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"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

BENEDICTUS MOMENTS

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Friday, 12 September 2014

RECONCILING EAST AND WEST IV: THE PAPACY: FROM OBSTACLE TO UNITY TO BECOME THE PRACTICAL MEANS BY WHICH THE CHURCH LOVES UNIVERSALLY


2. For the liturgy, "through which the work of our redemption is accomplished," [1] most of all in the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist, is the outstanding means whereby the faithful may express in their lives, and manifest to others, the mystery of Christ and the real nature of the true Church. It is of the essence of the Church that she be both human and divine, visible and yet invisibly equipped, eager to act and yet intent on contemplation, present in this world and yet not at home in it; and she is all these things in such wise that in her the human is directed and subordinated to the divine, the visible likewise to the invisible, action to contemplation, and this present world to that city yet to come, which we seek [2]. While the liturgy daily builds up those who are within into a holy temple of the Lord, into a dwelling place for God in the Spirit [3], to the mature measure of the fullness of Christ [4], at the same time it marvelously strengthens their power to preach Christ, and thus shows forth the Church to those who are outside as a sign lifted up among the nations [5] under which the scattered children of God may be gathered together [6], until there is one sheepfold and one shepherd.
[Taken from the Introduction to SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM.]
7. To accomplish so great a work, Christ is always present in His Church, especially in her liturgical celebrations. He is present in the sacrifice of the Mass, not only in the person of His minister, "the same now offering, through the ministry of priests, who formerly offered himself on the cross" [20], but especially under the Eucharistic species. By His power He is present in the sacraments, so that when a man baptizes it is really Christ Himself who baptizes [21]. He is present in His word, since it is He Himself who speaks when the holy scriptures are read in the Church. He is present, lastly, when the Church prays and sings, for He promised: "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them" (Matt. 18:20) .
8. In the earthly liturgy we take part in a foretaste of that heavenly liturgy which is celebrated in the holy city of Jerusalem toward which we journey as pilgrims, where Christ is sitting at the right hand of God, a minister of the holies and of the true tabernacle [22]; we sing a hymn to the Lord's glory with all the warriors of the heavenly army; venerating the memory of the saints, we hope for some part and fellowship with them; we eagerly await the Saviour, Our Lord Jesus Christ, until He, our life, shall appear and we too will appear with Him in glory.
10. Nevertheless the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows. For the aim and object of apostolic works is that all who are made sons of God by faith and baptism should come together to praise God in the midst of His Church, to take part in the sacrifice, and to eat the Lord's supper.

   [All quotations except the first are taken from the first chapter of SACROSANCTUM CONCILIUM.]





3. Well aware that unity is manifested in love of God and love of neighbour, we look forward in eager anticipation to the day in which we will finally partake together in the Eucharistic banquet. As Christians, we are called to prepare to receive this gift of Eucharistic communion, according to the teaching of Saint Irenaeus of Lyon (Against Heresies, IV,18,5, PG 7,1028), through the confession of the one faith, persevering prayer, inner conversion, renewal of life and fraternal dialogue. By achieving this hoped for goal, we will manifest to the world the love of God by which we are recognized as true disciples of Jesus Christ (cf. Jn 13:35).
(Common Declaration of Pope Francis & Patriarch Bartholomew, May 25th, 2014)


The whole process began in France and Belgium: in France where Orthodox theologians who had fled Communist Russia and had settled in Paris met Catholic theologians who saw the necessity for a fundamental change of direction in the Catholic Church to meet the challenges of modern secularism; in Belgium where Pope Pius XI established the Benedictine monastery of Chevetogne under the direction of Dom Lambert Beauduin to be a centre of unity between Catholicism and Orthodoxy. 

I believe that both the Orthodox theologians in Paris and the Catholic theologians in Paris and Lyon were rather surprised at each other.  Their problems were similar and related.   Neither side was satisfied with the state of theology in their respective churches.  The Orthodox were dissatisfied, among other things, with the influence of Western Catholic theology on their own theologians; while the Catholic theologians were dissatisfied with neo-thomism as it had developed, because they believed it was incapable of engaging with the modern world.   Both saw the answer in an appeal to Tradition.   They believed that you can find answers to the problems of the present in the very best insights of the past.   The  Orthodox went back to the Fathers and especially to St Gregory Palamas.   The Catholics went back to the same Fathers, but especially to St Augustine of Hippo, St Thomas Aquinas and St Bonaventure, reading them in the light of the earlier Fathers.   Both sides discovered and accepted in St Ignatius of Antioch what has come to be called "eucharistic ecclesiology" and took on the task of re-interpreting later ecclesiologies in the light of this one.

