ invested by common consent with supreme power to whose office it would also pertain to smother in its germinal state any threat of isolated or collective aggression.” (no. 62). 23 “If the future is to belong to democracy, an essential part in its achievement will have to belong to the religion of Christ and to the Church, the messenger of our Redeemer’s word which is to continue His mission of saving men. For she teaches and defends supernatural truths and communicates the supernatural helps of grace in order to actuate the divinely-established order of beings and ends which is the ultimate foundation and directive norm of every democracy.” (no. 82).


His work should be credited with helping to steer western thinkers from the temptation of centrally planned economies. See, for example, Jerry Z. Muller’s The Mind and the Market: Capitalism in Western Thought (New York: Anchor, 2002). 25 For a discussion of the origins of the declaration, see Mary Ann Glendon, A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (New York: Random House, 2001). 26 Drew Christiansen, “Pacem in terris (Peace on Earth)” in Modern Catholic Social Teaching: Commentaries and Interpretations, 2nd Edition, ed. Himes, et. al (Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2018), 245. An Orthodox Lebanese statesman named Charles Malik, who was a student of Catholic social teaching, was also influential. 27 Although a number of these Great Society programs were well-conceived and promised to lift many out of poverty whereas others were ineffective, the whole agenda quickly fell apart through some combination of the disastrous Vietnam war, the related loss of funding in light of war expenses, the impatience of African Americans with their social situation (including a disproportionate representation in Vietnam) and the Watts riots, the rise of the new left, the drug culture, and the antiwar protests along with the sexual revolution. These various aspects of social disruption opened the way for a conservative resurgence led my Richard M. Nixon and his emphasis on “law and order,” combined with his “Southern Strategy” of winning white voters through “racial dog whistles,” all facilitated by an unprecedented campaign of political “dirty tricks” against his opponents. 28 Pacem in Terris: Peace on Earth (1963) presents a comprehensive political ethic centered in the defense of human rights. 29 Mater et Magistra: On Christianity and Social Progress (1961) resituates the Church in a positive, collaborative relationship to new social institutions. The social encyclicals of Pope John XXIII would encourage Catholics to a positive engagement in efforts toward the common good, which he defined very broadly as “all those social conditions which favor the full development of human personality” (no. 65), a definition that is foreshadowed as far back as Rerum Novarum no. 32. This common good for John XXIII concerns not just one’s community but extends to the national and global (nos. 79-81) levels. While assigning “the first place” in economic affairs to private initiative (no. 51), he sees public authorities as having a special responsibility for the common good (54), with the roles of public and private entities in fostering this good varying according to changing times (57). 30 I seem to remember getting this from George Weigel in his Witness to Hope: The Biography of John Paul II (HarperCollins Publishers), 2009. 31 Socially and politically, the experience of several decades had suggested a much better alignment between the Democratic party and a social and political vision grounded in the principles of Catholic social teaching as articulated in the post Conciliar era. 32 One way of describing the error was that, under the pressure of Cold War communist expansion, these Democrats tried to expand the liberal order when the military and political conditions were not sufficiently favorable, analogous to what the George W. Bush Administration will later try in Iraq. 33 With the 1973 Roe vs Wade decision of the Supreme Court that effectively legalized elective abortions throughout the country, the issue that would most alienate Catholics from the Democratic party moved to the forefront. The Democratic party was on a trajectory toward extreme positions that would increasingly alienate Catholics, including abortion as a fundamental right, to be paid for by taxpayers. By the late 1980s, it has become the central concern of Supreme Court nominations, with Democrats going to great lengths to exclude anyone who might overturn Roe. By the time of the Bill Clinton presidency in 1992, it was to be promoted abroad through the state department and our delegation to the United Nations. Catholics were similarly alienated when the Democratic party supported policies allowing the destruction of embryonic stem cell and human embryos. Prolife Catholics were increasingly denied the ability to run on Democratic tickets. 34 For a twentieth century list of conservative principles in a similar vein that has been influential in the United States, see Russell Kirk, Ten Conservative Principles, These principles include reference to an enduring moral order, guidance by prudence, an appreciation of variety, a recognition of human imperfectability, an understanding of close links between freedom and property, a defense of voluntary community over collectivism, the need for prudent constraints on power and passions, and the need to reconcile permanence and change. 35 A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful (1757). 36 Yuval Levin, The Great Debate: Edmund Burke, Thomas Paine, and the Birth of Right and Left (New York: Basic Books, 2013). 37 For an intellectual history of the attempts to think through the impacts of market activity on societies, see Jerry Z. Muller’s The Mind and the Market. See also Muller’s Conservatism: An Anthology of Social and Political Thought from David Hume to the Present (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1997). 24


This term stagflation referred to the combination of economic stagnation, or poor growth, and high inflation which meant increasing prices and interest rates. It was triggered by a steep rise in oil prices compounded by some failed economic policies including wage and price controls, along with increasing economic competition from Japan and Germany. Because this kind of economic downturn was not remedied by the government stimulus that had been used successfully since the adoption of Keynesian economic theory during the great depression, this opened the way for alternative economic approaches. 39 This happened in the wake of the “southern strategy” of President Richard Nixon, that apparently had been devised by conservative Catholic Patrick J. Buchannan to attract white southerners to the Republican party after their disaffection from the Democrats due to civil rights legislation of the 1960s. See “Document: Nixon Campaign Strategists Considered Racial Strategy” at nixon.racial.strategy/index.html. 40 The name “moral majority” was immediately adopted by Falwell after Weyrich used the phrase in conversation. See Katherine Stewart, The Power Worshippers: Inside the Dangerous Rise of Religious Nationalism (New York: Bloomsbury, 2019), 62-3. 41 Another of the key operatives was Richard Viguerie, was also a conservative Catholic and was instrumental in building the conservative movement through direct mail appeals for funding. For a first-hand account, see Richard Viguerie and Jenny Beth Martin, Takeover: The 100-Year War for the Soul of the GOP and How Conservatives Can Finally Win It (Washington, DC: WND, 2014). Yet another of these Catholic conservative operatives was John Terrance (Terry) Dolan, who was the founder of the National Conservative Political Action Committee, a proponent of family values, and a closeted homosexual who died of AIDS at 36 years. 42 Bob Jones University, in particular, had lost its nonprofit status in 1976 due to its segregationist policies. 43 According to historian Randall Balmer “In fact, it wasn’t until 1979—a full six years after Roe—that evangelical leaders, at the behest of conservative activist Paul Weyrich, seized on abortion not for moral reasons, but as a rallying-cry to deny President Jimmy Carter a second term. Why? Because the anti-abortion crusade was more palatable than the religious right’s real motive: protecting segregated schools.” See Balmer’s “The Real Origins of the Religious Right” published in POLITICO Magazine, 44 Tranquillitas Ordinis: The Present Failure and Future Promise of American Catholic Thought on War and Peace (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987). 45 Perot’s populism reflected themes that would reemerge with Donald Trump, including an isolationist rejection of the first Gulf War and opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). 46 McKay Coppins, “The Man Who Broke Politics,” The Atlantic (November 2018), 47 Coppins, “The Man Who Broke Politics.” 48 See, for example, George Weigel, Moral Clarity in a Time of War, First Things (2003), 49 Most recently, see Edmund Fawcett, Conservatism: The Fight for a Tradition (Princeton, 2020). See also the review of it by Andrew Sullivan in the New York Times who discusses the two moods of the conservative tradition traced by Fawcett: one seeking to moderate change and the other reflecting a radical desire to overturn the present and return to the past. Sullivan concludes that “...the battle for moderate conservatism is now inextricable from a battle for liberal democracy itself.” 38


St. Paul, St. Thomas Aquinas, and Social Catholicism as Agent of Societal Reconciliation? By William F. Murphy, Jr., S.T.D. Introduction and Context In my first Paluch Lecture, I spoke on the theme of “Liberalism, Conservatism and Social Catholicism for the 21st Century?” 1 In it, I articulated a broad narrative to locate social Catholicism with respect to the main social and political perspectives of our day. I showed that, although “liberal” and “liberalism” has pejorative connotations for many contemporary Americans, often because of reactions against the perceived excesses of the illiberal left, it can be understood primarily as a political and economic arrangement centered in a constitutional democratic state with a market economy. I also discussed how “conservatism” can be understood as a basic disposition to preserve valued institutions, traditions, or social conditions. On this basis I discussed how it can range from a perspective that reasonably and helpfully moderates social change to radical illiberalisms of the right, which are in significant conflict with constitutional democracy and Catholic social teaching. On this basis, I argued that Catholics should live out their social tradition in a way that helps us to renew our sadly polarized democracy so we can address the pressing challenges of our times. In my third lecture, to be presented next semester, I will discuss some of the alternative approaches that especially American Catholics are currently taking regarding the social and political realms. One of the more influential of these alternatives is focused on opposing intrinsically evil acts, especially elective or procured abortion, which is seen as the preeminent issue of our day, surpassing others such as the collapsing social and political situation, and the existential climate crisis. Another alternative is focused on cultivating intense forms of Christian community and practice to withstand what is seen as a new dark age characterized by a soft totalitarianism of the left. Still another alternative is a new Catholic integralism in which the coercive power of the state is employed as an essential resource in fostering faith and morals. Other alternatives entail radical critiques of liberalism that offer essentially no plausible alternative polity, and no path to implement one if it existed. Each of these alternatives, I would argue, entails a departure from the actual social teaching of the Church, is inferior to it, and distracts Catholics from the need for their collaborative participation in the political and international communities to address the grave challenges of our time. The goal of this lecture is to illustrate how the renewal of moral theology encouraged by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council can help us to see how our living out of the social Catholicism that follows from the Social Doctrine of the Church should be seen as a vital part of the charity that is the defining characteristic of Christian morality according to the most trusted sources of the tradition ranging from St. Paul, through the Medieval synthesis of St. Thomas Aquinas. The Second Vatican Council and the Renewal of Moral Theology Given the tumultuous contemporary social context in which so many citizens—including Catholics—are divided into warring tribes, the first paragraph of Lumen Gentium: The Dogmatic Constitution on the Church offers an intriguing vision of the Church that merits our notice. It


presents the Church as acting “like a sacrament or as a sign and instrument both of a very closely knit union with God and of the unity of the whole human race.” In the broader context of conciliar teaching, this should be understood to mean that through the teaching and sanctifying work of the Church, and through the apostolate of the laity informed by Catholic Social Teaching, the Fathers were calling Catholics to inform the world with the Spirit of Christ, which they expected to have an intrinsically unifying effect. Much could be said about why the renewal sought by the Council Fathers has not born the hoped-for fruit, at least not yet. From the perspective of especially moral theology, many contributing factors can be noted, including the incompleteness of the biblical renewal envisioned by the council Fathers, which would have well-served the universal the call to holiness they sought. Building on this first point, I secondly see the failure to integrate the prescient call for recovery of Scripture with some of the philosophical aspects of the discipline that have been the locus of unresolved disputes. Third, I would point to the failure to integrate the social doctrine of the Church into the evangelical and philosophically robust vision of the Christian life indicated by the first two points. As a way of revisiting the direction indicated by the Council Fathers and encouraging a reconsideration of it, I would like to begin with the text of the Second Vatican Council regarding the renewal of moral theology, namely no. 16 of Optatam Totius: The Decree on Priestly Training (OT). As moral theologians know well, the Council Fathers became convinced that significant changes were needed in the way the discipline was taught, which was primarily in seminaries through the tradition of manuals or textbooks that had evolved since the Council of Trent. The focus of these manuals on law and sin was increasingly ineffective in postwar societies that were becoming more free, democratic, diverse, urban, and transient. This emerging situation was distinct from the earlier one in which a more paternalistic approach to social ethics was possible. This prior situation was exemplified in times and places where Catholicism was the established religion and was able to employ the coercive power of the state to support the religious and moral order. This earlier social situation was increasingly obsolete and a more paternalistic approach to social ethics was not a serious possibility in the expanding “free world” after the recent experience of totalitarian states and the broad consensus for human rights after the Second World War. In such environments, the Fathers realized that the Church could not expect to simply baptize new generations of newborn Catholics but would need to evangelize constantly, for which a more biblically grounded and renewed Catholicism was seen to be conducive. 2 The concise, insightful, but insufficiently appreciated text of Optatam Totius no. 16 reads as follows. “Special care 3 must be given to the perfecting 4 of moral theology. Its scientific exposition, nourished more on the teaching of the Bible, should shed light on the loftiness of the calling of the faithful in Christ and the obligation that is theirs of bearing fruit in charity for the life of the world.” 5 For our purposes, the three key dimensions of the renewal of moral theology—or perhaps better, theology of Christian living—as outlined above can be recognized in this conciliar text. First, the text directs that moral theology must be “nourished more on the teaching of the Bible.” This directive follows from the insufficiently appreciated teaching of the conciliar Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation: Dei Verbum which affirms that “the study of the sacred page is, as it were, the soul of sacred theology,” a study through which theology “is most powerfully strengthened and constantly rejuvenated” (DV, no. 24). Dei Verbum seeks, therefore, a theology— and morality—grounded in Scripture seen as living and efficacious (Cf Is 55:11, Heb. 4:12, DV 21). As the concluding chapter of Dei Verbum emphasizes, they saw the Scriptures as providing nourishment “for the people of God, to enlighten their minds, strengthen their wills, and set men's


hearts on fire with the love of God” (DV 23). As I will illustrate below, Scripture offers a plethora of valuable insights for helping to draw believers more deeply into the Christian life, which is what the Fathers sought in their Universal Call to Holiness. Returning to Optatam Totius, no. 16, this conciliar text points moral theologians not just to the efficacious words of Scripture in general but precisely to its ability to “shed light on the loftiness of the calling of the faithful in Christ.” 6 In my discussion of Pauline themes below, I attempt to illustrate the potential fecundity of recovering this vital message about our high calling within a more integral theology of Christian living. Although a variety of works in recent decades have elucidated the Scriptural foundations of the Christian life, I would say that they have not born fruit in a broad renewal of moral theology that also addresses other dimensions alluded to by the text, especially recognizing how the great commandment of loving God and neighbor necessarily entails living out the integral and solidary humanism of social Catholicism. The second point to take from this conciliar text is that the scripturally grounded account of our high calling in Christ also requires what the council fathers call “scientific exposition.” This would seem to refer both to the methodological aspects of exegesis—and more specific to our purposes—to the more technical and philosophical dimensions of moral theology. This is where the work of Thomas Aquinas is indispensable, especially given the robust scholarship of recent decades that has made his contributions more accessible. One of the greatest strengths of the Thomistic synthesis is that it includes all the elements needed for a comprehensive and integrated account of moral theology that extends into a hearty social ethic. It incorporates, for example, a comprehensive theory of the good, an account of the various ends or goals to which we direct our lives, a sound philosophical and theological anthropology, a robust account of moral action and its goodness or evil, a still-valuable psychology, a multifaceted articulation of natural law as the right reason directing human acts, and an extended and classic treatment of the virtues and their opposing vices, among other elements. The resources that Thomas offers through his scientific exposition of morality not only serve to illumine the realities of Christian life as revealed in the inspired biblical texts; they also facilitate reasoned dialogue with a broad range of interlocutors. 7 The third key point to note from no. 16 of the conciliar document concerns the primary end or goal it indicates, namely the “obligation” of the faithful for “bearing fruit in charity for the life of the world.” In a manner reminiscent of the above cited text from Lumen Gentium no. 1 regarding the Church as sign and instrument of unity, this text suggests—at least to this reader—the fecundity “for the life of the world” of Catholics living out their social tradition under the impulse of fraternal charity, famously elucidated by Aquinas as a kind of friendship. Reading Optatam Totius no. 16 in light of the broader teachings of the Second Vatican Council, the biblical grounding of the Christian life toward our high calling in Christ and its sound scientific exposition through a broadly renewed philosophia perennis were directly ordered to bearing the fruit of charity in the broader society, which follows from living out our social tradition. And, of course, the broader society they had in mind reflected the post war consensus for constitutional democratic states, for defense of the dignity of every person through respect for human rights, and for the postwar “mixed economy” that combined market exchange with government provision of various public goods ranging from infrastructure to education to health care to regulation and the provision of a social safety net. Our Lofty Calling in Christ: Paul, Thomas, Social Catholicism In this second part, I will briefly introduce six key aspects of Pauline thought that illumine what the conciliar Fathers described as our lofty calling in Christ. At key points, I will give


similarly concise illustrations of how Thomas’s moral theology provides resources for what Optatam Totius calls a scientific exposition of the Christian life, namely using reason and philosophy, defining terms, making distinctions, providing a broad sapiential ordering. In each of these six steps, I will also indicate some key points of contact with the Catholic Social Tradition as an essential component of evangelization and as a unifying service to a polarized and troubled world. In so doing, I hope to give some indication of a fuller moral vision along the lines not only sought by the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council but advanced by every pope since that time through a series of social encyclicals that consistently call Catholics participate in the political and international communities. This entails living out a non-partisan, non-ideological, and principledriven life that the 2003 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church calls an “integral and solidary humanism.” The six key aspects of Pauline thought that organize this section include the following. First, the dependence of Christian moral exhortations on a prior account of the theological foundations of Christian Life, namely what God has done for us in Christ. Second, the basic movement of the Christian life which proceeds from faith to charity, buoyed by a lively hope. Third, the culmination of Christian life in love or charity, which—as we saw above—can be understood as a kind of friendship. Fourth, Christian maturity is marked by a striving to realize our lofty calling in Christ. Fifth, Paul provides vital principles for pastoral ministry including the priority of personal example and winsomely effective modes of exhortation building upon it. Sixth, authentic Christian charity is inherently ordered to building unity. Theological Foundations of Christian Life One of the most fundamental characteristics of Pauline ethics is the way it is grounded in a prior account of God’s redemptive work in Christ. Paul employs a broad range of language to communicate what can be called the theological foundations of the Christian life including our being called and chosen by God, being sanctified, being redeemed and washed, being united with Christ in his death and resurrection, becoming indwelled by Christ, becoming a member of his body, and being filled with the Holy Spirit. This theological basis of the Christian life provides the essential foundation for Pauline moral exhortations in a way that is often reflected in the structure of the letters. For example, the letters to the Galatians, the Romans, the Colossians, and the Ephesians are most clearly structured to illustrate this basic logic of Pauline moral exhortation. They are structured with a more doctrinal section about what God has done for us in Christ that precedes the moral exhortation that presupposes and naturally flows from the former. Scholars of Pauline ethics discuss this structure in various ways. Some of these use grammatical categories to speak of how the “indicative” of the divine work of salvation logically precedes the moral “imperative” regarding what actions should follow. Others use metaphysical categories to speak of how our “being,” namely our new existence in Christ, comes before “act,” the behavior that follows from our new existence. Given the way matters of sexual ethics have been such a locus of controversy and alienation in the post conciliar Church, it is interesting to note Paul’s primary means of persuasion in 1 Corinthians, which is his most extended treatment of what we would call moral questions, including those of sexual morality. Rather than railing against their sexual failings, his emphasis is on reminding the Corinthians of their new existence in Christ and calling them to live consistently with it. Thus, he reminds them that their “bodies are members of Christ” (1 Cor 6:15) and temples of the Holy Spirit (6:19), which implies that they should “glorify God” with their bodies (6:20). 8


