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The Council Fathers at Vatican II struggled to negotiate the Council's teaching on divine revelation with regard to the teaching of Trent, but more immediately with regard to the modern theology of the Magisterium and the modern value of historical criticism that had recently been recognized by Pius XII as having a legitimate role in the interpretation of Scripture. Dei Verbum's teaching stressed the unity of Scripture and tradition in the revelation of God's word, but never considered the role of historical criticism in the interpretation of God's word in tradition that it affirmed in God's revelation in the biblical word. This article argues that the recognition of the legitimate role of historical criticism in the interpretation of tradition remains an issue of needed development in the teaching of Dei Verbum.
In an age of environmental crisis, ecological theologians call for the “ecological conversion” of humanity. This article, a work of practical theology, plays on the grammatical ambiguity of Mark 10:15, in which disciples are told to “receive the kingdom as a child,” to argue that ecological conversion is a twofold conversion to the child. One conversion is a turn to the well-being of children in an age of climate crisis, which involves an adult personal transformation into the role of caregiver—and thus greater maturity. The other conversion is a recovery of certain childlike capacities, including presence in the moment, interdependence in relationship, urgency, animism, and love of the small. The article draws on Pope Francis’ encyclical Laudato Si’, discussions of childhood by the nineteenth-century Protestant theologian Friedrich Schleiermacher, and contemporary explorations of children and childhood, including the author's own experience of caregiving with children.
Theologians have recently shown interest in the work of Irish metaphysician William Desmond. A prevailing antimetaphysical sentiment may, however, discourage others from engaging his work. To allay concerns, this article brings Desmond into conversation with Jean-Luc Marion on the topic of divine revelation. The purpose is twofold. First, for those wary of metaphysics, this essay demonstrates that Desmond's metaxology evades Marion's critique and, more importantly, shows how the two thinkers share a “familial intimacy.” Despite the opposition between metaphysics and phenomenology, this intimacy renders them companion thinkers. Second, this companionship is theologically beneficial to Desmond. With Marion as guide, we consider how the concept of divine charity can be added into Desmond's metaphysics in what I call the passio caritatis, or “passion of charity.” The article concludes by suggesting how undergoing the passio caritatis effects a theological expansion of Desmond's metaphysics and puts it at the service of theological reflection.
Recent publications on theology and film attempting to explain what a parable is remain less clear about how or why a parable works for cinema, and many definitions do not fully take into account the formal dynamics of film qua film nor parable qua parable. I seek to demonstrate the benefits of a more precise conception of cinematic parables by utilizing philosopher Paul Ricoeur's understanding of “parable” to make theological interpretations of film that take audio-visual aesthetics into consideration. I conclude with three recent examples of cinematic parables in order to demonstrate this Ricoeurian parabolic hermeneutic: Asghar Farhadi's Iranian melodrama, A Separation (2011), American filmmaker Anna Rose Holmer's enigmatic The Fits (2016), and Aki Kaurismäki's droll Finnish comedy, The Other Side of Hope (2017). Ultimately, I make a case for film as theology, what I am calling “theocinematics.”
Two Steps Forward, One Step Back: Ecumenical Relations after Ut Unum Sint
“Today, our world is experiencing a tragic famine of hope. How much pain is all around us, how much emptiness, how much inconsolable grief. Let us, then, become messengers of the comfort bestowed by the Spirit. Let us radiate hope, and the Lord will open new paths as we journey toward the future.” These challenging and uplifting words by His Holiness Pope Francis were part of an ecumenical service with the Archbishops of Canterbury and York and the Coptic Archbishop of London this year. Preaching during the impact of COVID-19 worldwide, Pope Francis’ message also frames the challenges and hopes of Anglican/Episcopal-Roman Catholic dialogue in the twenty-five years since Pope John Paul II's encyclical Ut Unum Sint (UUS), “That They May Be One.”
A tempting response to this question is: how has it not changed during those years? The previous quarter century was a profoundly significant period for the ecumenical movement. The movement achieved remarkable breakthroughs on historically church-dividing issues, confronted the emergence of new church-dividing issues, fostered an exchange of gifts to help churches overcome their divisions (old and new), and deepened the churches’ commitment to ecumenism, making the ecumenical movement a prophetic sign for our time. I will consider each of these points in turn. First, a word on the significance of Ut Unum Sint (UUS) itself.