  Thus, for the first time in many hundreds of years, both sides were reading from the same text, were trying to get to grips with the same problems, and had a general agreement where the answer to these problems can be found.

 Nevertheless, the Orthodox remained Orthodox and the Catholics remained Catholic, and they did not achieve the level of agreement that could be a basis for union; nor did they try to achieve anything so ambitious. However, there was enough agreement between them to enable them to converse and learn from each other without fear, though neither side was in a position to represent their churches.   The Catholic theologians were under suspicion of heresy because they criticised the modern theological establishment  by reclaiming the past, and the Orthodox theologians were also under suspicion in their own church simply because they lived in the West and were thus open to Western influences.   In fact, there were no formal meetings between these theologians as such, nor were they conscious of making history, or even of belonging to a group: they simply exchanged ideas because that is what theologians do.  And there was the liturgical week at the Orthodox Institut Saint-Serge in Paris every year to which Catholic theologians were invited.   (I went to it once.)

All this suspicion changed for the Catholics when Pope John XXIII announced his Council and invited these very Catholic theologians to assist at the Council.  At the Council they were joined by theologians like Joseph Ratzinger and Archbishop Wojtyla, and they became, perhaps, the most important group at the Council, the main authors of the most important documents.   They had caught the Orthodox bug in Paris and found support during the Council from the highly organised Melkite hierarchy who would describe themselves as "Orthodox in communion with Rome."   

It would be difficult to exaggerate the importance of this group within the Council, nor to exaggerate the extent of their disappointment when others, who did not share their vision, gradually came to be accepted as the authentic voice of the Council, especially in the matter of liturgy which was absolutely central to their concern for the Church. In their eyes, the primary purpose of liturgical reform was to bring people into touch with the sacred, without which there can be no real religion.  Also, only by liturgical reform could the true nature of the Church become evident. Distortion of the liturgy leads inevitably to misunderstanding of the Church.  The young Joseph Ratzinger wrote:
"The decision to begin with the liturgy schema was not merely a technically correct move. Its significance went far deeper. This decision was a profession of faith in what is truly central to the Church–the ever-renewed marriage of the Church with her Lord, actualised in the eucharistic mystery where the Church, participating in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ, fulfils its innermost mission, the adoration of the triune God. Beyond all the superficially more important issues, there was here a profession of faith in the true source of the Church’s life, and the proper point of departure for all renewal. The text did not restrict itself to mere changes in individual rubrics, but was inspired from this profound perspective of faith. The text implied an entire ecclesiology and thus anticipated ... the main theme of the entire Council–its teaching on the Church. Thus the Church was freed from the 'hierarchological’ Congar) narrowness' of the last hundred years, and returned to its sacramental origins" .
my source: Commonweal

   However, there were those who believed that modern humanity has "come of age" and has outgrown the need for the sacred and that emphasis must now be placed on human solidarity rather than the holy.   This latter group seemed to have gained the upper hand when interpreting the "spirit of Vatican II". However, all was not lost, because the next two popes were from that group, and liturgy was one of Pope Benedict's main concerns. 
  
In this article I want to concentrate on the teaching of Vatican II on the Church.   The Council's vision of the Church was very different from what had been the current teaching before the Council and was taken for granted in Vatican I; but the Council did not see it as an alternative to what had been taught before.   They were somehow related, even if the documents left to the post-conciliar Church the task of finding the exact relationship: they simply put them side by side, knowing that the new paradigm would demand a re-interpretation of the Vatican I definitions, but leaving it to others.  

It could be said that the current teaching before Vatican II sprang from an understanding of the faith formulated by canon lawyers.   Even the salvation won for us by Christ was legalistic: a satisfaction made by a man because he represented the human race, but a man who is God because the enormity of sin is measured by the dignity of the person offended rather than by the offence, and only God can give infinite satisfaction, adequate to satisfy for sin committed against an infinite God.   The Church is a perfect society, held together by jurisdiction that springs from the Pope and unites us all into one body.   Supreme power was handed by Christ to Peter, and the popes exercise this power.   Sacramental powers are given to individuals at ordination and should be exercised  in the Church but can be performed outside the Church if the priest or bishop should so will.   Hence, sacramental powers are not strong enough to hold the Church together: only papal jurisdiction can do that.   