At the service of biblical revelation within a long tradition of drawing on classic philosophy to elucidate it, Aquinas’s moral theology employs metaphysical categories to explain how the redemptive work of Christ gratuitously effects a healing and elevation of our wounded human nature, so we can share in supernatural life through God’s sanctifying grace. This healing and elevation touches both the essence of the human soul and its powers like the intellect and will which are elevated by what he calls the “infusion” of the theological and moral virtues. The supernatural life given through the salvific work of God in Christ is communicated to the Church through the ministry of Word and Sacrament, by which the fallen image of God is restored and perfected. Here our sanctification under the motion of God’s grace facilitates a life of virtuous and meritorious works, including actions pertaining to the social realm through acts of all the virtues, including justice and charity. Although Thomas’s 13th century synthesis could not have anticipated the rise of modern political and economic forms and the questions they raise regarding justice, there is no doubt that he would expect his contemporary disciples to incorporate the subsequent social tradition of the Church into a contemporary “Thomistic” approach. A concern might be raised about socially oriented Catholics that their “activism” entails insufficient focus on the essentially salvific character of the Christian faith, which—according to such a perspective—should result in a focus on prayer and sacraments as opposed to “social activism.” Indeed, articles have been written bemoaning the so-called “social turn” of Pope Francis and how this implies that we have forgotten the priority of God. 9 Although an activism disconnected from faith is possible, 10 there is no opposition between the life of prayer and sacraments and work for social justice and the common good; rather the social tradition of the Church assumes that the former should lead to the latter. As the letter of James famously put it: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (1:22). He continues: “Someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.” (1:18), and “…faith without works is dead” (2:26). 11 Indeed, the contemporary Church—as we see, for example, in the 2003 Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church—is clear that its social teaching is a constituent element of the Gospel and that living out this tradition is not only integral to evangelization but precisely how we follow the Great Commandment to love God and our neighbors in God. The Movement from Faith to Charity, Buoyed by a Lively Hope Starting with the earliest Pauline epistle, the First Letter to the Thessalonians, the triad of faith, hope and charity reflects the distinct characteristics of Paul’s understanding of the Christian life. This life begins by coming to saving faith in God’s redemptive work in Christ, and it culminates in love of God and neighbor. Indeed, scholars of Pauline ethics have often seen the phrase “faith working through love” from the fifth chapter of the letter to the Galatians (Gal 5:6) as capturing most concisely the great apostle’s vision of the Christian life. As we see in the eighth chapter of The Letter to the Romans, for example, this life of faith culminating in charity is buoyed by the third element of the triad, namely a hope based on not only trusting God but already experiencing his redemptive work in our lives. 12 Here, Paul writes of how we endure the trials of earthly life knowing [emphases added] that a greater glory “is to be revealed in us” (8:18), knowing that all creation is subjected in hope of God’s gracious plan (8:20), knowing that we “have the first fruits of the Spirit within us” (8:24) and confident “that in everything God works for good” (8:28) since we are being “conformed to the image of his Son” (8:30). As he does in general, St. Thomas Aquinas takes what he finds in Scripture and the subsequent tradition regarding these three theological virtues, orders it, and seeks to understand


these realities more profoundly through his philosophical or scientific reflection. In so doing, he illumines the essence and distinctive characteristics of each virtue, the parts and acts thereof, and the opposing vices. Regarding the virtue of faith, for example, Thomas explains it as a habitual perfection of the intellect elevated by grace so our acts of knowing the divine mysteries can attain true knowledge through a sharing in the divine light, even if the mysteries go far beyond what we can understand. Although faith is properly speaking a perfection of the intellect, the act of faith involves the assent of the will so that we receive all that God has revealed starting with the articles of the creed. That the virtue of faith includes a basic assent to all that God has revealed, including the articles of the faith. This has important implications for a new social Catholicism because the Magisterium has emphasized that the Catholic Social Tradition is part of Catholic doctrine to be held by faith, an emphasis that we can see in the title of the aforementioned Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. This social doctrine includes the various principles like justice, the common good, the solidarity of the human family, etc. It also includes the methodology or paradigm of dialogue, collaboration and a basic spirit of social charity or fraternity. 13 Of otherwise tradition-minded Catholics who are not yet committed to the principles and methodology that make up the heart of the Catholic Social Tradition—perhaps based upon a prior commitment to some political or social philosophy—one could rightly ask “Does not your act of faith include all that the Catholic Church teaches?” The Thomistic account of the virtue of hope also has considerable relevance to a new social Catholicism. Although the proper object of hope is achieving our ultimate rest in God by the help of divine grace, Thomas also thinks we can legitimately hope for all the other good things we need through God’s help. As should be obvious, our times are marked by a massive disproportion between the challenges facing the human family on the one hand—global warming, social polarization, the breakdown of democratic and international institutions, great power tensions, inequality, racism—and the resources to address them, on the other. This disproportion leads to various unhelpful responses including the widespread denial of reality, withdrawal from political and social engagement, and despair of hope for future generations. What would seem to be needed, on the other hand, is a massive mobilization of those willing to work in collaboration with others of good will for a more just and sustainable future worthy of the human person created in the divine image. As a large and global community, Catholics are in a unique position to perform that service for the human family, guided by a faith that includes their social doctrine, buoyed by hope in God’s help for so noble a task, and informing their work by love of God and neighbor. In taking on so daunting a task, they can exemplify the noblest of virtues like justice regarding the common good, and the magnanimity—or greatness of soul—to take on such worthy tasks. In so doing, they can not only avoid the pusillanimity—or smallness of soul—of those who would shrink from the challenges of our day through retreat to spiritualities lacking a robust and tested social doctrine. It would also avoid the failed strategy of fighting the culture wars outside the broader context of the Catholic social tradition. Love or Charity as the Culmination of Christian Life: Social Friendship Having just discussed the trajectory of Christian life from faith to the charity in which it culminates, I would like to add some basic remarks on Paul’s understanding of charity, on how Aquinas helps to elucidate it and some of the contrary vices he articulates. I would also like to articulate how social charity should also be our basic stance toward the social realm, which can also be expressed in related language, such as social friendship, fraternity, or solidarity.


For Paul, to be perfected in charity is to be transformed in Christ by the renewal of our minds (Rom 12:2), to have the mind of Christ (1 Cor 2:16), it is to be spiritual as opposed to carnal or immature, to be mature or perfect, and to be led by the Spirit. Charity is exemplified in Christ and imitated by his followers who participate in pattern of sacrificial love in building up the body of Christ, in becoming all things to all men to save some. We could spend much time reflecting on classic Pauline texts like 1 Corinthians 13 on the excellence of charity, but I think we all get the idea. Following Paul and the whole tradition on the preeminence of charity, Aquinas discusses its nature as a supernatural perfection of the will in which we love God above all things and our neighbor in God. As many of us have studied, St. Thomas Aquinas draws on Aristotle’s account of friendship to shed light on the mystery of Christian charity, following his principle that grace does not destroy but perfects nature. Thus, he sees charity as having the three Aristotelian marks of benevolence, mutuality and a shared good. I will focus on the first two. Fundamental to friendship for Aristotle—and to charity for Aquinas—is benevolence or well-wishing, which naturally leads to beneficence, or acting for the good of one’s friend to the point of laying down one’s life. Friendship also includes the second mark of mutuality in which friends recognize each other to be friends, which entails spending time together. This is Jesus’s method of forming disciples, and it sheds light on the evangelical rationale behind the contemporary emphasis on language of “accompaniment.” One of the best ways of loving our neighbors is to spend time with them on the journey of life. Besides the virtue of charity being rooted in a benevolence that leads to exterior acts of beneficence, almsgiving, and fraternal correction, Thomas understands it to have the interior effects of joy, peace and mercy which he takes from Paul’s list of the fruit of the Spirit from Galatians 5:22. It takes little reflection on this classical account of charity as friendship to see the aptness of a fundamental stance of social friendship, social charity or fraternity as reflecting the best of the Catholic tradition. Our basic stance toward others should reflect an inclination toward these exterior acts informed by an interiority of joy, peace, and mercy. These marks should characterize Catholics in the world, if they are to live out the live of Christian Charity as discerned through the Magisterium of the Church. As I will further treat in my third lecture, this Catholic approach is to be contrasted from the various alternatives being pursued by many Catholics, whether the antagonism of those prioritizing public opposition to intrinsically evil acts, or the fearmongering separatism of Rod Dreher’s “Benedict Option” and corresponding stance of Christian dissidence, or the radical criticism of contemporary political structures without plausible alternatives . Aquinas further illumines the virtue of charity by specifying the opposing vices, as he does with each virtue. Given the polarized nature of contemporary societies, it is instructive to note the vices that he specifies as opposed to the peace that follows from charity. These vices include the discord of setting one’s will against the other, the contention of conflicting speech, the strife of opposing deeds, the sedition of sowing discord within the community, and the schism of separating from the unity of the Church. 14 Sadly, we have seen such behavior come to mark not only contemporary culture but also the behavior of too many Catholics. An excellent example of reading the Catholic Social Tradition as an expression of Christian charity is Pope Benedict XVI’s 2009 encyclical Caritas in Veritate: Charity in Truth. Writing as an Augustinian, for Benedict, “Charity is at the heart of the Church’s social doctrine” (no.2), and “everything has its origin in God’s love, everything is shaped by it, everything is directed towards it” (no. 2). 15 Writing in commemoration of Paul VI’s Populorum Progressio: On the Development


of the Peoples, Benedict affirms Paul’s understanding of “Christian charity as the principal force at the service of development” (no. 13). This encyclical by St. Paul VI was key in aligning the Church with international efforts toward what in a Catholic perspective could be authentic, complete, or integral human development, which Pope Paul thought should follow from a basic Catholic stance of benevolence toward every human person. When Pope Francis puts his latest encyclical Fratelli Tutti under the subheading of fraternity and social friendship, he not only is consistent with the best of the tradition, but also is proposing a social stance that is intrinsically ordered to healing a divided world so we can work together in addressing existential problems, but problems that can be solved with a well-founded hope in God’s help. Striving to Realize the Loftiness of the Calling of the Faithful in Christ As I discussed in the first part, the specific focus of the call of the Second Vatican Council for a biblical renewal of moral theology was precisely to illumine the lofty “calling of the faithful in Christ” of Optatam Totius no. 16 as we saw above. The Pauline letters bring out this lofty calling in many ways, some of which have been addressed in the last three subsections. Here I will briefly highlight some ways that Paul’s Letter to the Philippians brings this out as it seems to me that the contemporary Catholic practice would do well to note how this inspired text encourages fallen sinners toward holiness and missionary discipleship, namely by pointing to the higher things for which to strive. In 1:27, for example, Paul exhorts the Philippians to let their “manner of life be worthy of the gospel of Christ…standing firm in one spirit and with one mind, striving…” He further encourages this striving in 3:12-14 through reference to his own example: Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Let those of us who are mature be thus minded; and if in anything you are otherwise minded, God will reveal that also to you. Such striving is intrinsic to the vision of life in Christ that Paul labors to enter inro more deeply, and it seems to this reader to be what the Fathers of the Council had in mind in appealing to Scripture to illumine our lofty calling in Christ. Such exhortations would seem to be an efficacious way to help Christians come to maturity in Christ. Many other texts could be discussed, like Colossians 3:1-17, which represents the later Pauline tradition. It is worth citing at length since it captures much of Pauline ethics: If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. On account of these the wrath of God is coming. In these you once walked, when you lived in them. But now put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and foul talk from your mouth. Do not lie


to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all. Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. A few words of commentary can reiterate some of the key points of this text. By beginning with reference to being raised with Christ and seeking those things that are above, the text first locates the Christian moral life in what is called a realized eschatology marked by a striving to realize our calling. It treats the personal and social vices to be put off, and the Christian virtues to be appropriated as perfected in charity, lived out in joy and thanksgiving. For Aquinas, one grows most rapidly in virtue by the most intense acts of the highest virtue, namely charity, to which Paul calls his flock. In complete continuity with these New Testament and Medieval sources, we can see how efforts of Catholics in defense of justice, of human rights, of the common good, of care for our common home—to the extent they are done for love of God and for our neighbor in God—they are a rapid road to sanctity and apostolic fruit. They could be decisive, moreover, in avoiding a dystopian future. I don’t see how the same could be said for other social stances that Catholics might take, such as focusing on fighting cultural battles or an emphasis on personal spirituality that neglects the broader society. Pauline Insights Regarding Pastoral Ministry: Example and Exhortation In this short section, I will illustrate two inseparable aspects of Paul’s approach to pastoral ministry, drawing primarily from his First Letter to the Thessalonians, namely his mode of exhortation and the centrality of example. As always, his exhortation is rooted in what God has graciously done for us in Christ. 16 Within this context, he employs a rhetorical style of parenesis, which is basically an encouragement to continue a certain manner of life. He employs this encouragement in concert with an appeal to their participation in a chain of imitation, which has its prime analogue in Christ and a more proximate representation in Paul and his fellow apostles, who have become a typos or type for their people, exemplifying all the virtues culminating in charity (2:1-12). 17 The attitude Paul exhibits toward his flock is also integral to his way of forming them for Christian life. It is marked by a rejoicing in their faith and love (3:6), which leads to prayers that they may “increase and abound in love to one another and to all men.” (3:12). In this last point we get an implicit indication that love builds unity by reaching out to all. The fourth chapter further illustrates the Pauline mode of Christian exhortation. He emphasizes that they have already learned how to live so as to please God, and that “just as you are doing, you do so more and more” (4:1).


Then, in the context of their call to sanctification, he warns them about unchastity and uncleanness (4:3-8), not overlooking sexual sins but placing them in a much richer context of teaching, with concrete examples to be imitated in seeking the higher things of Christian life. The exhortation culminates with reference to brotherly love, regarding which he says “you have no need to have anyone write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another… But we exhort you, brethren, to do so more and more (4:10-11). In my reading, Pope Francis seeks to do something similar regarding the issues of sexual and life ethics on which the Church in the US has been centered for decades. Without denying that sins are sins, he wants to direct Catholics to focus more on issues of social friendship and charity, which are existential ones for humanity, and to put more contentious culture war issues into a broader context, lest a focus on such struggles draw us into what Paul would call the works of the flesh or what Aquinas would call sins against the peace that follows from charity. Christian Charity as Ordered to Unity In this final section I will simply list some areas in Pauline theology, Thomism and Catholic social tradition, which could be treated at greater length to elucidate how Christian charity in general and social charity in particular are intrinsically ordered to building unity. I do so by alluding back to the text I cited earlier from the Second Vatican Council about the Church as an efficacious sign and instrument of unity. I also do so considering the polarization that marks our contemporary society. And I do so because the focus on unity is so pronounced in the Pauline letters and in the broader tradition. In Pauline thought some of the richest sources on unity would include the First Letter to the Corinthians which was dealing primarily with various sources of division in the community and thus had a thesis statement in 1:10 “that you be united in mind and without divisions.” For Paul, knowledge puffs up whereas love builds up the community. The problem of divisions regarding knowledge comes up in other letters, especially regarding “the strong” who had knowledge and “the weak” who had a lesser understanding of the faith and thus could easily be scandalized by some behaviors of “the strong,” like eating meat sacrificed to idols. The theme of unity is deepened profoundly in the later Pauline letters to the Colossians and Ephesians. Colossians chapter 1, for example, presents Christ in a cosmic perspective, as “the firstborn of all creation” (1:15), in whom “all things hold together” (1:17), “to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross” (1:20), with pastoral ministry ordered to “present every man mature in Christ” (1:19). Thus, the cosmic Christ is the first principle, the reconciler, and the one who holds things together. We find a very similar perspective in the letter to the Ephesians, which can be seen as the canonical culmination of the Pauline tradition. Here God’s eternal plan is “to unite all things in [Christ], things in heaven and things on earth” (1:10). The letter’s moral exhortation, moreover, includes an exhortation to the unity that is entailed in their high calling in Christ (4:1-6). He begs them: to lead a life worthy of the calling to which you have been called, with all lowliness and meekness, with patience, forbearing one another in love, eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of us all, who is above all and through all and in all.


