chicago studies SPRING/SUMMER 2019 | VOLUME 58.1
Engaging in Public Thought Fr. Thomas A. Baima Editor’s Corner Bishop Robert W. McElroy An Errand in the Wilderness Bishop Robert W. McElroy Would the Good Samaritan Have Gone to War? Martin Zielinski A Response to Bishop McElroy’s “An Errand in the Wilderness” Marek Duran Edith Stein and the World’s Peace Steven P. Millies Friendship with God and One Another Mary Hallan FioRito The Consistent Ethic: Context and Controversy Sr. Sara Butler, M.S.B.T. Three Theological Questions from the Amazon Synod: Married Priests, Women Deacons and Inclusive God Language
Chicago Studies Editorial Board Thomas Baima
Melanie Susan Barrett
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 email@example.com. Indexed in The Catholic Periodical & Literature Index and New Testament Abstracts.
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Copyright ÂŠ 2018 Civitas Dei Foundation
Engaging in Public Thought Editor’s Corner—Spring/Summer 2019 By Very Rev. Thomas A. Baima, S.T.D. Catholic social thought has been referred to as “our best kept secret.” The modern period, from Pope Leo XIII’s Encyclical Letter on Capital and Labor, Rerum Novarum, began a consistent stream of magisterial teaching. His successors developed and extended papal social thought until today it stands as a unique aspect of Catholic Christianity. This development encouraged theologians to apply their gifts to explain and explore the content of this rich deposit. Five of the essays in this issue of Chicago Studies take up this task. Bishop Robert McElroy, who served as the 2018 Albert Cardinal Meyer Lecturer at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake, offers two essays. While each is distinct, together they frame a stance toward the world which asked what American Catholics’ responsibilities are in light of Catholic social thought. Both essays consider war. In the first, Bishop McElroy asks the question of the vocation of Catholics to heal the divisions found in the American nation. Beginning with the standard narrative of John Winthrop’s “City on a Hill” which holds that America has providential destiny for the world, McElroy then tracks how different moments of our history challenge this vision and indeed, better describe a nation lost in the wilderness. He sees the present moment as such a time. There were defects in the original vision as well as noble elements. The challenge is to renew the noble elements in every age. It is here that McElroy sees the Catholic Church as making a significant contribution. In a time when political polarization looms large, the bishop notes that Catholic Americans have no political home. But this “homelessness” places us in a position to speak prophetically to both sides of the cultural divide. He sees a unique contribution, based on our best kept secret, Catholic social thought, as the vocation of Catholic Americans in the present moment. Father Martin Zielinski, a historian of American Catholicism, responds to Bishop McElroy’s first essay. He agrees with McElroy that American Catholics have the capacity to overcome “counterfeit concepts of America” but alerts us that this will require a shift in perspective. Since the days of Bishop John England in 1826, the general stance was to “Let Catholics in religion to stand isolated as a body, and upon the good ground as their brethren. Let Catholics, as citizens and politicians not be distinguishable from their other brethren of the commonwealth.” Later bishops, such as Archbishop John Ireland or Cardinal George Mundelein would stress the need for immigrant Catholics to assimilate into American culture, while at the same time maintaining a robust Catholic religious life. From here, Zielinski traces an evolution in the teaching of the Catholic bishops which describes a trajectory toward more engaged citizenship, including bringing the unique perspectives of Catholic social thought to bear through political participation. Father Zielinski will take up Bishop McElroy’s challenge of what must be done and offers ways to do it. In a second essay, Bishop McElroy asks the provocative question “Would the Good Samaritan have gone to war?” Virtually every exposition of the parable of the Good Samaritan draws the same conclusion. When asked “Who is my neighbor?” they answer everyone. Bishop McElroy plays out this interpretation and seeks to recover anew the Christian pacifist tradition. Especially in light of the technological evolution of war such that it is difficult to separate
combatants and non-combatants, he recalls the “growing reservations of modern popes about any recourse to war in the modern age.” If the conditions which provided a theological warrant for the just war theory are no longer operative, what is the consequence to the warrant? As a test case, he explores the discussions at the United Nations about “the responsibility to protect.” This controversial proposal by Secretary General Kofi Anon in 2000 has been debated ever since. During his apostolic journey to the United States of America and visit to the United Nations Organization, Pope Benedict XVI spoke of the responsibility to protect saying, “If States are unable to guarantee such protection, the international community must intervene with the juridical means provided in the United Nations Charter and in other international instruments.” Francis Cardinal George, himself a keen student of Church/State issues, noted after the address of how this approach qualified the notion of the nation-state. Human dignity is a universal and stands above even state sovereignty. Bishop McElroy contrasts the notion of responsibility to protect, which is an active engagement with conflict, with the traditional notions around just war as defensive. McElroy asks, “What would the Good Samaritan do if confronted with massive human rights abuses occurring before his eyes?” Human rights abuses suggest a revision of our thinking on war. Engaging Bishop McElroy’s second essay from the perspective of the “basis cell of society—the family” Father Marek Duran brings a moral theologian’s analysis to the question of Christian pacificism. Using the work of Edith Stein, who certainly knew something about “massive human rights abuses,” Duran take us on a tour-de-force of the inner dimensions of McElroy’s question. He describes for us Stein’s stages of empathy which overcome the space between the self and the other and become “a path” which establishes a connection between the two. This connection can develop to the point of “clearly understanding the feelings of the other.” Duran relates this to Pope Francis’ notion of a culture of encounter. At the same time, Father Duran challenges the portion of Bishop McElroy’s essay which places the United Nations in the role of the Good Samaritan. He questions if the parable can be institutionalized or if the essence of the parable is rooted in a spiritual awakening. Reinhold Niebuhr offers some direction in this regard. Ultimately, any such ethical path requires a clear theological anthropology. Duran asks us to consider this point in terms of Niebuhr, Stein, and John Paul II and other authors. The next two articles examine formulations of a Consistent Ethic. The first essay by Steven Millies analyzes Blase Cardinal Cupich’s writing on a Consistent Ethic of Solidarity. Cardinal Cupich names Cardinal Bernardin as an influence on his thought. Millies, as the director at the Bernardin Center and associate professor of public theology at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago is ideally suited for this exploration. He approaches the task by seeking a definition of solidarity both within Catholic social thought and through contrast with the Consistent Ethic of Life. He takes the exploration further to consider how Pope Francis, Cardinal Cupich and Bishop McElroy are clarifying the earlier efforts at social and political theory offered since the Second Vatican Council. The second of the Consistent Ethic articles looks back at application, misunderstandings and practical considerations around Cardinal Bernardin’s thought. Mary Hallan FioRito describes an important facet of the Cardinal’s administration, which I might characterize as “the job isn’t done until it is institutionalized.” In other words, in addition to articulating a clear vision statement, part of the pastoral task is to ensure that the insights can be applied or “operationalized” to use business language. Bernardin’s vision was operationalized through an Office for Respect Life Activities, properly staffed with experts in the field. Institutionalizing a vision meant providing competence, expertise and professionalism to the ministry.
FioRito illustrates the challenge of applying a vision in ministry through a narration of the struggle to oppose abortion. All of the political polarization which the earlier essays in this issue identify come together in specific ways in the controversy over abortion. From her interesting vantage point as a pro-life feminist, FioRito opens some new perspectives in this highly polarized subject. The consistent thread through all of the essays is the Catholic teaching on the dignity of the human person and the solidarity of the human community. Finally, the issue explores three other issues which are in the public mind as a result of the Synod on the Amazon. Sister Sara Butler looks at married priests, women deacons and inclusive God-language from the vantage point of dogmatic theology. Sister Sara is a master of the details of the topics she analyzes. Each issue has exploded in the media, yet each has a more complex history than is being respected by commentators. Her analysis takes us to the heart of Catholic Christianity, where the essential sacramental mediation of Christ and the Church are found. Part of Sister Sara’s method is to never separate her theology from the “dogmatic” part of dogmatic theology. Today, people hear the word “dogmatic” and think of rigid, inflexible ideas. In fact, the best way to define this word is as “revealed.” Dogmatic theology examines questions from the perspective of what we know to have been revealed by God. It starts with what is “given” to us, which we could never discover unaided. Nowhere is this approach more useful than in her engagement of issues around inclusive God-language. Indeed, the third part of her essay provides the insights which illuminate the first two parts. In this way, her theology is systematic, which the alternative name for dogmatic theology. With this collection of articles, Chicago Studies is engaging public thought in a variety of venues. The editors hope that there will be rich food for thought that supports our readers in their ministries.
An Errand into the Wilderness: The Vocation of the Catholic Community in Healing our Nation By Bishop Robert W. McElroy Winthrop’s Colonial Vision John Winthrop’s “City on a Hill” constitutes the embodiment of America’s mission, identity and challenge in the world. Delivered as a sermon to the Puritan colonists journeying to found the Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1630, this text radiates the belief that the pilgrimage to the new continent was more than an economic enterprise, more than a gathering of men and women who had been forced to flee England because of religious persecution. The new colony was to be a truly revolutionary undertaking – the founding of a way of life and governance that would be a beacon to all the peoples of the world about how men and women should live together doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly with their God. Winthrop’s words are riveting: “For this end we must be knit together in this work as one man, we must entertain each other in brotherly affection, we must be willing to abridge ourselves of our superfluities for the supply of others necessities, we must hold a familiar commerce together in all meekness, gentleness, patience and liberality; we must delight in each other,…mourn together, labor and suffer together, always having before our eyes our commission and community…so shall we keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace, the Lord will be our God and delight to dwell among us.” The colonists in New England fervently believed that this charter of affection, unity, solidarity and grace was the framework not merely for the establishment of a successful community in Massachusetts, but also a critically important experiment in the history of the world. Governor Winthrop made this clear in his words “Consider that we shall be as a City on a Hill, the eyes of all people are upon us.” The pilgrimage to the Massachusetts Bay Colony was an initiative which could bring great acclaim if the colonists remained faithful to their mission. But if they deviated and fell into strife and division, it would bring much shame upon them and all their descendants. It is for this reason that Winthrop’s “City on a Hilltop” sermon has reverberated through almost four hundred years of American history: it embraces all of the missionary zeal, the search for unity, and the orientation to the future that have been at the heart of the American narrative and our own self-understanding as a people. The Massachusetts Bay Colony prospered on many levels during the next forty years, but as the third generation was being born the sense of unifying mission had dissipated. The children and grandchildren of the original immigrants often did not have the same commitment of faith which had characterized the first generation. Controversies arose about issues of religious toleration, relationships with the Native American communities, economic policy, moral values and the willingness of the colony to accept new immigrants. There was a deep sense of disquietude, a creeping belief that the residents of Massachusetts had lost their way, and that for this reason the entire American experiment had been in vain.
Danforth’s Call for Reform In reaction to this crisis of confidence in the colony, there emerged a period of profound reflection within the Puritan communities, which is captured in the sermons and political tracts of the l660’s and l670’s. These writings are what Perry Miller, the great interpreter of New England colonial history, labeled jeremiads. They point to a past moment in history when the men and women of New England lived righteously, and contrasted that past nobility of virtue with the sins of the current day. Rejecting the optimism and confidence of Governor Winthrop’s “City on a Hill” sermon, the jeremiads called the people of Massachusetts to account, not primarily with the purpose of stimulating individual repentance, but rather out of a desire to promote wholesale moral, religious and societal reform and a renewal of the original mission which had been present at the founding. Samuel Danforth’s sermon entitled “The Recollection of New England’s Errand into the Wilderness” epitomizes the jeremiads. Given on the occasion of the colonial election of 1660, Danforth lists the series of issues on which Massachusetts has abandoned its original mission, and contrasts it with the charter of virtues which Winthrop had sketched out in his vision for “A City on a Hilltop”. Reverend Danforth is categorical in his condemnation of the way of life that reigns in the colony in the fortieth year of its life, and he is merciless in calling for individual reform. But Danforth’s central theme is not personal. He is proposing that the election moment should be a time of recapturing the sense of mission and identity that had unified the colony at its founding. The pastor points to those who journeyed out into the wilderness in the time of John the Baptist, seeking the pathway of salvation from this prophet of God. In the Gospel, John the Baptist confronts each penitent with the same question. “Why came ye into the wilderness? What are you seeking?” Pastor Danforth seizes upon this question and makes it the recurring theme that he puts to the people of Massachusetts: “Why came ye into the wilderness? To what purpose came we to this place, and what expectation drew us hither?” “Alas”, Danforth concludes “there is such variety and diversity of opinions and judgements among us in the present day that we do not know what to believe. We have lost our way.” Yet Danforth does not end his sermon on a note of pessimism or aimlessness. On the contrary he makes clear that his goal is “to excite and stir us all up to attend and prosecute our errand into the wilderness.” And his method for doing so is to stimulate a profound reflection among the people of New England about their heritage, their mission, and their future. It is in revisiting their origins and their history, in reintegrating the vision of their founding into the realities of the present that they can forge a pathway forward. Salvation for Massachusetts lay in renewing the societal narrative that bound them together: Winthrop’s magnificent dream of a community of brotherly affection, deepest unity, sacrifice for the good of those in need, gentleness and peace. Other Times of Being Lost in the Wilderness This same dilemma of being lost in the moral, spiritual and political wilderness that confronted colonial Massachusetts in 1660, has confronted the people of the United States at key junctures throughout our history, and has required a continual reforging and renewal of the fundamental bonds which unite us as a nation.
At the end of the Revolution, the generation that had known the glory of throwing off British domination lost their way, wandering aimlessly under the Articles of Confederation. Intercolonial rivalries accelerated and the unity that had been born in the revolution dissipated. But from that time in the wilderness came the realization that the residents of the thirteen colonies had truly become one people in the Revolutionary moment, and in the Constitution, they constructed the instrument for forging enduring social, economic and governmental bonds among the peoples of every state. In the long decades leading to the Civil War, the nation confronted the moral outrage of slavery which our Founders left intact at the very moment they were declaring the right of all men to freedom and equal dignity. From this greatest moral and political wilderness of our nation’s history came civil war, an end to slavery and the stirrings of a tragically arduous pathway toward racial reform. In the depths of the Great Depression, the nation was on the edge of despair. Its most fundamental convictions about the strength of the American economy and society had been shattered. But from this wilderness came a renewal of the American consensus which saw an enhanced role for government in providing for the poor and the marginalized, and promoting the common good. And In the late 1960’s, our culture disintegrated amidst a divisive war, the recognition of the racism and sexism that had always lurked within our society, and the challenging of every major institution in American life. We were lost in the wilderness and had to reforge our sense of national identity and mission by constructing a more expansive vision of American culture and society. Catholic Responsibility to Reforge Ties of Unity and Purpose Now we find ourselves as a nation truly lost once again in the wilderness. Our country’s discourse has been bankrupted by a partisan divide which is corrosive and vacuous. Issues of racial, ethnic and religious prejudice once again pose questions that we as a people cannot ignore. Economic divisions of class and opportunity breed resentment and rage. In this wilderness of the present moment, the Catholic community has a specific responsibility and opportunity to help reforge America’s ties of national unity and purpose. As Catholics we are called to a new errand into the wilderness of moral, spiritual and political turmoil which ensnares our nation. That errand is to heal our nation’s soul, by witnessing to the heritage of our country and its mission in the current moment. To undertake this task, we must face the current crisis unflinchingly. We have lost the fundamental sense of who we are as a people, and are substituting counterfeit concepts of our country’s enduring legacy for the authentic heritage which has endured for more than two centuries. The first of these counterfeit concepts of America lies in the wave of nationalist populism which has swept through our nation. Historian Michael Kazin has observed that there are two strains of populism in the history of the United States. Both strains constitute an attack upon cultural, societal and economic elites who are blamed for creating conditions which have dispossessed the mainstream citizenry in society. But while one strain of populism focuses solely on elites, the other strain finds an additional set of targets by selecting one or more marginalized groups in society to blame. The current strain of nationalist populism has pointed to undocumented immigrants, Muslims and African Americans as pivotal culprits in the atrophying of American
greatness. It also suggests that the perceived decline of our nation reflects the diminishing solidity of a European heritage and culture within the United States. This nationalist populism reflects only a small minority of those who voted for President Trump. But it is a deeply corrosive and growing force within our society in the present moment. The outrage of Charlottesville is not that such racial hatred exists; it is that it is so widely countenanced. The outrage of anti-Muslim rhetoric is not that it is present in our society; it is that it is inflamed by so many of our religious and political leaders. The outrage of the barrage of attacks against immigrants for criminal activity is not simply that is inaccurate; it is that it knowingly and intentionally creates a false public picture of crime in our country. The cultural project which lies before us as a nation is how to reject the corrosion of nationalist populism in order to reclaim a more perfect union. A searing test of our ability to accomplish this goal lies in the current debate on DACA and immigration reform. In its most immediate sense, the debate over the Dreamers constitutes a specific legislative action designed to provide permanent legal status to young men and women who were brought to this country illegally when they were extremely young by their parents. What is involved is a conflict between two elements of Catholic social teaching: the right of nations to control their own borders and the obligation to welcome the immigrant, particularly those who have resided within a society peacefully for many years and have contributed to that society. In the case of DACA, both Catholic teaching and an overwhelming majority of Americans support legislation which will provide the Dreamers with a permanent place in the only homeland they have even known. But the reason why legal protection for the Dreamers may not be realized lies in the deeper, and ultimately more important struggle within American society about who we are as a nation, and whether we will reject the lure of nationalism. The United States is not a nation united by a common ethnic or cultural heritage. We are the children of many lands and untold stories. For this reason, it is particularly important that our nation continue to be sustained by a common sense of acquired identity and a unifying national narrative. The central element of that narrative is that we are profoundly and enduringly a nation of immigrants, benefitting from the dynamism, creativity and cultural richness of cultures which span the world. As a bishop, I am particularly aware that it is precisely the peoples of Latin America, Africa and Asia who bring to our Church and our all too secularized culture a powerful sense of the abiding presence of God. The history of the United States has been riddled with spasms of nativism which have rejected every major ethnic and racial group that have come in successive waves to the United States, as well as the Native Americans who have a uniquely strong claim to this land. But these spasms have never succeeded in undermining the common recognition that the immigrant experience is foundational to what it means to be an American, and how our nation was created. Now that very question has taken center stage in our national politics. The Catholic community stands in a unique position to help reforge our national identity as a nation of immigrants. We have always been an immigrant Church, and we have a responsibility to bring to Catholics who have long lived in the United States the recognition that the same dreams and opportunities, struggles and obstacles that formed the immigrant journeys of their own forbearers also confront the immigrants of today. We must through narrative and social celebration break down the growing tendencies in our society to raise barriers, real and perceived, between immigrants and native-born Americans, between those of European descent and peoples whose ancestors came from other continents. In short, we must foster an affective conversion within the American people which builds up a renewed unity that emerges not from ties of blood, but from the kiln of the cultural richness that has always been our nationâ€™s strength.
The Catholic Errand in the Wilderness The Catholic community must take up this errand into the wilderness of our present political and social turmoil because our faith points unceasingly to the equal dignity of all peoples, and because our breadth and diversity provide us with the ability to bring together in dialogue and honest, intimate social discourse the vast tapestry of our Church and our nation who so seldom socialize together in our stratified society. We must take up this challenge because our very name – Catholic – compels us to witness unswervingly to the unity of all peoples and to see in the continuing diversity of our nation a source of untold blessings. If the need to reforge our national identity as a land of immigrants constitutes the first errand into the wilderness that challenges the Catholic community in our nation today, healing the partisanship which has robbed us of our very capacity to talk intelligibly with one another is the second errand. There is a partisan cancer which is tearing our nation apart. The long tradition of an American political culture that values coherent and effective governance has largely been evacuated in recent decades. The “war-room” mentality of the perpetual campaign is deeply corrosive to our society and to our national well-being. While partisanship will be forever intertwined with the action of governance, a dedication to governance over partisan gain must be restored if our nation is to flourish, address its many deep problems and reconstruct a sense of authentic unity. The leadership of both parties must work together on practical issues that can command a majority and move to reform aimed at the common good. The ultimate trajectory of American democracy cannot be toward a partisanship that renders unity impossible and a politics that turns the ethics of governance into a quaint anachronism. It is easy for us sitting here tonight to place the blame for hyper-partisanship upon the Congress or the President or the media. The reality is that the infection of hyper-partisanship has reached into American society with a depth and breadth that is increasingly isolating us from one another and accentuating the trends in our society that render meaningful social conversation across ideological and partisan positions impossible. An article from the Atlantic entitled “Really, would you let your daughter marry a Democrat?” makes this point with sad acuity. In a survey in l960, Americans were asked the question “Would you be upset if your child married someone from the other party?” Five percent said yes. In 2010 Americans were asked the identical question. Forty five percent responded in the affirmative. The eradication of this divisive level of partisanship requires a rejection of the tribal element of our political life that views citizenship as an opportunity to advance my race, my class, my religious community at the expense of others. It requires a purging of the intense human tendency to permit anger and wedge issues to influence our voting decisions. A turn away from hyper-partisanship requires that we reject the tendency in our current political culture to attribute all differences of opinion to ignorance or dishonesty. Finally, such a rejection of this harsh partisan divide requires us to abandon our cultural mindset of seeing politics as essentially a competition between two teams, Republicans and Democrats, one good and one bad, with all the savage enjoyment that such a competition brings. The heritage of Catholic thought and action provides a clear mandate to confront this hyper-partisanship directly. It also provides the resources to do so.
