Trinity Sunday, Year A-2011

From Vincentian Encyclopedia
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of Go and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with all of you (2 Cor. 13:13—NAB)

The Committee on Doctrine of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops asserts in a 21-page statement, dated March 24, 2011, “that the doctrine of God presented in Quest for the Living God does not accord with authentic Catholic teaching on essential points” [1]. Among other misrepresentations, ambiguities and errors treated in the official statement is the claim by the author of the book, Sister Elizabeth Johnson, C.S.J., “that human language does not attain to the reality of God.” The committee qualifies such claim as “more radical,” departing from the Catholic theological tradition that maintains only “that human language is never adequate to express the reality of God.”

In response, Sister Johnson regretted that the lack of dialogue between her and the members of the committed paved the way to misrepresentations of both her thought and of what she had, in fact, written [2]. Because they chose neither to notify her that they had undertaken a study of her book nor, much less, engage her in conversation before issuing their findings, the members of the committee ignored their own guidelines [3]. And the lack of input from her resulted in conclusions being drawn that painted an incorrect picture of the fundamental line of thought being developed in the book. Later on on June 1, she would send in writing to the committee some observations submitted “in the spirit of the Egyptian bishop Athanasius,” who, making effort to forge unity in his day, wrote: “those, however, who accept everything else that was defined at Nicea, and doubt only about the homoousios, must not be treated as enemies; nor do we here attack them as Ario-maniacs, nor as opponents of the Fathers; but we discuss the matter with them as brothers with brothers, who mean what we mean, and dispute only about the words” [4].

And I hope that the spirit of St. Athanasius may prevail indeed and that the Spirit of love and communion may animate the one body of Christ, with many and diverse parts, for sure, but in everyone—whether shepherd or sheep—of which God works (which partly makes necessary, perhaps, canon 212 of the Code of Canon Law that needs reading and implementing in its entirety) [5]. For without love, without communion, there is really no way to express authentically and adequately and to attain truly the reality of God, at once triune and one.

In fact, according to 1 Jn. 4, whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. Unless we love, we know nothing of the great love God revealed to us when he sent his only Son into the world, so that we might have life through him. Without love, there is no receiving the Spirit, given by God so that one may know that he remains in God and God remains in him.

Whoever is without love does not grasp either the proclamation: “The Lord, the Lord, a merciful and gracious God, slow to anger and rich in kindness and fidelity.” Lack of harmony and peace means the absence of the God of love and peace.

And if we really do not want to run the risk of being consumed by one another, due to our going on to bite and devour one another (Gal. 5:15), and making a mockery of the revelation of the ineffable—unattainable through words—mystery of the Most Holy Trinity, then we better pay attention to St. Vincent de Paul and acknowledge that “there is no better way of paying the best honor possible to” this mystery, and to that of the Incarnation, “than proper devotion to, and use of, the Blessed Eucharist” [6].


NOTES:

[1] Cf. http://www.usccb.org/doctrine/statement-quest-for-the-living-god-2011-03-24.pdf (accessed June 15, 2011).
[2] http://www.ncronline.org/news/johnson-bishops-condemnation-came-without-discussion (accessed June 15, 2011).
[3] Cf. http://www.ncronline.org/news/accountability/bishops-ignored-own-guidelines-johnson-critique (accessed June 15, 2011).
[4] Cf. http://www.ncronline.org/news/faith-parish/johnson-letter-us-bishops-doctrine-committee (accessed June 15, 2011).
[5] Cf. the letter, “Count on Canon 212,” to America (May 30, 2011) 30. Canon 212 reads: “§1. Conscious of their own responsibility, the Christian faithful are bound to follow with Christian obedience those things which the sacred pastors, inasmuch as they represent Christ, declare as teachers of the faith or establish as rulers of the Church.
§2. The Christian faithful are free to make known to the pastors of the Church their needs, especially spiritual ones, and their desires.
§3. According to the knowledge, competence, and prestige which they possess, they have the right and even at times the duty to manifest to the sacred pastors their opinion on matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful, without prejudice to the integrity of faith and morals, with reverence toward their pastors, and attentive to common advantage and the dignity of persons.
[6] Cf. Common Rules of the Congregation of the Mission X, 2-3.