This ecclesiology is what Yves Congar OP called "hierarchological" and what Nicholas Afanasiev called "universal" ecclesiology.   The Church is a universal organization with its centre in Rome, and dioceses are parts of the whole.   All power is centred on the Pope.   It is expressed by a Catholic theologian thus:
Christians must be more than ever one...there must be more unanimity in action than ever: one man alone can direct, one alone can teach, one alone command - Peter and his successors...If the Church wants to remain one in a world in process of unification, then the Papacy must speak often and guide all.   [J. Boyer s.j.Le Souverain Pontife, centre vital et unite de l'Eglise, 1955]
Vatican II has given us another ecclesiology which it, in turn, received from Father Nicholas Afanasiev, a Russian Orthodox theologian and canonist who lived in Paris from 1947 till his death in 1966 where he taught at Saint Serge.   He was also an Orthodox observer at Vatican II.   This is called "eucharistic ecclesiology".   Of course, the Council would no have adopted it if it had not been, beyond question, a dominant ecclesiology among the Church Fathers.

It receives its most startling expression on the very first page in the very first document that came out of the Council, on the Liturgy.   The full relevant text is given at the beginning of this article.   The Church is essentially liturgical, becoming what it is and manifesting to others its true nature in the celebration of the liturgy, especially when celebrating "the divine sacrifice of the Eucharist."   In celebrating the Liturgy, the Church is working in synergy with the Holy Spirit, so the celebration is at once divine and human, where the human is subordinate to the divine, and the divine works through the human.   In the liturgy, the Church participates in the heavenly liturgy as we are told in the Letter to the Hebrews.  Moreover, here comes the startling bit which gives us a very different picture from that given in "universal ecclesiology".   In the latter, the power is centralised in the Pope in Rome, while in eucharistic ecclesiology, it is centred in the liturgy.
10. Nevertheless the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows.
This is in line with the understanding of Pope Pius XI who wrote, "the liturgy is the chief organ of the ordinary magisterium of the Church."   When we remember that, for the first three hundred years, until the Council of Nicaea, the "extraordinary magisterium" did not make a single pronouncement, and the ordinary magisterium was the only one actively operating, we realise that we underestimate the importance of the ordinary magisterium.   This is because we are used to a universal ecclesiology where pronouncements by the Pope and general councils have priority over all other expressions of Catholicism.   In eucharistic theology, it is the liturgical celebration (including the liturgical text) that has priority because of the synergy between Christ in the Spirit and the Church during the celebration.

For those who use the "perfect society" paradigm in their understanding of the Church, the highest way you can honour the Blessed Virgin, for instance, is by proclaiming the Immaculate Conception, the Assumption and at present, Mediatrix of all graces, as dogmas of faith.   In the eucharistic ecclesiology, the highest honour we can pay to the Blessed Virgin as a Church is her place in the liturgy.   The traditional function of dogmas is to preserve the integrity of the faith that is celebrated in the various liturgies that are used by the Church by a universally accepted formula.   To use dogmas for any other purpose is simply storing up preoblems for later.

In the "perfect society" paradigm, the movement is from the universal authority if the Pope to the local church. In contrast, the eucharistic ecclesiology re-directs our attention to the liturgical celebration which is local by its very nature.   It is here that Tradition is actually lived. Because it is grounded at grass-roots level, it takes different forms and becomes embedded in particular customs in each culture.    Catholic Tradition is not monochrome.  Because it is rooted in each place, it is like a highly varied field of flowers which, nevertheless are in harmony with one another, even if this harmony is difficult to spot.   One thing is certain: humble obedience is at the very root of our Christian understanding, and if self-protecting pride should enter into our powers of judgement, any possibility to recognise the harmony between the different strands of Tradition is lost Thus, because there is more than one way that Tradition is expressed, just as there are four versions of the one Gospel, this leads to  the formation of regional churches which share the same form of Tradition and have the  same problems.   A polychrome Church is a direct consequence of the eucharistic nature of the Church; and the universal authority of the pope has to work within this context.   