Catholic Resources The first of these resources is the tradition of reason in Catholic social thought. Last year marked the fiftieth anniversary of the death of John Courtney Murray, the greatest Catholic theologian that the United States has ever produced. It was Murray’s role during the l950’s and 1960’s to make clear that Catholic participation in the American political life would not be the imposition of eccentric doctrines upon our laws. Rather, it would proceed from dialogue founded in reason which is the great gift of God to all men and women. The ultimate goal of political life in Catholic social thought is not partisan domination, nor power, nor faction. It is the enhancement of the dignity of the human person, the pursuit of the common good of society, the upbuilding of freedom and the construction of a deep sense of solidarity among all peoples. The call of the Catholic community is always to this tradition of reason, and in the present moment it is a call to bring the concepts of substantive truth, breadth of vision and respect for differing cultures back from the banishment that our national politics has imposed upon them. There is also another foundation for the Catholic community to undertake an errand into the wilderness of our current political turmoil. For the political issues of greatest importance in Catholic faith bisect the current partisan structures in the United States. Generally, Republican political leaders more fully support legal sanctions on abortion and assisted suicide, as well as strong protections for the liberty of religious communities. Democratic leaders more fully support comprehensive immigration reform, protections for the environment, and the social safety net. Thus, the faithful Catholic is literally homeless in the party structures of our nation. But in that homelessness can come a great service in healing America’s broken political culture. For those who are politically homeless recognize that partisanship does not provide an authentic pathway toward the common good. Those who are politically homeless recognize the bankruptcy of a national dialogue where half of the nation cannot even begin a conversation on moving toward the most minimal legal protections for the unborn, while the other half cannot begin a conversation on containing military costs in order to feed poor children. The political homelessness of the Catholic community is not an impediment in our current political culture. It is a source of freedom, because it enables us to reject the partisanship which has captured our self-reinforcing media silos and instead attempt to construct dialogue across parties, across classes, across personal histories. The third and final errand into the wilderness of American political life that falls to the Catholic community with a special force today is the struggle to understand the meaning of true greatness for our nation, and the nature of patriotism itself. It is all too common in the present age to conclude that greatness for the United States lies in the strength of its economy, or the power of its military, or its diplomatic leverage in the international sphere. These are important elements of American political life, but they do not signal national greatness. In his address to Congress in 2015, Pope Francis gave a far different picture of where the greatness of America lay. The Holy Father pointed to the role of Moses, emphasizing that the first call of political life is “to protect by means of the law the image and likeness fashioned by God on every human face.” Recalling the martyrdom of Abraham Lincoln, Francis recognized the foundational role that freedom plays in American society and politics, and noted that “building a future of freedom requires love of the common good and cooperation in a spirit of subsidiarity and solidarity.” Citing the figure of Dorothy Day and her thirst for justice in the world, the Pope emphatically demanded that the economic genius of the American nation must be complemented by an enduring
recognition that all economies must serve justice comprehensively, with special care for the poor. Finally, invoking the legacy of Martin Luther King, Pope Francis urged the nation’s political leaders to deepen America’s heritage as a land of dreams: “Dreams which lead to action, to participation, to commitment. Dreams which awaken what is deepest and truest in the life of a people.” The Catholic vision of national greatness lies in a country’s capacity to build these spiritual and moral elements of social and political life so as to serve human dignity and the common good. And the most important element of exceptionalism which we might claim flows from the reality that we as a people are tied together not by connections of blood, but rather by the set of aspirations which our Founders set forth in 1776 and which they both succeeded and failed to attain. Thus, the Catholic vision of patriotism for us as American is an aspiration renewed in every age by understanding the noble elements of our nation’s birth and the defects of its original vision. And our patriotism is not a foundation for pride, but an ever-deepening challenge to ennoble our culture, society, government and world. Such is the enduring nature of greatness for America. And therein lies our third errand into our country’s present political wilderness. We as a nation are lost in a moral and spiritual wilderness that is deep and broad. But our nation has been there many times before. Like the preachers of Massachusetts in the l660’s, we must be unflinching in seeing the problems that confront us, but never despairing that we will find a way out. With all Americans, we are called to new errands into the wilderness to reforge our political culture. And as a Catholic community we take up those errands with a unique heritage of faith, a vibrant ecclesial community of diversity and breadth, and an optimism which is at its heart profoundly Catholic.
Response to Bishop Robert W. McElroy’s “An Errand into the Wilderness” By Rev. Martin Zielinski, Ph.D. Introduction Lest anyone think that our current political landscape is an unfamiliar wilderness, Bishop McElroy’s lecture provides a helpful historical perspective to that view. Just a few decades after John Winthrop’s “City on a Hill” sermon, another minister of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, Samuel Danforth, chided the colonists for having lost their way. The pattern of being lost in a moral, spiritual, and political wilderness was set as a feature of American life. As Bishop McElroy points out, dramatic moments in American history, such as the post-Revolutionary War era, the Civil War, the Great Depression, and the culture upheaval of the 1960’s, were times when we seemed lost in a wilderness. He sees the current time in the wilderness as an opportunity for American Catholics “to heal our nation’s soul, by witnessing to the heritage of our country and its mission in the current moment.” This will be no small undertaking for American Catholics as we need to overcome “counterfeit concepts of America” that include a corrosive national populism, a skewed understanding of partisanship, and a warped view of what constitutes American greatness and patriotism. Fortunately, American Catholics do have the resources to meet this challenge. These include the method of John Courtney Murray to engage in dialogue founded in reason, the social teachings of the Catholic Church, and the vision of American greatness as articulated by Pope Francis in his 2015 address to Congress. Bishop McElroy’s analysis provides us with “what” we have to do. I would like to attempt to provide some preliminary suggestions on “how” we need to do this. First, I want to give an historical overview of what the American hierarchy has had to say about Catholics as citizens since the early 19th century. This provides a thread of continuity between what we have done in the past and what we may do in the future. Second, I want to highlight a couple of examples when American bishops undertook initiatives to address a social and religious crisis. Finally, I want to offer some suggestions that could help make Bishop McElroy’s vision a reality. Threads of Continuity If you are going into the wilderness, it is good to have some guides, such as a pillar of clouds by day or a pillar of fire by night as the Hebrew people did as they began their journey to the Promised Land, or a Sacagawea as Lewis and Clark did for the exploration of the Louisiana Purchase. For Catholics in the wilderness of American political life, the American bishops have provided timely and thoughtful guidance since the early decades of the 19th century. One of the clearest and concise statement about Catholics as citizens comes from the Irishborn Bishop of Charleston, South Carolina, John England. In 1826, he became the first Catholic bishop to address the members of Congress in a Sunday sermon. He supposedly said: We desire to see the Catholics as a religious body upon the ground of equality with all other religious societies . . . We consider that any who would call upon them to stand aloof from their brethren in the politics of the country, as neither a friend to
America nor a friend to Catholics.’. . . We repeat our maxim: Let Catholics in religion stand isolated as a body, and upon as good ground as their brethren. Let Catholics, as citizens and politicians not be distinguishable from their other brethren of the commonwealth. 1 I have no doubt that Bishop England either spoke or wrote those words. He just did not do so before the members of Congress on January 8, 1826. However, he does articulate a clear direction that American Catholics be engaged in the political life of the nation. Catholics can make contributions to the political life of America. Throughout the rest of the 19th century in the pastoral letters the America bishops would have a number of occasions to speak about Catholics as citizens. 2 In their 1837 Pastoral Letter, the American bishops address the attack on the Ursuline convent in Charleston, Massachusetts that had taken place in 1834. An investigation by the legislature of the state to consider compensation for the destruction of property resulted in two reports. In the majority report, the request for compensation was denied but the suggestion that a gratuity be given was made. The minority report was against offering any relief since Catholics acknowledged a foreign potentate and as such could not claim protection as citizens. The minority report further suggested that Catholics only were entitled to “’countenance and aid so far as the rite of national hospitality might serve to dictate.’” 3 In other words, in the view of some members of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Catholics only were allowed in this country because of the benevolent hospitality of this nation. In their letter, the American bishops attacked the two falsehoods (1) that Catholics owed political allegiance to the Pope and (2) that they do not enjoy protection as citizens. 4 There is irony in the fact that many of the American bishops, whose names are attached to the 1837 Pastoral Letter were foreign-born. They seemed to have a better understanding of the American Constitution than some of the native-born members of the Massachusetts legislature. In their 1840 Pastoral Letter, the bishops addressed the obligation of the ballot. They carefully noted that they were not interfering in the political affairs of the nation or trying to control the exercise of a constitutional right. They noted that elections seem to engender bitter passions, bribery, and slander. The bishops remind Catholic voters to take seriously their responsibilities as voters and avoid undue influence. 5 In some ways, the American bishops were giving further support to Bishop England’s maxim. Before moving to the 20th century, I would like to summarize how the American bishops address the topic of citizenship in the three pastoral letters from the Plenary Councils of 1852, 1866, and 1884. The term “practical patriotism” best describes how the American episcopacy saw the duties of Catholics citizens. This practical patriotism included a respect for public authority, a respect for the institutions of the nation, and a belief that Catholicism is compatible with the American form of republican government. 6 By the end of the 19th century, Catholics as citizens were not expected to be exceptional in their civic duties in comparison to other Americans. Catholics as citizens were to be models of civic responsibility and witnesses for the values of the American republic. It would be thirty-five years before the American bishops issued another pastoral letter. After the establishment of the National Catholic Welfare Conference in 1919, the American hierarchy issued its longest pastoral letter to date. Certainly, the social, economic, and political changes brought about by World War I was the occasion for an extended reflection on the state of the nation. One current issue that the bishops addressed was secularism. In their view, modern society was removing God from the world, and the state was becoming sovereign in human affairs.
The bishops feared this would have a negative impact on moral values and the welfare of society. They reminded readers that the true source of welfare and justice is God. They even drew words from the Declaration of Independence “that all men are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.” Their point was people need to recognize that these rights were God-given and not granted by that state. The pastoral letter continued with an examination of justice, origins of authority and power of the state. Catholics were reminded that justice was binding under all times and conditions, that all authority is from God, and that the state “’must respect and protect the divinely established rights of the individual and family.’” 7 A final topic of interest from the 1919 Pastoral Letter dealt with education. More specifically, it drew the connection between education and citizenship. One of the principles the hierarchy articulated was: An education that united intellectual, moral, and religious elements is the best training for citizenship. It inculcates a sense of responsibility, a respect for authority, and a considerateness for the rights of others, which are the necessary foundations of civic virtue – more necessary where, as in a democracy, the citizen enjoying a larger freedom, has a greater obligation to govern himself. 8 Both the American political creed and Catholic teaching are blended together in this important pastoral letter. The bi-centennial of the American republic provided an opportunity for the Administrative Board of the United States Catholic Conference, the successor organization of the National Catholic Welfare Conference, to write about political responsibility. 1976 also was a presidential election year. In their statement, “Political Responsibility: Reflections on an Election Year,” the members of the Administrative Board noted the decline in voter participation in recent congressional and presidential elections. 9 They believed this decline represented a trend of “alienation, disenchantment, and indifference. . .” that needed to be reversed “if our government is truly to reflect the ‘consent of the governed.’” 10 Some of the causes for this trend were “abuses of power and lack of government accountability” as well as failure “to deal effectively with critical issues which affect the daily lives of its citizens.” 11 A loss of confidence in the government, discouragement, and sense of powerlessness described the mood of many citizens. This bleak view seems similar to the “wilderness” experience at other times in American history. The Administrative Board offered some guidance out of the wilderness. However, we believe that the abandonment of political participation is neither effective nor a responsible approach to the solution of these problems. We need a committed, informed, and involved citizenry to revitalize our political life, to require accountability from our political leaders and governmental institutions, and to achieve the common good. We echo the words of Pope Paul VI who declared: ‘The Christian has a duty to take part in the organization and life of political society’ [A Call to Action, 1971]. Accordingly, we would urge all citizens to register to vote, to become informed on the relevant issues, to become involved in the party or campaign of their choice, to vote freely according to their conscience, in a word, to participate fully in this critical arena of politics where national decisions are made. 12
This statement on political responsibility echoes the words of the American hierarchy since the 19th century in promoting a “practical patriotism.” The thread of continuity, urging American Catholics to be models of civic responsibilities and civic virtues has run for almost two hundred years of Catholic participation in the life of the American republic. Episcopal Initiatives In 1917, the American bishops approved the formation of the National Catholic War Council (NCWC) to coordinate the activities of the Catholic Church to support the American war effort. After the end of the conflict, a proposal was made to establish a permanent body for the American hierarchy. At their meeting in 1919, the American bishops approved the establishment of the National Catholic Welfare Council. Even prior to the formal establishment of the NCWC, a historic letter was released in the name of the American hierarchy. 13 It was The Bishops’ Program of Social Reconstruction. Based on the social teachings of Pope Leo XIII’s encyclical, Rerum Novarum, this program offered an analysis to the problems facing the United States in post-World War I society and recommendations to form a just society. It was the most prophetic statement the American bishops had made on the social, economic, and political conditions of the United States to date. One of the activities the new NCWC carried over from the war-time organization dealt with citizenship. The war council had published a pamphlet titled The Fundamentals of Citizenship. It was to help Catholic immigrants understand their duties and responsibilities as American citizens. In 1922, the NCWC published Civics Catechism on the Right and Duties of American Citizens. Both publications are examples of educational efforts by the NCWC to promote the virtues of citizenship among American Catholics. Through teaching, the 1919 letter, and education, the pamphlets, the American bishops were fulfilling a corporate responsibility to promote good citizenship. Let me move forward more than seventy-five years to 1996. As both a former general secretary of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops and Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago, Joseph Bernardin was all too familiar with the polarization in the American Catholic Church that had taken place since the end of the Second Vatican Council. By 1996, the level of polarization had reached such a point that Cardinal Bernardin felt compelled to begin an initiative to break the cycle of animosity within the American Catholic Church. On August 12, 1996, barely two months before his death, he announced the “Common Ground Initiative” whose purpose was to promote constructive dialogue among people of different views to pursue a common ground. 14 Although he was publicly criticized by three fellow American cardinals, something unique in the history of the American Catholic Church, the first meeting of the project was held on October 24, 1996. This initiative came at a time when the American Catholic Church was in its own wilderness because of the polarization. Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, no doubt frustrated by the internal spinning of wheels within the Catholic Church in the United States, offered a bold solution to a contemporary crisis. How Do We Get Out of the Wilderness? In this final part of my response, I would like to offer three suggestions on how the Catholic Church in the United States might help the nation out of the current wilderness. Bishop McElroy,
in a clear and articulate lecture, presented what we need to do. I gladly take those as the given goals. I would like to offer some ways in how we do so. First, since 2019 will be the one hundredth anniversary of The Bishop’s Program of Social Reconstruction, it might be an opportune moment for the Conference of Catholic Bishops to issue a letter on “prophetic patriotism” with the guidelines suggested by Bishop McElroy. This would be an advance from their historical practice of promoting “practical patriotism” that I outlined earlier in my response. Yet, with the examples of the 1919 letter and Cardinal Bernardin’s Common Ground Initiative in mind, the Conference has some models of such a prophetic undertaking. Second, since the American bishops traditionally have emphasized teaching and education in relation to citizenship, they should build on that foundation in promoting “prophetic patriotism.” Any number of Catholic organizations, such as the Knights of Columbus, Catholic universities, the National Catholic Educational Association, might be interested partners with the Conference of Catholic Bishops to promote a program to teach the virtues of “prophetic patriotism” in schools and parishes. Finally, resources, both intellectual and financial, for such a project can be found in the talented faculty of many Catholic universities, interested secular organizations, and willing Catholic philanthropists. No doubt, Bishop McElroy already has connections to these resources. I am not so young and naïve to think that what I propose is easy and simple. Finding willing people to participate, seeking common agreement in a time of polarization, and being willing to risk harsh and pointed criticism of such a project is not likely to get a rush of volunteers. Despite these and many other objections you have considered, the fact is that as Catholics we do have a duty and responsibility to promote the welfare of our citizens and the common good for our nation. We need to move beyond the vision of Bishop John England where Catholics “as citizens and politicians not be distinguishable from their other brethren of the commonwealth.” We can help heal our nation.
1 The quote can be found in David O’Brien, Public Catholicism (New York: Macmillan Publishing Company, 1989), p. 30. However, a careful reading of Bishop England’s address in Sebastian G. Messmer, The Works of Right Reverend John England, First Bishop of Charleston, VII, pp. 11-43 does not contain this quote. The quote is from Bishop England’s 1840 Pastoral Letter and can be found in Peter Gilday, The Life of John England (New York: 1927), II, p. 499. 2 For a fuller treatment of this topic see: Martin A. Zielinski, “The Catholic As Citizen: A Historical Survey of Catholic Episcopal Teaching,”, Chicago Studies 43:2 (2004) 143-172. 3 Quoted in Zielinski, 149. 4 Ibid. 5 Ibid. 150-151. 6 Ibid. 152-154. 7 Ibid. 156. 8 Ibid. 157. 9 Hugh Nolan, ed. The Pastoral Letters of the United States Catholic Bishops (Washington, D.C., The National Conference of Catholic Bishops, 1983), IV, 129. 10 Ibid. 11 Ibid. 12 Ibid. 130 13 The date of The Bishops’ Program of Social Reconstruction is February 1919. The establishment of the NCWC took place in September 1919. 14 For background on the Common Ground Initiative see: http://www.catholiccommonground.org/origins.
Would the Good Samaritan Have Gone to War? By Bishop Robert W. McElroy There was a scholar of the law who stood up to test him and said “Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life? Jesus said to him: “What is written in the law? How do you read it?” The man said in reply, “You shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” Jesus replied to him “You have answered correctly; do this and you will live.” But because he wished to justify himself, he said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man fell victim to robbers as he went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. They stripped and beat him and went off leaving him half-dead. A priest happened to be going down that road, but when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. Likewise, a Levite came to the place, and when he saw him, he passed by on the opposite side. But a Samaritan traveler who came upon him was moved with compassion at the sight. He approached the victim, poured oil and wine over his wounds and bandaged them. Then he lifted him up on his own animal, took him to an inn and cared for him. The next day he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper with the instruction “Take care of him. If you spend more than what I have given you, I shall repay you on my way back.” “Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the robbers’ victim?” The scholar answered, “the one who treated him with mercy.” Jesus said to him “Go and do likewise.” For almost two thousand years, disciples of Jesus Christ have struggled with the implications of the Gospel message for the issues of war and peace. And at the heart of those struggles lies the figure of the Good Samaritan and the searing command of Jesus to love our neighbor with intensity, even when that neighbor is a foreigner. Both the pacifist tradition in the early Church and the just war tradition which grew from the writings of Saint Augustine saw in the figure of the Good Samaritan and the call to universal love a prism for formulating a comprehensive Christian response to the profound and immensely complex question of how the disciples of Jesus should approach the question of war. Now, the Church is in a new and pivotal moment in its reflections on the nature and morality of modern warfare, and the figure of the Good Samaritan and the searing question “What does it mean to be neighbor in a time of conflict?” once again provides a penetrating foundation for renewing Catholic teaching on war and peace. The Pacifist Tradition The writings of the Fathers of the Church display a deep-seated opposition to the legitimacy of war for Christians. Mainstream Christian thought simply could not comprehend how the Jesus who called us to see our neighbor in every human person, as witnessed by the parable of the Good Samaritan, could approve of military service designed to take enemy lives. Origen was clear: “To those who ask us whence we have come or whom we have for a leader, we say that we have come in accordance with the counsels of Jesus to cut down our warlike and arrogant swords of argument into plough shares, and we convert into sickles the spears we formerly used in fighting. For we no longer take the sword against a nation, nor do we learn any more to make war, having become sons of peace for the sake of Jesus, who is our leader, instead of following the ancestral customs….”