From a Thomistic perspective, because the virtue of charity builds people up in the communion of divine life, we can see a perfect harmony with the Pauline ordering of charity to unity, which is exactly how the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council see the proper fruit of the Church in the world. Conclusion In this lecture, I have further explored the prospects for facilitating a new era of social Catholicism by illustrating how it can be understood as reflecting a profound harmony with some of the most trusted resources of our moral tradition, namely the Pauline epistles and the Medieval synthesis of St. Thomas Aquinas. I did so by considering some pertinent texts of the Second Vatican Council, including its directives for the renewal of moral theology, and its understanding of the Church as a sign and instrument of unity, which is of particular interest given the deep and distressing divisions plaguing both modern society and the Church. Regarding the renewal of moral theology, I illustrated how following the conciliar directive that moral theology be more deeply nourished in the teaching of Scripture helped us to focus on the centrality and characteristics of charity, on how true charity fosters unity, on how it leads to effective pastoral approaches grounded in personal example and employing effective rhetorical strategies calling us to strive to live out our high calling in Christ. Noting that this renewal of moral theology also called for a “scientific exposition,” I gave various examples of how St. Thomas Aquinas employed human reason and philosophy to explicate Christian morality. I further noted that the council Fathers saw the goal of this renewal as “bearing fruit in charity for the life of the world,” which brings us back to the living out of social Catholicism. I hope this illustrates how we can see that the living out of the principled, integral, and solidary humanism of the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church is simply a well-grounded and properly Catholic way of living out the life of charity in the world, fully consistent with the most trusted teachers of Christian morality. To the extent that the contemporary Church can recognize this and live it out—putting aside the alternative and inferior social perspectives that so many have embraced—we can hope to see the Church being an efficacious sign and instrument of unity and hope for a divided world facing existential challenges.

This text is a revision of the Chester and Margaret Paluch Lecture given at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, on April 14, 2021. I have omitted some introductory remarks that were more fitting in the context of the public lecture but less so for this published text. 2 Many Fathers had seen considerable promise in some initial attempts at a more biblically grounded approach to moral theology, such as that found in the German Redemptorist Bernard Haring’s The Law of Christ. 3 Although the reference to “special care” clearly indicates the importance the Fathers placed on such a rethinking, but the shortness of the text suggests they felt comfortable making only a few key points about it. 4 The reference to “the perfecting of moral theology” suggests that they wanted to affirm the value of the moral tradition while also encouraging a reform of the discipline, presumably, in alignment with the broader work of the council. Some relevant points of broader conciliar teaching include the foundational role of Scripture as the soul of theology (Dei Verbum 24), the interpretation of Scripture requiring the recourse to not just the text (DV 12.2) but to tradition and reason/philosophy (DV 12.3), the Universal Call to Holiness (Lumen Gentium, chap. 5), the apostolate of the laity (Apostolicam Actuositatem: Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity), and the Church resituated in a positive and collaborative relation with modern democratic societies (Gaudium et Spes, Mater et Magistra, Pacem in Terris, Populorum Progressio, etc.). 1


These tended to emphasize four topics: human acts, law, conscience, and sin. Not only was this a great impoverishment of Aquinas’s richer account of fundamental morals, but it greatly overemphasized law and neglected the place of virtue. 6 Because such an emphasis does not seem to predominate in moral theology and because this discipline has been at the center of post-conciliar controversies—rather than a wellspring of Christian life on the path to holiness— we might note that this directive reflects the authority of an ecumenical council under the guidance of the Pope, so it would seem to merit serious consideration. 7 I would argue, therefore, that the largely philosophical resources are available for the required “scientific exposition” of a coherent account of moral theology, although the reception of it is hindered by various factors. I would add, however, that these philosophical resources have not been successfully employed in a moral theology addressing all three dimensions, namely biblical foundations, scientific exposition, and application in living out a Catholic social vision. A number of those who have done well on the first, for example, tended to run afoul of the Magisterium on the second, as in the revisionist moral theology that denied the ability to say that certain kinds of human acts were always evil, to which John Paul II responded with his 1993 encyclical Veritatis Splendor: The Splendor of the Truth. Although I think these debates helpfully advanced the state of the question on key aspects of moral theory, they—at least temporarily—have both contributed to division and diverted attention from other important matters, like living out Christian charity through what the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church calls “an integral and solidary humanism.” Those who defended the key insights of VS about intrinsically evil acts, on the other hand, sometimes—and predominantly in the United States, I would argue—did so through approaches that were less helpful regarding the first and third dimensions of the moral theology for which I am arguing. More specifically, American conservatives doubled down on the physicalism of the earlier tradition and eventually combined this with a social approach focused on getting prohibitions of certain intrinsically evil acts into civil law. 8 In 1 Cor 5:1, he does also tell them to shun the man sleeping with his father’s wife, but that is not his general approach to pastoral ministry. 9 See, for example, Sandro Magister’s introduction entitled “All Brothers, But Without God Anymore. A Philosopher Judges the Latest Encyclical from Francis” to the piece by Salvatore Natoli “What if Jesus Were Nothing but a Man?” at 10 For Aquinas, such activism could still produce acts that are “relatively good,” but not meritorious because they are not ordered to God. 11 All biblical citations are from the RSV. 12 For Paul, the Spirit is the Spirit of Christ that reproduces in our lives the pattern of Christ. Thus, for example, he writes of how the Spirit within us cries out “Abba, Father” (8:15-17). 13 After Paul VI had emphasized the importance of finding solutions to social problems at the local level in his 1971 Octogesima Adveniens: A Call to Action, John Paul II reiterated in his 1987 Solicitudo Rei Socialis: On Social Concern that CST includes a doctrinal body of principles. 14 They overlap with Paul’s list of the works of the flesh from Gal 5:19-21, namely “fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like.” 15 The second quotation is from Deus Caritas Est. Benedict had opened Caritas in Veritate with “Charity in truth… is the principal driving force behind the authentic development of every person and of all humanity” (no.1). 16 Here it is rooted in what is called an “election theology,” based in the truth that Christians have been elected or chosen by God (1:4), called (2:12; 4:7; 5:24) and destined (3:3; 5:9) for sanctification in Christ. The letter opens with a warm greeting of grace and peace (1:1) followed by thanksgiving to God that they have come to live a life characterized by the “work of faith,” “labor of love” and the “steadfastness of hope” (1:3) and have therefore become “imitators of us (Paul, Silvanus and Timothy) and of the Lord.” 17 Paul reminds his audience of how he showed courage in suffering shameful treatment and great opposition (2:2), how he avoided guile (2:3) and did not seek to please men (2:4). He “never used either words of flattery…or a cloak of greed (2:5), nor did he seek to receive “glory from men” or make even rightful demands upon them as apostles of Christ (2:6). He—and his fellow apostles who also follow the pattern of Christ—were “gentle among them” (2:8), laboring and toiling night and day (2:8) to preach the Gospel of God and exhort them to live a life worthy of their calling (2:12). In sum, Paul and his apostolic collaborators exemplify all the virtues as a basis for exhorting them to holiness in Christ. 5


Renewing the Social Dimension of the Sacred Heart By Rev. Peter Nguyen, S.J., Ph.D./S.T.D. Introduction The 28th Superior General of the Society of Jesus Father Pedro Arrupe judged the Sacred Heart devotion to be “fundamental” to the spirituality of the Society of Jesus because the devotion helped Jesuits to come to know and love Christ so that they can bring Christ’s love to all humanity. 1 Nevertheless, Arrupe recognizes that Catholics have come to regard the devotion to be plagued by excessive individualism and subjectivism, removed from the world’s concerns. 2 In addition, the British author, Karen Armstrong, in her best-selling book A History of God, criticizes the devotion of the Sacred Heart. She writes: “Concentrating solely on Jesus, the man, such a piety is simply a projection which imprisons the Christian in a neurotic egotism.” 3 Expressing a common sentiment, she argues that the Sacred Heart is mawkish and sentimental, which distorts the prophetic Gospel depiction of Jesus. When coupled with Fr. Arrupe’s concern, Armstrong’s excoriating critique of the devotion indicates that the devotion tends toward excessively individualistic piety with no regard for the community’s role in worship and social justice. So, is the Sacred Heart devotion irrelevant in a Church desperate to be relevant? Can we renew the devotion as Arrupe had hoped? Has the contemporary Western person lost the capacity to see the heart as the symbolic physical seat of the soul? Georgetown’s Theresa Sanders does not believe that this devotion should wither due to its importance in shaping the Church’s saints and mystics. She argues for updating the devotion of the Sacred Heart by drawing on the contemporary theologies of Karl Rahner and Jon Sobrino to develop a concern for the poor and social justice. 4 I, too, believe in the importance of the devotion because it offers a popular Christology that integrates theology and spirituality—a theology that helps bring people in the pews into a transformative living mystery. They come to know and love Christ and the whole mystical Body of Christ, especially the poor and suffering. My thesis is that the devotion to the Heart of Jesus offers transformative charity, calling forth the human person in prayer to return to himself from a fallen world that has alienated him from others and his authentic self; renews the person in the image of Christ; and incorporates him in the Mystical Body of Christ. When these three movements—conversation, conversion, and incorporation—are forged into a unity, they reveal the social dimension of the theology of the Heart of Jesus. The parameters of this essay require specifically-focused texts in the face of considerable primary and secondary literature on the Heart of Jesus. To discuss the renewal of the social transformation in the Sacred Heart devotion, I do a limited but concentrated excavation, exploring the spiritual testimony of the second director of the Apostleship of Prayer, Henri Ramière, SJ (1821-1884), who writes of the power of association of men and women in prayer in union with the Heart of Jesus to transform society in his book, The Apostleship of Prayer (1859). 5 I conclude with a brief exposition of Pope Francis’ statements on the devotion, highlighting his desire that the devotion help incorporate persons on the margins into the Mystical Body of Christ. This paper consists of three parts. The first part of this paper details the methodological approach. It offers a grammar of the devotion, entering into conversation with Balthasar’s theology to provide a theological framework to discuss the Sacred Heart devotion, seeking to establish a theological foundation with a Christological center animated by the Holy Spirit in prayer. In light


of the aforementioned concerns of Sacred Heart devotion, this section demonstrates that prayer and the contemplative life is a valid source of theological reflection and the wellspring of social renewal. The second part of the paper—the central part—retrieves the social dimension of the Sacred Heart, expositing Ramiére’s classic but forgotten text. In dialogue with Balthasar, I show that the primary intent of the Sacred Heart devotion is not escapism but to bring pray-ers closer to the joys and sufferings of the world through union with Christ. The last part of the paper concludes with Pope Francis’ remarks on the Sacred Heart devotion. It examines the trajectory of the devotion based on Francis’s own devotion to the Heart of Jesus. Overall, I hope that my excavation and retrieval of Ramiére’s shows the inner relationship between the Pierced Heart of the Lord and social transformation as expressed through the terms conversation, conversion, and incorporation. By examining a mid-19th-century text on the Heart of Jesus devotion, I aim to reorient and refresh our take on the devotion. The Grammar of the Devotion Apprehending the theme of social transformation in the devotion to the Heart of Jesus requires clarifying three terms—conversation, conversion, and incorporation. The term “conversation” is drawn from the Swiss-German theologian Hans Urs von Balthasar, who conceives prayer as the response of the whole person to the call of Christ. Traditionally, Christian thought has distinguished between the intellectual response of the person to God, the affective response of the human being’s spirit to God, and the concomitant sensory consolation. Balthasar, however, stresses the unity of the response; the integration of the response, which he describes as an “attunement” to God, is one in which the believer has a resonance with the object of faith, Jesus Christ. 6 The unity of the response emerges as a conversational and interpersonal event: the whole person comes to his self-fulfillment in a dialogical encounter with Christ. In this context, the heart is grasped as the symbolic physical seat of the human soul. Within Christianity’s sphere of influence, the focal point of one’s soul has unfailingly been assigned to the cardiac organ. 7 The heart represents the governing body of a conception of humanity grasped as interiority. The heart is associated with what is most interior to oneself. Furthermore, the heart is a symbol of cordiality—the locus of one’s affective subjectivity. Affective subjectivity, within Christianity, is understood not as a clinging to one’s own heart over that of others. As a symbol of one’s interior and affective life, the heart is thought of inherently as fostering intimacy with others, including God, and creating communal life which therefore creates harmony in the divine-human community, attuning everyone’s heart rhythms with God’s. Thus, for Balthasar, genuine prayer is “a conversation” between God and the human heart. “Prayer is a dialogue,” not the human creature’s “monologue before” the Divine. Prayer is a “speech that demands and manifests an I and Thou. 8 Because prayer is a conversation, it involves a hearing—or more precisely, an obediential listening on the part of the human person. In the Christian tradition, the initiative of prayer and conversion in the human person is the Holy Spirit, who takes up the finite person in a dialogue that is initially not his own. The pattern is that the Spirit transforms people’s hearts through prayer, not that they change their hearts. Consequently, conversation with Christ and conversion is a gift from God, which involves an attunement to the form of Christ onto which we allow the Holy Spirit to impress upon us and to shape our entire life, offering ourselves to the Father in service of others. 9 Therefore, the gift of conversion is not an isolated event but a process continually initiated by God and freely accepted by the individual. The gift leads to a deeper understanding of the


disciple and a more profound relationship between persons and God. The impression of the Christform elevates us to allow us to apprehend God’s mission for us. The mission given by God is always personal but never private. The mission speaks to our core identity—our heart—and moves us beyond our heart to the hearts of others. Every mission from God to individual persons must be communicated with the entire Church. The quest for self-perfection in light of union with God is misguided unless it is ordered to the needs of others. Here, we come to the theology of incorporation. According to Balthasar, the Christian is incorporated in Christ and thus is formed in Christ’s praxis. The term describes the close union of Christ and the disciple, involving a dynamic influence of Christ on the Christian through conversation and conversion. Paul underscores the intensity of this influence when he writes, “Yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). The logic of the descent of Christ into the condition involves an analogous ascent of finite condition into God. That is, the Triune God effects reconciliation by drawing the human person with all his guilt and alienation into the love between the ever-greater love between the Father and the Son, which overcomes sin. Henceforth, Christ’s saving love involves the invitation extended to humankind to respond to the genuine freedom from sin won by Christ. His self-sacrificial love has consequences for Christian discipleship, conceived as a life of service to God and neighbor. 10 Human persons are invited to let go of the darkness of sin and enter into a relationship with the Son to find their mission. This participation permits every person to fulfill himself in an utterly distinct manner within the realm of infinite freedom. 11 Consequently, the disciple, like Christ, becomes one sent: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you” (John 20:21). The Apostleship of Prayer and Henri Ramière, SJ Indeed, the root of the devotion goes back beyond the Middle Ages to the patristic theology of the wounded side of Jesus as the source of grace and the birth of the Church. Still, the devotion that the Catholic Church communicates today is associated with the 17th-century visions of Margaret Mary at the Order of the Visitation convent of Paray-le-Monial. It is out of this context that Henry Ramière’s writings on the Sacred Heart emerged. In the 1840s, a community of young Jesuits preparing for the priesthood near Le Puy, France, felt a desire to be in active ministry while immersed in the seemingly inactive ministry of studies. In 1844, a Jesuit priest, Francis Xavier Gautrelet, inspired those young Jesuits to be evangelizers while still in studies. He suggested that they offer up to God their prayers, duties, studies, and sacrifices each day, and through these to beg God’s help for the Jesuits already in active ministry and the graces for conversions. He spoke of a ministry that people could participate in immediately by uniting their whole life in prayer—a prayer of offering, a prayer that was in no way isolated but instead was collective and would involve every aspect of their existence. The suggestion caught fire and spread to neighboring villages, parishes, convents, and schools. Soon, the whole of France and other countries were captivated by this idea of becoming apostles of prayer by this daily consecration of prayers, works, joys, and sufferings. This ministry received the support of Pius IX and became an organization in 1849. A few years after the founding of the Apostleship of Prayer, Father Henri Ramière, one of Gautrelet’s students, became the director of the organization. Carrying forth the project of his mentor, Ramière encourages believers to pray for the salvation of all peoples, writing, “We are taught that the salvation of the world is one of those works in which God asks and waits for the