What makes the local celebration of the liturgy so significant is that, while local community will reflect local customs, spirituality and understanding of the faith, they become, by the working of the Holy Spirit, the mouthpiece of the whole Church throughout the world.   Each celebration is a local manifestation of the Church which transcends every place and includes, not only all other eucharistic communities throughout the world and throughout history, but the Church in heaven and in purgatory as well.   Just as every consecrated host is the body of Christ, identical in this to all other hosts, and all the hosts together are the same body of Christ, neither more nor less, so every eucharistic assembly is transformed by the Holy Spirit into the same body of Christ, and each part of the Church is identical to all other parts, in that each is, and all together are, Christ's body.

It follows from this that the Pope, as successor of Peter, does not give universal witness to the Catholic Faith by imposing Romanism on the other parts of the Church. Rather, he bears witness to the faith he has in common with the bishops of all other local Churches that are identical with his Church in Rome, in that each is body of Christ, as all are together.Other bishops give witness to the Catholic faith to the universal Church, some, like Archbishop Romero, through martyrdom; but it is the Pope's job as Bishop of Rome, because of the links of martyrdom that Saints Peter and Paul have with the eucharistic assembly of that city.   


It is only within this context that the definition of Vatican I is true:
9. Therefore, faithfully adhering to the tradition received from the beginning of the Christian faith, to the glory of God our savior, for the exaltation of the Catholic religion and for the salvation of the Christian people, with the approval of the Sacred Council, we teach and define as a divinely revealed dogma that when the Roman Pontiff speaks EX CATHEDRA, that is, when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church, he possesses, by the divine assistance promised to him in blessed Peter, that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed his Church to enjoy in defining doctrine concerning faith or morals. Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, irreformable.
So then, should anyone, which God forbid, have the temerity to reject this definition of ours: let him be anathema.


This was a definition that Cardinal Newman did not believe was necessary. In the Council of Chalcedon, Pope St Leo issued a definition of the Incarnation which he required the council fathers to accept.   There was no problem because they recognised in this definition their own faith.   "Peter has spoken through the mouth of Leo!" they proclaimed.   The dogma of infallibility is a poor substitute for recognising the truth of the statement of faith in love.   It could be argued that Papal infallibility only "works" within the context of ecclesial love, which is the way the Holy Spirit makes his presence known.

"Therefore, such definitions of the Roman Pontiff are of themselves, and not by the consent of the Church, i rreformable."   This very controversial statement does not mean that the Pope can impose on the Church anything he likes.   After all, according to the definition, he is employing the gift of infallibility which belongs, in the first place, to the Church as a whole.  It is a statement by canon lawyers that no further legal process is necessary to verify the presence of the Holy Spirit.   This presence is due to the synergy between the Spirit of Christ and the Church, not on any legal procedure. When he speaks ex cathedra, the papal decree is sufficient guarantee that the Holy Spirit is protecting him from error.   Of course, th  ere would be a real crisis if what he imposed on the Church was not recognised by the Church.   An essential sign that he is using the Church's infallibility is that it is "received" by the Church; but this "reception" is a recognition of the Holy Spirit's activity, not a validation of the Holy Spirit's work: when the pope speaks infallibly, the infallibility of the whole Church is brought into play.  The Church will recognise this doctrine as it's own, something that is believed in already.

Now we come to the definition of Papal jurisdiction.   Vatican I decreed:
2. Wherefore we teach and declare that, by divine ordinance, the Roman Church possesses a pre-eminence of ordinary power over every other Church, and that this jurisdictional power of the Roman Pontiff is both episcopal and immediate. Both clergy and faithful, of whatever rite and dignity, both singly and collectively, are bound to submit to this power by the duty of hierarchical subordination and true obedience, and this not only in matters concerning faith and morals, but also in those which regard the discipline and government of the Church throughout the world.
3. In this way, by unity with the Roman Pontiff in communion and in profession of the same faith , the Church of Christ becomes one flock under one Supreme Shepherd


 5. This power of the Supreme Pontiff by no means detracts from that ordinary and immediate power of episcopal jurisdiction, by which bishops, who have succeeded to the place of the apostles by appointment of the Holy Spirit, tend and govern individually the particular flocks which have been assigned to them. On the contrary, this power of theirs is asserted, supported and defended by the Supreme and Universal Pastor; for St. Gregory the Great says: "My honor is the honor of the whole Church. My honor is the steadfast strength of my brethren. Then do I receive true honor, when it is denied to none of those to whom honor is due." [51]
The definition does not show clearly why the local bishop is not just an assistant to the Pope, even though it is stated that the bishops rule as successors of the Apostles.   If "this jurisdictional power of the Roman Pontiff is both episcopal and immediate", does this mean that the pope is a supreme monarch, the ecclesiastical equivalent in the West of the emperor in the East, or even his rival?   