Tertullian was equally clear in his rejection of warfare: “The Christian does not hurt even his enemy.” Specifically, this meant that “Only without the sword can the Christian wage war: the Lord has abolished the sword.” “Christ, in disarming Peter, disarmed every soldier.” Aristides, speaking in the first century, rooted the pacifism of the Christian community in their very understanding of what it means to be neighbor: “It is the Christians, O Emperor, who have sought and found the truth, for they acknowledge God….They show love to their neighbors. They do not do to another what they would not wish to have done to themselves. They speak gently to those who oppress them, and in this way they make them their friends. It has become their passion to do good to their enemies.” While it is true that in part the Christian opposition to military service arose because the Roman army required religious veneration of the emperor, Saint Cyprian of Carthage reflected the strong pacifist current in early Christian thought when he noted approvingly that the disciples of Jesus Christ in his day refused to take up arms even in the face of death: “They do not even fight against those who are attacking since it is not granted to the innocent to kill even the aggressor, but instead they promptly deliver up their souls and blood….” Throughout the history of the Church, from the time of the early Christian communities to that of Francis of Assisi, to the life of Dorothy Day, heroic disciples of Jesus Christ have used the Gospel and its universal notion of neighbor to proclaim that pacifism is the only truly Christian response to war. It is essential to note that Christian pacifism has never been a passive stance. Rather, Christian pacifism echoes unceasingly the assertion of Aristides that precisely in confronting the enemy with the love of Jesus Christ in action, enmity can be transformed into friendship and peace. Christian pacifists are fully committed to the fighting of evil present in the world, and they make enormous sacrifices in fighting that evil and protecting human rights which are in jeopardy. But they look at the legacy of war and conclude that evil is not defeated, but only confirmed in war. Thus, for the Christian there is no option but pacifist resistance. After all, how can the Parable of the Good Samaritan, which requires strenuous love of the foreigner, ever be reconciled with killing that same stranger? The Just War Tradition How indeed? This was the question that Saint Augustine confronted in the fifth century when, as bishop of Hippo in North Africa, he was the leader of a Christian culture facing the onslaught of the barbarians. Augustine read the same Gospels as Tertullian and Origen, but came to a radically different conclusion about the Gospel’s reconcilability with war. As Paul Ramsey, the great Protestant interpreter of Augustine, has noted, Augustine turned the parable of the Good Samaritan on its head. What if the Good Samaritan had been coming down the road twenty minutes earlier, Augustine asked, when the man by the side of the road was being beaten? What then would have been the obligation of the Good Samaritan, filled with love for his neighbor? That obligation, Augustine concluded, would have been to intervene with force, if necessary, to drive off the robbers. So too, the use of force in war is necessary at times to defend the lives and fundamental human rights of people who are being victimized. From this assertion that the call to love not only tolerates a recourse to war, but at times demands it, Augustine fashioned what came to be the just war tradition, a teaching on the ethics of warfare that has been refined over fifteen centuries and now stands as the central ethical framework for evaluating the ethics of war in Western culture. It must be emphasized that while
the just war tradition was an unmitigated rejection of the claims of Christian pacifism, it included a series of constraints on the resort to war which were powerful and in many instances effective. Augustine grudgingly admitted the need for warfare. But he regarded it as a grave evil which continually needed to be contained. The Just War tradition contains two elements. The ius ad bellum erects a series of requirements for a nation to go to war justly. The ius in bello places strict limitations on the actions which nations can take in the prosecution of war. The ius ad bellum lists four conditions that must be clearly and simultaneously fulfilled before a decision is made to go to war. First, there must be a just cause. For many centuries, this just cause could include economic or diplomatic injuries, but now it is limited to the defense of a nation against lasting, grave and certain attack. Secondly, war must be a last resort. This means that every other realistic avenue for redress must have been exhausted before there is a decision to go to war. Thirdly, there must be serious prospects for success. Finally, the resort to war must not be likely to produce graver evils than the evil which is the cause of war. The ius in bello, which outlines the moral requirements for combat once war has begun, contains two major rules. The first rule mandates that military actions cannot be directed against civilian populations, and that there is a positive obligation by each nation involved in the war to limit the destruction of civilian populations. The second rule requires that every military action must be likely to achieve greater good than the evil it will produce. Taken together, the elements of Catholic just war teaching are meant to embody two countervailing convictions about the realities of modern warfare: 1) war is an enormously evil element of human existence which is all too alluring for human societies; and 2) in very limited circumstances war constitutes a morally legitimate and even obligatory avenue for the defense of the most fundamental rights of nations and peoples. The Increasing Inadequacy of Just War Thinking For almost fifteen centuries the just war tradition remained the centerpiece of Catholic theological reflection on the issues of war and peace, and it emerged as the preeminent framework for ethical thinking on military action within Western culture. But while the tradition established by Augustine still occupies a pivotal role in Catholic thinking on war and peace, a series of changes in the nature of warfare and international relations during the last century have led the Church to radically restructure its approach to the just war tradition. The first of these changes â€“ the introduction of strategic bombing into major warfare â€“ cannot be overestimated in its impact. Strategic bombing grew up in World War II, and with the passage of the war the principle of discrimination limiting attacks on civilians was subordinated to the growing effort to terrorize civilian populations in order to destroy their will to fight. The bombing of London, Dresden and Tokyo were chilling warnings that with the increasing sophistication of airplanes and new weapons systems whole nations had become the targets of modern military strategy. In addition, weapons of mass destruction that arose in the twentieth century created the specter of human misery beyond imagination, and the destruction of the human race itself. The use of atomic weapons against Japan constituted the crossing of a foreboding threshold in human history. And the subsequent commitment of the world in the l960â€™s to contain and ultimately abandon nuclear arsenals has been nullified by the refusal of the nuclear states to embark upon their promised pathway of continuous nuclear reductions, and the simultaneous growth of new
nuclear powers, often in rivalry with other nuclear powers. We now live in a world where the next recourse to war may easily involve nuclear powers in conflict with each other. In its intervention at the 2014 United Nations Disarmament Conference, the Holy See witnessed powerfully to the insanity of the current nuclear regime: “Rather than providing security, as the defenders of nuclear deterrence contend, reliance on the strategy of nuclear deterrence has created a less secure world. In a multi-polar world, the concept of nuclear deterrence works less as a stabilizing force and more as an incentive for countries to break out of the non-proliferation regime and develop nuclear arsenals of their own.” Against this backdrop, the Church’s teaching on war and peace has dramatically increased its restrictions on the recourse to war and the building of military arsenals. From Pacem in Terris’ assertion in l962 that “it is hardly possible to imagine that in an atomic era, war could be used as an instrument of justice” to Paul VI’s clarion call “no more war; war never again,” to Benedict XVI’s questioning whether “amidst the current destructiveness of war is it even licit to admit of the possibility of a just war”, the popes of the modern era have narrowed the pathway for legitimate recourse to war. Specifically, Catholic teaching has strengthened the obligation of nations to exhaust every alternative to war; and has dramatically narrowed the scope of the just causes which can legitimately constitute the foundation for recourse to war, so that they now embrace only a direct defense of a nation’s people and territory. In addition, Catholic teaching has raised the gravest possible objections to the arms race in the world, and to the theft from the poor which spending on weapons represents in our modern era. The Catechism of the Catholic Church asserts that “The arms race does not insure peace. Far from eliminating the causes of war, it risks aggravating them.” Faced with the tremendous magnification of the evils of war which has taken place during the past seventy years, the Church is in the midst of a fundamental reappraisal of how to balance the Christian obligation to non-violence with the need to resist evil in the world. The traditional architecture of the just war theory seems incapable of providing the moral rigor to act as a substantive constraint on the recourse to war, especially in an age when political leaders distort the very precepts of just war reasoning to legitimate wars which are wholly incompatible with Catholic thinking. Moreover, the power of non-violence, once relegated to the category of romantic idealism, has emerged as a potent force for social transformation and the building of enduring peace. Major studies evaluating the actual experience of utilizing non-violent action strategically in civil wars and internal conflicts have demonstrated the Christian pacifism can frequently be more effective than military action in constraining evil. The traditional just war thinking simply does not provide an adequate framework for expressing Catholic morality in a world of weapons of mass destruction and unremitting arms races across the international system. Once more it is time to revisit the parable of the Good Samaritan in order find a foundation for navigating the powerful moral crosscurrents which confront the Christian whenever she addresses the question of war and peace in the modern age. And once more, the beautiful witness of the Samaritan provides both guidance and wisdom in understanding how the Christian must deal with violence in a world where grave evil lurks. The Responsibility to Protect In the year 2000, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Anon, reflecting upon the unwillingness of the world’s nations to intervene militarily to prevent human butchery among and
within nations during the preceding decade, posed a penetrating question to the governments of the world: “If humanitarian intervention is an unacceptable assault on sovereignty, how should we respond to a Rwanda, to a Srebrenica – to gross and systematic violations of human rights that offend every precept of our common humanity?” In short, Anon was asking how and when an international community which honors state sovereignty as a fundamental principle should subordinate that sovereignty by intervening in the internal affairs of a nation when humanitarian horrors there become overwhelming. The government of Canada attempted to answer this question through an international commission which confronted the central issues of humanitarian intervention, and in doing so the Canadians transformed how the world thinks of the very concept of humanitarian intervention. In a real way, both Anon and Canada were attempting to answer the question that Saint Augustine posed fifteen hundred years ago: what would the Good Samaritan do if he came upon a scene of wanton bloodshed? The commission’s answer, on a series of levels, provides a framework for blending the pacifist impulse with the elements of the just war tradition to suggest a pathway for reforming Catholic teaching on the morality of war in the present age. The first critical step which the Canadians took was to reinterpret sovereignty in the international system as primarily a claim of responsibility rather than a claim of control. As the commission report points out, this change of mindset has a threefold significance. “First, it implies that state authorities are responsible for the functions of protecting the safety and lives of citizens and promotion of their welfare. Secondly, it suggests that the national political authorities are responsible to the citizens internally and to the international community through the UN. And thirdly, it means that the agents of the state are responsible for their actions, that it to say, they are accountable for their acts of commission and omission. The case for thinking of sovereignty in these terms is strengthened by the ever-increasing impact of international human rights norms, and the increasing impact in international discourse of the concept of human security.” It is within this logic of a responsibility to protect that the Canadian commission identified the moral foundation for international action to stop the most horrendous human rights abuses which take place within nations. International action on behalf of the suffering is rooted in that suffering, not in the rights of intervening nations. In addition, the responsibility to protect consists not primarily in military intervention, but in prior peaceful actions to make sure that military intervention will not be needed. In short, there is a responsibility to peacefully prevent which is the first and most important element of the international responsibility to protect. The Canadian report states “…for prevention to succeed, strong support from the international community is often needed, and in many cases may be indispensable. Such support may take many forms. It may come in the form of development assistance…or efforts to provide support for local initiatives to advance good governance, human rights, or the rule of law. In some cases, international support for prevention efforts make take the form of inducements; in orders it may involve a willingness to apply tough and perhaps even punitive measures.” Such a program of effective prevention of conflict requires several elements. The first is the knowledge of the fragility of the situation, the attentiveness to early warning signals of potential conflict. The second is a preventative toolbox, a set of effective policy measures that are capable of making a difference in the conflict. The third is the issue of political will, the effective desire to intervene peacefully but vigorously so that military conflict will not emerge. While the Canadian report on the responsibility to protect emphasizes that preventative peacebuilding is the most important field for moral intervention to forestall human rights disasters, the report also recognizes that at some points military intervention may be necessary to staunch
the bloodshed emerging within a nation. For that reason, the Canadian commission analyzed the traditional just war criteria and pointed to two of them as particularly vital in determining whether a military intervention is morally legitimate. The first of these criteria is the requirement for a just cause. The “responsibility to protect” frames legitimate just cause very narrowly. There must be large scale loss of life that is the product of deliberate state action or a failed state situation. Or there must be ethnic cleansing, actual or apprehended. In the words of the Canadian commission, “military intervention for human protection purposes must be regarded as an exceptional and extraordinary measure, and for it to be warranted there must be serious and irreparable harm occurring to human beings, or imminently likely to occur.” The second just war criterion that the responsibility to protect points to is the requirement of right intention. The primary purpose of the intervention has to be stopping human suffering in the concrete. Neither the alteration of borders, nor regime change, nor the advancement of a group’s claim to self-determination constitutes an acceptable just cause for going to war. One of the richest contributions which the Canadian report made to morality in international life is its discussion of how to gauge right intention in the international system today. The report suggested a specific three-tier structure for judging the presence of right intention. The first standard is the demand that military action always reflects a broadly collective action by nations, rather than the use of force by one or two countries. The second standard concerns whether the military action is actually supported by the people whom it is supposed to benefit. The third measurement of right intention is what countries in the region think of the intervention. As a way of cumulating these levels, the commission suggests that the approval of the UN Security Council or the General Assembly be examined. The key is that any claim of right intention in launching a military action must be examined against a broad set of corroborating objective measurements. The Canadian report on the responsibility to protect vulnerable populations and human rights became the foundation for restructuring the international regime on the question of collaboration to confront the most heinous barbarities of our time. It posed for all humanity the searing question: what would the Good Samaritan do if confronted with massive human rights abuses occurring before his eyes. Forging a Pathway for Catholic Thinking on War and Peace The Canadian commission focused on the specific question of how the international community should confront atrocities occurring in nations with either malevolent or failed governments. But their central conclusions provide an important direction for Catholic thinking about any resort to war in an age of strategic bombing and weapons of mass destruction. They also provide a way to link both the rich insights of the pacifist tradition and just war thinking. The primary assertion of the Canadian report is that the responsibility to protect is exercised legitimately only if is seen primarily and overwhelmingly as the duty to peacefully prevent. Before the Canadian report, the question being debated among nations in response to Rwanda and Srebrenica was: when is humanitarian military intervention ever justified? The Canadians taught the world that the proper question was: how can the international community act in concert to take peaceful and effective actions so that military intervention will never be needed. This is the great witness of the pacifist tradition in our day: the realistic understanding that most conflict can be avoided peacefully if nations are willing to act attentively, compassionately
and in concert to take vigorous preventative actions when warning signs of human rights abuses are emerging. All too often, brewing crises are ignored until bloodshed is already rampant. Attentive peacebuilding must be the foundational perspective of Catholic moral thinking on both international conflict and its prevention. The Canadian report placed its major focus on preventative action. But it also contemplated that at times military action to forestall massive human rights violations. So, too it is in the Christian community. Faced with barbarity occurring before his eyes, the Good Samaritan has a duty to intervene even in violence to protect the vulnerable. The grave responsibility in any such intervention is to insure that it is truly a last resort and tremendously limited in scope. It is in these areas that the just war tradition as currently formulated does not offer the rigor necessary to condemn unnecessary wars in a world filled with rationalization and rampant militarization. That is why the Commission on the Responsibility to Protect offers a substantive correction to the just war tradition in its interpretation of just cause and right intention. In a nuclear age, with stockpiles of lethal weapons in every nation, the legitimate just cause for war must be confined to human rights atrocities, genocide, and the invasion of a country. Similarly, there must be an increasingly demanding formulation of the criterion of right intention, which looks to the breadth of the coalition undertaking military action, the receptiveness of the peoples for whom the intervention is supposedly being launched, and the reactions of nations in the region to gauge whether military action is truly moral. Catholic moral theology must rethink its current approach to war and peace. It must give greater legitimacy to the pacifist tradition and the demands it places upon all Christians to be first and foremost peacebuilders. It must enflesh the growing reservations of the modern popes about any recourse to war in the modern age. Catholic teaching must recognize that that suppleness of the just war criteria has rendered it incapable of discriminating effectively between just and unjust wars. And Catholic moral theology must reforge the criteria of just cause and right intention to provide a truly effective standard for determining when, with ultimate sadness, military action is warranted. The Good Samaritan traveled his pathway as an agent of compassion, confronting violence, and seeking to restore justice in peace. So, must we all in this nuclear age.
Edith Stein and the World’s Peace By Rev. Marek Duran, S.T.D. At the beginning of my presentation, I would like to thank Bishop McElroy for his illuminating and thought-provoking lectures. They have allowed us to see the world and our place, as Americans, in a new light. I would also like to thank Fr. Zielinski for his paper and showing us the variety of ways in which Catholics have formed and challenged the American society. Finally, I would like to thank Frs. Baima and Kartje for allowing me this opportunity to respond to Bishop McElroy’s lectures. I need to acknowledge my limitations. I am neither an expert in just war theory nor in international affairs. My background is rather humble. I studied at the JPII Institute for Marriage and Family. Thus, “the basic cell of society” is closer to my heart than a very broad community of human beings. When I was asked to give this response, I felt as if David was going to face Goliath. Yet, after some thought, prayer, and reflection, I came to see that I couldn’t perceive my response as a struggle of two egos, but rather as a mutual quest for truth. In his spirit, I present my response. After listening to Bishop McElroy, there are many things that could be contested. The followers of Edward N. Luttwak, would argue that even though war is a great evil, it has the virtue of resolving conflicts and leading to peace. 1 In the same vain, but from a Catholic moral tradition, the followers of George Weigel and James Turner Johnson 2 would argue that the just war theory is not, as they put it “a method of moral casuistry but rather a theory of statecraft.” 3 As Weigel and Johnson would say, war is not a great evil but rather neutral in its moral identity as long as it is a quest for tranquilitas ordinis. On the other hand, the strict pacifist might argue that Bishop McElroy has alternated his opinion a bit from turning from total to “functional pacifism”. In my presentation, I would like to bracket these particular debates. In the second lecture, Bishop McElroy presented the principle of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) “as an ambitious attempt to tackle the international community’s passivity vis-àvis mass atrocities.” 4 I must confess that before Bishop McElroy’s talk I was unfamiliar with this concept. I decided to trace its historical roots. After doing so, I found myself quickly jumping on the bandwagon of its proponents. I did so for two reasons. First, the principle of R2P is a “child” of the ethics of compassion or empathy. Empathy and compassion are the “the affective core” of the argument. While writing my dissertation, I spent four years studying these emotions under the aegis of Edith Stein and Martha Nussbaum. Secondly, the Western culture is dominated by apathy, ragged individualism, and autonomy. I welcome anyone challenging the common “enemy”. As Jesus said, “if they are not against you they are for you.” 5 Jumping onto the bandwagon, however, I kept my eyes open. In what is to follow, I would like to present three things in order to enhance the R2P principle. In doing so, I would like to make reference to the writings of Edith Stein. As I mentioned above, empathy and compassion are the “the emotional core” of the R2P argument. This is the key. Is one to build international affairs based on something so fleeting as emotions especially if it follows the lead of Hume? Alasdair McIntyre in his book After Virtue has convincingly argued that emotivism is an epidemic afflicting modern society. 6 The so-called emotive subject is internally dominated by his or her feelings to the extent of being carried away by them in the formulation of his or her moral judgments. The emotivist principle is the cancer
slowly debilitating and killing any deeper bonds and consequently the deeper roots of communal living, because of the indifference it creates, in which one is turned in on oneself. Stein on Emotivism and Empathy Stein would say, I think correctly, that the emotive subject is capable of relating to the other only in a mob-like or associative relations but not through friendship. 7 The mob-like relations are essentially passive and contagious. One infects another, which occurs through sheer non-reflective affectivity. For instance, when Bears fans cheer for their beloved them, they infect one another with either elative or depressive emotions. Associative relations are deeper than that of mob relations because they are oriented by and directed towards an outside goal, but they are shallow nonetheless. So, for example imagine a seminary in which members of the formation team work together to assist the seminary to achieve desired goals of forming parish priests without knowing each other. According to Stein, however, empathy, though, considered an emotion, if done well, could avoid the trap of emotivism. According to Stein, empathy is neither sentimental nor sugary. It presupposes a strong and stable sense of self that is able to set clear boundaries between the self and the other at the physical, psychological, and spiritual level, as well as, a significant reflective ability. Empathy, for Stein, is both the modality of affective knowledge and the basis of understanding oneself and others. Stein defines empathy in her dissertation Einfühlung Problem in as a kind of perceiving sui generis in which the subject of the non-primordial experience is felt to be led by a primordial experience of the foreign subject. 8 The total Einfühlung experience is accomplished at three levels: (1) “the emergence of the experience”, (2) “the fulfilling explication”, and (3) “the complete objectification of the explained experience”. 9 Often enough, however, Stein observes, people do not go through all three stages of empathy but become satisfied at one of the lowest levels. 10 In order to be able to understand this definition one needs to be aware that Stein defines primordiality, after Husserl, as the givenness of something in which one’s “I” is present originally, that is in a spatial and temporal way (here and now). This sounds rather abstract. So let me present two examples. Prayer, for instance, is based on the emphatic reception of religious mysteries. Marianne Sawicki, in her monumental work on Edith Stein entitled, Body, Text, and Science, writes: “… the humanity and career of Jesus are to be read in prayer as the personal expressions of the divine creator. One’s own life is meant to be a following of the life of Jesus, up to and through the death of Jesus. … Relationship between two numerically distinct I’s remains, while what becomes “the same” is the path. … Where consciousness first goes in prayer, the events of real life are expected to go to as one’s life story unfurls.” 11. One also experiences oneself non-primordially through imagination and memory. In memory, the non-primordial (not currently experienced) content points back to the past primordiality. It means that when I remember something the “remembering I” and the “remembered I” are one and yet distinct. What is the principle of their unity? In the act of remembering, two subjects are united by the consciousness of sameness or a continuity of experience. What is the principle of this difference? The two are separated chronologically, by accumulated wealth of experience, understanding, and possibly by the affective content prior to the experience.