cooperation of His creatures.” 12 Ramière describes such cooperation as the principle of Mutual Influence, which states that all things depend on each other. Though all things come from God, who is sovereign, God does not act alone but instead awaits His creatures’ cooperation to assist and bring one another to its own goal. In that way, there exists a bond between creatures in the universe. According to Ramière, the bond that predominantly connects humans and guides the free wills of each person exists predominantly in the moral order. If no moral order exists, then “there would be no bond or union” among peoples; there would not exist an ultimate “end,” and persons would attain their “happiness independently of each other.” He writes that we “would no longer owe anything to our fellow [humans] and would have nothing to expect from them. We would pass by as strangers who know each other not.” 13 If freedom does not possess an end and is merely arbitrary, then “there would be no more society, for society is only a collection of free beings bound to help each other to some common end.” 14 A society where people direct their freedoms to serve one another aptly manifests God’s creativity and beauty. 15 He writes: Although God acts everywhere, God acts nowhere alone. He wishes His creatures to share in His action, as they share in His being. He subordinates His own action to the co-operation of secondary causes. From this strict bond of unity, from this constant dependence in which created beings stand with regard to each other, results in their perfect unity amid boundless variety. From this, it comes that the moral creation, much more so than the physical creation, is the image of the Creator and the mirror of His Divine Beauty. 16 The human person’s cooperation in God’s providence does not just fulfill the necessary condition for the well-being of society as well as glorify God, “it is also the chief title of our own glory.” Human cooperation with God allows us “to be remembered by our Creator, and we draw nearer and nearer to His Divine likeness.” 17 For Ramière, the wellspring of the Divine-human cooperation lies in prayer; the human person’s capacity to pray itself derives from God’s grace, which Ramière defines as the communication of God’s life to the human soul in the Spirit. He writes, To obtain the victory we have but to give ourselves to the guidance of the Holy Spirit and allow ourselves to be led by His grace, and then, truly we shall become sons [and daughters] of God because we shall live the life of His only Son; we shall be free because we shall have within us the supreme Spirit which brings liberty wherever it penetrates. In a word, we shall become, as it were, other Christs; consequently, our prayers will be no longer our prayers, but the prayers of Jesus Christ. 18 Prayer, as such, is the mystery of God living within us. Ramière speaks of a God who is revealed to us in a personal encounter through the Spirit. As prayer deepens, we know God in a cordiality— in love: The Spirit of God dwells within us and reproduces in the depths of our hearts the sentiments of our Savior. It causes our hearts to beat in unison with the throbbings


of His Divine Heart, with the same regularity as the least arteries of the human body. It causes us to send unspeakable groanings up to heaven, like those, which rise from the Heart of the Son of God [to the Father]. Our Spirit-infused prayer enables us to call God our Father from the depths of our being, ultimately recognizing that the Father “is the first Author of these prayers.” 19 In this place, we are reminded that the Spirit takes believers up into a prayer that is not originally their own, transforming people through prayer to become like Christ, not that they change themselves to Christ. Prayer holds a trinitarian dimension. It entails being with the Son addressing the Father; the Spirit is the means by which believers can participate in the eternal life of God. As such, Ramière recognizes prayer as a dialogue with God where the human person professes to God his need for the Divine; prayer, he writes, is “nothing else than the expression of a wish, the feeling of want made known to God.” 20 Here, prayer is an act that conveys the relational dimension of the human person. A relationship with God is necessary for our well-being. Such a relationship, rooted in self-love, not in an introspective, selfish manner, is a healthy apprehension of one’s dignity. The gift of being in a relationship with God is not alien to the human capacity but entails a process of attuning our entire being towards the Divine: [The Spirit] shall surround us like an ocean into whose depths we are forever plunged. It presses itself upon us for our life’s support. No sooner do we open our mouth, no sooner do we empty our heart to give it room, by the lowly acknowledgment of our nothingness and the fervor our prayer, than its bounty rushes in upon us under the infinite pressure of God’s mercy. And it shall keep life in us so long as we do not foolishly take this life by persisting in the real moral suffocation, which follows on the refusal to pray. 21 Here, Ramière understands prayer to be a vital part of being a human person. There is something like a creaturely wonder at God in this remarkable passage. In this amazement, like a tidal wave, the Spirit awakens the human creature to what is beyond itself and is the source of its existence. The human person sees itself as teetering toward nothingness and buoyed by the Spirit, who encompasses and opens up the human person. The Spirit in prayer enables us to be directed towards God and to allow God to shape us. In prayer, we do not go toward God alone but find ourselves going beyond ourselves because the Spirit has made its way into the depths of our being. Again, this fundamental cooperation begins with God’s initiative, and our response involves confessing that we need redemption. We recognize and express our poverty so as to be filled with the Spirit. This insight is indispensable because it reminds us that we cannot change anything in the world if we are not changed ourselves. Due to the interdependence of the human person, of which Ramière writes, the human process of self-realization inevitably is a loving act towards God and fellow human beings. The human dependence on the Divine Other and the human other is a need for communication and interaction with others. For Ramière, the need to pray is necessary due to the faults and shortcomings of humankind. In that manner, praying for one’s neighbor can be one of the aptest ways to assist the transformation of not only oneself but also one’s brethren: But if we are unable to do anything towards the regeneration of our brethren, we can nevertheless be most powerful fellow-workers with God for its attainment. Yes,


our most merciful Father, whose love for souls exceeds His love for any other work His hands, has granted us the use of prayer as the most effectual means of restoring the life of the soul. Prayer possesses in perfection the qualities God looks for in cooperation He requires from us in the work of the salvation of our brethren. 22 Such is a powerful insight into one’s responsibility to care for others. Prayer transforms the person to be who he is for others. Religious conversion is personal and intimate, yet authentic transformation must be the ground of deep-rooted ecclesial solidarity. 23 In this sense, a conversion builds up the Church and is supported in an ecclesial setting. Being attuned to God involves being a place of prayer from which love to others emanates. In line with the Gospels, Ramiére reminds us that prayer is the kernel of discipleship which ought to assist our brothers and sisters in accomplishing the great end for which we are created—union with God: God obliges us to love our brethren, as He obliges us to love Himself. The two duties are inseparable. He will not have us persuade ourselves that we are devoted to His interest unless we work with all our might to establish His kingdom in the souls of our fellow creatures. Neither are we to imagine that we have a true love for ourselves unless we love our neighbor as ourselves, which in other words means that we must work for his salvation as earnestly as we work for our own. 24 So, the ascent to God without others is an illusory escape. One does not ascend to God without taking the world with him, transforming the world along the way. Transformation or conversion of self and others is inseparable from being in an intimate relationship with Christ. By being one with Christ, the believer becomes the place of intercession for other people. Now, we come to Ramière’s insights on the Heart of Jesus and the theme of incorporation into the mystical Body of Christ. He emphasizes that one begins each day in prayer and that prayer is understood as a morning offering to be associated with the devotion to the Heart of Jesus because “prayer is a divine work,” whose source from which it springs is the Heart of Jesus. For Ramière, the only valid prayer is that of the Heart of Christ, and from this prayer, Christians receive inspiration for their own. Christians are conformed to Christ when they make his intentions their own, and disciples do this by uniting themselves to the offering of Jesus’ life to the Father. Uniting oneself to the Heart of Christ and being incorporated into the Body of Christ involve stripping oneself of self and embracing the intentions of the Heart of Jesus. This surrender of self occurs in the day-to-day reality of existence and is a spirituality of a state of a life lived out as “the actions of Christ.” In this conformity to Christ, the disciple adopts what he finds in the Heart of Jesus. More importantly, through an exchange of love, this Heart comes into the Christian to dwell in and renew the disciple. Such transformative indwelling leads to the offering of self in the world for others. According to Ramière, this offering to the Heart of Christ enables a person to be incorporated into the Mystical Body. He writes: It breaks all bounds and withdraws itself from every restraint of time and space. Its action may be exerted at one and the same time in the opposite extremities of the world. It can reach out even to the end of time. It reaches whithersoever reaches God’s power. If prayer did not put us in a condition to give effective help to men, even to those we have never seen and shall never know here below, God would


have been obliged to limit the commandment of charity to those men whom we should meet along the path of our exile. 25 In the Sacred Heart devotion, one does not just become familiar with Jesus’ prayers for the world; one intercedes for the world within the eternal God. The Gospel calls people to love God and one’s fellow human beings even in the face of the loveless or unknown return. Union with the Heart of Jesus and incorporation into His Mystical Body, for Ramiére, embraces Christ’s redemptive work and seeks to bear fruit not just for oneself, but for the kingdom of God and His Body, the Church. This fruit to be born, because it is born in Christ, stretches across time and space. A particular offering that saves one person from peril, physical, moral, or spiritual, can have come from a loving act of offering from yesterday, last year, or 100 years ago of an entirely unknown person. Ramière argues that the incorporation of the believer into the mystical Body of Christ is renewed each time he partakes in the Eucharist. He writes, Jesus Christ wishing to unite us perfectly with God, and with one another, and to incorporate us together, however distant we may be in soul and body one from another, perfects all believers in Himself by the manducation of the same body, which is no other than His own Sacred Body, and by this Holy Communion makes us all concorporeal with each other and Himself. Because if we all partake of the same bread, we cannot fail to become one body. 26 Though Eucharist involves an intimate union of Christ with each of us, the Eucharist is not an individualistic event. The gift of Jesus unites believers to His Heart and joins believers together to His Body. The individual’s personal relationship with Christ is not characterized by atomistic existence but is situated within an ecclesial existence—with others. Ultimately, the ecclesial existence helps to ground and offer an objective dimension to the personal or subjective dimension of the contemplative life. For Ramière, the prayers of the Christian on behalf of others are the prayers of Jesus Christ because, in the order of salvation, all Christians form with Jesus Christ but a single body. From this, it follows that no supernatural action can be conceived otherwise than from the inspiration of Jesus Christ, nor be begun, or followed out, or fulfilled but by His help. 27 For Ramiére, the believer’s devotion to the Heart of Jesus is not individualistic piety. On the contrary, the devotion joins the believer to Christ’s Body, unites him to His heart, and calls him to live for God and for others. Overall, it is inconceivable not to recognize the sociopolitical dimension of the Sacred Heart devotion as encountered in Henri Ramiére’s writings. The devotion to the Heart of Jesus within the Apostleship of Prayer concerns bringing about God—the God in whom believers exist, move, and have their being—into their daily routine. The Heart of Jesus manifests a deep communion between believers in God’s presence and who they are with one another. The devotion is meant to shape the disciple’s whole existing, living life as being sent on a mission on behalf of Christ for the mystical Body of Christ. We now conclude by briefly examining the possible trajectory of the Sacred Heart devotion through Pope Francis’ own devotion to the Heart of Jesus.


Conclusion: Contemporary Trajectory with Pope Francis Though Pope Francis’ call for mercy, inclusion, and social justice are perceived as crucial marks of his papacy, a feature worthy of attention that has been ignored by mainstream society is his emphasis on devotions: formal and informal practices of prayer, which help believers to approach God. Popular piety is deeply ingrained in the Latin American Church and is seen as a key to evangelization. 28 The Pope’s esteem for popular devotions can be gleaned from his discourse on the Sacred Heart. He says, “Popular piety highly prizes symbols, and the Heart of Jesus is the ultimate symbol of God’s mercy – but it is not an imaginary symbol, it is a real symbol, which represents the center, the source from which salvation flowed forth for all humanity.” 29 Instead of seeing popular piety, including the devotion to the Heart of Jesus, as mere sentimental kitsch that enables an escapist existence, we are invited to view piety as a path of healing and transformation. Pope Francis’ contribution is his emphasis that the one being drawn into Christ’s redemptive work is not the typical holy men and women but those on the margins of society. Francis underscores that the persons who seem furthest away from the law can be the ones closest to the Heart of Christ. The love of Christ reaches out, extends, and transforms beyond to the peripheries. On the Feast of the Sacred Heart in 2016, he preaches, “The Heart of the Good Shepherd reaches out to us, above all to those who are most distant. There, the needle of his compass inevitably points, there we see a particular ‘weakness’ of his love, which desires to embrace all and lose none.” 30 Francis’ theology of mercy speaks of God’s love for those lost, forging the bond of solidarity that saves the whole flock. For Francis, the transformation of these men and women spurs the conversions of the larger ecclesial body. Since the heart is that which circulates blood to all parts of the body, in an analogous way, those on the margins who have been revived by the mercy of Christ’s Heart return to the center of the body in order to propagate those areas that have taken for granted the Gospel message. These forgotten ones, the excluded or the simple ones, become the ever-greater, unexpected veins that carry in the Spirit, the de-oxygenated lukewarm believers into fellowship with Christ, and a deeper union with the Father.

Pedro Arrupe, “Renewing Devotion to the Sacred Heart (1972)” (Institute of Jesuit Sources, 1981), 5–10, 2 Arrupe, 11–20. 3 Karen Armstrong, A History of God: The 4000-Year Quest of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (New York: Gramercy Books, 2004), 318. 4 Theresa Sanders, “The Sacred Heart and the Church of the Poor,” The Journal for Peace and Justice Studies 0701, no. 001 (1996). 5 Henri Ramière, SJ, served as theological adviser to the Bishop of Beauvais at the First Vatican Council. Ramière was a fierce critic of classical liberalism. 6 Hans Urs von Balthasar, The Glory of the Lord I: A Theological Aesthetics: Seeing the Form, trans. Erasmo Leiva-Merikakis (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1982), 243–46. 7 Peter Sloterdijk argues that the intimate association of the heart and innermost self is not universally grasped by non-Christian cultures. See Peter Sloterdijk, Spheres, trans. Wieland Hoban (Los Angeles, CA: Semiotext(e), 2011), 101–2. 8 Hans Urs von Balthasar, Prayer, trans. Graham Harrison (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1986), 14. 1


Balthasar, The Glory of the Lord, 24. Hans Urs von Balthasar, Theo-Drama IV: Theological Dramatic Theory: The Action, trans. Graham Harrison (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1994), 144–60. 11 Hans Urs von Balthasar, Theo-Drama II: Theological Dramatic Theory: The Dramatis Personae: Man in God, trans. Graham Harrison (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990), 270. 12 Henri Ramière, The Apostleship of Prayer, trans. R.S. Dewey (Philadelphia: Messenger of the Sacred Heart, 1889), 9. 13 Ramière, 22. 14 Ramière, 23. 15 Ramière, 23. 16 Ramière, 24. 17 Ramière, 24. 18 Ramière, 162–63. 19 Ramière, 163–64. 20 Ramière, 53. 21 Ramière, 56. 22 Ramière, 59–60. 23 Bernard Lonergan writes, “Unless religion is totally directed to what is good, genuine love of one’s neighbor, and to a self-denial that is subordinated to a fuller goodness in oneself, then the cult of a God that is terrifying can slip over into the demonic, into an exultant destructiveness of oneself and others.” See Bernard J. F. Lonergan, Method in Theology (Toronto, Canada: Univ. of Toronto Press, 2007), 111. 24 Ramière, The Apostleship of Prayer, 60. 25 Ramière, 63. 26 Ramière, 167–68. 27 Ramière, 153. 28 Rafael Luciani and Felix Palazi, “A Rooted Vision,” America, February 1, 2016, 2. 29 Pope Francis, “Angelus” (The Holy See, June 9, 2013), 30 Pope Francis, “Jubilee of Mercy for Priests: Homily of His Holiness Pope Francis on the Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus” (The Holy See, June 3, 2016), 9



Mary, an Indelible Part of Early United States History By Rev. Emery de Gaál, Ph.D. Introduction Of the 267 cathedrals and basilicas in the United States, 42 are named in honor of the Immaculate Conception. 1 How did such a pronounced devotion to Our Lady in general, and specifically under the designation of the Immaculately Conceived, come about in the United States of America? The explorers of and immigrants to the New World did not arrive on the shores of the Americas without bringing their religious, cultural, and intellectual context. They had travelled from a Europe suffering from confessional strife. That continent had been going through the Reformation in the sixteenth century and experienced the Thirty Years War (1618-48) exacting a huge blood toll. These two majors conflagrations accentuated for everyone the deep theological differences between the Catholic statement and the Reformation counter-assumptions. Does grace indeed transform human nature or merely forensically justify the sinner? Is it gratia perfecit naturam or simul iustus et peccator? 2 Nobody expresses the triumph of supernatural grace over fallen human nature more convincingly than the saints and for the ascent of the soul a fortiori Our Lady is the unsurpassable lodestar. Little wonder, in this time Mariology was developed as an independent academic discipline or tractate. 3 It was with the aid of the sublime Theotokos that the Catholic fleets had been victorious over the far more numerous Turkish flotilla assembled under the command of Ali Pasha at Lepanto on October 7, 1571. All of Catholic Europe had prayed for Our Lady to intercede on behalf of the Catholic cause. Admiral Gianandrea Doria’s flagship, Capitana, had carried on her main mast an image of Our Lady of Guadalupe of - nota bene - Mexico, not Guadalupe of Spain. Ever since Catholics celebrate October 7th as the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary. The leader of the Catholic League, Tserclaes Tilly (1574-1631), never failed to carry an image of Our Lady into battle against the Protestant forces during the Thirty Years War. On September 12, 1683 the Ottoman Turks were defeated at the gates of Vienna by King Jan Sobieski and his troops. Ever since Catholics celebrate this decisive victory under the title Holy Name of Mary. As the Spaniards had carried Our Lady into battle in the long-drawn Reconquista, so now they were led by the Queen of Heaven under the title La Victoriosa when claiming the New World for the Spanish crown. In a chivalric way she was considered the true owner of the Spanish colonies. 4 Christians carried over the Atlantic Ocean these religious ideals and contestations. U.S. Catholics would not surrender a core of their belief for the sake of assimilation in a predominantly Protestant country. The American Continents - Marian Influenced When he first set sail from the Spanish port city of Cadiz in 1492 to discover a western route to India, but in fact the New World, Christopher Columbus deliberately christened his flagship, the caravel Santa Maria. Though he named the first island on the west side of the treacherous Atlantic Ocean San Salvador, after Our Savior, the second island he discovered on