I think the two authorities are fundamentally different, as is the nature of their authority.   In fact, one of the great causes of confusion and schism has been the confusion between civil and ecclesiastical authority, popes and bishops having wielded both kinds of power. The first belongs entirely to this world, while the second is, by its very nature, a theological reality, which means it is different in kind and in scope.   You will not find the difference in an understanding of the Church that only uses the paradigm of the perfect society; but it becomes obvious in the light of eucharistic ecclesiology.

One of the great differences in history between the West and Byzantium is the position of the Eastern emperor who simply did not have the power to fulfil his role in the West.   The legend of King Arthur is all about a local authority trying to keep order and to defend the people from Anglo-Saxon invaders after the Roman armies had left Britain.   This experience of Roman weakness became general in the West, and Pope Gregory had to take over in Italy, though always in the Emperor's name.   Without the ability to use force, civil jurisdiction doesn't work, however civilised the society.   Christ gave no physical force to his Church, no armies, no police; and his teaching on the use of authority was clearly distinct from that of civil society.   Christ put himself forward as its model and said that he was not here to dominate but to serve.

   Pope Gregory the Great was clear, when writing about the title "ecumenical patriarch" that he claimed no power that diminished the authority of his fellow bishops; but he did have a responsibility towards them: he called himself "Servant of the Servants of God".   He is quoted in the decree of Vatican I on Papal authority.   Nevertheless, I don't think Pius IX realised how different was Pope Gregory's vision from his own.   This was for the simple reason that Vatican II hadn't happened yet.   In reality, I think it is taking time for the difference to sink in even after Vatican II!

In eucharistic ecclesiology, the fullness of the Church is the diocese, a sacramental organism with apostolic roots and a continuous tradition  from apostolic times reflected in its liturgy, with Christ in the Spirit acting in synergy with and through its members whose varied gifts make up one body as they celebrate the Eucharist, living in communion with their bishop who represents Catholic unity across time and space. 

Read the quotations from Sacrosanctum Concilium at the beginning of this article to understand the intimate relationship between Christ and the Church during the course of the Liturgy and how his presence reaches right down into the of the heart in all who are open to receive him.   The liturgy is always local, celebrated where there are people.   At the same time, these local eucharistic assemblies are the voice and visible expression of the whole Church throughout the world and time, united by the Holy Spirit to the rest in sacramental unity in such a way that each Mass is celebrated by the universal Church in union with Christ.  

The Eucharist makes the Church, and where the Eucharist is, there is the Church.   Because in the Eucharist the Church transcends time and place, the local church, by its very nature as a eucharistic reality, cannot be separated from the universal church because it concelebrates with all other churches every time it celebrates Mass. Pope, patriarchs of all shapes, sizes and loyalties, bishops, priests and faithful are all united by the Holy Spirit in the Mass whether they like it or not.  In October, 2001, a Vatican document bearing the signatures of various Cardinals and initialled by Pope John Paul himself stated that  "the Catholic Church recognises the Assyrian Church of the East as a true particular Church, built upon orthodox faith and apostolic succession."   This church did not accept the Council of Ephesus (431 AD) nor any other council since, but has been found perfectly orthodox in its faith by the Vatican.   Hence, it is a true particular church of orthodox faith in spite of lack of full communion for such a long time.   This is because the Eucharist makes the Church.   It does not mean that union with the Pope is not necessary: it becomes even more necessary because it is the logical consequence of that unity with the universal Church to which they are united in the Eucharist.   However, due to circumstances outside their and our control, they do not see this, and we pray with them for eventual full communion when our disagreements have been resolved.   Nevertheless, this example shows the utmost importance of the local church as celebrant of the Eucharist and presence in one place of the universal Church.

If the emperor's power, like all secular legal authority, was based on physical power to enforce, what is the basis of ecclesial authority?   "As the Father sent me, I also send you," said the Lord.   God's power, both to create and redeem is the power of his love.   It is a kenotic love that begins in the Trinity, where the Father loves the Son into being from all eternity through the Spirit who also expressses the Son's kenotic love for the Father.   Creation is God "allowing the universe to be", "loving the universe into being", and salvation is our share in the Cross.   The reality behind Canon Law is the love of God, first and foremost, his love for us by which he keeps us in existence and redeems us, and then, our love for him in faith.   