Steps of Empathy To empathize, thus, is to share a live experience from the inside. It is to let one’s “I” to be led along through the coherent flow of an experience of the other, which the other “I” is living primordially or originally. Yet, as Stein pointed out, the full act of empathy is made up of three steps. In the step number one the subject performing the act of Einfühlung becomes aware (gewahren) of the other and the content of the other’s experience pulls one in (mich in sich hineingezogen). 12 Two subjects do not necessarily have to be intimately connected. Sadness, joy, or any other emotion establishes connection between two subjects. Through the means of countenance or in natural sounds (Vergegenwärtigung), the other makes an impact. He enters within the sphere of empathizing subject’s owness. The other begins to dwell in the empathizing subject as the other. At this level then, the empathizing subject is “passive” or better “receptive”. His or her job is to let the other be other, to notice, to be aware of what is happening. One is turned toward the other. One pays attention to him or her. The affective impact of the experience might vary. It is possible that the empathizing subject will be overwhelmed by the impact of the emotion so much that he or she will be completely overtaken. Yet, hopefully, the emergence of the experience will not be so overbearing. After, the initial contact, the second step of empathy becomes possible called by Stein fulfilling explication. This is necessary in order to be able to interact with the other on a deeper level. The empathizing subject while focusing on the main subject turns inward in order to try to put oneself [sich hineinversetzen] in a place of the empathized one. The purpose of this process is to fulfill the link, that is to show how “selfness is brought into relief in contrast with the otherness of the other”. 13 In other words, the empathizing subject wants to arrive at the primordial understanding of the other and of his emotional state. In order to do so, the empathizing subject is able to use all resources at his disposal; that is, self-knowledge, memory, or fantasy. The process of the fulfilling explication is, however, limited. The fulfilling intuition depends on that which is intelligible to us. One is able to in-feel into other characters. What one is, however, limited to do is to bring it to existential fulfillment. The last step of the full-blown process of empathy Stein calls “the comprehensive objectification of the explained experience.” At this level, the subject reaches a clear understanding of the feelings of another. The empathized subject possesses also the knowledge of the other without becoming like the other. It is important to notice that the whole experience starts with affective content and ends with it. Yet, the affect at the end of the process is deeper, more conscious and more immersed in the experience of the other. 14 Yet, the empathizing subject needs to keep coming back to his or her experience, so the possible errors of empathy could be eliminated. Why is the entire process of empathy necessary? One of the prominent scholars in Stein’s studies, Rachel Feldhay Brenner answers this question in the following way: Empathy is necessary because it enables mutual comprehension, as well as it makes me understand how others perceive me. This interdependence of empathic comprehension confronts the interrelating subjects with their self-deceptions, making them aware of their ‘value hierarchy’ (p.101) and enriching their experience of the world (p.63). The ongoing ‘unfolding of the person’ through empathic encounters constitutes the ‘meaning of life’, because it moves me toward the actualization of my wholeness, which lies in my immutable core, the
unchangeable ‘kernel’ (p. 110) of the unique self. That is why the phenomenon of the outer world is ‘not just as it appears to me;’ my ability to appreciate the diverse perspectives of the world is possible thanks to ‘empathy as the basis of interpersonal experience’ (p.64). 15 If we are to foster, as Pope Francis says the culture of encounter, we need to cultivate in us the ability to empathize with the other on both personal and international level and to do so in a non-sentimental way as not to lead others into gas chambers for humanitarian reasons, as Flannery O’Conner would say. 16 Second Point of Reflection My second point of reflection could be a bit more contentious. In emphasizing the intellectual nature of empathy, we must remember its theological roots. Bishop McElroy in his second lecture presents, if I understand him correctly, seems to present the U.N. either as an incarnation of the Good Samaritan or its secular counterpart. Yet, I have to confess that I am very skeptical of that approach. To suggest that the U.N could play a role of the Good Samaritan is either idolatrous or simplistic. What do I mean? In the history of the Christian interpretation, the parable of the Good Samaritan has a distinctively Christological meaning. St. Augustine, for instance, following the lead of St. Irenaeus and Origen presents the beaten traveler as representing man in his fallen state; the binding of his wounds as representing Christ’s binding of sin; the inn-keeper as representing either St. Paul or the Church. I am conscious that one does not have to spiritualize necessarily the parable to the same extent as the Church Fathers did. Yet, one could validly argue that what Jesus calls his interlocutors to is conversion or spiritual awakening. Whether the realization of the parable took place in the case of Pharisee is impossible to know. The Gospel does tell us. Yet, whenever the words of Jesus have been headed great things have happened. The fruits of spiritual awakening in the past have been, for instance, the formation of European Union, 17 the Declaration of Human Rights, 18 the civil right movement, the fall of communism in Central and Eastern Europe to mention just a few. I am afraid that without any type of spiritual awakening the United Nations will continue its track record of corruption, scandal, and abuse. In the recent decade, the U.N. has been more preoccupied with pushing the agenda of sexual rights, contraception, abortion, and sterilization than helping to alleviate poverty and promoting peace. That is why, in his April 18, 2008 Address to the United Nations Pope Benedict XVI issued a profound call to conversion and signaled nine dilemmas that are colluding the moral credibility of the U.N. “They are the dilemmas posed by: (1) cultural relativism, (2) positivism, (3) philosophical relativism, (4) utilitarianism, (5) selective approaches to rights, (6) escalating demands for new rights, (7) hyper-individualistic interpretations of rights, (8) forgetfulness of the relation between rights and responsibilities, and (9) the threat posed to religious freedom by dogmatic forms of secularism.” 19 I am afraid that his call unfortunately fell on deaf ears. I am also very skeptical of the institutionalization of the parable of the Good Samaritan. I would agree with Reinhold Niebuhr who in his book entitled Moral Men and Immoral Society has convincingly argued that the welfarism is the epitome of an age characterized by materialism, selfishness, social disintegration and an absence of spirituality. 20 The enlightenment project is based on the notion of equality and that of reasonability. Yet, as Niebuhr says: “Men will never be wholly reasonable and the proportion of reason to impulse becomes increasingly negative when we proceed from the life of individuals to that of social groups.” 21 Because of that
social and political conflicts between groups will continue to arise. No one and nothing can abolish that. The well-designed political system is able to curb and correct some of the most outrageous forms of injustice through the mixture of ethical and coercive factors, yet its goal of the absolute and complete social equality can never be achieved. The full achievement of the dream is a form of moral utopia. On the other hand, living without a dream causes the rise of cynical attitudes. Religion also is powerless in the face of conflict. However, because it has “the sense of absolute” 22 it creates a perspective beyond human interests which allows one to critically assess the present state of society. God and religion furthermore sublimate one’s will to live. As Niebuhr puts it: “highest visions are those which proceed from the insights of a sensitive individual conscience.” 23 Furthermore, religion thus plays indispensable role in the process of a delicate balancing in which peace and injustice are balanced against coercion and justice as well as curbing selfishness. In religion, the dynamic is “losing and finding oneself in something greater than oneself.” The process of secularization of the Good Samaritan inevitably leads to focusing on material needs while neglecting other needs. Final Observation My last observation will be a brief one. Any type of ethics or morality is closely bound to the idea of who a human being is. How many times have we heard this profound statement from Gaudium et spes 22: “Christ the new Adam, in the very revelation of the mystery of the Father and of his love, fully reveals man to himself and brings to light his most high calling.” 24 We are all familiar with the interpretation of that phrase given by John Paul II. I would like, however, to present the mystery of man and of humanity through the lenses of Edith Stein’s reflections. I do so because the mystery of man brought Stein to her knees and brought her to ask for baptism, to join the Carmelite order, and finally to go “for her people”. I will not be able to present here the entire development of Stein’s reflection on the mystery of human person and of humanity as it is presented in her crowning work entitled Finite and Eternal Being. Let me first briefly sketch Stein’s perception of the human being. According to Stein, the human being is an ensouled body. He or she is a being made up of various regions of life experience, principally of physical, sentient, intellectual and personal. The Human being is also inherently relational. In order to describe one’s inner life, Stein employs the term “soul” in a largely Aristotelian-Thomistic framework. She presents the soul as the principle of organization of the body as well as and the seat of human capacities that actualizes itself in and through the body. Yet, Stein infuses that framework with some Augustinian and above all Carmelite insights. So, like St. Augustine she sees the soul as the center of human life and like St. Teresa of Avila she presents it as a mansion with many rooms. The soul is, consequently, not only a seat of capacities but a place in which “I” can live. The level of freedom depends on preferred place of the dwelling of the “I”. The human being is freer if he himself dwells in the more personal interior rooms. At the deepest room of the soul dwells Christ. One’s individuality is profoundly shaped by both the level of one’s freedom, that is the depth of the “I” as well as the intimate relationship between Christ and the soul. 25 This inward turn allows Stein to emphasize not only spiritual but also epistemic significance of her concept. Sara Borden describes the epistemic significance of Stein’s inward turn in the following way: “Like Kant, Stein wants to emphasize the special insight of our inner life. There is something about a turn to the ‘interior of the soul’ that grants a particularly significant insight. But unlike Kant, Stein does not oppose this interior turn to an exterior turn to
objects. Instead, she articulates a paradox where the deeper one goes into one’s ‘interior’, the better, more deeply and acutely, we grasp ‘exterior’ truths. 26 How could that be true? Sara Borden continues: “The ‘inward turn,’ the moving into more inner rooms of the castle, includes a greater ability to attend to more data, to recognize the pattern in more things, and to be more deeply affected by the data and therefore capable of reading more clearly the patterns there in the data.” 27 For Stein, not only the individual human being is a Christ related being but also humanity itself. Stein sees humanity as more than one all-encompassing community. Humanity is a physical and mental organism of a Christological nature. Stein writes: “The whole humanity is the humanity of Christ … and it begins its existence in the first human being. The origin of this vision is the doctrine of creation and redemption.” 28 So, Stein derives the origin of all human beings from one ancestor and sees as the goal of the human race its consolidation under one divine- human head, in the one ‘Mystical Body’ of Jesus Christ. The inner life of the humanity consists in autonomous self-configuration (growth in numbers, cultural accomplishments, advances in knowledge and faith, legal organization, and the inner solidarity of the members), self-direction (regulations of economy, security and education), and self-expression (creative works of arts and science, the hierarchy of values, and forms of legal, political, and religious life). The individual becomes a member of the people by being born into it and by becoming conscious of what he or she owes to his people. The source of all peoples is the Creator God. Because of that each human being is a God-seeker and bound to eternity. 29 I would like to finish my response with a quote of unknown origin but frequently attributed André Malraux who said: “The 21st century will be religious or it will not be at all.”
Edward N. Luttwak, “Give War a Chance” in Foreign Affairs 78/4 (1999) 36-44. George Weigel, Tranquilitas Ordinis: The Present Failure and Future Promise of American Catholic Thought on War and Peace, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1987); Id., Against the Grain: Christian Democracy, War and Peace., (New York: Crossroad Publishing Company, 2008); James Turner Johnson, The War to Oust Saddan Hussein: Just War and the New Face of Conflict, (Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2005). 3 George Weigel, Against the Grain, 210. 4 Oliver Diggelmann, “Ethical Dilemmas connected with the Responsibility to Protect.” In The Responsibility to Protect (R2P): A New Paradigm of International Law, ed. Peter Hilpold, (Leiden, Netherlands: Brill J. Nijhoff, 2014), 405-416, 405. The article is also available at: http://www.ivr.uzh.ch/dam/jcr:b46f72de-856e42ff-83e8-886a6f8ccd6a/04_diggelmann_ethical_dilemmas.pdf. 5 Mk 9:40. 6 Alasdair C. MacIntyre, After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory, (Notre Dame, Ind.: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984). 7 Edith Stein, An Investigation Concerning the State, trans. Marianne Sawicki, Vol. X of The Collected Works of Edith Stein Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross Discalced Carmelite 1891-1942, (Washington D.C.: ICS Publications, 2006). 8 Edith Stein, On the Problem of Empathy, trans. Waltraut Stein Ph.D, Vol. 3 of The Collected Works of Edith Stein Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross Discalced Carmelite 1891-1942, (Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 1989), 11. 9 Ibid., On the Problem, 10. 10 Ibid. 11 Marianne Sawicki, Body, Text and Science: The Literacy of Investigative Practices and the Phenomenology of Edith Stein, (Dodrecht - Boston - London: Kluwert Academic Publishers, 2001), 192. 12 Edith Stein, On the Problem of Empathy, 10. 13 Ibid., 38. 14 Cf. Ibid.,18. 2
Cf. Rachel Feldhay Brenner, “Edith Stein Concept of Empathy and the Problem of the Holocaust Witness: War Diaries of Polish Warsaw Writers,” in Intersubjectivity, Humanity, Being. Edith Stein’s Phenomenology and Christian Philosophy, Mette Lebech and John Haydn Gurmin (eds.), (Bern: Peter Lang, 2015), 59. 16 Cfr. Flannery O’Connor, F. “Introduction to A Memoir of Mary Ann”, in Mystery and Manners; Occasional Prose, (New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1969), 213-228. 17 Dominic Baster, “Catholic Origins of the European Union Interview With Catholic Historian Alan Fimister” available at: https://zenit.org/articles/catholic-origins-of-the-european-union/. See also Alan Fimister, Robert Schumann: Neo-scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe, (Bern Switzerland: P.I.E-Peter Lang S.A., Éditions Scientifiques Internationales, 2008). 18 Mary Ann Glendon, “The Influence of Catholic Social Doctrine on Human Rights” in Journal of Catholic Social Thought 10/1 2013, 69-84. 19 Mary Ann Glendon, “The Influence of Catholic Social Doctrine,” 76. 21
Ibid., 35. Ibid., 52. 23 Ibid., 82. 24 Vatican Council II, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World ‘Gaudium et Spes’, no. 22: AAS 58 (1966) 1042. 25 Cf. Sarah Borden Sharkey, “Reconciling Time and Eternity: Edith Stein Philosophical Project,” in Intersubjectivity, Humanity, Being. Edith Stein’s Phenomenology and Christian Philosophy, Mette Lebech and John Haydn Gurmin (eds), (Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang, 2015), 7-20, 18-19. 26 Ibid., 19. 27 Ibid., 20. 28 Edith Stein, Finite and Eternal Being: An Attempt at an Ascent To the Meaning of Being, trans. Kurt F. Reinhardt, Vol. 9 of The Collected Works of Edith Stein Sister Teresa Benedicta of the Cross Discalced Carmelite 1891-1942, (Washington, D.C.: ICS Publications, 2002), 524. 29 Cf. Marianne Sawicki, “Solidarity and the Legal Order in Stein’s Political Theory,” in Intersubjectivity, Humanity, Being. Edith Stein’s Phenomenology and Christian Philosophy, Mette Lebech and John Haydn Gurmin (eds), (Bern, Switzerland: Peter Lang, 2015), 102-124, 106. 22
Friendship with God and One Another: The Consistent Ethic of Solidarity in Historical, Political, and Theological Perspective By Steven P. Millies, Ph.D. Introduction In a 2017 address at Loyola University Chicago, Chicago’s Cardinal Blase Cupich proposed “an ethic of solidarity, consistently applied” as an approach to how the Church should offer its public witness to the world. Conscious of his predecessor, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin who proposed a consistent ethic of life, Cupich names Bernardin as an influence even as he also draws from Pope John Paul II’s Sollicitudo Rei Socialis and Pope Francis’s Laudato Si’ as well as other public statements and homilies to reach farther than Bernardin’s ethic. Like Bernardin’s consistent ethic, Cupich’s consistent ethic of solidarity aims to stress how “Catholic social teaching would not and could not be fitted into a partisan political framework.” 1 The Catholic moral perspective that informs the Church’s public witness is something other than a political opinion or an ideological commitment. Yet Cupich’s consistent ethic of solidarity both encompasses and goes beyond the political and ethical dimensions engaged by Bernardin to address an additional deeper and newer dimension. In an even more polarized time, this is a meaningful development. Cardinal Cupich writes that, “the challenge for us today is not only that the issues are in silos, separated from one another,” as was the problem in the 1980’s and the 1990’s when the consistent ethic of life was in development. 2 Even worse today, “people in their social networks and through the media they consult, are in silos.” 3 In other words, although Cardinal Joseph Bernardin found his message difficult to get across, it is comparatively easy to be in solidarity with the unborn, the poor, and the vulnerable. It is far harder today, after decades of polarization and the emergence of new social media technologies, for neighbors, fellow citizens, and sometimes even Catholics to be in solidarity with one another. The consistent ethic of solidarity embraces these challenges to approach the world with solidarity as our guide. This encompasses our solidarity with one another, as it also embraces solidarity with those who are threatened by war, abortion, poverty, or any of the other social afflictions humanity has conceived. Yet no matter how apt the development of a consistent ethic of solidarity might seem to us, both for its effort to rise to the new challenges posed by our increasing polarization and for its potential for escaping some of the charges of false equivalence that dogged the consistent ethic of life, the fact remains that solidarity itself has been noted for its “ambiguity” and “nebulous usage in theological and ethical discourse.” 4 In order to advance a consistent ethic of solidarity, we first must establish the meaning of the term in a way that locates it within the Catholic tradition and defines its definite meaning for theological, ethical, and political reflection. With that accomplished, we will be able to explore the comparative advantage found in a consistent ethic of solidarity when we contrast it with a consistent ethic of life. Finally, we can explore how the consistent ethic of solidarity expresses an emerging social and political theory the Catholic Church has been articulating fitfully since the Second Vatican Council (and, which includes the contributions of Joseph Bernardin), and now is taking positive shape in the teachings of Pope Francis along with Cardinal Cupich, Bishop Robert McElroy, and others who, perhaps, at long last are succeeding to address the Catholic tradition to the modern world.
“For remember” (Deut. 24:18) Solidarity is among the least well-defined features of Catholic social teaching for several reasons, but forgetfulness must be among them. Scripture tells us of our common beginnings and of our common relationship to a loving Creator. These common characteristics not only are found in the Genesis Creation account or in the injunctions of the Gospels that send Jesus’s disciples to the nations and to the margins because no one is to be excluded. They are found also throughout Scripture in those passages that remind us of the real nature of our relationships to one another. Not only in The Golden Rule as it is expressed in Matthew 7, Matthew 22, Mark 12, Luke 6, or as Paul takes it up in the epistles, but we find this theme also throughout the Hebrew Bible. 5 It is at Leviticus 19:18 (“Take no revenge and cherish no grudge against your fellow countrymen. You shall love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord”) and Leviticus 19:34 (“You shall treat the alien who resides with you no differently than the natives born among you; have the same love for him as for yourself; for you too were once aliens in the land of Egypt. I, the Lord, am your God.”), as well as Tobit 4:15 (“Do to no one what you yourself hate”). When Jesus says, “This is the law and the prophets” (Mt. 7:12), He calls our attention to the constancy of this teaching throughout the Scriptures. All human persons are related indissolubly to one another in the way that all are related to their Creator who is among us and “remains” in each of us (Jn. 15:5). As we are related to God, we are related to one another. As we owe devotion and faithful service to God, we owe devotion and faithful service to one another. For believers, to live another way is dishonest. It would overlook and ignore the real implications of what we profess to believe. Despite that overwhelming evidence for our mutual co-responsibility for one another, the facts of present human life and long human history tell us that we too often have been forgetful. We tend to forget what we owe to one another, which is why the words of Deuteronomy resonate among the Scriptural sources that we cite to describe solidarity: “For remember that you were slaves in the land of Egypt; that is why I command you to do this”(Deut. 24:22), to care for the poor (24:12-14) and the “alien or the orphan” (24:17). The connection of the two ideas is important—“you were slaves,” and “that is why I command you to do this.” The second statement is a natural and direct consequence of the first. Those freed from bondage should hear most clearly the cry for justice, and certainly they owe a debt to respond to that cry. The debt is owed to the God who freed them, and who is present among those who are suffering today. The debt is paid to God in service to those who are in any way afflicted or vulnerable, and that debt must be paid. Perhaps most essential of all, Scripture tells us to “remember.” God knows how prone we are to forget. The word “solidarity” has entered our lexicon comparatively recently. The Oxford English Dictionary traces the usage of “solidarity” to the early nineteenth century. Its earliest appearance comes in the Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers of Denis Diderot (1713-1784). The Encyclopédie was both a product of and an inspiration behind Enlightenment thinking. Diderot and his fellow encyclopedist Jean le Rond d’Alembert (17171783) set as their task nothing less than the categorization of human knowledge according to human reason, avoiding entirely any inspiration that might owe to theology or other variety of premodern thought. It is ironic to note, given the role solidarity plays in Catholic social teaching, that Diderot was seeking to wrestle the authority of the Church out of French society. In this first extant recorded formulation of solidarity, the Encyclopédie tells us that “it is the type of obligation where multiple debtors agree to pay a sum that they have borrowed or owe, such that the total debt is required from all of them, without the creditor having to consider
them separately, or consider one above the others.” 6 All share an obligation equally and mutually. The Encyclopédie categorizes “solidarity” as “commercial” for its usage, which the description we find in the entry certainly seems to confirm and which seems also to affirm a connection to the concept in civil law referred to as “solidary obligation.” 7 The solidary’s deepest roots are found in Roman law, where contract law originated as the law of obligations. (Of course, “obligation” shares a Latin root—ligare, “to bind”—with religion. 8) This connection between contractual obligation and religion, or contract law with solidarity, could seem strange. In fact, as the earliest covenants recorded in Scripture describe the obligations between humanity and God in terms like suzerainty, much of the social thinking of the Enlightenment was contractual. We draw a metaphor for our intangible obligations from what exists in life to solidify more tangible obligations. 9 Diderot and d’Alembert wrote after the social contract theory of English writers like Richard Hooker and John Locke had appeared in the seventeenth century, and just as Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s du Contrat Social appeared in 1762. The social contract theorists of Diderot’s time were attempting to resolve a problem that was not so different from the one Roman law addressed when it gave rise to the law of obligations. Roman law divided its attention separately between matters which concerned property, and public matters between private persons. The law of obligations and contracts emerged to solve a problem when breaches of trust between persons affected their property, which complicated treating them merely as private affairs. When personal bonds of trust and legal relationships between persons failed, contracts entered the picture. Similarly, in the world of Enlightenment, social and political unity in Western Europe had become fragmented since the Reformation. Where the social and spiritual bonds that once had sustained political life had failed, Enlightenment thinkers introduced a new sort of contract that obligates us to honor commitments. Contracts emerged as a solution to a kind of problem of forgetfulness. Solidary obligations bind (ligare) us to our commitments against the possibility that we will forget our mutual co-responsibility for one another that forms the basis for our civilization and our common life. This is different from the solidarity that Cardinal Cupich speaks about, of course. Commercial contracts are different from the moral recognition that we are profoundly responsible for one another in the way that Catholic social teaching long has described. Yet, when we read Diderot’s Encyclopédie carefully, perhaps they seem not so different. Diderot speaks of how “the total debt is required from all,” and how a creditor need not “consider them separately, or consider one above the others.” In this way that they pose a radical equality of debt and duty, commercial contracts and solidarity are not so different after all—except that we all are creditors and debtors, and our solidarity expresses an indissoluble, primeval contract between all persons, and between humanity and God. In this way, solidarity appears to have entered the language of Catholic social teaching as a metaphor, a way drawn from the familiar language of commercial, transactional relationships. As John Paul II called for “an integral and solidary humanism,” and as Paul VI promulgated a vision of solidarity in the constitutions of Vatican II, our Christian relation to one another and to God is a constraint and an obligation that accompanies us at all times. No matter how much reminding we need about it, these are relationships that do not go away. They have inevitable and unavoidable social and political implications.