this voyage into the unknown he named Santa Maria de la Concepción. The first gold of the New World that his patroness, Queen Isabella, received from the hands of Columbus, she donated to decorate the ceiling of the western apse of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome. 5 In 1493, Pope Alexander VI implicitly placed the newly discovered continents under the protection of Our Lady in the donation bulls Inter Caetera, Examine Devotionis and Dudum Siquidem. 6 With the important Marian shrines of Guadalupe, Saragossa and Montserrat in Spain, and the exuberant celebrations on December 8th firmly and vividly etched in their collective memory, the Spanish conquistadores set out for the New World. In 1680, the Pueblo Indians revolted against the oppressive régime of Spanish immigrants in Santa Fe, New Mexico – then belonging to the Spanish Crown. 400 settlers were massacred; almost two dozen Franciscan priests were martyred during this war - and are today honored on Martyr’s Hill. The massacre was so horrible that the remaining 2,000 Santa Fe Spanish settlers fled in a rush and went into exile for thirteen years, taking very little with them. 7 A general from Spain, Don Diego de Vargas (1643-1704), had great faith in the Blessed Mother. In 1692 he carried an image of La Conquistadora on a flag and entered Pueblo territory in Santa Fe waving it high. Don Diego was kind and knew Our Lady would deliver his people peacefully back into the territory. Miraculously, the Pueblo Indians began to trust Don Diego, who became the new governor of New Mexico, and even Spanish settlers, erstwhile persecuted by the native Indians, were able to return. To this day this peaceful reclamation of territory is remembered annually in August. It is centered around a statue of Our Lady of unknown Spanish origin, named by Don Diego La Conquistadora, and renamed in 1992 Our Lady of Peace, by then Archbishop Robert Sanchez. 8 When the French Jesuit priest and explorer Jacques Marquette (1637-75), coming from the Wisconsin River in an Indian canoe, turned into the mighty Mississippi in 1673, he baptized this river, hitherto unknown to the French, La Rivière de la Conception Immaculée. In 1632, the French missionary, martyr, and saint Isaac Jogues (1607-46) consecrated the territory that today more or less forms the state of New York to the Conception Immaculée. 9 The Jesuits who experienced martyrdom among the unbaptized Indians are commemorated as “North American Martyrs” at Our Lady of the Martyrs Shrine in Auriesville, New York State. 10 Spanish missionaries named what is now Chesapeake Bay, Bay of Santa Maria. 11 When the Spanish Crown ruled the city of New Orleans (1760-1800), every official had “to swear before God on the Holy Cross and the Gospels, to preserve and defend the mystery of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lady, the Virgin Mary, and also the royal jurisdiction to which I belong by virtue of my office.” 12 Arguably only since the second half of the twentieth century, most enduring for the Marian dimension of U.S. self-consciousness are the apparitions of Our Lady at Guadalupe in 1531. Appearing on the hill of Tepeyac, Our Lady, depicted as the Immaculata in the guise of a mestiza on a Tilma, replaced the pagan Aztec goddess Tonantzin. Churches were built everywhere in honor of the little dark virgin, La Morenita. When the priest Don Miguel Hidalgo y Castillo (1753-1811) called for revolt against Spain with the words, “Long live religion, long live our Most Holy Mother of Guadalupe, long live America and death to the bad government!” in 1810, he held aloft a flag with an image of the Immaculata, the Virgin of Guadalupe. 13 Each regiment of the insurgents carried into battle the flag of Our Lady of Guadalupe. But, understandably, until after Vatican II and the influx of countless Hispanics from Ibero-America, Guadalupe played a subordinate role in the self-perception of U.S. Catholics.


In retrospect, one must note that the discovery, reclamation, and nation-building on both American continents occurred under the auspices and protection of the exalted Theotokos. 14 Daniel Sargent would state in the twentieth century: The [vessel] Santa Maria connected the New World forever with the Old. She brought Europe's affair - the affair of the centuries, as St. Bernard called it - the Incarnation, Christ born of the Virgin Mary, to the New World. From then on, the New World was drawn into a drama from which she could never free herself. 15 The Theotokos and the United States The oldest city in the United States, St. Augustine in Florida, was founded by Spaniards, more precisely by Spanish Franciscan Friars, consciously on the Solemnity of the Nativity of Mary in 1565. Also the State of Maryland celebrates March 25th as “Maryland Day,” as the day this commonwealth was founded. 16 Arguably, Catholic colonists named the first English and (only) Catholic colony in what is now the United States of America Maryland in honor of Queen Mary Henriette, the Catholic consort of England's King Charles I. However, the day of the landing was deliberately selected to be March 25, 1634, the Feast of the Annunciation of Mary, and on that same day Jesuit Father Andrew White offered the first sacrifice of the Holy Mass on St. Clement’s Island. Catholic settlers soon settled on the b0anks of the newly named St. Mary's River and established the eponymous settlement of St. Mary's City, the first capital of the British colony of Maryland. 17 Garden of the Soul, was the most popular Catholic prayer book of the English tongue until about 1850, written by Bishop Richard Challoner (1691-1781) in 1740. It treated in extenso the obligatory Marian feasts. 18 The first U.S. bishop, the former Jesuit John Carroll (1735-1815), chose the solemnity of the Assumption of Mary as the day of his episcopal consecration, August 15, 1790, when he received the episcopal ordination at the Catholic-owned Lullworth Castle in Dorset, England. There he proclaimed Mary as patroness of his distant diocese, which at that time included all thirteen original states. He named the first Catholic cathedral in the United States, erected in Baltimore, Mary's Immaculate Conception. 19 Shortly thereafter, Sulpicians, fleeing the French Revolution, founded in 1791 the first American seminary, called St. Mary's Seminary, also in Baltimore. Numerous Spanish missionary foundations in the south or southwest of what is now the United States were also consecrated to the name of Our Lady, if not specifically to the Immaculata. 20 In his first circular letter in 1792, Bishop Carroll wrote to his scattered faithful: I shall only add this my earnest request, that to the exercise of the sublimest virtues, faith, hope and charity, you will join a fervent and well-regulated devotion to the Holy Mother of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. That you will place great confidence in her in all your necessities. Having chosen Her the special patroness of this Diocese, you are placed, of course, under Her powerful protection and it becomes your duty to be careful to deserve its continuance by a zealous imitation of Her virtues, and reliance on Her motherly superintendence. 21


Thus, U.S. Catholics had already had Our Lady as their de facto patroness since 1792. For Catholics who later settled in the vastness of the U.S. and reclaimed the land, she, Our Lady, naturally became the antithesis, the antinarrative to the Protestant narrative of the U.S. as “God's New Israel” or “the City on the Hill.” Even in isolated, hard-pressed mining towns, the first Catholic parish church was named in honor of Our Lady, such as Annunciation Church in Leadville, Colorado, or Saint Mary of the Mountains in Virginia City, Nevada. It is no wonder, then, that Bishop John Martin Spalding (1810-72) wrote in 1865: “The cold and sneering progressive, evangelical Protestantism which almost shudders at the very mention of Mary.” 22 The Immaculata in America From the beginning of their existence in the colonies and later in the United States, Catholics were often harassed by Protestants, socially marginalized, professionally disadvantaged, politically ignored, and not infrequently even physically attacked. Many sought refuge at Our Lady’s side. That is the motivation for John Baptist Purcell (1800-83), Bishop of Cincinnati, to propose in 1844 that the U.S. bishops jointly petition the Holy See that the Theotokos become officially the patroness of the United States under the title Mary Immaculate. This bishop was himself repeatedly threatened by angry Protestant mobs. 23 In January 1846, Sulpician Samuel Eccleston (1801-51), the fifth Archbishop of Baltimore, sent a circular letter to the American bishops with twelve topics he proposed be discussed during the upcoming sixth Provincial Council. Two of them dealt with the question of choosing the Immaculata as the patroness of the young nation. 24 On May 13, 1846, the twenty-three American bishops who had gathered for the Provincial Council in Baltimore, unanimously chose the Blessed Virgin Mary, conceived without sin, as the patroness of the still young United States of America. 25 In their esteem for the Blessed Mother under the title Immaculata, the bishops thus anticipated the Pius IX’s Bull Ineffabilis Deus by eight years. Among their first acts, and with unanimous and enthusiastic voice, they selected and proclaimed the “Blessed Virgin Mary, Conceived without Sin,” as patroness of the United States. ... In the fourth private session the fathers decided to ask the Holy See for the privilege of inserting in the office and the Mass of December 8 the word “Immaculate” and in the litany the invocation: “Queen conceived without original sin, pray for us.” 26 In a letter to the Catholics of the United States, all twenty-three bishops wrote: We take this occasion, brethren, to communicate to you the determination, unanimously adopted by us, to place ourselves and all entrusted to our charge throughout the United States, under the special patronage of the holy Mother of God, whose Immaculate Conception is venerated by the piety of the faithful throughout the Catholic Church. By the aid of her prayers, we entertain the confident hope that we will be strengthened to perform the arduous duties of our ministry, and that you will be enabled to practice the sublime virtues, of which her life presents the most perfect example. 27


This request received the enthusiastic papal placet by Pope Pius IX on February 7, 1847. On April 10, 1848, the first Mass form for the Immaculata, written especially for the United States, was approved. In 1849, the decree was joyfully published during the Seventh Provincial Council in Baltimore. 28 There Cardinal Giacomo Filippo Fransoni (1775-1856), Prefect of the Propaganda Fide, who had traveled from Rome expressly for this purpose, solemnly signed and authenticated this document. 29 The Provincial Council closed with the words, “Beatissimae Virgini Mariae, sine labe originali conceptae, horum Provinciorum Patronae, honor aeternus.” 30 A pastoral letter was specially approved for the occasion. This was composed by Archbishop Francis Patrick Kenrick (1796?-1863). In it he explained how the initially only pious opinion about the Immaculate Conception of Mary of countless Christians as well as the Church Fathers, both of the East and the West, gradually crystallized into a firm conviction of faith. Since the landing of Europeans in the New World, bishops and priests alike preached repeatedly on the theme of Mary and specifically on the Immaculata. One of the most eloquent proponents of the dogmatization of this title was the still Irish-born Archbishop of New York, John Hughes (1797-1864), known on account of his trenchant public utterances as "Dagger John."31 Sermons on this subject edified broad sections of Catholics. This enthusiasm was heightened by Pius IX's letter opening for the Jubilee Year of 1852. In it help was requested as to whether the pious opinion about Mary with the designation “Immaculata” should be elevated to a dogma. On this occasion, the Archbishop of St. Louis, Peter Richard Kenrick (1806-96), as well as his brother, the Archbishop of first Philadelphia, subsequently of Baltimore, Francis Patrick Kenrick, wrote a circular letter pointing out to clergy and lay people alike the importance of the Immaculata for a deeper understanding of the faith. In keeping with the general ductus of the times, the privileges of Mary are emphasized, and countless saints are cited to support the use of this title. This can be seen in the writings and homilies of St. John Neumann (1811-60), Archbishop of Philadelphia, or John Baptist Purcell, Archbishop of Cincinnati, among others. Three American archbishops and three bishops undertook the then arduous journey to Rome to participate in the theological discussions leading up to and following the solemn dogmatization of the Immaculata. Important representatives of the famous Roman School of Theology, such as Carlo Passaglia (1812-87) and Giovanni Perrone (1794-1876), were their interlocutors in the eternal city. 32 John Timon (1797-1867), first Bishop of Buffalo, New York reports: These Bishops, of different nations, languages and race, but all using the one language of the Church, spoke, as in the presence of God, with humility, cordial deference, and charity. The perfect unanimity of faith, the deep devotion to the center of Catholic unity, were shown in forms so touching, that at the last day of our meeting the Cardinals who presided and the Bishops were moved to tears: it seemed as if the sacred dogma of unity, one faith, one life, one sympathy and one love, in all the members (however scattered) of the mystic body of Christ, was there rather an object seen and felt, than an [abstract] article of faith. 33 The faith of Catholics in the U.S. experienced an unprecedented high point and - in a sense - a powerful confirmation in the Dogma of 1854. Despite and precisely because often persecuted and ghettoized by Protestants and nativists, Catholics were confident of being part of a supernatural splendor and transcendent truth to which their sober, Calvinist-influenced, Yankee-pragmatic environment was blind.


Conclusion On the eve of the U.S. Civil War (1861-65), there are believed to have been at least 679 churches dedicated to Our Lady in the United States; of these, 145 were dedicated to the Immaculata. 34 The priest and professor of rhetoric and “Belles Lettres,” Xavier Donald MacLeod (17961872) stated: “We are prepared to believe that there is no ancient Catholic country in Europe, that there has never been a country in which reverent love and earnest, fervent devotion to Our Lady is more deeply rooted, more ardently cherished, or more fervently and fruitfully practiced than in this very North America. It [this Marian devotion] is unobtrusive, but it is real.” 35 On the canvas of such rich and fervent Marian spirituality it does not come as a surprise that the Deipara did appear surrounded by a bright light, clothed in dazzling white with a yellow sash around her waist and a crown of stars above her flowing blond locks to a Belgian emigrant woman, Adèle Joseph Brise (1830-96), in Champion, Wisconsin three times in October of 1859. These apparitions were since ecclesiastically approved (2010). It is the first and only Marian apparition site approved by the Church in the United States of America. 36 This unshakeable faith of US Catholics in the Marian genius will find in the twentieth century a most eloquent architectural expression in the magnificent Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in the nation’s capital, Washington, DC. 37 Upon such Marian background Christians in the United States of the twenty-first century may look confidently into the future.

“List of Catholic Churches in the United States,” List_of_Catholic_churches_in_the_United_States. 2 See the classic text: Hubert Jedin, ed., Reformation: Katholische Reform und Gegenreformation, vol. 5, (Freiburg i Br.: Herder, 1999). 3 See Dorian Llywelyn SJ, “Mary and Mariology,” Oxford Handbooks Online (June 2016), pp. 24f, 4 Emery de Gaál, “The Marian Connection between the Americas and Europe: Our Lady of Guadalupe, 1300-1900,” in Marian Studies vol. 62 (2011), pp. 30-45. See /viewcontent.cgi?article=1256&context=marian_studies. 5 Daniel Sargent, Our Land and Our Lady (New York: Longsman, Green and Co., 1939), pp. 62f. See Mary Christine Athens, “Mary in the American Catholic Church,” in U.S Catholic Historian 8/4 1989), pp. 103-116. 6 Luis Weckmann, Las bulas alejandrinas de 1493 y la teoría política del Papado medieval: estudio de la supremacía papal sobre las islas (Mexico City: Instituto de Historia, 1949). 7 Jaima Chevalier, La Conquistadora: Unveiling the History of Santa Fe's Six-Hundred-Year-Old Religious Icon (Santa Fe, NM: Sunstone Press, 2010). 8 Sue Houser, La Conquistadora: The Story of the Oldest Statue of the Virgin Mary in the United States (Santa Fe, MN: Sunstone Press, 2011), p. 13. Alas, one must add that Don Diego later turned quite imperious which led to a poisoning of the relationship between the Native Americans and the Spanish. 9 Wilfrid Parsons, “Marian Devotions in the Early United States,” in Marian Studies 3 (1952), pp. 236-250, at pp. 239f. 10 Ibid., 239. 11 Ibid. 12 Ibid., 240. 13 See Linda B. Hall, Mary, Mother and Warrior: The Virgin in Spain and the Americas. (Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 2004). 1


14 Xavier D. MacLeod, “Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary in North America,” in Ave Maria 1 (July 15, 1865), p. 145. 15 Sargent, Our Land and Our Lady, p. 1. 16 See I express my gratitude to Dr. Gloria Falcão Dodd, Director of Academic Programs, International Marian Research Institute, at the University of Dayton, for alerting me to the current importance of this day. 17 James Hennessey, SJ, American Catholics (New York: Oxford University Press, 1981), pp. 37-40. Jay P. Dolan, The American Catholic Experience (Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press, 1992), pp. 71-76. John Gilmary Shea, “A Century of Catholicity in the United States,” in Ave Maria XXIX (November 1889), p. 433. 18 Parsons, “Marian Devotion,” p. 236. 19 No author or editor, Centenary, 1853-1953, St. Mary’s Parish, (Annapolis, MD: no publisher, 1953), pp. 15f. 20 John Gilmary Shea, A History of the Catholic Church in the United States, 1843-1866 (New York: Shea, 1892), pp. 346f. 21 U.S. Catholic Bishops, Behold Your Mother, Woman of Faith, (Washington, DC: US Bishops’ Conference, 1973) p. 54. 22 John Martin Spalding, D.D., “Introduction,” in Ave Maria I (1865), p. 1. 23 Pierre-Joseph de Smet, S.J., Lettres Choisies du Reverend Père Jean de Smet, Bd. II (Bruxelles: no publisher, 1875), pp. 254f. 24 Mary Benigna Kearney, SSND, The American Hierarchy and the Definition of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, typed Diss. (Washington, DC: Catholic University of America, 1954), p. 27. 25 Archdiocese of Baltimore, Concilia provincialia, Baltimori habita ab anno 1829 usque ad annum 1849, (Baltimore, MD: J. Murphy, 1851), pp. 255-256. Sanctis Congregationis Generalis de Propaganda Fide Quo Deipara Virgo, Sine Labe Originali Concepta, Septentrionalis Americae Foederatae Provincialum Patrona Instituitur. 26 Kearney, The American Hierarchy and the Definition of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception, pp. 28f. See U.S. Catholic, Baltimore, V, 8 (August 1846), pp. 440f. 27 Ricard J. Cushing, “Mary Immaculate, Patroness of America,” 28 See Marion M. Habig, OFM, “Land of Mary Immaculate,” The American Ecclesiastic Review (1954), 29 William Fanning, “Provincial Councils of Baltimore,” The Catholic Encyclopedia 2 (New York: Robert Appleton Company, 1907). See Fransoni ordained St. John Henry Newman to the priesthood; see 30 Peter Guilday, History of the Councils of Baltimore (1791-1884), (New York: MacMillan, 1932), p. 159. 31 Lawrence Kehoe, ed., Complete Works of Most Rev. John Hughes, D.D., 2 vols. (New York: Kehoe, 1865). 32 Kearney, The American Hierarchy, p. 57, fn. 1. 33 Charles G. Deuther, The Life and Times of the Right Reverend John Timon, D.D., The First Roman Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Buffalo, (New York: own imprint, 1870), p. 232. 34 Parson, “Marian Devotion,” p. 242. 35 Xavier Donald MacLeod, History of the Devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary in North America (New York: Virtue & Yorston, 1866), p. 22. 36 See Sr. Dominica, OSF, The Chapel, Our Lady of Good Help: A Shrine of Our Lady on Green Bay Peninsula (Green Bay, WI: Sisters of St. Francis of the Cross, 1981). 37 See Gregory W. Tucker, America’s Church: The Basilica of the of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Huntington, IN: Our Sunday Visitor, 2000).