At first, there was no legal system in the Catholic Church, only the command to love one another as Christ has loved us.  However, a system of law was necessary, but it has to work within a Christian context, respecting the nature of the Church.   The connection between a Canon Law based on Love and eucharistic ecclesiology can be appreciated in this passage on the place of love in the Christian life according to St Augustine:
 Love then in the inspired and grace infused understanding of Saint Augustine is not only an interior love of self (in cardia), but also a love of God and love of neighbor, in whom God also dwells. Saint Augustine in furthering his understanding of love and the shortcomings of the Platonists adopts the Pauline understanding and appreciation of the Church’s fullest expressionof love in the celebration of the Eucharist as the source and summit of the Church’s life, because it not only recalls the origins God’s love, but is a constant source of renewal and fulfillment for life in Christ Jesus. Both Saint Paul and Saint Augustine share the notion that celebration of the Eucharist, through fellowship, and agape are the definitive forms of the worship of God., the spiritual worship-logike lateria (Romans 12:1) that transforms all who believe in Christian fellowship into a transcendental love that not only unites man and God, but man with all of God’s creation.
In Saint Augustine’s developing eschatology and understanding of the proper relationship between the love of God, each other and the Sacraments he will concur with Saint Paul, “ my brothers, by the mercies of God as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship”(Romans 12:1 ) In this manner Saint Augustine also echoes Saint Paul’s teachings and goes on to say” this is the sacrifice of Christians; that we, though many, are one body in Christ.” In Augustine’s proclamation of this unity of the ecclesial body, Augustineclearly emphasizes the unitive love of the Eucharistic Sacrament as it is known by the faithful,and how the Church clearly offers the sacrifice of Christ’s love for all of the faithful.
This insistence on sacrifice- a “making sacred”- expresses for Saint Augustine through the teachings of Saint Paul the existential depth implied in the transformation of our human reality as taken up by Christ. (cf. Phil 3:12). Saint Augustine in accepting and transforming the notion of love into a transcendent reality and a dimension of God’s flowing grace embraces a Pauline transformation of faith that calls, or rather commands others to love not just themselves andGod, but also each other as transformed manifestations of the Father’s love and redemptionthrough the Incarnation of Christ Jesus and the eschatological transformation brought about as a result of the Paschal Mystery.Saint Augustine’s notion of love as a participation in the life of God is intrinsically tied to thenotion that all are called to live a life of grace to reflect the image of the son of God (cf. Romans8 29ff). For Augustine all of our thoughts, deeds actions, and emotions are to be found in the Sacrament of the Eucharist, which embodies love and joins all believers with God and his cosmological existence. Saint Augustine in seeking a viable understanding of the truth under the concept of divine love maintains that the Christian lifestyle is a living of our whole lives inthe process of conversion and journey towards fulfillment with God’s love and mercy. He again is reflective of Saint Paul in this precept, “The glory of God is the living man.” (cf. 1 Cor 10:31)and is later reaffirmed by Saint Irenaeus, “...the life of man is the vision of God.”The enduring notion of love therefore for Saint Augustine is one that is not one that develops in personal and collective solitude, but rather through the collective rituals and celebrations of the Church’s Sacred Mysteries as vehicles that bridge the historical and the anticipatedeschatological reunion of Christ’s Church and all of the faithful believers into an ever deepening and in a sense probing the mystery of God’s love and divine nature on a level that will only manifest itself through personal death and union with God, and the finite conclusion of the world as we know and understand it.   
[St Augustine,Love and Eschatology by Hugh J. McNichol M.A.,K.H.S]

Thus, St Gregory the Great saw his service to the Church as a service of love.   Love always respects the other; and papal jurisdiction over the bishops and everyone else must involve respect for the reality of their position.   It is an authority that does not lessen theirs but increases it, making it more secure.   Only with jurisdiction based on and expressing love can a pope and a patriarch or bishop exercise jurisdiction over the same people in synergy with one another without fear of conflict, because both are bound, by the very nature of the Church, to respect the other's ministry.   Indeed, the pope and bishop will not only respect one another but will be eager to obey one another in so far as it is compatible with the will of God.   In this vision of the Church, the power of pope, patriarch, bishop and priest can only be measured in terms of how many peoples' feet they can wash!!

If only enough popes had been able to distinguish the kind of power they had from the kind of power emperors and kings had, deciding to preside in love!!


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