Comprehensive and Consistent Had a reporter from the New York Times not been at Fordham University to hear Cardinal Joseph Bernardin offer the Gannon Lecture where he first proposed the consistent ethic of life in 1983, that ethic might have enjoyed a different reception and history. As it was, Kenneth A. Briggs reported an unscripted response Bernardin made in reply to an audience question after his speech. Bernardin referred to a “seamless garment” of life. 10 The name stuck, and the metaphor distorted the consistent ethic’s reception. From its beginning, the consistent ethic of life would be embroiled in an argument about whether it proposed false equivalence among threats to human life, ‘seamlessly’ interchanging abortion with poverty or the death penalty. That contretemps was beneficial, in that it forced Bernardin to refine the consistent ethic continuously and to make it more theologically sophisticated. 11 But somehow, the public conversation never got beyond the theological permissibility of agreeing with the consistent ethic of life. The consistent ethic never quite graduated into an acceptance that could shape the Catholic engagement with public affairs in the way Bernardin hoped. The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has adopted the consistent ethic of life, at least in a formal way. The bishops write that, “Rightly understood, this ethic does not treat all issues as morally equivalent; nor does it reduce Catholic teaching to one or two issues. It anchors the Catholic commitment to defend human life and other human rights, from conception until natural death, in the fundamental obligation to respect the dignity of every human being as a child of God.” 12 The second sentence of that quotation, of course, betrays its authors’ preoccupation with equivalence when it all but names two issues (abortion and euthanasia), elevating them practically above others simply by invoking them. The USCCB’s long preoccupation with abortion as a political issue and their recent emphasis on a campaign for religious freedom have attested further to the way that some concerns have been emphasized subtly at the expense of others. 13 Having proposed an ethic that emphasized the primacy of human persons always in all circumstances, Bernardin desired neither equivalence nor to elevate a few privileged issues. 14 With some seizing on the consistent ethic to make easy equivalences while others reject the consistent ethic entirely so as to elevate some issues, Bernardin got both of those things he did not want and his consistent ethic stalled for how it could not be disentangled from quarrels over the priority of particular issues. If the consistent ethic of solidarity has any one advantage over the consistent ethic of life, it is that it has sunken a deep root into a principle of Catholic social teaching—solidarity—to anchor Cardinal Bernardin’s method. Even if solidarity is a comparatively less well elaborated principle of Catholic social teaching than others, its recognition in Catholic social teaching can keep any conversation about our ethical response to vital issues concerning the human person focused on our mutual co-responsibility to and for one another, rather than on a comparative argument about particular ethical questions. As Cardinal Bernardin proposed it, the consistent ethic is about the person before me and how I respond to her or his concrete situation. By setting the focus on solidarity, Cardinal Cupich has improved the argument by shifting its emphasis. Solidarity is not easy to define abstractly away from concrete questions. But once we are dealing with a concrete situation, solidarity’s demands on us snap into a clearer focus quickly. As Cardinal Cupich put it, “I suspect [Cardinal Bernardin] would have liked…[that] pithy phrase [of Pope Francis] ‘realities are greater than ideas.’” 15 In his final statement of the consistent ethic, Cardinal Bernardin did not call attention to particular issues or the questions of priority and equivalence. Instead he focused on how we
approach threats to the human person, emphasizing that “we desperately need a societal attitude or climate that will sustain a consistent defense and promotion of life….Ultimately it is society’s attitude about life—whether of respect or nonrespect—that determines its policies and practices. 16 This is where Cardinal Cupich begins his consistent ethic of solidarity. “We need in our day to mine the church’s social teaching on solidarity,” he writes, “as a means of uniting humanity through a reawakening of our interdependence as a human family.” 17 And, as he begins to mine that teaching, Cardinal Cupich quotes language from the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church that seems to recall the language from Diderot’s Encyclopédie. He writes that the first demand of solidarity will require men and women of our day [to] cultivate a greater awareness that they are debtors of the society of which they have become a part. They are debtors because of those conditions that make human existence livable, and because of the indivisible and indispensable legacy constituted by culture, scientific and technical knowledge, material and immaterial goods, and by all that the human condition has produced. 18 The message is clear, and it contradicts directly the central message of modernity. Like Diderot’s seeking to annul the authority of church and history with the Encyclopédie, modernity’s central conceit is that no one of us owes anything to history. The individual imagined by modernity is a self-created and self-constituted creature. There have been movements of resistance against this idea, of course. The Roman Catholic Church has opposed these ideas stalwartly for centuries, even if sometimes to its own detriment and to the detriment of the Church’s relationship to the world. The Catholic Church’s discomfort with it has set the Church in lengthy opposition to modernity for centuries from the time of Reformation and Gregory XVI’s Mirari Vos down to the sometimesskeptical reception of the Second Vatican Council and even in some ways, still, today. The Church’s opposition has not always been thoughtful for how it has exposed the Church to charges that it opposes modern freedoms, and there have been costs for how the Church has been able effectively to spread the Gospel. Yet opposing modern freedoms never has been the important part of the Church’s opposition to modernity. Instead, the Church has opposed these foundations of modernity—the denial of history, the isolation and elevation of the individual who owes nothing, and the way modern ideas have cultivated a kind of socially acceptable indifference to the suffering of the poor or the sick, anyone who is vulnerable. 19 Modernity has, in varying ways, created a disrespect for persons and so for life by insisting we are isolated individuals, cut off from one another. In contrast to that perspective, an orientation to solidarity was the central inspiration of Cardinal Bernardin’s consistent ethic of life. He simply did not name it. Cardinal Cupich has named it. This way that Cardinal Cupich has joined solidarity to Cardinal Bernardin’s consistent ethic corresponds to how Pope John Paul II utilized solidarity in his magisterial teachings. 20 In Sollicitudo Rei Socialis (1987), John Paul begins from the “originality”(9) of Pope Paul VI’s teaching in Populorum Progressio (1971) and then, affirming the newness of solidarity in Catholic social teaching and the lexicon, examines what Paul described as a “duty of solidarity”(9) in the light of the global nature of our moral obligations to one another as the means by which we recognize and act on our “worldwide” and “universal interdependence”(10, 9). In Pope Paul’s more specific context, this duty of solidarity centers on development which is understood to have
economic, social, political, cultural, and moral dimensions. In a lengthy treatment of solidarity in this light, John Paul becomes more specific: Solidarity helps us to see the “other”-whether a person, people or nation-not just as some kind of instrument, with a work capacity and physical strength to be exploited at low cost and then discarded when no longer useful, but as our “neighbor,” a “helper” (cf. Gen 2:18-20), to be made a sharer, on a par with ourselves, in the banquet of life to which all are equally invited by God. Hence the importance of reawakening the religious awareness of individuals and peoples. Thus the exploitation, oppression and annihilation of others are excluded (39). Civic and Political Love Solidarity is an inevitably political concept. Even as its elaboration in Catholic social teaching draws its original inspiration from Scripture, solidarity emerges as a social concept from the most dry and mundane practicalities of law that are the foundation of governing. As the inspiration of Scripture enlivens a legal concept of solidarity with a deeper dimension of meaning, solidarity now expresses our mutual co-responsibility for one another and, the Church teaches us, this should inform the way that we live. Certainly, that must encompass our political decisions. In 2018 remarks at a meeting of the Chicago Jewish-Catholic Dialogue Group, Cardinal Cupich offered some thoughts about the nature of a social and political community that widen our understanding of the consistent ethic of solidarity. It was significant and it should seem unsurprising that these reflections came in a context of interreligious encounter. Interreligious encounter is characteristic and a fact of our modern social and political circumstances where our neighbors often believe quite differently from us, and yet we must all live together in peace. Cardinal Cupich speaks of this situation in terms of relationships, but this only is a means to embark on a serious and revealing meditation on the role played by friendship. Cupich called on us to emphasize “what we share in common” as a way to begin and maintain relationships with one another. 21 The phrasing is perhaps more evocative than it may seem at first. The Romans of the ancient world built a republic before they built an empire, and one of the heritages we owe to their legacy is the word, ‘republic,’ which we use today to describe our own form of government in the United States. Historically, a republic has been somewhat difficult to define, and many different sorts of republics have existed. But our best clue about what the word intends to convey to us can be found in the same way that we also found a useable meaning in the word ‘solidarity,’ in its etymological origins. When we speak of a ‘republic,’ in its original Latin sense, we speak of the res publica—as unwieldy as it is in direct translation, we refer to ‘the people’s thing.’ To put it into a perhaps more fluent phrase, a republic is “what we share in common,” it is our common life and its orientation to the common good. What makes a republic somewhat difficult to describe is that it does not imply a set of procedures or institutions in the way that democracy or monarchy do. Instead, ‘republic’ describes an attitude toward the political community, a way we live with one another. It was not unique to the Romans. The Hellenic polis also shared this attitude of civic commitment to what is shared in common, which was the reason why Aristotle could recognize it with the value he attributed to friendship in the Nicomachean Ethics. Such communities, Aristotle notes, give rise to friendships as the citizens who share this attitude are equals because of all they share in common.
The imprint of this way of thinking about the political community is set deeply within the Catholic Church and the Catholic imagination, having drawn a long inspiration from the Greeks and having entered the world through a Roman society that, while it was imperial, yet retained a sense of its republican origins as a civic myth that sustained its community. The republic as an ideal for the political community sustained even late Romans, and that inspiration lives in the Catholic teachings that touch politics and the state. 22 Of course, that inspiration also lives in the American political community where the Constitution guarantees a “republican form of government.” As in the case of the Romans, the American political tradition has wandered somewhat away from this republican inspiration. Americans have embraced the values of democracy and individual liberties more closely than the somewhat more diffuse concept of the republic. This shift emphasizes the strand of the Enlightenment in the American tradition, its debt to thinkers like Locke and their preference for more individualist values. It also corresponds to those tendencies in American politics that have tended to render the vulnerable a little less secure because of a deeply-grounded reluctance to embrace the obligations of community and solidarity that would limit the choices that can be made by individuals who imagine themselves as selfcreating and self-constituting. This is the way in which a consistent ethic of solidarity offers a remedy not only for problems that Cardinal Bernardin attempted to solve with the consistent ethic of life, but also for the querulous relationship between the Church and the culture of modern freedoms that surround it in modern, developed, constitutional republics. It must be remembered that the status of the relationship between the Church and the modern state remains theologically unresolved. John Courtney Murray recognized in 1966 that, “No formal document on the relations between Church and state issued from Vatican Council II.” 23 Murray recognized the fact that the fundamental assumptions about the state contained in the Church’s theology had originated in the ancient world, been mediated through the experiences of the medieval world, and concretized in the canons of Trent. Since that time, Reformation and a Thirty Years War had given rise to a new way of understanding the state under the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. 24 The modern constitutional republic with all of its civil and social implications developed over centuries that followed, and even Vatican II really had not taken up the challenge of re-imagining the state in the light of theology. The lacuna has been observed in theological literature, and John Paul II has made an initial contribution in Centesimus Annus toward a new beginning for the theology of the state.25 But the work remains, in the main, undone. This theological oversight is the source of many of the difficulties that trouble the relationship of church and state, and which also bedevil the consciences of Catholic citizens who are faced with choices in ways that earlier generations of believers never faced. They never lived in a state like the United States. The consistent ethic of solidarity in Cardinal Cupich’s formulation corresponds to Pope Francis’s admonitions about the political community we find in Laudato Si’ (“Love, overflowing with small gestures of mutual care, is also civic and political, and it makes itself felt in every action that seeks to build a better world,” 228) and Evangelii Gaudium (“Politics, though often denigrated, remains a lofty vocation and one of the highest forms of charity, inasmuch as it seeks the common good,” 205) to suggest a way that citizens accustomed to modern freedoms can welcome an ethic of solidarity as a way to embrace the demands of a civic community that obligate us to one another within a context that both welcomes and protects the freedoms we have grown used to in modern constitutional republics, the freedoms that the Church has struggled for so long to accept because they came from a flawed, modern inspiration. The mutuality embedded in an
ethic of solidarity assures me the protection of my freedoms because I also must respect and defend the freedoms of others. 26 A bond of friendship among citizens, one of “civic and political love,” is the greatest guarantee of personal freedom and the highest aspiration of a free people to be equal, recognizing that they share things “in common.” As a consistent ethic of solidarity draws this relationship into a firm connection with the range of political and social issues that Cardinal Bernardin engaged with the consistent ethic of life, the Church now is very near to a resolution of its understanding of the state in a way that recognizes the vast political changes that have taken place since the seventeenth century. Conclusion If a consistent ethic of solidarity understood in the light of Scripture and history as a friendship with God and one another is the conclusion these reflections have brought into focus as a remedy for the political and theological problems posed in the Church for its relationship to the world since the advent of modernity, a few words are in order to make some careful distinctions about friendship. Friendship surely is a familiar concept. Yet, familiarity can blur distinctions and confuse us. On this vital point, we must be extremely clear. We do well to take a cue from Cardinal Cupich and turn to the ancients to orient our understanding of friendship. Particularly, as Cupich did, we turn our attention to Aristotle whose analytical distinctions concerning types of friendship are unsurpassed for their influence or their scrupulousness. In particular, we turn our attention to sunaisthetic friendship which is the highest and the most virtuous form of friendship in which “the thinking subject simultaneously beholds the good, beholds the friend, and beholds oneself and one’s friend beholding the good.” 27 In the complexity and the completeness of this single act, which primarily is intellectual even as it includes the “full engagement of the emotions and the activation of their corresponding moral virtues,” we discover the fullest expression of all that we mean by the deceptively simple and familiar phrase, ‘the common good,’ which is the aim of any republic and which also is the goal for political life most consistently recognized in the theology of the Church. Sunaisthetic friendship is not simply a long relationship or a friendly familiarity. Strictly speaking, we can experience this friendship with someone whose name we do not even know for, finally, in that act of beholding we recognize a fellow human person, one like me, in our mutual contemplation of the same good. In this sense, whether two friends both enjoy the same leisure activities or share a common history is somewhat less relevant. This friendship, beholding in this way, is the stuff of political life for any good civic community. Josef Pieper and other Catholic philosophers have recognized that this sunaisthetic form of friendship is cultivated amid “festivity,” which is more than having a good time or celebrating. 28 Festivity implies ritual action. It is public work done together toward a common object. As the political community is what we share in common, festivity is what we do together when we evoke the existence of a corporate identity among us that arises from our common beholding of the same good. Festivity can take many forms. A patriotic parade can be festive in this sense. So also can a graduation ceremony. In fact, though perhaps the ‘goods’ beheld are of a lesser order, the phenomenon of crowd psychology found in rallies and rock concerts also represents a type of festivity. Those who experience such things together know their transformative power and the sense of fellow-feeling that arises in the event.
If the point is not yet clear enough, festivity and the cultivation of sunaisthetic friendship are the work of the Eucharistic assembly each time the Mass is celebrated and the People of God gather to behold one another beholding the Source of Goodness through Word and Sacrament. The most elemental action that Catholics undertake as Catholics is productive of solidarity when we behold the same good together, and this habit of beholding one another beholding the good in this way is productive of the same virtues of citizenship demanded by life in modern constitutional republics which, though they be plural in the highest goods contemplated by citizens of different faiths (or, no faith), share the same practical, political common good as much as any polis or Roman republic. Catholics can be at home in such a political community, and are suited to be leaders who foster and encourage the sunaisthetic friendship necessary to engage difficult issues with a consistent ethic of solidarity. Cardinal Bernardin knew that Catholics fail to manifest solidarity as much as Cardinal Cupich also knows it. No consistent ethic can be (or, should be seen as) a pat answer to resolve the human condition. The Church fails at this task as the political community also fails. Everyone knows. There is much in the world and in the Church that frustrates solidarity, much that must be overcome. Yet, especially as Catholics, we do believe these things together. We do believe in a good together, and we are surrounded by opportunities to behold one another beholding that good. The place for beginning to overcome those things, for building an ethic of solidarity that we can bring to bear through our faith and our citizenship on vital problems of our day, is in that beholding. The place for beginning must be in beholding myself as I behold my friends who behold the good. I must see them, and I must see that I am with them. Finally, it rests with me— each of us. I must remember that this is who we are.
Cardinal Blase J. Cupich. “Cardinal Blase Cupich on the Signs of the Times.” Commonweal (19 May 2017), at: http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/print/39334. 2 Ibid. 3 Ibid. 4 Gerald J. Beyer, “The Meaning of Solidarity in Catholic Social Teaching,” Political Theology 15:1 (2014), 7. Beyer notes the ongoing frustration with defining solidarity expressed in a literature he reviews from M. Shawn Copeland in 1995 to Sally J. Scholz in 2008. 5 Matthew 7:12: “Do to others whatever you would have them do to you. This is the law and the prophets.”; Matthew 22:37-40: “He said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend on these two commandments.’”; Mark 12:29-31: “Jesus replied, ‘The first is this: “Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is Lord alone! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength.” The second is this: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” There is no other commandment greater than these.’”; Luke 6:31: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”; Romans 13:9: “The commandments, ‘You shall not commit adultery; you shall not kill; you shall not steal; you shall not covet,’ and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this saying, [namely] ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” and; Galatians 5:14: “For the whole law is fulfilled in one statement, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’” 6 “Comm., c’est la qualité d’une obligation où plusieurs débiteurs s’engagent à payer une somme qu’ils empruntent ou qu’ils doivent; en sorte que la dette totale soit exigible contre chacun d’eux, sans que celui au profit duquel l’obligation est faite, soit obligé de discuter les autres, et l’un plutót que l’autre,” at: Diderot and d’Alembert (eds.). Encyclopédie, ou Dictionnaire Raisonné des Sciences, des Arts et des Métiers. Tome XXXI. Lausanne: Chez
les Sociétés Typographiques, 1781, s.v. “solidarité.” Author translation with assistance from Laura Carlin and Richard McCarron. 7 “A term of civil-law origin, signifying that the right or interest spoken of is joint or common. A “solidary obligation” corresponds to a “joint and several” obligation in the common law; that is, one for which several debtors are bound in such wise that each is liable for the entire amount, and not merely for his proportionate share. But in the civil law the term also includes the case where there are several creditors, as against a common debtor, each of whom is entitled to receive the entire debt and give an acquittance for it,” at: Black’s Law Dictionary, 2nd ed., s.v. “solidary.” See also the Encyclopédie, s.v. “solidaire”: “Jurisprud. Is said of that which carries an obligation to pay the totality of a common debt to several people; the obligation is solidary, when each of the obligations can be a constraint upon the whole. It is the same with a guarantee of solidary, that is to say, when it has been stipulated that each bond will be held for all”(author translation). 8 See especially: Reinhard Zimmermann, The Law of Obligations: Roman Foundations of the Civilian Tradition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1996), 1. Also: David Ibbetson, A Historical Introduction to the Law of Obligations (New York: Oxford University Press, 1999), 6. 9 It is interesting to observe here, as well, how the development of civil rights in the American legal system has grown from the Constitution’s commerce clause. Since the Civil Rights Act of 1875, the laws of the United States have sought to prohibit discrimination in any public accommodation which, almost always, means a place of business. We can observe how it seems to be a natural characteristic of a commercial environment that it must be a place where people come together, act together, and bear with one another together. In this way, it is a natural source from which our description of solidarity should have grown. 10 Bernardin’s choice of a phrase in his reply to an audience question reflected a longer association of the “seamless garment” with the consistent ethic of life. Bernardin had used the phrase “seamless garment” in public remarks going back to the 1970s. See: Most Reverend Joseph L. Bernardin, "Homily for Mass Commemorating Third Anniversary of the Supreme Court's Abortion Decision," 22 January 1976, Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains, Cincinnati, OH, in Joseph Louis Bernardin Collection, Archdiocese of Chicago Joseph Cardinal Bernardin Archives and Records Center, Chicago, IL. 11 Representatively, see: Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, Consistent Ethic of Life, Ed. Thomas G. Fuechtmann (Kansas City: Sheed & Ward, 1988). Also: Thomas A. Nairn, OFM (ed.), The Consistent Ethic of Life: Assessing its Reception and Relevance (Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2008). 12 U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizens: A Call to Political Responsibility (2015), no.40. Also: “Faithful Citizenship not only embodies the concept of the Consistent Ethic of Life by its broad treatment of the relevant issues, it also expressly references the concept as it initially characterizes its overall approach,” in: Anthony R. Picarello, Jr. (Associate General Secretary and General Counsel to the USCCB) to author (29 December 2016). 13 For a treatment of the interaction between abortion as a political issue and the public witness of the USCCB, see: Steven P. Millies, Good Intentions: A History of Catholic Voters’ Road from Roe to Trump (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press Academic, 2018), esp. chapters 2 and 3. 14 Several times, Bernardin observed that each issue “requires its own moral analysis” and they are “distinct problems, enormously complex,” such as he said in his 1995 Helder Camara Lecture at the Archdiocese of Melbourne. Nevertheless he did insist that all of those issues are "linked." See: Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, “The Consistent Ethic of Life,” Selected Works of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, volume 2, ed. Alphonse P. Spilly, C.PP.S. (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 2000), 131-139. 15 “Cardinal Cupich on the Signs of the Times.” 16 Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, “The Consistent Ethic of Life,” Selected Works of Joseph Cardinal Bernardin, volume 2, ed. Alphonse P. Spilly, C.PP.S. (Collegeville: The Liturgical Press, 2000), 134. 17 “Cardinal Cupich on the Signs of the Times.” 18 Ibid. Cardinal Cupich here is quoting, Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church (2004), no.195. 19 For example, “Those people and societies that go so far as to absolutize the role of property end up experiencing the bitterest type of slavery. In fact, there is no category of possession that can be considered indifferent with regard to the influence that it may have both on individuals and on institutions”(Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church, 181), and, “Unfortunately, there is a gap between the ‘letter’ and the ‘spirit’ of human rights, which can often be attributed to a merely formal recognition of these rights. The Church's social doctrine, in consideration of the privilege accorded by the Gospel to the poor, repeats over and over that ‘the more fortunate should renounce some of their rights so as to place their goods more generously at the service of others’ and that an excessive affirmation of equality ‘can give rise to an individualism in which each one claims his own rights without wishing to be answerable for the common good’”(Compendium, 158).