John Paul II’s Theology of the Body and the Gift of Children1 By Angela Franks, Ph.D. Context We tend to think that the context for contemporary Catholic moral analyses concerning children begins circa 1968, with the crisis of the sexual revolution. Certainly, the magisterium of the Catholic Church did not engage questions of sexual ethics in any sustained way prior to the twentieth century (and then mostly in its latter half). These teachings indicate a development of doctrine, in the sense of applying Catholic teaching to new questions. Those new questions did not emerge only in the 1960s, however, nor were they simply driven by the arrival of hormonal contraception. Rather the reverse: The technological advances were enabled by a novel ideology, one that predated the technology by about eighty years. 2 The rise of eugenics followed by the organized Neo-Malthusian movement in the last decades of the nineteenth century promoted “quality, not quantity” when it came to children: eugenic quality instead of population quantity. Birth control was first promoted in a widespread way not by sexual revolutionaries but by eugenic population controllers. Even America’s homegrown sexual free-thinker, Margaret Sanger (founder of Planned Parenthood), only began to focus on contraception as a result of her tutelage by sexologist and Neo-Malthusian Havelock Ellis in the early 1910s. Some in the Catholic hierarchy, at least in America, were alert to the confluence of ideologies behind the promotion of contraception already in the 1910s and 1920s, with the bishops’ spokesman, Fr. John Ryan, speaking out against both eugenics and contraception. By the 1920s, the eugenic population-control movement had won over the intelligentsia in the Anglo-American world and had begun to embrace openly the eugenic solution of contraception or, even, eugenic sterilization (enabled by the Supreme Court in Buck v Bell, 1927: “three generations of imbeciles are enough”). When the Anglican bishops at Lambeth met in 1930 and decided to alter Anglican teaching on the issue—the first time any Christian denomination was to do so—eugenic exigencies were among those mentioned in the debate as a rationale for the change. This background is important for understanding why Pius XI felt impelled to reaffirm Catholic teaching on contraception in the 1931 encyclical Casti Connubii. Obviously, that encyclical did not quiet the debate. Eugenic population control motivated activists to siphon Rockefeller money into the Population Council and other organizations to promote research into contraception. 3 Nobody needed to invent “the lust of the flesh” (I Jn 2:16), but the sexual revolution of the 1960s happened when it did in part because of these larger societal factors; ideology preceded technology. Neo-Malthusianism was served if sex’s purpose was recreation, not procreation. Hormonal contraception in particular fueled the precise debate to which Paul VI responded in 1968 with the encyclical Humanae Vitae. The young intellectual Karol Cardinal Wojtyła was asked to be on the commission of theologians that advised the pope, although he could not make its final meeting due to visa problems. Humanae Vitae bucked the commission and affirmed traditional Catholic teaching on the matter. Only in its aftermath was open theological dissent on a whole range of issues normalized in Catholic universities. What is less well-known is how the upheaval roiled the daily life of priests. J. Francis Cardinal Stafford harrowingly describes the fall-


out in his moving piece, “The Year of the Peirasmós—1968,” published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano on July 25, 2008: “In 1968 something terrible happened in the Church. Within the ministerial priesthood ruptures developed everywhere among friends which never healed.” This crisis—ecclesial as well as cultural—provided the impetus for Wojtyła to write the theology of the body. He had previously written Love and Responsibility (1960), anticipating the developments that fully erupted only in the following decade. Wojtyła saw that the contemporary problematic of contraception and marital fruitfulness could not be addressed with a narrow focus on sexual ethics. The new, eugenic ideas behind the modern promotion of contraception, combined with Marxist materialism either intellectually ascendant or actually politically enacted, helped to form a whole culture of death, with an ideology corresponding to it.4 Those ideas denied fundamental Christian convictions concerning human dignity—what it meant to be a rational, free, and flourishing human being—and society—what genuine social justice and progress might be. Already in 1960, Wojtyła reframed chastity from being a subspecies of temperance to one of justice perfected in love. 5 The traditional approach of analyzing sex as an isolated moral act, while not incorrect, was insufficient to meet the contemporary mission field. The development of doctrine that he would undertake as pope would affirm traditional teaching but also situate children and the family within the larger contexts of theological anthropology and Catholic social teaching. The Body Reveals the Person At the very end of the massive “theology of the body,” John Paul II notes that the questions raised by Humanae Vitae inspired the whole work (133:4, p. 662). While presenting an adequate anthropology for Humanae Vitae is the motive, discussion of contraception nevertheless makes up a tiny portion of the text (about 4%). The bulk of the text is dedicated to presenting a biblical anthropology of the human being as male and female by means of close exegesis. 6 Two foundational ideas are at the root of the theology of the body. The first is that the body expresses the person. The second is that the human being is made for and can only be fulfilled in self-gift. What I will call foundational idea #1 is the less-noticed but more fundamental thesis of the theology of the body. In asserting that, as 9:4 has it, “the body reveals man,” John Paul II is expressing a deeply aesthetic view of the body. 7 To see why, it is helpful to contrast the prevailing view of the body namely, that it is a detachable tool of the self. Eugenics views fertility as a kind of extraneous accident, one that hinders personal and societal progress rather than being organically connected to such progress. Transgenderism requires that there be no intrinsic link between the body and the person, such that the body first needs to be modified technologically in order to be capable of expressing the singular uniqueness of the person. For John Paul II, in contrast, the body’s role is precisely to be expression, to reveal the depth of the person, and it always does this, even without our conscious intervention. A corollary of foundational idea #1 is that the body is never the problem, in the deepest sense of the word. Transgenderism, again, implies that the body’s “wrongness” is the problem, and a bodily problem requires a technological solution. For John Paul II, the body is never the problem, because it simply expresses what is in the heart. The problem is the heart, and the solution is conversion. Our ability to welcome children is not a technological issue of the body but rather a spiritual matter of the heart. Any other approach illegitimately attempts to wrest salvation through technological means. As he says, drawing on Humanae Vitae,


The extension of the sphere of the means of “the domination … of the forces of nature” threatens the human person for whom the method of “self-mastery” is and remains specific. It—that is, self-mastery—corresponds in fact to the fundamental constitution of the person: it is a perfectly “natural” method. The transposition of “artificial means,” by contrast, breaks the constitutive dimension of the person, deprives man of the subjectivity proper to him, and turns him into an object of manipulation. (123:1, p. 631) 8 What John Paul II calls for, in other words, is self-control, rather than birth-control. Only self-mastery is suitable to the free and intelligent nature of the human person. Self-Gift Foundational idea #2 is better known. John Paul II names it the “spousal meaning of the body,” namely, that the body itself has a meaning: that man is made for self-gift. 9 The immediate source of this conviction is the Dogmatic Constitution Gaudium et Spes from the Second Vatican Council (24:3). 10 In developing the spousal meaning of the body, John Paul II argues that the body acts as a “primordial sacrament,” which he defines as “a sign that efficaciously transmits in the visible world the invisible mystery hidden in God from eternity” (19:4, p. 203). Here again the aesthetic purpose of the body is clear. “The body, in fact, and only the body, is capable of making visible what is invisible: the spiritual and the divine. It has been created to transfer into the visible reality of the world the mystery hidden from eternity in God and thus to be a sign of it” (ibid.). Thus, the body’s ultimate purpose, in all the areas of corporeal existence, is to express the self-gift that makes us imitators of the Divine Giver. This aesthetic and quasi-sacramental nature of the body undergirds the more specific task of living an ethical sexual life. Rereading the Language of the Body in the Truth This sacramental nature returns in the final major section of the theology of the body, where John Paul II turns to the sacrament of matrimony. He addresses each of the two aspects of a sacrament (visible sign and invisible grace). In beginning with sign, he re-emphasizes Foundational Idea #1, that the body reveals the person. This revelation is “prophetic” in nature: “the human body speaks a ‘language’ of which it is not the author. Its author is man, as male or female … man is in some sense unable to express this singular language of his personal existence and vocation without the body” (104:7, p. 537). But one may speak truth or falsehoods. Because the body speaks, he argues that, while “good” and “evil” are essential ethical categories for understanding bodily life, they should be supplemented with those of “truth” and “falsity.” “[T]he body tells the truth through its faithfulness and conjugal love, and, when it commits ‘adultery’ it tells a lie, it commits falsehood” (104:8, p. 538). Here he invokes the spousal meaning of the body. If the body has a meaning (that we are made for self-gift), then our embodied activity can be either in accord with it (“true”) or in violation of it (“false”). This leads him to postulate one of his many neologisms, namely, “the ‘language of the body’ reread in the truth” (105:1-6, pp. 538-542). After the Fall, we cannot simply “read” off the meaning of the body, as in the Garden, but must “reread” it (i.e., it’s difficult now). From all of


this, it follows that John Paul II would name the act of generously and prudently accepting children from God “responsible” or “conscious” parenthood. Procreation is a fully personal reality, which means that it is meant to involve the mind and heart as well as the body. It is meant to be the action of mature and responsible human beings, that is, persons who have correctly “reread” the meaning of their bodies as means of self-gift. “Conscious parenthood” is not the same thing as “planned parenthood” of course; one need not directly will the conception of a child (if that is even possible). Conscious parenthood also allows for using periodic continence to avoid pregnancy, even “indefinitely,” if discernment so indicates. The key for John Paul II is that these various responses to one’s fertility involve a fundamental receptivity to the innately procreative orientation of sexuality rather than a Promethean rejection of it. Knowledge and Procreation The intelligent and responsible engagement with our fertility is unpacked further in the part that treats our topic of children most directly. The theology of the body is not notable for its clarity, and this section, “Knowledge and Procreation” (20:1-22:7, pp. 204-218), is more obscure than most. A few points are easily discerned: even though the account of Eve’s pregnancy with Cain comes after the Fall— “Adam knew Eve his wife, who conceived and gave birth to Cain and said, ‘I have acquired a man from the Lord’” (Gen 4:1)—John Paul II does not take sexuality and reproduction to be post-lapsarian emergency remedies (pace some Church fathers). Rather he ties procreation to the (pre-lapsarian) fruitfulness commanded in Gen 1:27-28. He also sees the language of Gen 4:1, that Adam knew his wife, to be significant and not just a quaint archaism. What that significance is, however, is somewhat mysterious, but at the very least the text finds exegetical support for the truly personal quality of procreation. John Paul II argues that the use of “knowledge” for sexual relations in Genesis “raises the conjugal relation of man and woman … and brings it into the specific dimension of the persons” (20:3, p. 206). The truth that the “knowledge” of sexuality engages the whole person distinguishes man from the other animals. Further, the spouses know each other not as generic humans nor simply as male and female but also as concrete and unrepeatable persons (20:5, p. 208). 11 Procreation is a special opportunity in spousal life for the man and the woman to “know each other reciprocally in the ‘third’ [the child], originated by both” (21:4, p. 211). John Paul II returns to the post-lapsarian context of Gen 4:1 by tying the knowledge connected to procreation to the horizon of death contracted through the Fall. 12 In man’s concrete history, the consciousness of the fruitfulness of the body is bound up with the consciousness of death, yet in the “knowledge-generation cycle,” “life struggles always anew with the inexorable prospect of death, and always overcomes it” (22:7, p. 218). What we might gather from this passage for our purposes is this: The language of “knowledge” underlines that reproduction is not a merely biological matter but is a fully personal one. Recall the first foundational idea: The body expresses the person. The pregnant body does this in an “archetypal” way. John Paul II argues that the pre-lapsarian Adam and Eve were able to come to a deeper knowledge of themselves and of one another through rather than in spite of procreation; Adam now knows himself as father and Eve as mother, and vice versa, as givers of life in the image of God the Creator-Giver. “The first woman to give birth has full awareness of the mystery of creation, which renews itself in human generation” (21:6, p. 213). The point is sharpened by considering the alternative. To get Freudian for a moment (which John Paul II does not do): Without such personal maturity, grounded in reality, the coming of


children takes on a distorted, symbolic weight. In particular, the child becomes the symbol of the loss of personal autonomy, and rather than addressing this unthinkable problem, we scapegoat the child. This might help explain how, in our culture of death, we have the simultaneous cophenomenon of burdensome helicopter parenting. 13 Children are fixed within the self-referential orbit of the adult; they serve the adult psyche rather than being their own realities. Against such unconscious-symbolic dysfunction, John Paul II advocates conscious and mature personal functioning. To wit, fertility is not chaotic res extensa, à la Descartes, which must be managed by free-floating res cogitans, and children are not the revolt of matter against our freedom. His alternative to such debased Cartesianism requires us to recognize procreative potential as innate to our bodily make-up and to understand that this potential serves rather than violates our intelligence and freedom. Thus, personal fulfillment only can be achieved by responsible and mature persons who accept rather than battle their psycho-somatic reality and who live out self-gift in the different aspects of their vocations. When this occurs, the body “speaks” the truth of God and his love in a quasi-sacramental way. This interpretation of the theology of the body locates it more organically within the major concerns of John Paul II’s thought as a whole, in particular the question of freedom and the dignity of man. The narrative proposed by the twentieth century, by contrast, scapegoats fertility and hence children as roadblocks to personal and societal progress. In response, John Paul II’s theology of the body attempts to show how the body, particularly in its relational and procreative potential, is the expression of human freedom and is oriented to building up the common good through selfgift. Summary of Key Points and Applications I have argued here that, historically, the anti-child ideology of eugenic population control has been an important driver in changing attitudes about sexuality and children. This ideology scapegoated human fertility and impelled the development of contraceptive technology. Eugenics and contraception are therefore a woman’s issue, properly understood (although not only that). Attacking children invariably means scapegoating the fertile female body for personal and social ills, as happened very destructively through the efforts of population control. But the body is not the problem! In contrast to the governing ethos, Catholic teaching in general and John Paul II’s theology of the body in particular argue that the body with its naturally given fertility is not the problem; disordered desire is. Such desire can lead us to misunderstand what is real. Sex is oriented to reproduction; if we ignore this reality, we are not in the truth. We are delusional, even. If, instead of seeing children as the natural result of sex, we see them as an aberration, then we always will be unprepared to accept them, and we open ourselves to crisis and trauma if conception occurs. (This appears to be one reason why increased contraceptive use among adolescents is correlated with increased abortion.) For this reason, the utilization of a vocabulary of truth/honesty and falsity/lying rather than (only) that of good/evil can be ethically useful. It prompts us to ask: Am I in touch with reality in my sexual life? Or am I deceiving myself and my partner? I would argue, lastly, that normalizing children means also normalizing parenting. Instead of its destruction, female fertility requires social support. When children are normalized, women find their fertility less threatening and can develop a healthier, more accepting attitude toward their own bodies, not to mention a saner approach to parenting. Parenthood involves great sacrifice, absolutely, but it really is different in kind, not in amount, from that demanded by other states of


life. All human flourishing involves self-gift. Many people think that, by opting out of parenting, they are buying a ticket for a sacrifice-free life, or vice versa, that signing up for parenting means signing up for more sacrifice than they otherwise would face. It is true that children demand very concrete assistance from their parents, who otherwise might not be stretched in this way. But any human life well-lived, whether married, single, or consecrated religious, entails generosity and sacrifice. In contrast to the contemporary desire for an unattainable autonomy, John Paul II advocates the primacy of gift. Personal fulfillment is found not in taking but in giving, not in things but in love. Children teach us this in an incomparable way. The eugenic scapegoating of fertility misunderstands the fulfillment that comes through doing difficult things for the sake of the other. The theology of the body helps us to understand how the body is the means and the revelation of our ability for such human flourishing through self-gift.