It should be noted that much more can be said about the personal and theological kinship between Bernardin and John Paul II In the familiar dichotomy that too much dominates conversation in the Church, Bernardin is cast as a ‘liberal’ while John Paul II is cast as a ‘conservative.’ The labels conceal more than they reveal, such as the personal closeness between both men that dates to the mid-1970’s and saw John Paul determined to appoint Bernardin to Chicago. As well, we can identify continuities between the Bernardin’s consistent ethic of life and John Paul II’s Gospel of Life. See especially: Steven P. Millies, Joseph Bernardin: Seeking Common Ground (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2016), at pp67-69, 75-76, 100. See also: Steven P. Millies, Good Intentions: A History of Catholic Voters’ Road from Roe to Trump (Collegeville: Liturgical Press Academic, 2018), at pp102-103. 21 Cardinal Blase Cupich, “Talking Points: Jewish-Catholic Dialogue Group” (7 May 2018). Text provided by Cardinal Cupich’s office. 22 Of course, Rome retained its senate and other institutional trappings of the republic long past the republican period. Yet beyond those pretensions at republicanism, the republic still fired the imagination of a late-Roman Christian like Augustine who took up Cicero’s de Republica to re-frame it in the fifth century. See: Paul J. Cornish. “Augustine’s Contribution to the Republican Tradition.” European Journal of Political Theory 9:2 (2010), 133-148. 23 See: John Courtney Murray, S.J., “The Issue of Church and State at Vatican Council II,” online at: https://www.library.georgetown.edu/woodstock/murray/1966h. 24 The theology of the Roman Catholic Church that addresses the state incubated in circumstances that precede the advent of modernity. A quick review will illustrate the point. From Pope Innocent III in the twelfth century, through Boniface VIII whose 1302 bull Unam Sanctam asserted that “spiritual power precedes any earthly power” to Popes John XXII in the fourteenth century and Pius IX in the nineteenth century, who both asserted the power of the Church to dole out temporal punishment for violations of law, we see a pattern that sees the spiritual power of the Church intertwined with the temporal power in a way that is familiar to anyone who has examined the medieval world. This was not the Church’s original approach to the state, as John Courtney Murray pointed toward fifth century Pope St. Gelasius I, who taught that the spiritual power and the temporal power are distinct, and whose ideas survived at least through the Council of Rome in the ninth century. But regardless of whichever of these two approaches we consider, neither sees the civil authority as an expression of popular will or as an independent body of civil laws applicable to everyone, accessible to all. Mary Ann Glendon touches on this point, noting that, “History has provided plenty of support for that brutal dictum [the argument made by the Athenians to the Melians in The Peloponnesian War, that ‘the strong do what they can and the weak suffer what they must’], from the enslavement and massacre of the Melians down to the present day. Yet centuries later, in the wake of atrocities beyond Greek imagining, the mightiest nations on earth bowed to the demands of smaller countries for recognition of a common standard by which rights and wrongs of every nation’s behavior could be measured,” at: Mary Ann Glendon, A World Made New: Eleanor Roosevelt and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (New York: Random House, 2001), xv. Glendon describes nothing more than the rule of law, as we find it in the constitutions and political cultures of modern states, applied to international relations. Pope St. John Paul II also offered “a distinctly different historical and philosophical view” from the past in Centesimus Annus (Russell Hittinger, “The Pope and the Liberal State,” First Things (December, 1992), accessed in February, 2015 at: http://www.firstthings.com/article/1992/12/004/-the-popeand-the-liberal-state.) In CA, St. John Paul II pointed toward “radical changes which had taken place in the political, economic, and social fields, and in the areas of science and technology”(§4) that required the Church to respond to new circumstances and “specific human situations, both individual and communal, national and international”( §5). Thus, Russell Hittinger wrote that, “For John Paul [in CA], the main problem is not the stress and strain of either religious pluralism or economic markets. Rather, it is conflict not ‘constrained by ethical or juridical considerations,’ a ‘total war’ in which force is put above the rule of law (CA #14). The state’s principal task, then [for the first time in history, in this new situation], is to determine the ‘juridical framework’ of economic and social activities”(Hittinger, “The Pope and the Liberal State”). In both cases, the civil authority is distinguished from, subordinated to “the highest, ultimate values of human life,” and concerned not with the right ordering of society but with “values that, though being of lesser moral and religious dignity, are more fundamental politically.” See: Martin Rhonheimer,“Multicultural Citizenship in Liberal Democracy: The Proposals of C. Taylor, J. Habermas, and W. Kymlicka,” in, The Common Good of Constitutional Democracy, ed. William F. Murphy, Jr. (Washington: The Catholic University of America Press, 2013), 316. Also: Martin Rhonheimer, “The Political Ethos of Constitutional Democracy and the Place of Natural Law in Public Reason: Rawls’s Political Liberalism Revisited,” in, The Common Good of Constitutional Democracy, ed. William F. Murphy, Jr. (Washington: The Catholic University of America Press,2013), 210. 25 The principal treatment of this lacuna in the theological literature to date was in a published discussion moderated by David Hollenbach, S.J. in: David Hollenbach, S.J. (ed.), “Theology and Philosophy in Public: A Symposium on John Courtney Murray’s Unfinished Agenda,” Theological Studies 40 (December, 1979), 700-715. In his First Things essay, “The Pope and the Liberal State,” Russell Hittinger thoughtfully explored the differences
between how Leo XIII presented the state (“a kind of prodigal child of Christendom that needs to be summoned once again by the Holy See to its proper responsibilities”) and John Paul II (who refused “to drape any kind of theological mantle over the state,” and described the state “in forbidding terms”). See https://www.firstthings.com/article/1992/12/the-pope-and-the-liberal-state. Hittinger may have been off the mark in his understanding of how John Paul saw the state, but his analysis affirms that the situation of the state in theology is unresolved. 26 This approach to freedoms has been taking shape in the magisterium for quite a long time, though it has not yet been formulated in a way that sets it within an understanding of the state that accepts the premises of a modern, constitutional republic. See, especially: John XXIII, Pacem in Terris, 30 (“in human society one man's natural right gives rise to a corresponding duty in other men; the duty, that is, of recognizing and respecting that right”). 27 John von Heyking, The Form of Politics: Aristotle and Plato on Friendship, McGill-Queens Studies in the History of Ideas 66 (Chicago: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2016), 43. I am in the debt of von Heyking’s excellent treatment of friendship and politics for much that underlies these conclusions. 28 See: Joseph Pieper, In Tune with the World: A Theory of Festivity (South Bend, IN: St. Augustine’s Press, 1999).
The Consistent Ethic: Context and Controversy Application, Misunderstandings and Practical Considerations By Mary Hallan FioRito, J.D. Among the movements for social justice and equality, the pro-life movement is quite possibly the most diverse and inclusive. Mainstream organizations identifying themselves as “prolife” include the Washington, D.C.-based March for Life, which organizes the annual largest prolife event in the world, 1 and Feminists for Life, whose mission is “shaped by the core feminist values of justice, nondiscrimination, and nonviolence,” inspired by the examples of the founding American feminists, like Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Alice Paul and, most famously, Susan B. Anthony, who both publicly and privately opposed abortion. 2 Yet other pro-life groups have names and mission statements that might surprise some, especially those who equate the term “prolife” with stereotypically Catholic, male and anti-abortion organizations who hold the forefront of the pro-life movement, like the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops or National Right to Life. Yet, those “in the know” have long been aware that the pro-life movement is centered around the rejection of laws, policies, and societal structures that undermine human dignity and flourishing. Many, if not most, pro-life organizations, including the Catholic bishops, have positions on issues outside of abortion. So it is no surprise for regular attendees at the March for Life when they see participants as varied as those from PLAGAL, 3 (the Pro-Life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians), Democrats for Life of America, 4 and the atheist group, Pro-Life Secular Humanists, joyfully trudging in the winter air through the nation’s capital alongside the Sisters of Life 5, the Knights of Columbus 6, and multitudes of Catholic high school students from across the country. Secular media seems to have recently discovered the phenomena of “progressive” pro-life organizations, resulting in news stories in magazines like The Atlantic Monthly, which featured a story about the January 2019 March for Life entitled, What It’s Like for Secular, Liberal Pro-lifers at the March for Life, 7 documenting March participants carrying unexpected signs – like Destroy the patriarchy, not the preborn! and wearing buttons reminiscent of the Vietnam Era - War is not pro-life! and “listening as a teal-haired atheist with a nose ring addressed the crowd that had gathered: ‘Why, she asked, if it is wrong to kill a person who’d been born already, would it be okay to kill a person who hadn’t yet?’” Slate magazine, a left-leaning online journal, was so intrigued by the existence of young, sometimes vegetarian, 8 sometimes non-religious, occasionally tattooed and politically active prolifers that it offered an in-depth look9 at the “future of the pro-life movement,” featuring progressive and provocative groups like New Wave Feminists 10 and Rehumanize International, 11 whose communications director, Herb Geraghty, is openly atheist, Marxist, and bisexual, and who recently set up a pro-life literature booth at his area’s local Pride Festival, 12 pleasantly surprised at the success he had in his conversations about abortion and other life issues, despite initial hostility from many paradegoers. The man whose writing are the inspiration for – and the common identifying factor of -this burgeoning new “pro-life progressive movement” might be as surprising to some as the concept of pro-life veganism: the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin. As Slate’s article notes, the philosophy of the new generation of pro-life activist groups is based largely on “the ‘consistent
life ethic,’ a concept promoted by Chicago Cardinal Joseph Bernardin starting in the early 1980s, which began with the premise that all life is sacred.” New Wave Feminists prominently proclaims on its website: “We subscribe to something called ‘The Consistent Life Ethic.’ It's a belief that all human beings should be free from violence for the duration of their lifetime. That means we're anti-war, anti-death penalty, anti-torture; and we extend this philosophy to our earliest moments of existence by also being anti-abortion.” 13 And Rehumanize International website states: “The Consistent Life Ethic serves as the philosophical foundation of our advocacy,” going on to list not only abortion, but racism, human trafficking, police brutality and embryonic stem cell research as issues for which the group advocates. The message for the “new gen” of the pro-life movement is simple: “Single issue” pro-lifers need not apply. Joseph Cardinal Bernardin would have been thrilled, I think, to learn that his “Consistent Ethic of Life” has become an unexpected and radical unifying force in the pro-life movement. I had the privilege of serving as the director of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Respect Life Office under the late Cardinal, from 1993 until the time of his death in 1996. A soft-spoken man who was not taken to grandstanding and who had no interest in placing himself in the spotlight, Bernardin’s approach was, as the Chicago Tribune’s editorial board put it, 14 the basis of St. John Paul II’s widely-acclaimed encyclical Evangelium Vitae, as well as the basis for the U.S. Bishops’ Pastoral Plan for Pro-Life Activities. 15 Yet the Consistent Ethic’s framework was not proposed without controversy from those on both ends of the political and theological spectrum. On one side, Bernardin’s Consistent Ethic was seen – despite of its specific naming of the broader life issues – as nonetheless prioritizing abortion over those other issues, and relegating the death penalty, war and other concerns to the position of mere “appendages” to a framework centered around abortion. Some critics felt this gave the impression, stated or not, that the other issues somehow lacked moral gravity. Among these interpreters, the “Consistent Ethic” proposed by Bernardin was “too conservative” in that it did not go far enough in its range and should have been broadened and expanded to include issues of migration, chronic poverty and military spending. 16 There was genuine concern by those who worked in the peace and justice movements of the Church that the Consistent Ethic would allow the abortion issue to push out issues related to social concerns, under the guise of a “seamless garment.” On the other side, Bernardin has been blamed for giving “political cover” to politicians of both parties who claim they personally object to abortion, but as Catholics cannot impose their religious beliefs on a pluralistic society (the grounding of the Church’s teaching on the protection of unborn life being based in biology and embryology, human rights and dignity, and not “religious beliefs” notwithstanding) despite the fact that Bernardin had explicitly called abortion “evil.” 17 As just one example among many, Mario Cuomo directly referenced Cardinal Bernardin in his controversial address, “Religious Belief and Public Morality: A Catholic Governor's Perspective” given at the University of Notre Dame in September or 1994, 18 where Cuomo insisted, “approval or rejection of legal restrictions on abortion should not be the exclusive litmus test of Catholic loyalty.” Following Cuomo’s lead, numerous Catholic politicians and elected officials have resorted to using the Consistent Ethic to justify or explain their failure to protect unborn human beings by recognizing and protecting them in the law. Jason Jones, a Catholic convert, film producer (The Stoning of Soraya M, Crescendo, Bella) and founder of “Movie to Movement,” an organization that creates films and other artistic works that seek to enhance respect for human dignity, went so far as to call the “Seamless Garment” a
“fraud,” blaming Cardinal Bernardin’s approach to life issues, in part, for the death of his unborn child at a Chicago hospital during Bernardin’s tenure as Archbishop of Chicago. In a 2015 open letter to Archbishop Cupich, Jones wrote: It might sound irrational to you, but I blamed Cardinal Bernardin. Not him alone, of course. [My unborn daughter’s] death had many fathers. However, as Chicago’s spiritual father, wearing for that city the mantle of the apostles, Cardinal Bernardin bore unique responsibility for witnessing in public to the sanctity of life. As you do now. Christ came to give us life more abundantly, but in Cardinal Bernardin’s time (as in ours) major Catholic politicians were serving the cause of death, claiming that they were ‘personally opposed’ to abortion, but wished to leave its victims completely unprotected by the law. Cardinal Bernardin protected such politicians, giving them political cover with his so-called ‘seamless garment,’ which stitched together non-negotiable demands of basic human rights — such as an end to legal abortion — with highly debatable policies for promoting the best interests of poor people and immigrants. Bernardin treated unlike, incommensurate issues as if they were all of equal weight. This allowed pro-choice politicians to cherry pick the body of Catholic social teaching — fishing out the parts from which they could profit politically — and pretend that they were faithful Catholics, or at least no more unfaithful than pro-lifers who differed with Bernardin on immigration or Medicare. Nobody’s perfect! 19 Any fair reading, however, of Cardinal Bernardin’s words and analysis of his actions and pastoral approach as Archbishop of Chicago would prove both these assertions – from the left and from the right – incorrect. In a candid interview with the National Catholic Register’s Charles Isenhart, published on June 12, 1998, Bernardin expounded on the Consistent Ethic, noting, “Some people will misuse the Consistent Ethic or misinterpret it – whether deliberately or not I don’t know. But the fact that it’s misused or misinterpreted does not invalidate it. We live in a world where we can’t control everything that happens.” 20 Isenhart specifically asked the Cardinal about “rating systems” for candidates for public office. At the time, an organization called “Just Life,” had developed a questionnaire they claimed was grounded on the Consistent Ethic, and it has caused controversy among grassroots Catholic political activists. I have some reservations about ratings of that kind. Frequently, these issues are very complex and a simple rating system is inadequate. But the main point is you’re inconsistent if you think you can defend a person who takes a prolife position on certain life issues but refuses to acknowledge the other life issues. The beauty of the consistent ethic is that it provides an overall vision and shows how issues are related to each other, even though they remain distinct. You can’t collapse them into one. Each requires its own moral analysis. 21 The very way in which Bernardin structured Archdiocesan ministry is a reflected his insistence that each social issue in the Consistent Ethic should receive its own analysis and attention. At a time when it was customary for some arch/dioceses to combine issues like abortion, the death penalty, natural family planning, the Campaign for Human Development, racial justice
and anti-violence efforts into one office or ministry, Cardinal Bernardin deliberately kept these efforts and their offices -- and funding -- separate and distinct. This arrangement allowed those with specialized knowledge, training, and circles of influence to lead local parish initiatives, to advise him on the appropriate pastoral response to current events, and to respond to local media inquiries. For example, under Cardinal Bernardin’s direction, the Respect Life Office of the Archdiocese of Chicago expanded from a one-person office under the umbrella of Catholic Charities to an office located within the Archdiocesan Pastoral Center and staffed by three full time and two part time employees. Both directors of the Respect Life Office during Cardinal Bernardin’s tenure were women, the first holding a master’s degree in Public Health, the second, a law degree. Despite pressure to expand the Respect Life office mission to encompass other Consistent Ethic concerns like the death penalty, Cardinal Bernardin demurred, insisting he did not want ministries led by directors who were “jacks of all trades and masters of none,” thereby merely giving lip service to some issues while fully addressing others. On the contrary, he wanted the offices charged with handling moral issues important to the Church to have their own specialists at the helm, and for each topic to receive the attention it uniquely deserved within the framework of the Church’s moral teachings. In the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Peace and Justice, similar experts on poverty, the death penalty, minimum wage disputes, and racial equality could be found. Each office supported the other with Cardinal Bernardin’s encouragement; he made time insofar as his schedule allowed to attend each office’s important events, which helped in eliminating competition or conflict. Although an occasional conflict occurred, more often than not, a genuine professional camaraderie existed among all ministries, and both offices were widely considered national role models not only of professionalism, but also of competence and expertise. Cardinal Bernardin’s external relationships with the pro-life Catholics in his Archdiocese were a bit more strained, in large part due to the Consistent Ethic. Chicago holds a special place in the American pro-life movement – the National March for Life, for example, began as an idea in the Chicago kitchen of Catholic mother and wife, Eileen Vogel – and many prominent pro-life organizations and people have called Chicago home. These include Joseph Scheidler, his wife Ann, and their Pro-Life Action League, Americans United for Life, a secular pro-life law firm whose national headquarters were located in Chicago for decades, and multiple pregnancy resource centers with national reputations for compassion and excellence, like Aid for Women, founded by a Catholic deacon, and The Women’s Center. Chicago also was known among activists on both sides of the abortion issue because of a groundbreaking investigative report done by the Chicago Sun-Times and the Better Business Bureau. The 1978, just five years after the Supreme Court’s January 22, 1973 decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the series entitled, “Abortion Profiteers” series had detailed the grisly business of the Chicago-area’s abortion clinics, including shocking details about “an alarming number of women who, because of unsterile conditions and haphazard clinic care, suffered debilitating cramps, massive infections, and such severe internal damage that all of their reproductive organs had to be removed.” 22 In addition, in 1998, acting on a tip, pro-life activists had retrieved the remains of thousands of unborn children from dumpsters behind the Vital-Med Laboratories in Northbrook, Illinois. 23 Bernardin then held a burial service for 2,033 of the aborted children at Queen of Heaven Cemetery, a gesture that was gratefully acknowledged by even Bernardin’s most vocal critics. 24
Pro-life activists in the Chicago area largely felt that Bernardin’s Consistent Ethic “sold out” the abortion issue, and they did not mince words when criticizing him publicly for giving some politicians – and, they argued, priests and bishops as well --- a comfortable way to sidestep any public response to the abortion issue. The frustration some pro-life activists had with Bernardin was so well known, in fact, that sociologist Michael Cuneo devotes an entire chapter to describing it in his 1999 book, The Smoke of Satan: Conservative and Traditionalist Dissent in Contemporary American Catholicism. Cuneo notes that “as the seamless garment ethic became increasingly popular within episcopal ranks during the late eighties and early nineties, many Catholic pro-lifers became increasingly convinced that the bishops as a group weren’t seriously committed to stopping abortion.” 25 As part of his research, Cuneo interviewed multiple leader’s in Chicago’s well-known and influential pro-life movement. During Cuneo’s interview with Illinois Right to Life’s Mary Anne Hackett and Richard O’Connor, the frustration of Hackett and O’Connor with what was perceived as Bernardin’s lack of support for their efforts was evident: “The seamless garment has done tremendous damage to the abortion issue…it’s allowed Catholic politicians to declare themselves pro-life for being against poverty or capital punishment, or whatever. And it’s given most of our bishops something to hide behind while nothing is done about abortion.” 26 The frustration among some in the Chicago-area pro-life movement’s Catholic leadership was felt so strongly that they wrote two open letters to the Cardinal and called for the “people in the pews” to withdraw their financial support for the Church. Their letter noted: We have waited as the Bishops squandered years writing pastorals on peace, the economy and women, but have heard no voice raised for the defenseless unborn…homilies on abortion are rare or non-existent. Many, if not most, parishioners have heard not one word on abortion from the pulpit in twenty years of legal abortion. Pro-lifers who have tried to educate the Catholic population are driven away by the pastors, even vilified from the pulpit, and in person, and threatened with arrest…Bernardin, too, appeared frustrated. He questioned why such “divisive tactics” were necessary when he, and his priests, were not enemy and suggested that to focus on him would not increase “credibility for the cause. 27 Equal frustration was voiced by progressive Catholics, who felt that some like-minded activists who were engaged primarily in the issues involving poverty, immigration and war also were using the Consistent Ethic to justify less direct action on abortion. Juli Loesch Wiley, was primary among these critics. A founding member of the Pax Center (later Pax Christi USA), who worked for a time with Caesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers in organizing grape boycotts. Loesch Wiley’s writings and “whole life” approach to non-violent social change are considered by many in both the pro-life and social justice movements to have laid the intellectual groundwork for the Consistent Ethic. In a lengthy essay in New Oxford Review that laid out her concerns with the manipulation of the Consistent Ethic, Loesch recalls attending a “Catholic peace and justice conference” where the keynote speaker held up – of all people – Sr. Agnes Mansour as a model of Catholic ministry. Mansour was a highly controversial figure, having run for a Congressional seat as both a Catholic woman religious and a supporter of taxpayer-funded abortions. Although defeated, Mansour went on to run Michigan’s Department of Social Services, where she oversaw abortion funding and other abortion-related services. Following an ultimatum from the Holy See, she resigned as a Sister
of Mercy, although her congregation superiors never formally accepted her resignation and, when she died at age 73 of breast cancer, she was buried in the cemetery plot of her religious community. 28 Distressed that the mere mention of Mansour’s name had caused most in attendance to “roar with enthusiasm,” Wiley, who was slated to speak later at the conference in the day, approached the open comment microphone. She recalls, After the speech, I, trembling with fear, approached the “Audience Response” microphone and questioned how we as peace and justice people could support a proabortion bureaucrat as a model for ministry. The speaker took me to task. She said I was narrow and rigid, focusing on fetuses more than the “Big Picture.” What I needed, she said, was a model for prolife consistency, and she knew just who my model should be: Juli Loesch, an Enlightened, Progressive, and Humane prolife advocate. Loesch worked for social justice and for the poor. She practically invented the Consistent Ethic movement, starting back in the 1970s! Juli Loesch’s brand of Prolife meant stopping the arms trade and protecting the environment, opposing sexism and standing up for the poor. I was lucky, the speaker said, because this Juli Loesch would be giving a talk that very evening. She suggested I should come back and listen, because I might learn that Prolife meant more than Just Opposing Abortion. I found myself smiling. Yes, I said, I know that prolife means a great deal more than Just Opposing Abortion, but with Mansour it seemed to mean a great deal less. “And by the way,” I said, “I’m Juli Loesch.” The speaker stared at me in confusion. “What?” “I’m J ———.” But just then she cut my microphone off, and said, “Let’s move on to a different topic. I don’t need to stand here and be harassed by right-wing zealots.” Remarkable. I had gone from being Enlightened, Progressive, and Humane to being a right-wing zealot in the amount of time it takes to snap your fingers — or turn off a microphone. At that moment I realized that the Consistent Ethic of Life had evidently mutated since the last time I looked. 29 Although Cardinal Bernardin made keen efforts to keep the Consistent Ethic focused on the moral issues and not engage directly with either politics or specific candidates for office, like Sr. Agnes Mansour, Bernardin was nevertheless often forced by circumstance to speak about what he called the “misuse of” the Consistent Ethic, especially by those in the political arena. He took great pains to correct the impression – in particular offered by some elected officials who supported legal abortion – that “all issues are equal,” and that their support for most of the issues in the Ethic’s spectrum exonerated them from advocating for legal abortion. He noted, I know that some on the left, if I may use that label, have used the Consistent Ethic to give them impression that the abortion issue is not all that important anymore, that you should be against abortion in a general way but that there are more important issues, so don’t hold anybody’s feet to the fire just on abortion. That’s a misuse of the Consistent Ethic, and I deplore it…I feel very, very strongly about the right to life of the unborn, the weakest and most vulnerable of human beings. I don’t see how you can subscribe to the Consistent Ethic and then vote for someone
who feels that abortion is a “basic right” of the individual. The consequence of that would be an absence of legal protection for the unborn. 30 Also during the course of his interview with Bernardin, Isenhart asked why a “consistent ethic of life links issues in a way no other political party or ideology current does.” Bernardin responded, I remember going to a medical school in the Chicago area. There were about 500 or 600 people present and I spoke candidly about abortion, showing how it was related to the other life issues I knew many of them to be interested in. I was overwhelmed by the number of people who came up to me afterward – mostly nonCatholic people – who told me that they had never really been against abortion but added, “In light of the argument you have presented, I’m going to have to rethink this because I see now the inconsistency in my position.” This is what I mean by sensitizing people to the broad spectrum of life issues. This is what I mean when I say we need to build a constituency. 31 Cardinal Bernardin was rightly proud of the impact the Consistent Ethic made on the national conversations surrounding the issues that impact human life and human dignity. Although sometimes maligned for his vision connecting the sin of abortion with other issues that impact the human person, his approach has stood the test of time, inspiring the founding of groups that, thirty years ago, would may not have found their presence at the March for Life tolerated, much less welcomed. And this may be the lasting legacy of the Consistent Ethic: unity. Thirty years ago, Bernardin wrote to pro-life activists in Chicago that to attack him was to strike at the heart of unity in the movement. 32 His goal with the Consistent Ethic was not just to provide the framework that could bring disparate groups together, but one that could help each man and woman of good will see a vision of a world in which each human person would be afforded the most basic of human rights – especially and primarily the right not to be privately killed. And so, at the March for Life each year, when signs held by young women boldly proclaiming that “A True Feminist would fight for the rights of Unborn Women” are seen next to signs with images of President Trump, proclaiming “Make Babies Great Again,” 33 that we can be grateful for Joseph Cardinal Bernardin’s vision that knit together this tapestry of disparate people of all political stripes, and of all interests. Following Bernardin’s legacy, women and men and children of different religions traditions, or no religious tradition, of varying political persuasions, of every size, shape and race, now come together each January to assert a communal and resounding “No!” to abortion, legal or illegal. I think that is what Cardinal Bernardin intended. 1
https://marchforlife.org/about-us/. https://www.feministsforlife.org/our-mission-organization/. 3 http://www.plagal.org/geninfo.html. 4 https://www.democratsforlife.org. 5 https://sistersoflife.org. 6 https://www.kofc.org/en/. 7 https://www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2019/01/march-life-secular-liberal-pro-lifers-feelwelcome/580837/. 8 http://consistent-life.org/blog/index.php/2018/06/05/veganism-and-prolifeism/?fbclid=IwAR2Yfopm3rcH0OkMfw32xzvlc_qfguCDGIT0PZpYlG7oc_BFqBWiAIcf0bQ. 2
http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/cover_story/2016/10/the_future_of_the_pro_life_movement.html. https://www.newwavefeminists.com/about. 11 https://www.rehumanizeintl.org. 12 https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/15/us/politics/abortion-debate-pennsylvania.html. 13 https://www.newwavefeminists.com/about. 14 “The Pope Speaks on Death and Life,” Chicago Tribune, April 7, 1995, p. 22. 15 “A Consistent Ethic of Life: A wide spectrum of issues touches on the protection of human life and the promotion of human dignity. As Pope John Paul II has reminded us: “Where life is involved, the service of charity must be profoundly consistent. It cannot tolerate bias and discrimination, for human life is sacred and inviolable at every stage and in every situation; it is an indivisible good” (The Gospel of Life, no. 87). http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/pastoral-plan-prolife-activities.cfm. 16 https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2017/11/17/can-seamless-garment-approach-pro-life-issuesmake-comeback-catholic-church. 17 “Bernardin: Chicago’s Pastor on Consistency and the ’88 Vote,” National Catholic Register, June 12, 1988, p.6: “In a homily I gave at a Respect Life pilgrimage in St. Augustine, Florida, I explained the Consistent Ethic and then stated that one of the most serious life issues or evils that we’re witnessing today is abortion. As a nation we have to address that problem. And I think we’re beginning to address it. There are many more people now than ever before who see abortion as an evil. Even though they may not accept the moral code of the Church in totality, nonetheless they see abortion as an evil and they see that some kind of protection has to be given to the unborn. I submit that the Consistent Ethic has played a role in that sensitization.” 18 “Because it involves life and death, abortion will always be a central concern of Catholics. But so will nuclear weapons. And hunger and homelessness and joblessness, all the forces diminishing human life and threatening to destroy it. The "seamless garment" that Cardinal Bernardin has spoken of is a challenge to all Catholics in public office, conservatives as well as liberals.” http://archives.nd.edu/research/texts/cuomo.htm. 19 https://stream.org/archbishop-cupichs-seamless-bulletproof-vest-pro-choice-politicians/. 20 “Bernardin: Chicago’s pastor on consistency and the ’88 vote,” National Catholic Register, June 12, 1998, p. 7. 21 Ibid, p.1. 22 Zekman, Pamela and Warrick, Pamela. The Abortion Profiteers: Making a Killing in Michigan Av. Clinics, The Chicago Sun-Times, November, 1978, p.1. 23 Cave, Damian, “Picturing Fetal Remains,” The New York Times, October, 2009. https://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/10/09/behind-19/. 24 National Day of Remembrance for Unborn Children. http://abortionmemorials.com/history/Hillside.php. 25 Cuneo, Michael (1997). The Smoke of Satan: Conservative and Traditionalist Dissent in Contemporary American Catholicism, New York, Oxford University Press, p.73. 26 Ibid, 73. 27 Cuneo, 74. 28 https://www.questia.com/read/1G1-127432638/she-answered-to-her-conscience-agnes-mary-mansour. 29 Juli Losch Wiley, “Time to Communicate what Catholicism is and is not,” The New Oxford Review, July/August 1996. https://www.newoxfordreview.org/documents/time-to-communicate-what-catholicism-is-is-not/. 30 “Bernardin: Chicago’s pastor on consistency and the ’88 vote,” p.7. 31 Ibid, p.6. 32 Cuneo, 74. 33 Katrina Trinko, “28 of the Best Signs from the March for Life,” The Daily Signal, January 18, 2019. https://www.dailysignal.com/2019/01/18/28-of-the-best-signs-from-march-for-life/. 10
Three Theological Questions from the Amazon Synod: Married Priests, Women Deacons, Inclusive God Language By Sr. Sara Butler, M.S.B.T., S.T.L., Ph.D. At the recent Synod in Rome, 180 bishops and major superiors of men’s religious congregations discussed and voted on proposals that were developed during a two-year long consultation of the bishops, missionaries, and indigenous peoples who minister and live in the Amazon rainforest. As you have read, nine Latin American countries share the territory in this vast region, and some 3 million of its 33,600,000 inhabitants belong to the 380 indigenous nations or tribes. The indigenous people are isolated (some, voluntarily, 1 and all geographically) from the citizens of the nine countries in which they dwell. The Catholics among them belong to many different dioceses; since 2014, efforts to provide them with pastoral care and defend their human rights and the Amazon territory are coordinated by REPAM, 2 the Pan-Amazonian Church Network. Among the many issues raised by the pre-synodal consultation, three are closely related to issues raised by theologians in the First World: the priestly ordination of viri probati (mature married men), the diaconal ordination of women, and (in a rather indirect way) the use of feminine images and names for God. Some Catholics suspect that the Synod was used to advance the discussion of these First World issues. There is evidently some basis for this, 3 but in any case, these issues did in fact come up from those concerned with pastoral care for Catholics in the Amazon, so it is good to address them. Two proposals among those included in the final synod document explicitly deal with married priests and women deacons. The question of feminine images and language for God does not appear in the Synod document, but it was raised by the Instrumentum laboris (§120), and it is related to the symbol of Mother Earth, the Pachamama, brought by the indigenous participants. I will comment on each of issues, on the basis of my studies, information about the synod debates generally available on the internet, and what I have learned from members of our faculty. 4 Married Priests Most of the Catholic communities in the Amazon lack ordinary pastoral care. They are only rarely visited by priests or bishops, and therefore they do not have ready access to the Eucharist, Reconciliation, or the Anointing of the Sick. It is obviously important that communities of the baptized have access to these sacraments; without them, they remain “incomplete,” in some sense, although historically some isolated communities survived for generations with lay leadership. 5 The indigenous peoples were converted and served chiefly by religious congregations of missionary priests and sisters. 6 Today they are also, of course, the responsibility of the diocesan bishops. There have evidently been some indigenous vocations to the priesthood, 7 but not nearly enough to remedy the problem. Some, but not all, of the missionaries who have worked among them testify that the chief obstacle to attracting priestly vocations is the obligation of observing celibacy. 8 Some questions occur to me: Is the massive defection of indigenous Catholics to the Evangelical and Pentecostal communities—on one report, losses since the 1980s from 95% to 20% 9--related to this? 10 Do indigenous men serve successfully as leaders in those communities? How many Catholic men have been prepared as
permanent deacons? If not, what would be the obstacle, since it would not require a commitment to celibacy? In the face of their need, and on account of their right, as baptized Catholics, to the Eucharist, most bishops of the Amazon region recommend that older married men of proven virtue—viri probati—be ordained to provide the sacraments for these communities. 11 From the reports I’ve seen, some who fit this description are permanent deacons, while others are trusted community members or catechists who have provided leadership in their villages. According to the proposal members of the Synod make to Pope Francis, the bishop would identify appropriate candidates, prepare them as permanent deacons, then, after evidence that they have had a “fruitful ministry,” ordain them as priests. Let us consult the text of their proposal. 12 It begins with a description of the need for priestly ministry, specifically for the Eucharist. It goes on to affirm the value of a celibate priesthood in the Latin Church, as repeated by Vatican II, Pope St. Paul VI, and Pope St. John Paul II. Then it recalls that “this discipline ‘is not required by the very nature of the priesthood,’” and that legitimate diversity need not endanger but may even serve the Church’s unity. The criteria and dispositions for approving this discipline would be established in view of Lumen gentium art. 26, namely, in view of the bishop’s responsibility to make the Eucharist available to the local Church. These, then, are the reasons the Synod gives for allowing this: (1) the needs of the region, (2) the great difficulty of providing the Catholic people with the sacraments, (3) the fact that celibacy, though highly valued, is not required, (4) the tradition of providing for diversity, and (5) the bishop’s responsibility. Notice that the Synod does not give as a reason the indigenous man’s difficulty in appreciating the gift of celibacy; in fact, it clearly expects that some will accept this, i.e., “we pray that there will be many vocations living the celibate priesthood.” Elsewhere (nos. 39 and 40), there is a clear expectation that itinerant missionary teams, which include celibate priests, will continue to serve the indigenous communities that are more easily reached, with the goal of establishing a stable presence. For these several reasons, however—the value of priestly celibacy and the longstanding tradition of observing it in the Latin Church notwithstanding—the fathers of the Synod recommend that the Holy Father provide the possibility of ordaining as priests—“for the most remote regions of the Amazon”—“suitable and esteemed men of the community, who have had a fruitful permanent diaconate and receive an adequate formation for the priesthood, having a legitimately constituted and stable family, to sustain the life of the Christian community through the preaching of the Word and the celebration of the Sacraments.” Again, notice the conditions: the candidates would be men esteemed in their community who have already had a “fruitful” ministry as permanent deacons, who have received an adequate formation for the priesthood, and who have a stable family life. A close reading of the proposal reveals the many qualifications that surround this proposal, undoubtedly introduced during the debate at the Synod. It clearly addresses a concrete situation of pastoral need. Most interesting to me is the insistence that the candidates first assume the functions of permanent deacons. In many dioceses, it seems, the permanent diaconate has not yet been established, 13 while women religious and lay persons have been permitted by the bishops to carry out functions that properly belong to deacons. 14 Should these men be called permanent deacons, when the goal is to prepare them for the priesthood? According to current legislation, permanent deacons are prohibited from advancing to the priesthood, apart from a very grave cause. 15
To hear journalists report on this proposal, you would think Pope Francis intends to eliminate the obligation of celibacy altogether. Headlines announce, for example, that the Synod will “upend centuries of Roman Catholic tradition,” 16 and that the Pope will “let priests marry.” We are told that the discipline of priestly celibacy was first imposed in the twelfth century. But of course, this is not about “letting priests marry,” but about ordaining “mature married men.” And while canonical penalties on clerical marriage were imposed in the twelfth century (when canon law itself was codified), 17 the tradition of clerical celibacy goes back to the early Church, perhaps even to apostolic times. 18 In fact, however, it began with the ordination of mature married men. Scholars have long known, but only recently reported in detail, about what has been called “continence-celibacy,” that is, the practice of ordaining married men with the condition that they thereafter abstain from marital relations with their wives. From the fourth century, and probably earlier, “continence celibacy” was the common practice in the West. Scholars have evidence that priests and bishops who were family men sired no more children after their ordination. 19 The men called to Orders and their wives would be obliged to agree to live as brother and sister, and often the wives would enter the monastic life (and be ordained “deaconesses”). Eventually, as the ascetic movement grew stronger after the age of persecution ended, candidates for Holy Orders—especially bishops—were drawn from the monastic life, and celibacy as we understand it, the charism of remaining unmarried for the sake of the kingdom, became the norm in the Latin West. 20 In the Eastern Catholic Churches where married men may be ordained deacons and priests, the tradition of choosing bishops from celibate diocesan or monastic clergy remains in force. So, the idea of ordaining viri probati, mature married men, 21 is not new. It seems to me unlikely, however, that they would be asked to separate from the wives, i.e., to observe “continence-celibacy.” Nothing in the Synod proposal suggests this. In fact, that would go against the current practice 22 whereby married men are ordained permanent deacons, 23 married Anglican (and other Protestant) ministers have been ordained Catholic priests, 24 and candidates for Holy Orders in the Eastern Catholic Churches in the “diaspora” 25 are allowed to marry without having to separate from their wives. Given this history, current practice, and the extraordinary difficulty of providing the Eucharist in some of these indigenous communities, one can understand the Synod’s vote, and we should not be alarmed if Pope Francis endorses it. The fathers of the Synod evidently supported the creation of an Amazonian “rite” or juridical entity of some kind as a means of confining this exception to that particular region. Women Deacons The Synod document acknowledges that in the Amazon “the majority of Catholic communities are led by women.” 26 Women religious, in particular, have assumed responsibility for their pastoral care in a “supply” capacity. As Sister Mila Diaz, OP said in an assembly at Mundelein Seminary, 27 they are leading Liturgies of the Word and Holy Communion (with the reserved sacrament), preaching, baptizing, witnessing marriages, conducting funerals, and offering pastoral support and counseling. Some members of the Synod believe, then, that women should be ordained as permanent deacons. These women are, in fact, providing---without ordination—most of the functions of permanent deacons, in the absence of men ordained to this office. Their leadership is highly valued by the indigenous peoples. Ordination to the diaconate, then, would seem to be one way to grant them formal, ecclesial recognition.