This paper originally was presented to Evangelicals and Catholics Together in 2017. In presenting this overview of John Paul II’s thought on children, I am adhering closely to the theology of the body and its immediate conceptual predecessor (Love and Responsibility [1960], trans. Grzegorz Ignatik [Boston: Pauline Books and Media, 2013]). The picture would need to be filled out by his thoughts on the family (“Letter to Families”), the laity (Christifidelis Laici), and the Gospel and culture of life (Evangelium Vitae), as well as his many writings on women (in particular, Mulieris Dignitatem). 2 The following summarizes briefly the extensive history documented in my Margaret Sanger’s Eugenic Legacy: The Control of Female Fertility (McFarland, 2006). 3 The eugenic dilemma: The supposedly unintelligent, impoverished “unfit” who most “need” birth control are the least likely to want and be able to use it (especially the awkward and unreliable barrier methods). The holy grail was the elusive “simple method,” which had to be cheap, easy, and available for mass distribution in the developing world. The Population-Council-developed IUD checked the boxes, especially the last, given that it is not woman-controlled but doctor-controlled. (What happens if a rural Indian woman changes her mind and wants it removed? Probably nothing.) The Pill was the best bet for the developed world, but eugenic population control motivated the funding even for that. 4 His awareness of the ideology of eugenic population control is seen in, e.g., Christifidelis Laici §40’s reference to “the anti-birth campaign” as well as numerous interventions by the Holy See during his pontificate in various UN population initiatives. 5 In the theology of the body, which is a magisterial and not private work, he returns to placing continence as a sub-species of temperance (128:1, p. 644) but then reorients it both as a virtue and also as a gift of the Holy Spirit. As the latter, it is connected, he believes, to the gift of piety, using 1 Thess 4:3-5 (“keep [your] own body with holiness and reverence”) (see 53:3-54:4, pp. 340-344). References to the theology of the body will draw on the translation and edition prepared by Michael Waldstein, published as Man and Woman He Created Them: A Theology of the Body (Boston: Pauline Books and Media, 2006). Parenthetical references will refer to the audience talk, followed by the paragraph number after the colon, followed by the page number in the Waldstein edition. Unless otherwise noted, all emphasis is in the original. 6 At 133:2-3 (pp. 661-662), he quotes his exhortation Familiaris Consortio on need for theologians to take up the “biblical and personalistic aspects” of Humanae Vitae, an exhortation which he himself obeys in the theology of the body. 7 I do not have the space to develop this here, but I use the term “aesthetic” in according with Hans Urs von Balthasar’s theological aesthetics, in which the aesthetic dynamism is the expressive movement from depth to appearance. 8 In order to develop such self-mastery, which protects one from using one’s spouse for selfish purposes, John Paul II advocates periodic continence for all married couples, not only for those seeking to avoid pregnancy (127:4-132:6, pp. 643-657). The fact that this call did not arouse outrage in the theological academy can only be due to the delicacy with which the pope proposes it and (more importantly) to the fact that it comes at the end of a very long work that few people have read all the way through. 1


Developed especially in 13:2-19:6 (pp. 178-204), but constantly recurring through the work. Gaudium et Spes 24:3 reads: “Indeed, the Lord Jesus, when He prayed to the Father, ‘that all may be one. . . as we are one’ (John 17:21-22) opened up vistas closed to human reason, for He implied a certain likeness between the union of the divine Persons, and the unity of God's sons in truth and charity. This likeness reveals that man, who is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself, cannot fully find himself except through a sincere gift of himself.” 11 He calls this knowledge “a kind of personal archetype of human bodiliness,” and a footnote at this point, citing Jung, explains that he means by “archetype” a “proto-image (Urbild)” that is “generator of images (Bilder)” (21:1, with footnote 32, pp. 208-209). 12 Here he seems to give a nod to the patristic interpretations that tie the fall to procreation: When man is cut off from the tree of life (Gen 3:21), “the life given to man in the mystery of creation is not taken away, but restricted by the limit of conceptions, of births, and of death, and further worsened by the perspective of hereditary sinfulness; yet it is in some way given to him anew as a task in the same ever-recurring cycle” (22:5, p. 217, emphasis mine). 13 See Angela Franks, “The Body as Totem in the Asexual Revolution.” Church Life Journal (University of Notre Dame McGrath Institute), January 21, 2021,, on the totemic power of the body and, by extension, children. Totems identify, fascinate, distract, and, in the end, are sacrificed. 9



Holiness and Humility: Insights on Preaching from St. John Henry Newman’s Parochial and Plain Sermons 1 By Elisabeth Rain Kincaid, Ph.D.

In Pride and Prejudice, published in 1813, Jane Austen, herself a clergyman’s daughter, penned a searing parody of a Church of England clergyman by creating the bumbling and selfimportant Mr. Collins. Mr. Collins is distinguished by his consuming desire to abase himself before those of superior social status – especially those who enjoy some type of connection with his “patroness,” Lady Catherine de Borough. Despite Elizabeth Bennett’s attempt to dissuade him, Mr. Collins persists in his attempt to pay homage to Lady Catherine’s nephew, Mr. Darcy, on the ground that his clerical status exempts him from the normal delineation of social status. My dear Miss Elizabeth, I have the highest opinion in the world of your excellent judgment in all matters within the scope of your understanding, but permit me to say that there must be a wide difference between the established forms of ceremony amongst the laity, and those which regulate the clergy; for give me leave to observe that I consider the clerical office as equal in point of dignity with the highest rank in the kingdom -- provided that a proper humility of behavior is at the same time maintained. You must therefore allow me to follow the dictates of my conscience on this occasion, which leads me to perform what I look on as a point of duty. 2 Of course, Mr. Darcy’s response of confusion, followed by sardonic coldness, illustrates how illusionary Mr. Collin’s assumptions of clerical status are. Even more tellingly, through the course of the novel, we see that this misunderstanding regarding his social role stems from the moral failures of character of Mr. Collins – whose social pretentions result in unkindness to those whom he considers as lower in social status, and obsequiousness without limits to those whom he perceives as occupying a higher status. Twenty years after Jane Austen published Pride and Prejudice, another Anglican cleric stepped into the pulpit of St. Mary’s the Virgin University Church, Oxford. In a series of homilies from 1834 to 1836, John Henry Newman called upon his parishioners to reject the false morality of ordinary “moral respectability,” so perfectly exemplified by Mr. Collins’ pride and prejudice, in favor of pursuing a transformed life of holiness and humility. In this paper, I argue that careful reading of Newman’s arrangement of these sermons into the first three volumes of the Parochial and Plain Sermons, taken in the context of Newman’s own preaching context and theories of preaching, provides important insights into how preaching contributes to the transformation of the individual and the renewal of the church. Preaching and The Challenges of Church Renewal In crafting these sermons, Newman was well aware that he preached to a rapidly changing world, in a church which appeared to have failed to answer the challenges of the modern age and to be locked into a permanent spiral of decline. Newman, along with his colleagues in the nascent Oxford Movement, was not prepared to accept that the church was doomed by the spirit of the age. However, he believed that any of the solutions currently on the table in the church of England were inadequate for reform: whether the “intellectual heterodoxy” of the intelligentsia, the


“comfortable” complaisance of the wealthy and the bourgeois, or even the evangelical revival movement in which he had experienced his own youthful conversion. 3 The approach of the cultural conformists or cultural despisers of religion was characterized by shared convictions and shared results. The loss of confidence in divine revelation led a rejection of the church’s transcendent nature which in turn led to an understanding of the church as only a social institution training average citizens in the “ordinary moral respectability” of their day. 4 In other words, as Cyril O’Regan points out, the moral “benchmark was no longer provided by the best, but by the average person with average forms of virtue and vice.” 5 If God is not holy, then worship loses its deep theological significance. If this holiness can never be ours, then the historic moral practices of the Christian faith are merely oppressive relics of past, primitive perceptions of God. This loss of the transcendent often was replaced by an attempt at self-transformation or even self-transcendence. Although in a more minor key than much of the optimism of the age, this change is captured in haunting form in Matthew Arnold’s famous poem, on Dover Beach. Arnold describes the vacuum left by the “melancholy, long, withdrawing roar” of the “sea of faith.” 6 All that he can offer in substitute is the romantic love between two individuals confronting the bleak reality of a world which now possesses “neither joy, nor love, nor light, nor certitude, nor peace, nor help for pain.” 7 Newman also believed that the Evangelical wing of the Church of England lacked the resources for true reform and revitalization. While evangelicals stressed the importance of good morals in everyday life, they also argued against any claim that the redeemed might be transformed through the sacraments, that they might contribute to their own justification, and that they could ever share in Christ’s righteousness in any actual (not simply imputed) way. 8 Thus, for evangelicals, sacraments could never be more than simply ritual and memorial, rather than enacting a real transformation in the here and now. Correlatively, the church itself might be a site for divine action, but it lacked a sacramental reality and spiritual value as a visible institution itself. Newman found both the evangelical understanding of the church as the instrument of individual salvation and the liberal view of the church as the supporter of civic morals to be insufficient to answer the challenges of the day. Rather, in his Anglican writing and preaching, he argued for the retrieval of the catholic understanding of the church as the visible community in which a Christian “enters into the heavenly world of the Saints” and where she encounters “Jesus Christ, evidently set forth, crucified among us.” 9 In the church, transformation actually will happen. There, the Christian “will grow in time into a different man from what he was, God working in him. His heart will be more heavenly and aspiring.” 10 In other words, the Christian is called to true transformation in the life of holiness: not simply to conversion or to formation according to society’s vision of the good. 11 Although the true power of regeneration within the church is of course the work of God, the priest plays a crucial role in the process of transformation. He not only has the responsibility to grow towards his own holiness as a Christian, but to be the director, the guide, the imperfect “appointed channel by which the Particular Gospel blessings are to be conveyed to mankind.” 12 Newman provides a more explicit description of the role of the priest as preacher who leads others to grow in holiness in his analysis of university preaching in The Idea of a University. In this essay, it is clear that, despite the intervening years since his Anglican sermons, he still understood preaching as a rejection of the two cultural alternatives described above and as offering true training in holiness. He begins by identifying one necessary thing for a university preacher: “an intense perception and appreciation of the end for which he preaches, and that is, to be the minister of some definite spiritual good to those who hear him.” 13 This goal is more important to


good preaching than all the research, knowledge and or preaching techniques that a preacher might acquire. Study and research only are useful for a preacher if they are aimed at this end; otherwise, they simply lead to a display of knowledge that fails to change the hearers. Technique which depends on “mere sympathy….to transfer an emotion or sentiment from mind to mind” will not succeed in leaving any type of permanent mark on the mind of the hearer. 14 In contrast, the preacher who seeks to convey some true definite spiritual good will “imprint on the heart what will never leave it.” 15 This goal is given specificity by the preacher’s awareness that he preaches “not for the instruction of the whole world, but directly for the sake of those very persons who are before him. He is, when in the pulpit, instructing, enlightening, informing, advancing, sanctifying, not all nations, nor all classes, nor all callings, but those particular ranks, professions, states, ages, characters, which have gathered around him.” 16 While the proof of divine glory does not vary based on hearers, the “persuasion” to a life enacting God’s glory will vary widely and the wise preacher will appropriately orient his preaching to proper persuasion based on context, not just proof. 17 Newman himself was well known for practicing in his own preaching what he preached about preaching. His presentation was reputedly technically poor – consisting of reading from a manuscript without inflection or expression. 18 He eschewed any attempt at a more typical evangelical preaching style filled with drama, pathos, or charisma – anything which might create an affective response instead of focusing the hearer on the spiritual good being conveyed. “Newman understood his influence to flow from his service as a priest of the Church who ministered the sacraments according to the ‘divinely ordered system,’ not from emotional preaching for conversion.” 19 However, this ascetic approach to preaching did not lessen his appeal. In fact, Matthew Arnold, despite his own rejection of traditional Christianity, described Newman as one of the greatest orators of the age. 20 Part of this success undoubtedly was due to how well he followed his fourth item on the list of instructions above. Newman preached as one who intimately understood the lives and experiences of his hearers. “Shairp noted ‘[h]is power showed itself chiefly in the new and unlooked-for way in which he touched into life truths, moral or spiritual, which all Christians acknowledged…. He laid his finger… on some inner place in the hearer’s heart, and told him things about himself he had never known till then.’” 21 In the rest of this essay, I will argue that careful reading of Newman’s Parochial and Plain Sermons, taking into account Newman’s arrangement of the sermons, provides a performative example of how the preacher should convey this definite spiritual goal through preaching which explains, exhorts, and models holiness and humility. Holiness and Humility Volume 1 – Doctrines of Holiness First, Newman is convinced that this crucial doctrine regarding the Christian call to holiness can and must be transmitted through preaching, not simply confined to academic study of theology. In volume 1, Newman uses his preaching to challenge the hearers and the priest himself to pursue holiness. This approach is not based on some liberal assumption of human progress or possibility. In fact, “the sermons strongly advocate self-examination in the interest of selfknowledge” and are characterized throughout by what might be termed a “persistent realism,” even “severity” about the human condition and temptation to sin. 22 However, the message which accompanies this realism is hopeful – providing a contrasting picture of true happiness and


fulfillment through holiness in contrast to the false simulacrum of autonomous happiness on offer by the morality of the day. In Sermon 1, Newman focuses on the end of eternal life, and the theme of human happiness. 23 “Even supposing a man of unholy life were suffered to enter heaven, he would not be happy there so that it would be no mercy to permit him to enter.” 24 This is not surprising, since we see that spiritual ends do not make the unsanctified happy in this life either. Here, in line with traditional virtue theory, Newman argues that the goal of holiness is, in fact, our happiness: not an earthly happiness, but our true happiness, namely union with God. Having established the goal, in Sermon 2 Newman lays out the difficulties. In our unsanctified nature, we do not understand truly what it means to have an immortal soul. We have to change and become people who strive not simply toward the natural ends of our physicality but toward supernatural ends. This will require suffering and relinquishment: all things that we have to learn are difficult at first; and our duties to God and to man for His sake, are peculiarly difficult, because they call upon us to take up a new life and quit the love of this world for the next. No one can have his heart cut away from the natural objects of its love, without pain in the process and throbbing afterwards …. [R]eligion is in itself at first a weariness of the world mind, and it requires an effort and self-denial in everyone who honestly determines to be religious. 25 However, the suffering and relinquishment should never be understood as the end in itself, but simply the process by which we are able to see beyond the “screen” of this earthly life to encounter the living God, whose presence is far more real than all of this “outward” world which is passing away. 26 In Sermon 3, Newman considers the unsanctified person who may intellectually know God’s will but does not yet walk in obedience. This person is paradigmatic of those exemplifying the morality of their day. They often are well educated, with few challenges, in good health, and will tend to “go on respectably and happily with the same general tastes and habits which they would have had if the Gospel had not been given them. They have an eye to what the world thinks of them; are charitable when it is expected. They are polished in their manners, kind from natural disposition or a feeling of propriety.” 27 However, this is not enough. Rather than focusing on the world’s view of us, we instead must come to acknowledge our deficiencies and sinfulness, and our need of the Holy Spirit for true transformation and righteousness. In short, as Sermon 4 points out, we have to own our secret faults. 28 Until we can see and acknowledge the deficiencies that are buried deep in our heart, we do not see that the habits governing us are the secret sins: in other words, our vices. Until we know our weaknesses, we cannot see the power of God. In order to begin to grow in holiness, we must earnestly, according to Sermon 5, engage in self-denial in answer to God’s commands. The Holy Spirit frees our will so that we can deny ourselves, but it is only through self-denial that we can practice and develop the habits of obedience. Once we are free, our freedom leads us to desire to keep God’s laws in all ways. 29 Through this examination and recognition of our faults and development of practices of self-denial, we can begin to develop the spiritual mind (Sermon 6). The epigraph for this sermon, from 1 Corinthians 4:20, reminds us that “the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.” 30 The sign of a spiritual mind is not that one has some orientation to the good on the spiritual level, but rather that the choice of the good and the right has become so integrated into who we are that we


actually have power to obey the law. “A righteous man, in proportion as obedience becomes more and more easy to him, will doubtless do his duty unconsciously. It will be natural to him to obey and therefore he will do it naturally, i.e., without effort or deliberation.” 31 This is, in fact, “obedience in habit.” 32 But what does this habit look like? There are undoubtedly praiseworthy actions made out of a person’s own power without the grace of God. For the Christian, this is not sufficient: “We must indeed be just, honest, temperate and religious before we can rise to Christian graces, and to be practiced in justice and the like virtues is the way, the ordinary way, in which we receive the fullness of the kingdom of God.” 33 To these must be added something more. It is plain that gospel obedience “is a very different mode of obedience from any which natural reason and conscience tell us of — different, not in its nature, but in its excellence and peculiarity.” 34 Sadly, this habit of obedience can be undermined by “any one deliberate habit of sin [which] incapacitates a man from receiving the gifts of the Gospel.” 35 Because holiness is a habit, it does not develop all at once. Rather, God gradually gives us the principles, through his commandments, which allow us gradually to develop the habit of obedience. In Sermon 8, Newman describes how “they come upon us, while the safeguard of virtuous principle is forming naturally and gradually in our mind by our very deeds of obedience.” 36 In Sermons 9 and 10, we see the other religious affections that can impede the development of these habits. In Sermon 9, Newman considers the danger that overexcited religious feelings may substitute for “deeds of love, mercy, meekness, and holiness” that can lead to the development of these habits of obedience, and thus result in a falling of a person who lacks these habits to sustain them. 37 In Sermon 10, he considers the even worse danger of “professing without practice” that can lead both the professor and the witness to hypocrisy away from the truth of the gospel, and returns to a similar concern in Sermon 13, “promising without doing.” This is contrasted in Sermon 11 to “profession without hypocrisy” and in Sermon 12 to “profession without ostentation.” Profession without hypocrisy does not mean perfection, which is impossible, but rather the constant awareness that even though “still we fall short of our duty, nevertheless we must not cease to profess. We must not put off from us the wedding garment which Christ gave us in baptism. We may still rejoice in Him without being hypocrite, that is, if we labor day by day to make that wedding garment our very own; to fit it to us and so incorporate it with our very selves.” 38 This section concludes with a return to the beginning theme of emotions in Sermon 14, but here the focus is on the danger of placing too much value on religious emotion over acts, even for those who have grown as strong in their faith as St. Peter, who still let himself be carried away by emotion and fell by denying Christ three times. 39 Other challenges may come from without: from those who question the rationality of religion and rely on their own wisdom, such as the “self-wise inquirer” of sermon 17. 40 Rather than being consumed with vague speculation, the infused virtues keep us on the straight track. Here Newman argues that our conscience testifies even more strongly to the trust of Scripture the more it is formed through obedience (Sermon 15). Where mysteries, such as the Trinity, reach beyond our reason, there obedience guides us through the thicket of potential doubts. In Sermon 16, he returns to the theme of earnestness and focus: “The more we are in earnest to ‘work out our salvation,’ the less shall we care to know how those things really are, which perplex us.” 41 The solution to all of these challenges, Newman reminds us throughout the sermon and then cumulatively in a sermon at the end of the section, is that we should rely on “obedience the remedy for religious perplexity” (Sermon 18). Simply practicing obedience is at times necessary for all Christians because “we are apt to forget that a Christian spirit is the growth of time, and that we