On the other hand, some women religious who were observers at the Synod said ordination as deacons was unnecessary, since they were already carrying out these functions and have a very strong presence. 28 Whereas priests come only as visitors to celebrate the sacraments, small communities of women religious have a stable presence in the villages. The developments these women seek—pastoral leadership roles, participation in decision-making, roles in catechetics and formation, including formation in seminaries—are goals already achieved in other parts of the Catholic world, and they do not require ordination. The Synod document, however, suggests that recognition of women’s gifts and ministries deserves ordination. Let us again consider the text. 29 It reports that the topic was addressed because a “large number” of the pre-Synodal consultations requested that women be admitted to the permanent diaconate. It notes that the Study Commission Pope Francis created in 2016 only “arrived at a partial result,” and that “we” (evidently the representatives from the Amazon) would “like to share our experiences and reflections with the Commission.” Pope Francis has promised to reconvene the Commission, with additional members, to resume this study. 30 In fact, as you may know, members of the Commission that studied this topic could not reach agreement on the historical evidence. Since their report has not been released, we know only what is reported in the news, 31 namely, that the unresolved question is whether the ordination the women deacons once received was “sacramental” or not. It seems that the members agreed that the ritual formulas for the ordination of women were not identical to the formulas for men. In my own research, I have noted that the models for deacons are Christ and St. Stephen; for deaconesses, Our Lady, other women of both Testaments, and Phoebe. 32 Also, deaconesses did not proceed through the “cursus honorum,” the practice of sequential appointment that obliged men to move from minor orders to subdiaconate to diaconate to priesthood, to episcopate. The women’s ministry was sui generis, 33 and those ordained—even if regarded as members of the clergy in some settings—were never compared to Christ or considered for advancement to the priesthood. A theory I favor is that women were “ordained” (at that time, this only indicated installation into a public office) because they were entrusted with the Eucharist. 34 (Widows and other pious women could be enlisted to anoint women for Baptism.) Deaconesses could carry the sacrament to the sick and women who headed up monastic communities could distribute the reserved sacrament to their nuns, in the absence of a priest or deacon. Deaconesses eventually disappeared from parochial ministry; abbesses in certain monastic communities continued to receive a deacon’s stole and maniple. When married men were still ordained, their wives might become deaconesses. But the real “heirs” of their ministry, in my opinion, are apostolic women religious 35—and today women in lay ecclesial ministry as well. If the ministry of deaconess were restored, it seems to me unlikely in the extreme that it would be a grade of Holy Orders, like the male diaconate. Pope Francis has pointed out that the Church cannot invent sacraments. In addition, he is opposed to “clericalizing” the laity. 36 As I reflect on the Synod’s proposals, several questions come to mind. The apostolic women religious and indigenous lay women who serve as community leaders are in many respects the heirs of the deaconesses. Did the Amazonian bishops who authorized them to baptize, witness marriages, and lead Services of Word and Communion in the indigenous communities also, and at the same time, recruit and prepare indigenous men for the permanent diaconate? If not, the women are carrying out functions as “supply” rather than on the basis of ordination, and this arrangement has become the norm in a way that skews the pattern defined in the Interdicasterial Instruction of 1996 and embedded in the Code of Canon Law. 37 Would
admitting women to the role of deaconess—even if it were identified as a ministry distinct from the sacrament of Holy Orders—promote or detract from the goal of preparing indigenous men for Holy Orders? If women religious who now serve as community leaders do not feel the need for ordination as deaconesses, what is the point in promoting this? (It is at this point that we may suspect another agenda enters in, for Bishop Kräutler made the public statement that he believes women should be admitted to the priesthood, and that he would not ordain any deacons until women were eligible.) 38 Perhaps the present, welcome service of women indicates that their way of serving is already recognized and valued. Is it not a kind of “clericalism” to presume that their service needs to be validated by incorporation into the clergy? 39 According to the best historical data, deaconesses in the early Church disappeared into monastic life 40 and their functions were eventually assumed by apostolic women religious. Does not the Church’s practice suggest that the ministry of women religious expresses their devotion and spirituality, and that this is best cultivated under the immediate leadership of women, rather than men (e.g., male clerics)? Some light is shed in this by the experience of women in Anglican and Protestant churches who say that being “mainstreamed” as clergy has robbed them of the influence they had in their singlesex women’s missionary societies. Inclusive Language for God The introduction of the “Pachamama” statues caused quite a stir at the Synod. In an effort to show respect for the indigenous cultures, these symbols (along with canoe and fishnets) were on display. (Were they created just for the Synod?) They were symbols of “Pachamama,” “Mother Earth,” but the explanations given by spokespersons at the Vatican varied. Some said these images of a naked, pregnant woman simply represent “fertility,” or “motherhood,” or Mother Earth. Someone said they were images of the Virgin Mary. In the absence of a clear explanation, many observers were puzzled and dismayed. The final Synod document neither refers to them nor recommends adopting inclusive language for God, but the instrumentum laboris §121 mentions the indigenous people’s “faith in the God Father-Mother Creator” and their “living relationship with nature and ‘Mother Earth’” (Pachamama). 41 For this reason, I want to comment on this topic. It is important to keep in mind the fact that not all the Indians who participated in the consultation prior to the Synod, or who came to Rome, or attended the Synod as observers were Catholic Christians, since an important dimension of the Synod’s work was the defense of the Amazon region and its critical importance to the earth’s ecosystem and its survival. This was not necessarily clear to journalists. As Sister Mila explained, what a Catholic Christian would understand by the “Pachamama” is different from what an indigenous Shaman, non-Catholic, or non-Christian would mean. The inculturation of this traditional expression of closeness to and interdependence on “Mother Earth” or “Mother Nature” by Catholic missionaries has succeeded in removing any suggestion that Pachamama is an idol or that the Earth is a goddess. Professor Peter Casarella explains that the use of this symbol among Catholics is comparable to the way St. Francis of Assisi hails the elements in his “Canticle of Creation”—e.g., we call on “our Sister, Mother Earth” to join our praise of God. In other words, among indigenous Catholics, the symbol so dear to people close to the land has been purified, over the last 50 years, of any hint of idolatry. 42
But what of this form of address, “God- Father-Mother Creator,” found in the Instrumentum laboris? It is not the language of the Scriptures or the Creeds, and it seems to suggest a dyad, a divine couple. We find in the Catechism two articles which distinguish more than one way of calling God “Father.” We call God “Father” inasmuch as he is our Creator, the first origin of everything and transcendent authority (§239), 43 and we call God “Father” in relation to his eternal Son, that is, in the context of the Trinity (§240). As to the first, many religions call God “Father,” meaning “Creator.” On the basis of this understanding, the Catechism says: “God's parental tenderness can also be expressed by the image of motherhood [Isa 66:13, Ps 131:2], which emphasizes God's immanence, the intimacy between Creator and creature.” There is some biblical and traditional justification, then, for considering God’s maternal qualities and tender love when we consider God, in his unity, as Creator. It goes on to say, however, that “God transcends the human distinction between the sexes. He is neither man nor woman: he is God. He also transcends human fatherhood and motherhood, although he is their origin and standard [Ps 27:10, Eph 3:14, Isa 49:15].” 44 This is a lively topic in contemporary feminism, 45 but competent Catholic theologians tell us that “mother” is an image or metaphor, but not a proper title for God. As Joseph Ratzinger/ Pope Benedict XVI explains, the problem is that mother-goddesses invariably evoke some version of pantheism in which the difference between God and the creature disappears. 46 The relation between mother and child cannot symbolize transcendence, for a mother brings forth the child from her own substance. According to Fr. Thomas Weinandy, the title “Mother” is excluded because it does not define how God ontologically exists. To become a mother, a woman must receive from her husband. 47 “God is ‘Father’ because he never receives, but he is the absolute unqualified giver.” 48 Fr. Benedict Ashley goes into further detail when he explains that “mother” may function as a metaphor for God but it is not an analogy of proper proportionality because it does not express the absolute transcendence of God to his creation. These theological arguments only intend, however, to offer an account of what we find in biblical revelation, namely, that God is never represented as female and never addressed as “Mother.” Addressing God as “Father-Mother-Creator” is still more problematic. It is impossible to imagine a person who is simultaneously Mother and Father; the imagination is necessarily led to envision a couple, a divine pair—something totally at odds with biblical revelation. 49 God is called “Father,” however, in a second, explicitly Christian way, that is, when it names God the Father, the First Person of the Trinity and Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ. As the Catechism says: “Jesus revealed that God is Father in an unheard-of sense: he is Father not only in being Creator; he is eternally Father in relation to his only Son, who is eternally Son only in relation to his Father: ‘No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him’ [Mt 11:27]." This second perspective can be traced to Jesus, who teaches us to call God our “Father” and reveals the mystery of God’s triune life. God cannot be described as “Creator” or “Mother” with respect to the Son, but only as “Father.” What is revealed in the economy of salvation is true of God from all eternity: God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It is evident that God the Mother cannot be accommodated within the Blessed Trinity without changing it to a quaternity. It seems that the indigenous people who worship “Father-Mother-Creator” have not incorporated the testimony of biblical revelation into their understanding of God. This title cannot be reconciled with the doctrine of the Trinity or with the fundamental practices of making the sign of the Cross and baptizing in the Trinitarian name. To the extent that they hold that God
is “part feminine,” as the Synod theologian, Father López Hernández, a Mexican with indigenous roots, attested, they do not profess the Catholic faith. In his words, “When we people of MesoAmerican speak of God, we always speak of Father-God and Mother-God, or God-FatherMother, including the two parts that in the indigenous thinking are those who engender life.” He suggests that a focus on the Virgin Mary, who of course is not divine, can shed light on the doctrine of God. 50 This issue is not addressed in the Synod document, and Sister Mila assures us that Catholics among the indigenous nations have heard and accepted the Gospel. The fact that this naming is reported in the Instrumentum laboris, however, points to the need for more extended and compelling biblical catechesis. It would be interesting to explore the links between the respect for the Earth found among the indigenous peoples of the Amazon and contemporary trends in feminist theology and eco-theology. What are the consequences of the virtual absence of priestly and male leadership among the Catholics in some parts of the Amazon? Concluding Observations I offer these reflections as my contribution to our “reception” of this recent event. I have attended two universal Synods as an “expert,” and I’m aware that it is extremely difficult to produce any sort of coherent document in that setting! We do not know how Pope Francis will respond to the Synod’s report, but here is what I expect he may do with respect to these particular facets of its much larger goals. (1) With respect to married priests: I think Pope Francis will allow the bishops in charge of this region to put in place a program to prepare mature indigenous married men as deacons, but at the same time encourage priestly vocations among boys and younger men; that these deacons will be installed as community leaders; that he will allow the ordination of married men to the priesthood but restrict it to those living in “the most remote areas of the Amazon”; that he will incorporate this in an Amazonian “rite” or juridical entity; and that he will promote increased participation of lay men as catechists. (2) With respect to women deacons: I think the Pope will add some missionaries and indigenous people to the Study Commission he agreed to revive; that this Commission will not lead to the admission of women to Holy Orders as permanent deacons; but that he will find ways to acknowledge women’s ministry by episcopal appointment, e.g., as pastoral associates, lay ecclesial ministers, or even as deaconesses (as a non-sacramental women’s order) ; and that he will promote women’s access to theological education and to decision-making roles. (3) With respect to inclusive language for God: I think Pope Francis will endorse the Synod’s recommendations for an Amazonian seminary and a Catholic college for the laity so that the indigenous youth will have access to theological education regarding the biblical revelation of Creation and Covenant; that he will promote translations of the Scriptures and a deeper understanding of the Christian doctrine of God, one and three; the Incarnation and Redemption, and the place of Mary in the mystery of salvation. Appendix A Text of Final Synod Document: Ordination of Married Men in the Amazon 111. Many of the ecclesial communities of the Amazonian territory have enormous difficulties in accessing the Eucharist. Sometimes it takes not just months but even several years
before a priest can return to a community to celebrate the Eucharist, offer the sacrament of reconciliation or anoint the sick in the community. We appreciate celibacy as a gift of God (Sacerdotalis Caelibatus, 1), to the extent that this gift enables the missionary disciple, ordained to the priesthood, to dedicate himself fully to the service of the Holy People of God. It stimulates pastoral charity and we pray that there will be many vocations living the celibate priesthood. We know that this discipline “is not required by the very nature of the priesthood… although it has many reasons of convenience with it” (PO 16). In his encyclical on priestly celibacy, St. Paul VI maintained this law and set out theological, spiritual, and pastoral motivations that sustain it. In 1992, the post-synodal exhortation of John Paul II on priestly formation confirmed this tradition in the Latin Church (PDV 29). Considering that legitimate diversity does not harm the communion and unity of the Church, but expresses and serves it (LG 13; SO 6) which testifies to the plurality of existing rites and disciplines, we proposed to establish criteria and dispositions on the part of the competent authority, within the framework of Lumen Gentium 26, to ordain priests suitable and esteemed men of the community, who have had a fruitful permanent diaconate and receive and adequate formation for the priesthood, having a legitimately constituted and stable family to sustain the life of the Christian community through the preaching of the Word and the celebration of the Sacraments in the most remote areas of the Amazon region. In this regard, some were in favor of a more universal approach to the subject. Passed 128/41. Appendix B Text of Final Synod Document: Female Diaconate 103. In the many consultations carried out in the Amazon, the fundamental role of religious and lay women in the Church of the Amazon and its communities was recognized and emphasized, given the multiple services they provide. In a large number of these consultations, the permanent diaconate for women was requested. For this reason the theme was important during the Synod. Already in 2016, Pope Francis had created a “Study Commission on the Diaconate of Women” which, as a Commission, arrived at a partial result based on what the reality of the diaconate of women was like in the early centuries of the Church and its implications for today. We would therefore like to share our experiences and reflections with the Commission and await its results. Passed 137/30. Appendix C Text of “Instrumentum laborum” relating to “Inclusive” Images of God 121. It is necessary to grasp what the Spirit of the Lord has taught these peoples throughout the centuries: faith in the God Father-Mother Creator; communion and harmony with the earth; solidarity with one’s companions; striving for “good living”; the wisdom of civilizations going back thousands of years that the elderly possess and which influences health, life together, education, cultivation of the land, the living relationship with nature and “Mother Earth” (Pachamama), the capacities of resistance and resiliency of women in particular, rites and religious expressions, relationships with ancestors, the contemplative attitude, the sense of gratuity, celebration and festivity, and the sacred meaning of the territory. 1
Among the 380 (some say 340) nations, there are 137 “contactless,” or voluntarily isolated, tribes.
The acronym for Red Eclesial Pan-Amazónica. In an interview on Lifesite News, Synod organizer and Austrian Bishop Emeritus Erwin Kräutler, who spent 30 years in the Amazon, said that he favors the ordination of women to the diaconate and the priesthood. See “Amazon synod bishop: “Indigenous people do not understand celibacy,” J.D. Flynn, Catholic News Agency (CNA), October 9, 2019. 4 My thanks go to Fr. Thomas Baima, Dr. Melanie Barrett, Fr. Emery DeGaál, Sister Mila Diaz, OP, and Dr. Patricia Pintado-Murphy. 5 “Missionary: Married Priests in Amazon wouldn’t get to the root of the problem,” CNA, October 15, 2019. Fr. Martin Lasarte Topolanski recalls the witness of communities elsewhere that survived without priests. 6 For an example of success in preparing indigenous men as leaders, see “The Missionaries of the Sateré Mawé” on the PIME Missionaries website (www.pimeusa.org/category/amazon). 7 See “Tikuna deacon prepares to become first priest from Amazonian tribe,” Catholic News Service (CNS), October 1, 2019. 8 See “Amazon inhabitants hope synod will address lack of priests,” Junno Arocho Esteves, CNS, September 20, 2019. Bishop Erwin Kräutler said the indigenous people do not understand celibacy. (See note 3) But see also the opinion of Fr. Justino Sarmento Rezende, “Indigenous priest says celibacy doesn’t cause shortages in the Amazon,” Elise Harris, CRUX, October 17, 2019. 9 “Missionary: Married Priests in Amazon, CNA, October 15, 2019. 10 See also “Evangelical missions a major threat to Amazon culture, Catholic Leaders Say,” by Eduardo Campos Lima, Special to CRUX, September 3, 2019. 11 Fr. Martín Lasarte Topolanski, a Salesian priest, believes this is not the answer. See “Missionary: Married priests in Amazon will not get to the root of problem,” Catholic News Association, October 15, 2019. 12 Appendix A. 13 See the suggestion of Sr. Rose Pico “Amazon inhabitants hope synod” and Deacon Greg Kandra’s blog: “Synod Update: Permanent deacons in the Amazon?” October 11, 2019. According to Sr. Rose, in a community of 1400, only six couples are in a sacramental marriage. 14 If, as the Synod document reports (§102), the majority of the indigenous communities are led by women, there are many communities without permanent deacons. 15 Directory for the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons: “5. The specific vocation to the permanent Diaconate presupposes the stability of this Order. Hence ordination to the Priesthood of non-married or widowed deacons must always be a very rare exception, and only for special and grave reasons.” 16 Nicole Winfield, Associated Press, October 26, 2019. 17 At the Second Lateran Council, in 1139. 18 Alfons Maria Stickler, The Case for Clerical Celibacy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1995). 19 Christian Cochini, The Apostolic Origins of Priestly Celibacy (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2002), regards this as an unwritten apostolic tradition that found canonical expression in the 4th century. 20 Patristic scholar Joseph Lienhard expresses reservations about the thesis that continence-celibacy was an apostolic tradition. See his thesis in “The Origins and Practice of Priestly Celibacy in the Early Church,” in The Charism of Clerical Celibacy: Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Reflections, ed. John Cavadini (University of Notre Dame: Ave Maria Press, 2012), 47-64. He points out that although there were male ascetics in the early Church, the first clear evidence of continence-celibacy as an obligation for the clergy comes from the fourth century. 21 The Instrumentun laboris 129 (a) 2 says “older men.” According to Inez San Martin in “married priests officially on the agenda.” Bishop Kräutler explained that the Instrumentum laboris said “elderly people,” because they intended to include women. 22 Fr. Thomas Baima, provost of University of St. Mary of the Lake, suggested these examples to me. 23 Lumen gentium 29: “With the consent of the Roman Pontiff, this diaconate can, in the future, be conferred upon men of more mature age, even upon those living in the married state.” Canonist Edward Peters argues that all Western clerics are obliged to observe “perfect and perpetual continence” in accord with canon 277 §1. See “Canonical Considerations on Clerical Continence,” Studia Canonica (2005): 147-80. 24 Pope John Paul II approved this in the Pastoral Provision for Anglican clergy who entered full communion in 1980. In 2007, Pope Benedict extended this to clergy who joined the Anglican Ordinariate in 2009. 25 Pope Francis lifted the ban on ordaining married men in the diaspora on November 17, 2014. 26 No. 102. Bishop Morgan Casey: “Certainly the women are the servers of the Church. A great majority of our congregation, the people who are active, the people who carry the apostolates in the different organizations, are women.” (“Environment was a big part of the Synod too,” Joseph Kenny, Nov. 1, 2019) 3
“Pachamama, Inculturation, Synod of the Amazon,” November 6, 2019. “Women’s role in Amazon church does not depend on diaconate, sisters say,” Barbara Jane Frazer, CNS, October 18, 2019. This echoes the response of U.S. women religious to the 1995 Canon Law Society of America report, “The Canonical Implications of the Ordination of Women to the Permanent Diaconate.” See Sister Nadine Foley, OP’s summary in an essay with the same title (Silver Spring, MD: LCWR, 1996), and Sister Doris Gottemoeller, RSM, “The Priesthood: Implications in Consecrated Life for Women,” A Concert of Charisms: Ordained Ministry in Religious Life, ed. Paul Kevin Hennessy (New York: Paulist Press, 1996), 127-37 at 134-37. 29 Appendix B. 30 “Amazon Synod Document Calls for Married Priests, and Discussion of Female Diaconate,” CNA, October 26, 2019. 31 See Joshua J. McElwee, “Francis: Women Deacons Commission gave split report on their role in early church,” National Catholic Reporter (NCR), May 7, 2019; idem, “Francis: Decision on women deacons cannot be made ‘without historical foundation’,” NCR, May 10, 2019. 32 See my article, “Women as Deaconesses,” in the Josephinum Diaconal Review (Fall, 2015): 33-52. 33 See Jacqueline Field-Bibb, Women Towards Priesthood (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1991), 96, 102. 34 See Catherine Brown Tkacz, “Deaconesses and the Spiritual Equality of Women,” Revue d’histoire ecclésiastique 108 (April 2013) 5-44. 35 See Phyllis Zagano, “Women Religious, Women Deacons,” Review for Religious 60 (2001): 230-44, and “Looking for nuns, finding women deacons,” Review for Religious 70:1 (2011): 73-83. 36 Speaking to the Corallo Association (March 22, 2014), Pope Francis made clear his opposition to this. See also EG §102, and Madeleine Teahan, “I won’t create female cardinals says Pope Francis,” Catholic Herald (December 16, 2013). 37 Interdicasterial Instruction on Certain Questions Regarding the Collaboration of the Non-Ordained with the Sacred Ministry of Priests, and canon 517§2. 38 “Key bishop at Amazon Synod promotes women deacons as ‘first step’ to women priests,” LifeSite News, October 9, 2019 reports an interview with Bishop Kräutler. 39 “Missionary: Married Priests.” 40 To provide ministry to their nuns in the absence of a priest or deacon. 41 See Appendix C. 42 Dr. Patricia Pintado-Murphy shared this from a recent conversation with Dr. Casarella, a theologian who has specialized in Latin American theology. This is confirmed by an article in L’Osservatore Romano (November 12, 2019), “É divinità la Pachamama.” 43 When God is considered in his unity as the first origin of created reality, it is indeed possible to depict him with the use of female metaphors. And the creation of woman in the divine image does justify attributing to God the loving tenderness of a mother, and such metaphors are, in fact, found in the Scripture. Several passages from the prophet Isaiah compare God’s loving relationship with Israel to a mother’s relationship with her child (42:13-14; 46: 3-4; 49:14-15; 66:12-13). 44 See also §§295, 296, and 300 on creation ex nihilo and God’s transcendence. 45 Rosemary Radford Ruether (Sexism and Godtalk [Boston: Beacon Press, 1983], 66) would say that God is neither male nor female, and God is both male and female. This second statement is clearly false from the perspective of biblical revelation. 45 Ibid., 67. Ruether's book of feminist “liturgies,” Women-Church: Theology and Practice of Feminist Liturgical Communities (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1986), illustrates this principle through prayers which address God as: “Great Goddess” (113), “Mother-Spirit” and “Mother-God” (202), and the double names, “God and Goddess” (140) and “Our Father and Mother” (265). 46 Jesus of Nazareth: From the Baptism in the Jordan to the Transfiguration (New York: Doubleday, 2007), 140. 47 Jesus Becoming Jesus (Washington: CUA Press, 2018), 196, note 18: “The title ‘Mother’ cannot properly be applied to God. God may have some ‘motherly’ traits, but the title “Mother” does not ontologically define how God exists.” 48 Ibid. “As a name for the First Person of the Trinity [“Father”] is more than a metaphor, it is an analogy: God the Father is Father. A metaphor is an improper analogy, based on an extrinsic, accidental resemblance. An analogy is based on an essential, intrinsic relationship, the kind of relationship the Council of Nicaea claimed when it affirmed that God is the Father of his Only-begotten Son.” 28
49 The People’s Companion to the Breviary, Vol. 1 (Indianapolis: Carmelite Monastery, 1997) makes this mistake when it proposes, for example, prayers like: “O God, our mother and father, we praise you…and your divine Son” (364); “God, our Eternal Mother”(256); “O God, our beloved Mother (281),” and so on. 50 See “Amazon Synod Theologian: Virgin Mary Represents ‘Mother-God’ in indigenous thinking.” Life Site News, October 25, 2019.
Authors’ Page Robert McElroy The Most Reverend Robert McElroy is Bishop of San Diego. Originally a priest of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, he served as secretary to Archbishop John Quinn, then as Vicar General and pastor, before being named Auxiliary Bishop of San Francisco. He also lectured at Saint Patrick’s Seminary and University, and at the University of San Francisco. In 2015 Pope Francis named him Bishop of San Diego. The author of several books, his works include The Search for an American Public Theology: The Contribution of John Courtney Murray (Paulist Press, 1989) and Morality and American Foreign Policy: The Role of Ethics in International Affairs (Princeton University Press, 1992). He has also published a number of articles in America magazine. (S.T.D., Pontifical Gregorian University, Ph.D., Stanford University)
Martin A. Zielinski The Reverend Martin Zielinski is a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and associate professor of church history at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake. He previously served as associate pastor of Saint Margaret of Scotland Parish in Chicago. His research has focused on American Catholicism and Catholic efforts to confront racism. His is the author of Doing the Truth: The Catholic Interracial Council of New York, 1945-1965. Father Zielinski served two terms as Dean of the Graduate School of Theology. He subsequently served as Vice President for Ongoing Formation where he developed the successful Pastoring Conferences, a year-long series of seminars for newly appointed pastors to acquaint them with their new responsibilities through initial training in leadership and governance. As a theological educator, Father Zielinski has been active with the National Association of Catholic Theological Schools, the American Catholic Historical Association and the U.S. Catholic Historical Society. (Ph.D., Catholic University of America)
Marek J. Duran The Reverend Marek Duran is a priest of the Archdiocese of Chicago and associate professor of moral theology at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake. He previously served as associate pastor of Saint Mary Star of the Sea Parish in Chicago and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish in Glenview, Illinois. His teaching focuses on fundamental moral theology and medical ethics. He also studies the work of Edith Stein. He is the author of My neighbor and his wounds--compassion and the objective knowledge of good: a conversation with Martha Nussbaum and Edith Stein. (S.T.D., Pontifical John Paul II Theological Institute, Rome)
Steven P. Millies Steven P. Millies is associate professor of public theology and Director of the Bernardin Center at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. His scholarship explores the Catholic Church’s relationship to politics, using an interdisciplinary methodology. He approaches questions through history, theology, law, ethics, sociology, philosophy, and political theory. Dr. Millies is convinced that politics must begin, not with conflict over individual interests, but with the conviction, to quote Pope Francis, . . . [that] we need one another, that we have a shared responsibility for each
other and the world.” His published works include Joseph Bernardin: Seeking Common Ground (Liturgical Press, 2016) and Good Intentions: A History of Catholic Voters’ Road from Roe to Trump (Liturgical Press, 2018) His research in political theory focused on a study of religion in British statesman Edmund Burke’s political ideas. Before coming to CTU, he was associate professor of political science at the University of South Carolina - Aiken where he held the J. Strom Thurmond Endowed Chair in Political Science. (Ph.D., Catholic University of America)
Mary Hallan FioRito Mary Hallan FioRito, Esq. is the Cardinal George Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, DC where she works on Catholic Studies and the Catholic Women’s Forum. An attorney, public speaker, and commentator on issues involving women’s leadership in the Catholic Church, work/life balance for mothers, and Catholic Church administration. Her interests also include human life issues, primarily abortion, post-abortion aftermath, and contraception. In 1993, the late Joseph Cardinal Bernardin selected her as Director of Pro-life Activities for the Archdiocese of Chicago. The late Francis Cardinal George appointed her Chicago’s first female Vice-Chancellor. From 2003 to 2015, she served as Executive Assistant to Cardinal George. Ms. FioRito has contributed to two books: Breaking Through: Catholic Women Speak for Themselves, edited by Helen M. Alvare, and Promise and Challenge: Catholic Women Reflect on Complementarity, Feminism, and the Church. (J.D., Loyola University School of Law)
Sara Butler Sister Sara Butler is a Missionary Servant of the Most Blessed Trinity and professor emerita of dogmatic theology at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake. She also served as professor of theology at Saint Joseph Seminary—Dunwoodie. In recent years, she has spoken and published extensively on questions regarding women and holy orders, including the proposals around deaconesses. She is the author of The Catholic Priesthood and Women: A Guide to the Teaching of the Church. An internationally recognized theologian, she has served as a member of the U.S. Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue, the International Theological Commission and as a consultor to the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. She attended two synods as a theological expert. (Ph.D., Fordham University)