cannot force it upon our minds, however desirable and necessary it might be to possess it. If we strove to obey God’s will in all things, we should be gradually training our hearts into the fullness of a Christian spirit.” 42 This obedience is assisted by and grounded in prayer (Sermons 19 and 20). Because our bodies are going to be resurrected in Christ, we focus on what we do in our body as a significant part of obedience as well (Sermon 21) and witness to Christ’s resurrection in the past and our own in the future by how we live (Sermon 22) and how we revere God (Sermon 23). The final three sermons also serve as the capstone and culmination. In the religion of the day, Newman warns against the appropriation of natural and cultural standards of virtue and confusing those with the calling that Christians have to live out God’s holiness. Rather, Christians need to realize that Scripture calls us to sorrow and self-denial in order to develop the virtues (Sermon 25). The result of this is growth into Christian adulthood (Sermon 26). Through the changes and growth in holiness, powered by God’s Holy Spirit, we can put off childish things and reach the full stature of holiness that God has for us. Volume 2 – Exemplars of Holiness The preacher not only should teach the doctrine of the call to holiness, but also can assist his parishioners in their own pursuit of holiness by providing exemplars of the holy life. Accordingly, Book 2 is comprised of sermons that focus on the feasts of the church year: both the Christological and Trinitarian feasts and the feast days of various saints. Without considering the sermons at the same length, I will simply seek to show how preaching on the saints and the great feasts of the church complement the theoretical blueprint for growth of holiness in the individual life laid out in Book One. In Book One, Newman focuses almost every single sermon upon the doctrinal argument that the development of holiness serves to bring us into conformity with God’s law as revealed in Scripture. Again and again he reiterates that salvation does not mean freedom from the law, but a new ability to obey the law. The law outlines the road we must walk and provides the form of the holiness we are called to manifest. In Volume Two, the preacher provides the examples we must strive to emulate: distinct in personality and time, but all growing in virtue through conformity to God’s law. In Sermon 7, Newman writes that “Scripture tells us what to believe and what to aim at and maintain, but it does not tell us how to do it.” 43 This is what the Church achieves for us. She gives us access to the grace we receive in the sacraments and provide the structures for the discipline that makes us holy. The saints are our exemplars and guides. They remind us of the great crowd of witnesses of which each Christians yearns to be a part. Thus, one of the gifts which a preacher can give to his congregation is to remind them of the variety of those saints – of their lives, their gifts, their struggles, their culture, their languages, their states of life. This is not diversity for diversity’s sake – but rather rejoicing in the reckless abundance of God’s gifts – this unique particularity of each saint which comes together to make the glorious whole of the body of Christ. In this book, which tracks sermons as they run through the church year, beginning at Advent with the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle and ending at the feast of All Saints (appropriately considering the whole body of the church together), Newman links each saint to a particular charism or gift or challenge. Thus, we see St. Andrew providing a reminder of the importance of humility, which also grounded Book I. Although St. Andrew, as Newman pointed out was one of the earlier followers who brought his brother Peter to Christ and clearly in the confidence of the Lord since scripture shows him being consulted with other disciples for advice, we know very little about him. How often, Newman points out, do we scorn those whom we do not know without knowing who they are before God? These often are in fact God’s most faithful servants, who, like


God are hidden from the world. 44 Through the example of St. Thomas the Apostle, Newman counters the “boasts” of the intelligentsia that only valid form of faith “is a rational religion.” Although reason is important, he argues that “true religion is in part altogether above reason, as in its Mysteries.” 45 Through the light of faith, it finds “quite enough light to walk by...if it sees one step in advance and it leaves all knowledge of the country over which it is travelling to him who calls it on.” 46 Through Saint Barnabas, he rebukes those who see the teaching of the church as only providing training in ordinary morality. Just like Newman’s contemporaries, Barnabas appears to be “considerate delicate, courteous and generous-minded.’ 47 However, these “characteristic virtues of the day are not sufficient” to protect the kindness of his nature from degenerating into weakness. Out of his desire to not offend, St. Barnabas fell into error in supporting first Peter’s requirement of circumcision and then his overly indulgent treatment of John Mark. 48 Volume III – Humility Required for Holiness In Book Three, Newman collected sermons which address controversies. Not only does the priest preach virtue and hold up the saints, but also the priest does not shy away from hard questions of the faith. Rather than sermons papering over issues and challenges, preaching can, if accomplished correctly, walk people through these controversies so that their faith is not overwhelmed or lost. Thus, we see the role of the preacher as not only directing people in the way that they should go (teaching doctrine) or helping them look for companions who walk alongside them on the road or precede them to show them the way (the saints), but also removing the intellectual obstacles from their paths. Newman’s primary key for the preacher here is holy humility – both from the preacher and the parishioners. The preacher doesn’t find the answers through his own knowledge or intelligence, but rather directs the people to the true source of answers. Through understanding the scripture with the help of the preacher, the people learn holy humility in the face of controversies and challenges as well. In considering Newman’s own preaching, Danielle Nussberger writes: “Newman communicated his message well, because he submitted himself to the same struggle that his hearers were undergoing when receiving the message from him. Newman showed that being a skilled communicator of the Christian faith is not about knowing the faith better than those to whom we are speaking, nor is it about being more obedient to God than the ones to whom we minister.” 49 Newman uses many of the challenging events and figures in the Old Testament – Abraham and Lot, the chronically unfaithful people of Israel, Saul, the prideful David, and fickle Jeroboam – to teach people how to read scripture to answer the challenges of their own lives. He points them beyond his own insights into the story to learn how to see first themselves—their own failures, pain, brokenness, and sinfulness—within these stories and then to see God’s grace. Rather than focusing on blaming or condemning others involved in the controversies of the time, Newman urged his listeners to first confront their own failures to obey. They should begin not by condemning the sinners, but being aware that each Christian can always become like the older brother in the story of the prodigal son. This is especially important when confronting religious controversy. Especially in these circumstances, each Christian must be wary of presuming that we fully understand Gods’ teaching, or know exactly how God’s plan will be revealed in the world, or begin to view other Christians as enemies to be overcome rather than as brothers to be loved. He urges his hearers not to begin with condemnation. Rather, “Let us pray for our enemies; let us try to make out men to be as good as they can fairly and safely be considered; let us rejoice at any symptoms of repentance, or any marks of good principle on the side of error.” 50 Each Christian – priest and layperson – is called to remember in holy humility, that we are co-holders,” “trustees”


in fact (to use Newman’s language) with teachers of the responsibility for maintaining the faith and doctrine of the church. We are equally culpable in that as hearers we break “the rule of discipline” as often as they break the “rule of faith.” 51 Even with the failures among Christians, especially with those in authority, Newman calls each person in confronting controversy to count the cost to the whole community, especially “the poor, the ignorant, the wayward, and the mistaken” of open disagreement or schism. 52 Apart from the rare cases of “scandalous offenders and open heretics” who can we know to thrust out based simply on our own power of discernment? Rather, we have to remember, without compromising on the truth of the church’s teaching and the forms of obedience and communion that God sees that “the faith of all of us is immature and in its rudiments” and holds back his judgment for all of us to come more fully in. 53 Conclusion Building upon my argument that Newman’s preaching provides a model for leading others to both holiness and humility, we can perhaps extrapolate the figure of the preacher from one of Newman’s sermons. The preacher should challenge those who confuse ceremonial observances or schemes for the common good with the whole of their religion. In other words, he speaks especially to those who approach God’s words and commands in an objectifying way to achieve something for themselves, but without true love in their hears. In his homily on Balaam, Newman describes this man. Balaam appeared in the world’s eyes to be a good citizen, in fact, but because he fails to act out of love for God, he actually became an instrument of Satan. 54 Newman connects the angel blocking Balaam’s path – whom Balaam is unable to see – with the condemnation of God which can block the path of even those who appear most materially comfortable and successful. Who is the preacher then? The preacher, in fact, like Balaam’s donkey, must speak beyond his own natural capacities, out of true humility, in order to call others to the holiness of God. Bibliography Arnold, Matthew. “On Dover Beach.” Poetry Foundation, /poems/43588/dover-beach. Austen, Jane. Pride and Prejudice. Cambridge, Ma: Harvard University Press, 2010. Ker, Ian. The Achievement of John Henry Newman. South Bend, In: University of Notre Dame Press, 1991. Newman, John Henry. Parochial and Plain Sermons. San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1987. Newman, John Henry. Lectures on Justification. Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2001. Newman, John Henry. The Idea of a University, 3rd Ed. London: Basil Montagu Pickering, 1873. Newsome, David. “Justification and Sanctification: Newman and The Evangelicals.” In The Journal of Theological Studies, New Series, Vol. 15, No. 1 (April 1964): 32-53.


Nussberger, Danielle. “John Henry Newman’s Art of Communicating Christian Faith.” In Newman Studies Journal 8 No. 2 (Fall 2011): 62 – 73. O’Regan, Cyril. “John Henry Newman and the Argument of Holiness.” In The Newman Studies Journal 9 no. 1 (2012): 52 – 74. Robinson, Denis. “Preaching”. In The Cambridge Companion to John Henry Newman. Edited by Ian Ker and Terrence Merrigan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009: 241 – 254. Werse, Nicholas R. “The Preaching Power of Cardinal John Henry Newman.” In Practical Theology 7, no. 2 (2014): 109 – 124.

When I was writing this essay, I learned of the sudden death of my first mentor in the study of theology, Dr. William J. Abraham. Billy not only introduced me to the study of theology but continued to mentor me, as he did so many others, in spiritual growth as well as academic pursuits. He first encouraged me to explore the works of Newman, especially these sermons. This essay is dedicated in thanks for his own witness of the pursuit of holiness in Jesus Christ and his example as both a preacher and a teacher. 2 Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice (Cambridge, Ma: Harvard University Press, 2010), 137. 3 Denis Robinson, “Preaching”, The Cambridge Companion to John Henry Newman, ed. Ian Ker and Terrence Merrigan (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2009), 242. 4 Ian Ker, The Achievement of John Henry Newman (South Bend, In: University of Notre Dame Press), 91. 5 Cyril O’Regan, “John Henry Newman and the Argument of Holiness”, The Newman Studies Journal 9 no. 1 (2012): 59. 6 Matthew Arnold, “On Dover Beach”, Poetry Foundation, accessed October 26, 2021, 7 Ibid. 8 David Newsome, “Justification and Sanctification: Newman and The Evangelicals,” The Journal of Theological Studies, New Series, Vol. 15, No. 1 (April 1964), pp. 32-53, especially pp. 34-35 9 John Henry Newman, “The Visible Church an Encouragement to Faith” in Parochial and Plain Sermons (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1987), 635 – 636. 10 Ibid. 11 For a more theorized and systematic discussion by Newman of the relationship between sanctification and Justification, see John Henry Newman, Lectures on Justification (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2001). 12 John Henry Newman, “The Christian Ministry (The Feast of St. Peter)” in Parochial and Plain Sermons (San Francisco, CA: Ignatius Press, 1987), 418. 13 John Henry Newman, The Idea of a University, 3rd Ed. (London: Basil Montagu Pickering, 1873), 408. 14 Ibid. 410 – 411. 15 Ibid. 410 – 411. 16 Ibid. 415. 17 Ibid. 415. 18 Nicholas R. Werse, “The Preaching Power of Cardinal John Henry Newman” in Practical Theology 7, no. 2 (2014), 113. Citing John Campbell Shairp Studies in Poetry and Philosophy (Cambridge: Riverside, 1872), 211. See also Ker, The Achievement of John Henry Newman, 75. 19 Ibid, 114. 20 Ker, 75. 21 Werse, 115. Citing Shairp, Studies in Poetry and Philosophy, 211–212. 22 Ker, 78, 88. 23 This section analyzing Volume 1 was originally part of a paper I presented at the conference “AngloCatholicism: Uncovering Roots,” Church of the Advent, Boston, November 15-16, 2017. This portion was also published on Covenant, the Blog of the Living Church under the title “Obedience the Remedy” on December 14 & 15, 2017. 1


Newman, Parochial and Plain Sermons, 6. Ibid. 19. 26 Ibid. 20. 27 Ibid. 24. 28 Ibid. 31 – 40. 29 Ibid. 48. 30 Ibid. 50. 31 Ibid. 51. 32 Ibid. 52. 33 Ibid. 50. 34 Ibid. 54. 35 Ibid. 64. 36 Ibid. 69. 37 Ibid. 78. 38 Ibid. 96-97. 39 Ibid. 119. 40 Ibid. 137 – 144. 41 Ibid. 135. 42 Ibid. 148. 43 Ibid. 272. 44 Ibid. 233. 45 Ibid. 240. 46 Ibid. 239. 47 Ibid. 402. 48 Ibid. 401. 49 Danielle Nussberger, “John Henry Newman’s Art of Communicating Christian Faith”, in Newman Studies Journal 8 No. 2 (Fall 2011), 63. 50 Newman, 551. 51 Ibid. 603. 52 Ibid. 604. 53 Ibid. 604 – 605. 54 Ibid. 738. 24 25


Authors Page Angela Franks

Dr. Angela Franks serves as Professor of Theology at St. John's Seminary in Boston and as a Senior Fellow at the Abigail Adams Institute in Cambridge. She is also a Life and Dignity Writing Fellow for Church Life Journal (University of Notre Dame). Dr. Franks holds a Ph.D. from Boston College, and an M.A. from the Catholic University of America. Her research interests include the theology of the body, Trinitarian theology, and the New Evangelization.

Emery de Gaál

The Reverend Emery de Gaál, a priest from the Eichstätt diocese in Germany, is Professor and Chair of the Department of Dogmatic Theology at University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. Fr. de Gaál holds a a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Duquesne University. He also is a member of the Pontifical Academy Marianum at the Vatican. He publishes (in multiple languages) primarily in the area of Mariology. Recent publications include: O Lord, I seek Your Countenance: Explorations and Discoveries in Pope Benedict XVI’s Theology (2018).

Elisabeth Rain Kincaid

Dr. Elisabeth Rain Kincaid is Assistant Professor of Ethics and Moral Theology at Nashotah House Theological Seminary in Wisconsin. She teaches courses in fundamental and applied moral theology and Christian ethics, as well as courses on political theology, justice, the common good, and professional ethics. Her research interests include Thomistic virtue ethics, natural law, Catholic social teaching, work and vocation, and the Spanish Scholastics. Dr. Kincaid received her PhD in Theology from the University of Notre Dame, where her dissertation focused on reclaiming the theological jurisprudence of the 16th-century Spanish theologian and legal scholar, Francisco Suárez, S.J. She has published in academic journals such as Political Theology, The Journal of Moral Theology, The Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, and The Scottish Journal of Theology, as well as in more popular publications such as America Magazine and Christianity Today.

William F. Murphy, Jr.

Dr. William (Bill) F. Murphy, Jr. is Professor of Moral Theology at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, where he also edited the Josephinum Journal of Theology for 15 years. After an earlier career in engineering and information technology, he earned an S.T.L. from the Dominican House of Studies and an S.T.D. (a Sacred Theology Doctorate) from the John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and the Family. Dr. Murphy has held faculty appointments at various institutions, including the University of Notre Dame. He has published widely in moral theology: on its Pauline foundations, on Thomistic ethics, and on the philosophical aspects of disputed questions in the field. His current research project is “Social Catholicism for the 21st Century?” of which his Paluch lectures have been a part, and in which he also has collaborated with Ohio State University’s Center for Ethics and Human Values. He is preparing an edited volume under that same title as well.


Peter Nguyen, S.J.

The Reverend Peter Nguyen, S.J. is Associate Professor of Theology at Creighton University. He works in the areas of the theology of Christian martyrdom, the interaction of Trinitarian and Christological teachings, and the history and philosophy of totalitarianism. He is the author of Against the Titans: Theology and the Martyrdom of Alfred Delp. Currently, he is working on an anthology of Delp’s writings, homilies, and retreat talks with a critical commentary. Fr. Nguyen holds a Ph.D. in Theology from the University of St. Michael’s College and an S.T.D. from Regis College, both at the University of Toronto. He also holds an M.Div. and S.T.L. from Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, and an M.A. in Social Philosophy from Loyola University Chicago.


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